Don’t repeat history
History is doomed to be repeated if we do not learn the lessons of the past. The Water Compact (CSKT’s FRWRC) passed all its Federal hurdles and was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 27, 2020, but there are those on the Flathead Reservation that still deny the Tribe’s rights under Treaty (Hellgate Treaty of 1855) to manage their lands and water.
They put up billboards and seek to divide while skulking in the background pressuring County Commissioners and others to object to the Compact.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but history shows us that the invaders moved across this continent killing that which they did not understand, assuming that they were picked by God to teach these lesser people how to be civilized. We killed bison to drive them onto reservations and even now still think that somehow we know better than Natives do. Are we going stay ignorant of the harm we have done to Native languages, culture and rights because we fear retribution for our past mistakes?
As the President of FRHRC and a 40-year resident on the Flathead Reservation, I have seen many attempts and actions against the Sovereignty of the Flathead Nation (the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes). It is evident that not only is sovereignty not understood, but by some is met with resistance as evidenced by talk of dismantling the reservation because it is open, meaning all land is not owned by the Tribe and its’ members, by fighting against concurrent jurisdiction of law enforcement, continual complaints by non-Indian residents over purchasing hunting and fishing permits from the Tribe, running Mission Valley Power and the Selis Ksanka Qlispe (formerly Kerr Dam).
The Tribe is a good neighbor and supports local fire departments, helps with search and rescue, MMIP task force, and most recently the Tribe and Lake County formed the Unified Command Center for COVID, free COVID testing, etc.
We support the Water Rights Protection Act and the CSKT-Montana Water Compact.
Tammy Miller, President
Human Rights Coalition, Inc., on behalf of the Board of Directors