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Considering the carrot

Editor,

Thanks to Thomas A. Lozeau, Jr. for attending the Leon Hall presentation of the People’s Compact and for sharing important comments. Mr. Lozeau is correct that the tribes will be involved in any final resolution of this issue.

While Mr. Lozeau believes that the per capita payment directly to tribal members is just a “carrot,” the People’s Compact proposes a significant payment of nearly $48,000 per tribal member. Because the People’s Compact settles an outstanding monetary claim of the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes, it follows the historic record in that lawsuit which paid 85 percent of the monetary damages directly to tribal members. It is not a “carrot.” It is acknowledging a claim for damages inflicted upon the tribal people by the federal government and righting that wrong by putting the money where it belongs, in the hands of the people. Governments don’t suffer from damages, people do. Many of us found it astonishing when Jon Tester introduced the CSKT Compact to Congress in 2016 with its $2.3 billion price tag. His bill explicitly stated that, “No portion of the fund shall be distributed on a per capita basis to any member of the Tribes.”

Would Mr. Lozeau rather have those damages paid instead to the CSKT Tribal Council? If that is the desire of the tribal people, this aspect of the settlement can be amended to reflect such a request.

I believe that individuals have the right to decide how to best use their own money. They don’t need the government to “manage” it or keep half of it. Governments have a bad habit of “investing” unwisely.

Boone Cole
Dixon

 

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