Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

A group of 27 state Republican legislators are asking federal lawmakers to hold a hearing on the federal Montana Water Rights Protection Act in Kalispell. The group includes prominent opponents to the legislation.

If passed, the bill would be the largest water-rights settlement agreement in history between the U.S. Government and a federally recognized tribe. The Montana Water Rights Protection Act would settle a decades-long dispute over thousands of water-rights claims filed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are lifting the Flathead Indian Reservation’s shelter-in-place order mid-July. The order was first issued in late March, when novel coronavirus cases were detected in the state.

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee held its first hearing Wednesday on the Montana Water Rights Protection Act. The legislation would settle long-disputed water rights claims of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes launched a social media campaign last week aimed at local kids, who tribal leaders fear aren’t taking the risk of COVID-19 seriously.

Women lie face down in the street. One, with a red handprint painted on her face in honor of missing and murdered indigenous women, looks at the camera.
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

Over the past week thousands of people across Montana turned out for locally-organized rallies in support of black Americans and against police brutality. The rallies drew disparate crowds, and while talk got heated at times, the events remained non-violent.

A screenshot of the memebrs of the 2019 Montana American Indian Caucus taekn on June 3, 2020.
Montana State Legislature

Following Montana’s June 2 primary 15 Native American candidates will continue onto the general election. That includes a candidate for the statewide position of state auditor.

As bear activity is picking up across northwest Montana, grizzly bear managers are juggling the uncertain and unexpected impacts of COVID-19 on wild places.

On Friday, state, federal and tribal wildlife officials met remotely over Zoom for their semi-annual meeting. The group discussed how to manage the largest grizzly populations in the lower 48 states – the bears in and around Glacier National Park.

A photo taken on September 28, 2010 of the Blackfeet Nation Tribe sign
Loco Steve / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Native American tribes in Montana are beginning to use federal funds to bolster their response to the novel coronavirus.

The Crow Tribe announced they received $25 million from the U.S. Treasury. The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe received $25 million, per Chairman Gerald Gray. According to the office of Sen. Steve Daines, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes received over $24 million.

The state tribal-relations committee recently wrote a letter urging the public to respect the closure orders on reservations across Montana, which have been slower to reopen than elsewhere in the state. But science research continues to flourish on tribal lands, despite COVID-19-slowdowns and uncertainty.

This story is part of our series looking at the impact of the novel coronavirus on science in Montana.

Mail ballots for Montana's June 2 primary go out this Friday. This weekend, Democrats and Republicans vying for Montana's governor's seat faced off in a virtual debate hosted by the Montana Broadcasters Association. Corin Cates-Carney, with the help of Nicky Ouellet, recap the gubernatorial debate.

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