Subj: Mining Issues in Fort Belknap, Montana

From.... Linking the Native Movement for Sovereignty and the Environmental Movement by Zoltan Grossman 1995 .....see site for details.

..........Perhaps the most widely known Indigenous anti-mining fight today is in north-central Montana, where the Canadian company Pegasus Gold operates the Zortman mine complex near the Fort Belknap Reservation. The reservation group Red Thunder has fought the project for years. One mine has literally lopped off the top of one of the most sacred mountains for tribes in the region, and a new mine project threatens the nearby Sweet Grass Hills. Red Thunder has joined with Montana environmentalists against the projects, and has dialogued with local ranchers who oppose the company's most damaging practices. A similar Native-environmental-rancher coalition known as the Black Hills Alliance successfully kept uranium mining out of the mountains of western South Dakota in the early 1980s, and a similar effort is starting at Washington's Colville Reservation.


Subj: Montana, Dakotas, Wyoming Tribes Form Unified Power Coalition

Oct 18, 2000

Large tribes band together

By David Rooks

Indian Country Today staff

RAPID CITY, S.D. - Large, land-based tribes pulled together and created a coalition to drive a national agenda that reflects the needs of those organizations.

Elected tribal officials from Montana, North and South Dakota and Wyoming attended a historic meeting here and hammered out a detailed charter that will bind the tribes together. It will establish what tribal leaders claim to be a powerful organization that will turn the attention of national organizations and federal policy toward their needs rather than those of smaller, wealthy tribes.

"We can form a unified caucus and attend other meetings and stick together as land-based tribes. At the National Congress of American Indians, tribes with 30 people are talking for Indian country," said Gregg Bourland, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

"Let's get unified and go as a powerful force and people will look back at us with tremendous respect and a little fear. I'm tired of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and us being treated as the red-headed stepchild," he said. "It's not right. If it weren't for us, there would be no Indian country. These tribes are speaking on behalf of us. They purport to know the pulse of Indian country.

"This will send a message to the NCAI and National Indian Health Board that the larger tribes are starting to unite.

The movement to organize large land-based tribes started more than a year ago with the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council. One of the stark awakenings was the fact that three members of large land-based tribes attended a meeting of the NCAI with 30 smaller tribes present and the subject of roads or other needs of the larger tribes did not even make it onto the agenda.

The issue is that large, land-based tribes have health needs not being met, while smaller tribes are better taken care of because of fewer members, the leaders said.

"We don't have a voice at the NCAI. It's time to join this group," said William Kindle, chairman of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

"I don't want to injure those little tribes either, but we need a voice at the national meetings."

The strength of the organization will lie in the fact that among the many tribes involved, or which are partly committed, the organization members control more than 70 percent of all the land base held in Indian country, Jonathon Windy Boy of the Montana/Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council said.

"And when we are being overlooked as far as appropriations, as far as a lot of the needs not being addressed in Indian country, although there are initiatives saying there will be, government-to-government process doesn't really address our need.

"A lot of times, with large land-based tribes, that's what happens and frustration starts to build up from tribal leaders in our area."

Windy Boy said since the meetings about a new organization began, there has been a snowball effect and it moved along a lot faster than anticipated. "The response is so overwhelming, it shows this was long overdue."

He said the organization is necessary because the tribes are always under attack. "When we come together as this coalition, we are hoping we will become a lot stronger."

One of the historical events that can take place among the coalition tribes will be the ability to sign treaties with one another. Treaties, unlike those signed with the U.S. government, will bring about a cooperative agreement in the areas of trade and commerce and cooperation with shared needs.

Bourland told the group treaties between the tribes would be recognized by the federal government.

"Since 1871 there have been no treaties signed. The didn't say tribes couldn't treaty with each other. We need to exercise that muscle or it will weaken. Through this coalition we will get to know one another and exercise our sovereign powers."

The draft charter would bring all tribes together on an equal basis, providing one vote on the board for one tribe. Tribes that qualify will be large land-based tribes, most of which have treaties. However, the treaty is not the major qualifier. Long discussions during charter revision meetings dealt with these qualifications, which will be detailed in the yet to be written bylaws. A committee will approve membership.

The charter states the organization will, "Advocate and assist the continued development of the member tribes and nations through their individual strategic planning process at all levels of government-to-government relationships and to protect the inherent rights and sovereign status of each of the member tribes and nations."

Tribes will come primarily from the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains and the Navajo region. Tribes from other regions have expressed interest. Windy Boy said he would meet with the Navajo Nation to discuss the organization. The nation already offered the use of its Washington, D.C., office as a gathering and meeting place, tribal leaders said.

"We are in the planning stages and want to keep it at a minimum right now and once we get our foot off the ground, we want to make sure we have all our ducks in order before we set a long-term agenda," Windy Boy said.

Creation of this coalition is not anti anybody, said Gordon Belcourt of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council. "It's based on a spiritual movement, it's not just a political agenda. It's not anti small tribes, it's not anti NCAI or anti NIHB, but it's an effort to bring a supplement to what's going on because the large, land-based tribes have been excluded from the table."

The coalition charter states that negotiations on any issue between the tribes and all governments should be handled on a government-to-government basis, including those non-Indian governments from the lowest level to the federal government. Another part of the charter specifies that tribal courts are courts of competent jurisdiction and should be used in cases of disagreements.

Tribes that join the coalition will send only elected officials to the quarterly meetings. How the coalition will be funded has not been decided.

David Melmer reports from the northern Great Plains and nationally. He can be reached at (605) 341-0011 or by e-mail


Subj: Sioux/Fort Peck, Montana Water Bill Passed by Senate

Date: 10/17/00 12:38:38 PM Pacific Daylight Time

Fort Peck Water System Bill Ready for President

By Gazette Staff

Sens. Max Baucus and Conrad Burns announced Friday the Senate unanimously passed the final version of their bill authorizing construction and operation of a rural water system on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

The legislation authorizes $175 million to be spent over 10 years on the development of a water system, providing water for more than 24,000 people and livestock on and near the reservation.

President Clinton is expected to sign the bill as early as this week, the senators said in a joint news release.

Im glad that Conrad and I were finally able to make this clean water project a reality for the communities in northeastern Montana," said Baucus, a Democrat.

Burns, a Republican seeking re-election to a third term, said, A reliable source of water for folks in northeastern Montana will translate into improved health and jobs. Pushing this bill through Congress has taken a lot of hard work, but Senator Baucus and I were able to put up a true bipartisan effort to get this done for the state."

Clint Jacob, coordinator of the Dry Prairie Rural Water Project, the portion of the system that lies outside the reservation, said Groundwater sources in this area are poor and deteriorating. This bill has the potential to address the problems, and it also could lead to economic development in the area as well as strengthen our community."

Updated: Monday, October 16th, 2000 at 05:17 PM

The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.


Subj: Crow Tribe Secretary Impeached

Date: 10/17/00 12:30:31 PM Pacific Daylight Time

Re: Bighorn River Negotiations......

Outspoken Crow Tribe secretary impeached


After a three-month power struggle with the chairman of the Crow Tribe, the tribes elected secretary was ousted Saturday during the tribes quarterly council meeting.

Secretary Tilton Old Bull was impeached because he failed to perform his duties and represent the best interests of the Crow Tribal membership by refusing to cooperate with the other elected tribal officials, according to the ruling adopted by 87 percent of the 965 council members present at the meeting.

Old Bull, who was elected in May on the same ticket as Chairman Clifford Birdinground, was initially given equal check-signing authority to the chairman. Old Bull has publicly denounced the administration for failing to keep campaign promises and was stripped of his signing authority in September.

I am going to protest this and I am going to fight it, Old Bull said Sunday. I wasnt given the proper due process at the meeting.

Crow Tribe Spokesman Leroy Not Afraid said the decision to seek Old Bulls impeachment was very difficult.

Its very difficult to be Crow tribal spokesman right now, Not Afraid said Saturday evening. The council made a decision in the best interests of the Crow Tribe today. Its very unfortunate, but we as a council took action to protect the solidarity of our nation. We carried out an unfortunate task to remove one of our friends from an honored position.

Vice Secretary Larny Little Owl was appointed Secretary. The council is reviewing the constitution and by-laws to determine how to replace the vice secretary, Not Afraid said.

According to the resolution adopted by the tribe, Old Bull refused to perform some of his duties, including not regarding budgetary constraints and not participating in key negotiating sessions with the State of Montana. The Tribe is currently reviewing its agreement with the state over the use of the Bighorn River.

Old Bull blamed the chairmans advisors for pushing to remove him from tribal government.

Im doing my job, Old Bull said.

He said the Saturday meeting was illegal and the resolution was ram-rodded through a voice vote.

They should have read the allegations against me, he said. We werent given enough chance. They wouldnt recognize me. ... But we got everything on camcorder, everything that took place. Were going to protest this.

Gazette reporter Becky Shay contributed to this report

Updated: Monday, October 16th, 2000 at 05:17 PM

The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.


Subj: no attribution pls

10/17/00 12:13:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time

don't know what, if anything, this has to do with the radar pics but..... this stmt just came through on one of the n/a message boards, 10/15...... montana again..... maybe just a coincidence but thought i'd pass it along........

Are you concerned with Native Issues? If so you better vote Democrat, because one of the first things that George Bush has said he will do is put Governor Mark Racicot of Montana as head of the Dept of Interior, over the BIA and BLM. This governor is blatantly anti-Indian, anti-soveriegnty and has been slaughtering the Yellowstone Bison at will for over a decade with no end in sight. This man would decimate everything sacred to Native people.


Subj: no attribution pls, i'm running out of body parts

Date: 10/17/00 12:10:39 PM Pacific Daylight Time

heads up...... this may be meaningless but it just hit me looking at that map......

northern cheyenne...... contiguous to the crow res.......

senator ben nighthorse campbell,

northern cheyenne indian,

a member of the council of 44 chiefs of the northern cheyenne


Subj: .... Montana Links

Date: 10/17/00 12:09:01 PM Pacific Daylight Time

Links of Interest Re: Montana

Click here: Tribal Chairman Contact Directory - Montana

Click here: Chippewa Cree

Fort Peck

Northern Cheyenne


Blackfeet Nation -- Welcome to the Official Site of the Blackfeet Nation

GIS Map.... Fed Owned Land

Maps of Native American Nations, History, Info


Date: 10/17/00 11:58:24 AM Pacific Daylight Time

In a message dated 10/17/00 12:51:17 PM Mountain Daylight Time, BARDSQUILL writes:

<< Could you add all your reports together in one post. I had a mail glitch and lost some of them. Would like to post them. >>

ok, will do my best. my mail has been disappearing from my files, both sent and received, but i'll try.

meanwhile, just to let you know..... on the montana page..... (, the "news brief" link no longer exists. looks like it has been pulled.