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Seeking justice


Once again the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are at crossroads and it appears CSKT members are on a slippery slope. 

The tribes negotiated the Hellgate treaty with the United States in 1855. From the start, treaty negotiations were plagued by serious translation problems. 

Now 2014 it appears there is again serious translation problems within tribal members and the elected council members. 

The translation problem lies within the 10 elected members of CSKT. If only the tribal council would take time and ask CSKT tribal members “if they could use $10,000.” The answer would be — 99 percent out of a 100 — yes, we the need money to ease the suffering. 

History is full of mistreatment of Indians. One example: Mankato, Minnesota, Dec. 16, 1862, Indian agents keep the treaty money and food that was to go to the Indian families, the food was sold to white settlers. Indian hunting parties went off the reservation land looking for food. One hunting group took eggs from the settlers and for this act, 303 Indians were to be hanged, but was reduced to 38 just for being hungry. Where is the justice? 

In June 2009, Cobell (Cobell/Salazar settlement) said this day was historic, “This day means a lot to the elders, because it basically means they receive justice,” she said. “The United States government gave them justice.” 

CSKT members are still waiting for their justice in many areas of tribal government. 

I ask CSKT tribal members to persevere. Some quotes I hope would give you encouragement: “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.”—Walter Elliott; “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”— Nelson Mandela; “People give up so fast because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have gotten.” — Unknown. 

I realize the tribal council has many difficult tasks to accomplish for CSKT. Tribal members, voice your opinion at council meetings, be strong. 

I would like to thank the Valley Journal for its cooperation in the many articles published. It is good to get the Valley Journal at tribal offices again.

Phyllis Benoist


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