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Rights being given away

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Montana, CSKT, a group sponsored out of Arlington Virginia, called FARM (part of the CSKT and Dennis Rehburg’s “Mercury” $3,500,000 PR campaign for CSKT water compact), the Mt. Farm Bureau, which I’m sure many FIP irrigators belong, and some sportsman’s groups out of Missoula, and the large corporate farms in the Flathead, are pushing for passage of the CSKT water compact. They use the “litigation fear” as their main point. How many of you Flathead Irrigation irrigators have read MT. SB-282? What’s more dangerous is Tester’s SB 3013, now laying in Washington D.C., a bill written by CSKT tribal lawyers. A new version is being written right now. Call Jon Tester and see who wrote his bill and ask if anything is for you? Should it be passed to know what’s in it, as California’s Nancy P. believes?

Let’s remember some facts. In the 1880s, U.S. Congress passed the Dawes Act to open up the Flathead Reservation to homesteading. The congressional acts of 1904 and 1908 set up Tribal allotments, surveys for Flathead Irrigations canals, reservoirs, campsites and land for all the town sites were set aside. In 1910, congress opened up the reservation for homesteading. What’s different about the Flathead is that the settlers paid for this land. Land sold for $2.50 to $7.50/acre, with 1/3 down payment. Think of coming up with $186 cash in 1910, with that, the United States took the first lien on your land as security to build The Flathead Irrigation and Power Project. The taxpayers built the schools, road, bridges, the infrastructure your county enjoys now.

Will Tester’s bill serve you? Know this, Tester’s bill does away with the 1904 and 1908 laws, it gives ownership of Flathead Irrigation to the CSKT, not the United States, it gives your water right in trust to the Tribe, it gives access to your land with no liability, no real number on the amount of irrigation water, no stock water and non-quota water, it also gives $2,500,000,000 to the CSKT.

Fort Peck’s compact is 19 pages long. The CSKT compact is over 2,100 pages long. Two open reservations. Why the difference?

Tim Orr
Mission District commissioner
St. Ignatius

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