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Quarterly meeting topics include meth, health, Kerr Dam

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PABLO —  With a short agenda to allow everybody to enjoy the Arlee Celebration, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes quarterly meeting got underway on July 3 with an honor song from the Brother drum group and a prayer by Kevin Howlett, head of tribal health. 

With 64 days to go until Kerr Dam is owned by the tribes, Councilwoman Patty Stevens said there would be a program about Kerr Dam at the Arlee Celebration and also one at the Standing Arrow Powwow in Elmo.

Councilman Bing Matt said he was surprised at the number of people who had passed on as read at the Arlee Celebration on Wednesday evening.   

Noting that Governor Steve Bullock has established an office of Indian health at the state level, Councilwoman Shelly Fyant said, “I would like to see them focus on the causes — poor nutrition and lack of exercise.”

Fyant said she has been working with people on growing their own healthy food. 

“We’ve implemented a new Kootenai language program with Francis Auld taking the lead,” said Councilman Len Two Teeth. 

Two Teeth was also pleased about the opening of the Big Arm resort. 

Most of the council members mentioned the methamphetamine problem on the Flathead Reservation, kids using drugs, people having their children removed from the home, housing that needs to be rehabilitated to sharing what the CSKT are doing with the Mandan, Hidatsi and Arikari Nation and the Rocky Mountain tribal leaders group.  

“It’s been a really difficult loss to the community with Patricia Hewankorn’s passing,” said Chairman Vernon Finley. “She always did everything with such kindness and grace.” 

During the time for tribal members to talk to the council, Phyllis Benoist spoke about the tall grass at Dixon Agency and the sunken graves at the Jocko Cemetery and asked that both be attended to, maybe by kids hired for the summer. 

Naida Lefthand had questions about the overlap of Tribal Health and hospice.

The council adjourned in time for everyone to make the 1 p.m. grand entry at the Arlee Celebration. 

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