Montana Public Radio

Vernon Finley

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Culture Committee Director’s Vernon Finley (L) and Tony Incashola (R) take photos with U.S. Attorney General William Barr after gifting him a blanket Friday, Nov. 22 at the CSKT Tribal Chambers in Pablo, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a new initiative to combat the missing and murdered indigenous persons (MMIP) issue in Indian Country Friday on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Senator Jon Tester campaigned with other Democrats for statewide office in Browning Nov 3, where he was lauded as an advocate for solving the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Nicky Ouellet

As members of the Crow tribal council stood alongside Republican Senate hopeful Matt Rosendale for his pro-coal stance at the Bozeman airport Saturday, tribal leaders from the Blackfeet Nation and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes threw their weight behind Democrats Senator Jon Tester and Congressional candidate Kathleen Williams.

They started their day in Browning with a breakfast feed. By afternoon, they were at Elks Lodge in Polson with the Blacklodge drum circle.

Vernon Finley, former chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes speaks at the Montana Undivided rally in Whitefish Saturday
Nicky Ouellet

Competing visions of the American West were on display at competing events in Whitefish Saturday. People rallied for their ideas about tribal sovereignty, public lands and constitutional rights.

A sign at the National Bison Range in northwest Montana.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has halted a proposal to transfer the National Bison Range into tribal control.

In an email to the Missoulian, Secretary Zinke says he is committed to not selling or transferring public lands, but hopes the tribes will, "play a pivotal role in our discussions about the best path forward."

Vernon Finley, Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes delivered the State of the Tribal Nations Address in the state Capitol on Wednesday. Here Finley is greeted with applause as he enters the House chambers.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

The Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes delivered the State of the Tribal Nations Address in the state Capitol on Wednesday.  

CSKT Chairman Vernon Finley stood in front of lawmakers and statewide officials, in the Montana House, asking them to remain civil through their disagreements this legislative session.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Courtesy Ryan Zinke

On Thursday morning, Congressman Ryan Zinke issued his first press release since media outlets broke the news he was President Elect Donald Trump’s top pick for Secretary of the Interior. In it, he wrote, "I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Montana and America as Secretary of Interior."

The confirmation unleashed a mixed bag of reactions.

Richard Hader speaks with CSKT tribal attorney Shane Morigeau at a meeting on the proposed transfer of the National Bison Range.
Nicky Ouellet

  This post has been edited. The National Bison Range is nearly 19,000 acres, not 1,900 acres as originally posted. 

More than 100 people packed into the theater at the Salish Kootenai College Tuesday night to hear about the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ proposal to take over management of the National Bison Range from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fish and Wildlife supports transferring management.

CSKT Chairman Vernon Finley urged the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to accept the compact.
U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee

At the first U.S. Senate hearing for the water compact with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes today, federal officials said it looks expensive, and needs more analysis. Tribal leaders testified as well.

The water compact narrowly passed in Montana’s last legislative session and now it must be affirmed by the U.S. Congress.

Judge James Manley today ruled the portion of the water compact unconstitutional that protects members of a yet-to-be-created water compact board from being sued.
Flickr user Brad Smith (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Senator Jon Tester Thursday introduced the Flathead water compact in Congress. This is Montana’s final tribal water rights agreement, and has proven the most contentious.

Juneau Launches Reservations Campaign Tour

Apr 20, 2016
Bronte Wittpenn

Congressional candidate Denise Juneau was in Pablo Tuesday to kick off a month-long campaign tour of Montana’s seven Indian reservations.

Juneau said her visit to the Flathead Reservation was as much about talking to potential voters as it was about sending a strong message that their vote counts.

“You know there is power in the native vote and I think that realization is coming to fruition in these communities,” Juneau said.