Archive for the ‘Water’ Category

Ray Halbritter (Courtesy ICTMN)

Ray Halbritter (Courtesy ICTMN)

Indian Country Today Media Network site launches
The new Indian Country Today Media Network launched this week under the motto “Serving the Nations, Celebrating the People.”

The site include news alert and recent posts section under a slideshow-like format containing its features. Not only are the photos done more justice, videos are now also have a spot to call their own. Reader shared content is being actively solicited.

I spent some time on the site Friday afternoon, but not enough. Take some time to look around if you haven’t yet.

Oneida Nation CEO Ray Halbritter posted this in his site introduction message:

    The website will serve as a one-stop destination for the vast and growing number of people interested in our news, culture, ideals and businesses. Most important is the website’s social network: The nations’ first true online community and forum for all of our disparate and common interests.

Maggie Goode first Native American appointed to federal board
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes member Maggie Goode was recently named to the USDA’s Federal Crop Insurance Corporation board of directors. It makes her the first Native and first Montanan to hold a spot on the board, the Char-Koosta reports.

Goode’s family ranches in northwestern Montana, near the small town of Niarada. She will serve a four-year term.

    The FCIC consists of a ten-member board, with each being nominated to and then selected and appointed for a four-year term by the Department of Agriculture Secretary. Goode said, she is still unaware of who may have nominated her for the position.

    Goode said, she is honored for the appointment and is pleased that a tribal member will be involved in the decision making process. “Tribes need involvement at all levels; county, state and federal,” she added.

Crow Tribe discusses water settlement bill
From Susan Olp of the Billings Gazette:

CROW AGENCY — In 1998, Clara Nomee, then chair of the Crow Tribe, instigated negotiations with state officials over a possible water compact.

On Tuesday, she sat on the stage of the Multipurpose Building in Crow Agency as speaker after speaker, including U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, talked about the importance of the recently passed federal bill that would quantify the tribe’s water rights and bring hundreds of millions of dollars in water projects to the Crow Tribe.

“It’s for the benefit of employment of the people,” Nomee said in a soft voice, over the din of a loudspeaker. “And it’s for the betterment of the reservation.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Elouise Cobell (AP photo)

Elouise Cobell (AP photo)

Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet) came one step closer to sealing a long-fought victory in her lawsuit against the Interior Department as the Senate on Friday approved the $3.4 billion settlement in a package. The legislation now moves to the House, where similar language has already been approved.

“It’s 17 below and the Blackfeet nation is feeling warm,” Cobell told the Associated Press. “I don’t know if people understand or believe the agony you go through when one of the beneficiaries passes away without justice.”

Here’s the full AP story on

You can read full statements from Elouise Cobell and President Barack Obama on the Senate vote at Jodi Rave’s blog, Buffalo’s Fire.

In other news,
U.S. Senate approves water rights settlements with Crow Tribe, others
The Senate also approved Friday several water rights settlements, including a a $462 million portion going to Montana’s Crow Tribe. Arizona’s White Mountain Apache Tribe and New Mexico’s Pueblo of Taos and a group of four other pueblos were also included in the almost $1 billion settlement.

The measure would guarantee the tribes’ rights to water resources, while the money attached to the settlement would help build safe drinking water and irrigation systems, the Associated Press reports.

    “It opens the door to economic recovery for the tribe,” said Crow Chairman Cedric Black Eagle, whose tribe has long struggled with poverty. “We would have the potential to utilize Crow water for industrial use as well as commercial use, having safe drinking water, having an irrigation project.”

    Jenna Cederberg

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cskt irrigationMore than a century of confusion and disagreement over that most tension-producing of subjects in the West — water — came to an end yesterday when the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project was signed in Washington, D.C.

The agreement, between tribal and nontribal entities, is the first of its kind, and goes into effect tomorrow, Missoulian (Mont.) reporter Vince Devlin recounts here.

“This is truly a historic agreement we are signing today with our non-Indian neighbors,” says E.T. “Bud” Moran, chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.”I am glad we decided a few years ago to resolve our differences through negotiation.”

Devlin writes:

    The agreement creates the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project Cooperative Management Entity, or CME, which will have an equal number of representatives from the Flathead Joint Board of Control and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes….

    The project, including rights-of-way and real property, will remain a federal project. It includes 17 major storage reservoirs, 1,300 miles of canals and laterals and more than 10,000 structures….

    The Flathead Indian Irrigation project dates back more than a century, to 1908. Four years after it enacted the Flathead Allotment Act, Congress authorized construction of the irrigation project and directed the transfer of its management and operation to the owners of the lands being irrigated, when certain conditions and repayment of the debt of construction were met.

    But the Joint Board of Control and the tribes never could agree as to what precisely was to be turned over.

Moran, Walt Schock, chairman of the Joint Board of Control, and Larry Echohawk, assistant secretary of the Interior and head of the BIA, signed the agreement at the Department of Interior yesterday.

Gwen Florio