Posts Tagged ‘great falls tribune’

A herd of bison moved to the Fort Peck Reservation in March welcomed its first baby bison – a bright-eyed bull calf.

The first calf from the transferred Yellowstone Park bison herd at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation was born Sunday morning. The mother watches over it just hours after its birth. (Photo courtesy of the Great Falls Tribune/By Richard Peterson)

The move of the genetically pure herd from Yellowstone didn’t come without controversy, but for now all the focus is on the celebration of new life.

Great Falls Tribune reporter Richard Peterson has the story:

    In the hours that followed its birth, the calf’s mother continued to lick and bathe her offspring while other bison surrounded the baby on a warm windy day on the rolling prairie.

    “They’ve been doing a good job of protecting him,” said the Tribes’ Buffalo Ranch Manager Tote Gray Hawk. “They don’t let him drift too far away.”

    It’s the first birth of a bison calf since the herd was transferred 500 miles to Fort Peck from a quarantined state Fish, Wildlife & Parks holding facility near Corwin Springs on March 19.

    . . .

    There are 61 bison in the herd but the new bull calf born Sunday won’t be counted among the other animals until it turns one year old, Magnan said. The tribes’ fish and game wardens have been closely monitoring the herd and believe more calves could be on their way.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if we have four or five more within the next week or two. They’re ready,” Magnan said.

Jenna Cederberg

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Grass fires erupt on Blackfeet Reservation

   Posted by: buffalo_post    in Blackfeet

Firefighters are on their way to containing several grass fires that ripped through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana Wednesday night.

Multiple fires light the horizon near the town of Browning, as seen from home of Darrell Norman and Angelika Harden-Norman about 2 1/4 miles from town. (PHOTO COURTESY ANGELIKA HARDEN-NORMAN, via the Great Falls Tribune)

It was a terrifying night for many there, as evacuations disrupted the town throughout the evening.

The Missoulian website has the latest Thursday morning from Browning:

    Blackfeet tribe officials say firefighters are starting to get a handle on two wind-fueled fires that have burned buildings and forced evacuations on the northwestern Montana reservation.

    The fires started Wednesday evening and quickly spread to 45,000 acres overnight, fueled by wind gusts greater than 70 miles per hour. At least 300 people were forced from their homes, though no injuries were reported.

The Great Falls Tribune reported from the fires last night:

    “This is probably the worst grassfire that we’ve ever experienced in our history,” Wayne Smith said.

    As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, the worst of the fires were two separate blazes that had grown to a combined size of 10,000 acres — and were still growing — Smith said.

    . . .

    ribal police were moving ahead of the flames to evacuate homes in the fires’ path. The Hutterite colonies of Seville and Hidden Lake near Cut Bank also were evacuated, Smith said.

    He added that no injuries had been reported as of late Wednesday, but some structures had been consumed by the fires.

    “The fires just got out of control,” he said. “It’s been spreading at a rapid pace.”

    The Montana Department of Transportation closed Highway 2 from the Highway 89 junction in Browning to Cut Bank because of the nearby fires.

Jenna Cederberg

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From Kim Skornogoski, of the Great Falls Tribune:

Almost eight years after federal officers armed with assault rifles drove onto the Blackfeet Reservation to fire every law enforcement officer from the police chief to the jail cook, the tribe is taking back the reins of crime control today.

The tribe has been working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs since 2007 to slowly resume operating law enforcement.

“Getting the program back under the Blackfeet Tribe is in the best interest of the Blackfeet people,” said Henry Devereaux, who has worked for the tribe as the director of the new Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services since February. “It has to grow into a good department and not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

In February 2003, a special BIA report exposed evidence of poorly trained law enforcement personnel, mismanaged budgets, bungled case reports and political interference from tribal council members.

The report prompted the federal agency to head up a surprise takeover, using a SWAT team to confiscate officers’ guns, badges and uniforms.

The BIA initially hired 32 uniformed officers — effectively doubling the reservation’s law enforcement numbers. But in the years since, the department has struggled to retain officers and the number on patrol has dropped as low as five.

Though the BIA will continue to run the Blackfeet jail, the last patrol officers will be gone by the end of December. Most will pack up their files starting today.

Two have agreed to stay on while the tribe completes background checks and trains three potential officers.

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This 13-star American flag has been in the Gopher family's care since the early 1800s. (TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO)

This 13-star American flag has been in the Gopher family's care since the early 1800s. (TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO)

A rare, 13-star flag given to members of the Ojibwa tribe in Minnesota in the early 19th century remains locked in a safe-deposit box as family members fight to decide what its fate.

The Great Falls Tribune reports that members of the Gopher family (Little Shell band of the Chippewa tribe) met in court this week to try to come up with a solution as family members continue to disagree about what to do with the flag. Their mother Dorothy died without a will, leaving ownership in question.

The Gopher brothers disagree on who should be mainly responsible for the artifact. Mike Gopher believes the band the Gophers belonged to should have main guardianship. His brother, Glenn, thinks it should stay in the immediate family.

    During the hearing, Mike Gopher said that his great-great-grandfather was offered the flag as an offering of peace. The Ojibwa were told that they could show the flag at U.S. forts and get guns and ammunition. It was eventually passed down to the Gophers’ father, Robert Gopher, who then left it to his wife, Dorothy, in his will when he died in 1998.

    Ten years later, Dorothy died with no known will, and the flag is locked in a safety deposit box in her name. Currently, her children cannot access it, and the court was asked to decide who should have the keys.

    A deep rift was evident during a 15-minute break in which (District Judge Thomas) McKittrick suggested they try to come up with two or three guardians that they could all agree on. After they were left alone in the room, Mike and Glenn did not speak to each other while other family members conversed with each other.

    Jenna Cederberg

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed a 200-page report for the community ravaged by suicides in the past years, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

Tribal leaders on the Fort Peck Reservation declared a state of emergency after a rash of suicides and suicide attempts by young people there within the last year. Five youths died and 20 more tried to take their own lives last year.

Groups of the HHS employees spent time on the reservation to complete the “road map” report to help stop the suicides. It does not list a specific cause for the string of suicides, but does give a list of 12 recommendations, such as hiring a suicide prevention coordinator.

    The report does not list a reason for the cluster of suicides but does point out that socio-economic factors played a major role, with abuse of alcohol and drugs and the lack of parenting skills in particular.

    “Either due to a lack of effective parenting skills, lack of appropriate role models, or just the imitating of the examples set by others, many adults and children in the community have not developed effective problem-solving skills to deal with the stresses they experience. Unfortunately, it appears that many troubled youth are passing maladaptive behaviors to succeeding generations,” the report stated in its summary.

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