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November 27, 2008

ATTENTION ALL LITTLE SHELL TRIBAL MEMBERS

The Great Falls Tribune now has maps and info on the Tribal Elder meeting in Havre at the Eagles club this Saturday, Click the Link to check it out: TRIBAL GATHERING

November 23, 2008

ATTENTION ALL LITTLE SHELL TRIBAL MEMBERS

If you are not able to attend the meeting in Havre then we would like to request that you still use your voice and let it be heard.

You can email, fax, snail mail your thoughts and concerns or statements you want heard/read by the elder panel and other attending members.

We need these before the Nov. 29, 2008 meeting.

Please pass this info on to other members and relatives.

We need and want involvement from you as a member of the tribe.

Visit www.littleshelltribe.us or www.littleshelltribe.com for information.

Please use "ANY" of the above methods mentioned and send to;

Caroline Fleury
ATT: Elders
PO Box 38
Black Eagle, Mt 59414

Fax #406-727-9245

cfleury@bresnan.net


November 14, 2008

ATTENTION ALL LITTLE SHELL TRIBAL MEMBERS

THERE IS GOING TO BE AN
IMPORTANT MEETING
TO BE HELD
NOV. 29TH , 2008
AT 1 P.M. AT THE EAGLES IN HAVRE MT.

AN ELDER PANEL HAS BEEN CALLED
TO SETTLE THE ISSUES WITH
JOHN SINCLAIR, THE TRIBAL COUNCIL
AND THE ELECTION COMMITTEE

PLEASE PASS THE WORD

MARK YOUR CALENDARS TO ATTEND

BRING ANY ISSUES YOU WISH TO PRESENT



November 14, 2008

An open letter to the Little Shell Community Council, Election Committee, and Tribal members

I think it is about time that someone stands up and asks some pertinent questions of our tribal council. First of all, why was the election postponed when our tribal constitution plainly states that we have an election every four years for executive positions and every two for council- at- large? Where are the minutes recording that the council approved the postponement? Too many people have complained to me about postponing the election when NARF warned that for us to maintain a tribal status, we must adhere to our constitution and by-laws. Not holding the election at the specified time without the consent of the people can only jeopardize our federal recognition because, technically, we are without a council.

Another question that needs an answer is why were four persons disqualified, one of whom was not even a candidate? Why did they not get notification from the election committee? Are there still three members on the election committee? Why did the four candidates have to read that they were disqualified in the Great Falls Tribune? Why weren’t they notified in person and given the reason? Did the council act together in disqualifying them? Do we still have a complete council? All repeated inquiries to these questions have been ignored by all concerned. I know a lot of our people are frustrated and want some answers; it is their right. A meeting to possibly iron out the problems and get some answers has been scheduled for 1:00 PM , November 29, 2008 at the Eagles in Havre, Montana. Please attend this very important meeting and voice your concerns. A panel of elders is scheduled to discuss the issues and hopefully come to some kind of agreement as how to approach and dissolve these affairs.

I would like to request that all tribal council members, chairman, and the election committee attend this gathering.

A tribal member,

Leona (Doney) Kienenberger



October 23, 2008

Letter from Council Candidate Louella Fredricksen to ALL Little Shell Tribal Members

“LITTLE SHELL PUSH BACK ELECTIONS”

This article in the Great Falls Tribune, Sunday October 19, 2008 is very disheartening. Tribal members are calling and writing, (and we wholeheartedly agree with them) we have been working for our recognition for over 100 years. This is nothing new and appears to be at the very least a lame excuse to delay our elections until spring.

The disqualifications of Caroline Fleury, Darrel Rummel and myself, Louella Fredricksen give our tribe another black eye. This should have been addressed to us, by the election committee, instead of making untrue insinuations, planting seeds of doubt as to our integrity and trying to ruin our reputations by putting our names in the paper. This is called “defamation of character.” If it had not been for our “moccasin telegraph” we would not have known of the press release to the paper. Wouldn’t that have been nice to be sitting there reading the paper while having your morning cup of coffee and then WOW, here is your name, telling the world that you have violated some trumped up regulations and are disqualified as candidates? This is not the proper way to approach things. These are “back door tactics” at worst.

It is also unfair to the other candidates who filed for positions on the tribal council and paid their $100.00 filing fee. There should have been information or notifications sent to them. (On Oct 21st the other candidates finally received a letter) These actions by Kathy Mart, the election chair and the rest of the election committee, along with our Tribal Council, are not right. You should learn how to resolve conflicts, not create more. Treat your members with respect. Do not defame them.

In this letter John states the language in the Election Ordinance was too vague to remove those involved. If that is the case, why did he send a press release to the paper saying there was disqualification of candidates? The Election Ordinance No.2006-001 which is posted on the Great Falls website does not have any language stating mailings could not be done. John states the lists however they were accumulated, give unfair advantage to other candidates. My list is composed of my children, cousins, extended families, friends, previous council members and people who attended our social a year ago. I would venture to guess the other candidates have informed relatives and friends, and if they haven’t that is their decision. You cannot take away our right to do this. And on another note, John Sinclair, you participated in doing this very same thing when you campaigned for office a few years back.

John also states in his letter to potential nominees that there was “tampering and harassment “to Election Officials. I did not call and harass any Election Official, and ask them to step forward to state this.

Another statement from John is that any questions and complaints must go through the Council in writing. As most of them are candidates themselves, is this not a conflict of interest? Where is our Judicial System???

When there was to be a meeting with the Election Committee, why were not all candidates informed and invited to attend if they were able to? I should have been informed, especially when you were going to discuss something I had not even done.

I mailed out campaign material, and that is all. I’ll venture to guess you get calls and campaign mail all the time? I know I do. And it was asked if there could be mailings and was told there should be no harm in doing so.

I also stopped by a neighbor’s house and handed him campaign material and said “Be sure & vote.” This is not door to door electioneering.

Last, this is also not fair to our tribal members who had planned on voting in this election. Now they are left wondering where their absentee ballots are, and what is going on. And come Nov 8th there will be more questions. Our Election Ordinance No. 2006-001 states our Elections for Officers shall be every four years and for Members at large every two years. In November this time frame is up. Is this a “violation”?

I am sending this same statement to the Election Committee and the Tribal Council to formally ask that they retract my disqualification. I will be waiting for an answer on this issue.

At this time, everything should be in place for this election. I ask that the elections go forward, and with my name on the ballot.

We are having a (potluck) gathering of tribal members Saturday Oct 25, 2008 at 1 PM at the Westgate Mall, 1807 3rd ST NW, Great Falls, MT., to discuss the election issues. The Council and Election Committee have been invited. We need to resolve these issues, as I said before, “learn to resolve conflicts, and do not create more.”

Let your voices be heard. Write or call our tribal office, council members, and the election committee and inform them of your thoughts on this issue, whatever they may be. You can also post on both Little Shell Member websites. www.littleshelltribe.com and www.littleshelltribe.us

.

Louella Fredricksen



October 22, 2008

John Sinclair sends letters to select candidates using Council Stationary



October 20, 2008

Little Shell Tribal members to hold Potluck Gathering. All Members urged to attend!

We believe this to be important. This is to let you know there is a Potluck Gathering for Little Shell Members on Saturday Oct 25th, 2008 at 1PM, at Westgate Mall, 1807 3rd ST NW, Great Falls, MT. Mark your calendars!

Good Food, Good Friends and discussions of the Little Shell Elections. We hope you can attend.



October 19, 2008

Little Shell Tribe pushes back elections

From the Great Falls Tribune

BY TRAVIS COLEMAN
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe's elections have been moved from Nov. 8 to the spring.

Tribal officials chose to move the election to allow them to focus on their quest for federal recognition, for which a decision is due from the Office of Federal Acknowledgement on Jan. 28, said Russell Bohan, the tribe's executive director.

Bohan said the move also allows more candidates to vie for the seven seats on the tribe's council. Bohan said he did not know who is running for council.

In addition, the tribal council acted on the recommendation of the Little Shell Election Board at a council meeting Oct. 4, voting to remove four candidates from the ballot: James Parker Shield, Louella Fredrickson, Caroline Fleury and Darrell Rummell.

A news release from the tribe says the four were disqualified for violating tribal regulations. Bohan declined to specify what the candidates did.

"It was something the committee felt was a violation of tribal regulations," he said.

Shield said earlier this week that he withdrew as a candidate weeks ago and was unsure why his name was included in action. He added he withdrew because his schedule had become too busy.

The other disqualified candidates said Friday that they have not been told what rules they broke. Rummell said the tribe cannot disqualify a candidate without providing a reason.

The three said they want tribal members to contact the administration to voice their opinions on the election and their removal.

The Little Shell Tribe is made up of approximately 4,300 members, mostly in the Great Falls area.



October 16, 2008

Little Shell Candidate Profiles

The LittleShellTribe.com if proud to present the following Tribal Candidate Profiles that were submitted to us for all Tribal members consideration: (Note: These Profiles are not posted in any particular order)


Bruce Landrie

Question -1. What has been your involvement in the Little Shell tribe in the past 5 years?

I have been involved for more than 5 years. Some of my involvement has been installing a network in the office at Great Falls, adding equipment, helping train past council on software usage, backups, updates..ect. Have helped via phone or in person when possible/needed to solve problems, providing general tech support. I have been at most all events – gatherings, council meetings, powwows, when possible. I built the first LST website; started with providing info and forms to family and grew from there to where it is today, www.littleshelltribe.us ; providing a tribe - members – public, information gathering forum to speak freely, and share thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Helping members of the tribe to understand the internet and its use as well as potential for growth from it by walking them through some processes when necessary. Helped in redirecting members and public to the appropriate contact (council/office) for their use if they could not find it on the website.

I also helped out with the setup of the tobacco office in Billings, moving desks and office equipment to its current location. Installed office equipment and did initial maintenance setup of PC and printer/fax and follow-ups when asked and possible. I have also helped local area reps Diann Granthan, and Moon Charette in area meetings and gatherings in setting up and distributing fliers or other information to local area members.

Question - 2. What priorities or goals would you work on for the Little Shell tribe during your term?

a) Federal Recognition.
b) I would like to see more use of the technology available for the benefit of our tribe and its members.
c) A judicial system

Question - 3. What steps will be taken for you to reach the above priorities/goals during your term?

a) My hope for the Tribe is to complete our Federal Recognition process, have regular scheduled open council meetings through out the state and involve more of the members. I would like to see a council that works for common goals for the betterment of the entire tribe. Health, education, housing, economic development

b) Create a customized online database of information for members use, and office. Better access to technology through use of programs available that would benefit members. Adding audio capabilities as well as streaming audio and video of gatherings, meetings, events, interviews and more for members that live to far away to make the journey. Through these means it also becomes an educator as well.

c) Solicit/create an arbitrary panel from members who volunteer or use of outside neutral parties to create a bias judicial system.

Question - 4. What is your knowledge of the programs that the Little Shell tribe has been awarded or involved in?

Tobacco Grant, Buffalo hunt, Drum, Montana and Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, NARF, Urban Native American Homeownership Initiative, Montana Business Indian Alliance, Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), Little Shell license plate, State/Tribal Economic Development Commission grant, The Little Shell Tribal History Project.

Question - 5. What is your knowledge of the Federal recognition status? What if the tribe does not receive recognition – what would be the next step you would take?

a) To date we are not yet a federal recognized tribe. The latest information is the testimony of John Sinclair representing the Little Shell tribe before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in regards to S.724.

Chairman Dorgan, Vice Chairman Murkowski, Senator Jon Tester, and members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs all testified in support of S.724, a bill that would confirm the federal relationship between the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana and the United States, and address related issues.

Our history shows, our nation is persistent and patient, but it is difficult in understanding why we still remain unrecognized, even though the Department of the Interior issued a favorable proposed finding on the our petition in 2000. We have waited on the department for more than one hundred years. We now wait for Congress to take action and act favorably on S.724 and allow the bill to move forward.

b) I feel the next step and only step would be for all council to meet and discuss what avenues/options are left open and discuss the next best way to proceed.

Question - 6. What is your experience with the media, such as television, radio and newspaper interviews?

I have worked with and been interviewed by the Associated Press (News Wire/Paper/Internet), Dr. Pam Buntee, (anthropologist), Sandra Kennedy (Office of Federal Acknowledgement), Max Media Montana (Television News). Accumulate and collaborate with other staff. I have worked in TV for over 13-years and had the privilege of meeting, and greeting dignitaries from around the U.S. and abroad; Conrad Burns, Brian Schweitzer, Dennis Reberg, Judy Martz, Jon Tester are a few. I also deal with local constituents, from police chief to mayor. Vendors, like Microsoft (Michael Kuntz) and other leading names interviewing via in-person or satellite conference – internet video conferencing.


Darrel Noreen Rummel

Born to Loran L. and Adyline DeBray Rummel at Landusky, MT
My two brothers are Loran LeRoy and Howard V Rummel.
I have five children and nine grandchildren.
Places that I have lived are Landusky, Ruby Gulch, Malta, Lewistown, Havre, Missoula and Great Falls.

The schools that I attended were in Ruby Gulch, Malta, Great Falls, and Missoula.

I have worked at so many different jobs it would be a long list. I did complete an Ophthalmic Assistant Course and worked for two Ophthalmologists for several years, which I enjoyed very much. I am currently working part time at a fun job selling sewing machines, fabric, patterns, books and notions. I also sew store displays and assist with classes.

I became actively involved in 1987 as an area representative for Great Falls and Chairman of the area representatives, state wide. In 1992 I worked in the Tribal office as a Grant Director. As a member of the Cherish Our Indian Children Project, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, I traveled to most of the reservations in MT. I have experience as a Council member and also as Vice Chairman of the Tribal Council.

In 1994 as chairman of the election committee, I initiated the absentee ballot and voting at more than one site. I designed and started the membership Photo ID's. I have sat on many committees and have been a board member for NADC, a member of the Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, and of the State/Tribal Economic Development Commission.

Federal Recognition has always been a priority of mine, and now for five generations of my family. Since the 1930's Re-organization Act, when my grandparents Louis and Mary Lafournaise DeBray hosted meetings in their home and my mother attend meetings around the state, we have worked and waited for this very important cause. I have helped the anthropologists working on our recognition petition to the BIA in various ways. I was fortunate enough to travel to Washington D.C. and meet with the Patton and Boggs Attorney's group regarding the Tribal recognition and the Re-organization Act. I also attended meetings with our State delegates for Congressional recognition.

My goal for the Tribe is to complete our Federal Recognition process, have regular scheduled open council meetings through out the state and involve more of the members. I would like to see a council that works for common goals for the betterment of the entire tribe. Health, education, housing, economic development (tribal and individual) and many other issues that face our members will be a top priority of mine.

Yesterday I read on the Internet that the hearing on the Congressional recognition will be September 25, 2008. I would have liked to hear this from our council. As a member of the Tribe I would also like any information before it is in the media.

I worked for the Tobacco Program and had a working knowledge of that program. I have heard there is a new program for childcare. I hope it will include the State Indian Child Welfare. I have visited the office many times and volunteered to help Toni Jo and Russell with the programs, Morony Dam project and the Columbia Falls land development.

My experience with the media has been interviews on radio, and television. I personally know reporters at the Great Falls Tribune. When working in the tribal office I sent out many new releases and meeting notices.

The first step that I would take as Tribal Council Chairman would to initiate training for each council member and any one that might be interested in running for a council position in the future. I believe a judicial system is a must. I have along list of ideas that will take time, but will be worth the effort for the Little Shell people.


Louella Fredricksen

TO ALL LITTLE SHELL MEMBERS

I am running for the position of 2nd Vice Chair of the Little Shell Tribal Council in our upcoming election on November 8th, 2008. This is to give you an idea of what I have been involved with on behalf of our Little Shell Tribe.

In the summer of 1999 I was hired by NARF to set up a database program of our enrollment under the authorization of Pat Maki. I was paid by a $2500.00 grant.

After the grant ran out I continued working in the Little Shell Tribal Office for the next eight years as a volunteer. Upgrading the enrollment database as more members are enrolled or deceased is an ongoing process.

I was on the Finance Committee and helped Tobe’ Whitaker with the financial reports.

On July 12, 2003 I volunteered to be on the Election Committee for the Special Election that was held on August 9, 2003. I worked on this election committee with James Parker Shield, Carol Doney Hofeldt, Shirley Gardipee and Bud Sinclair We had a very well run election, with no complaints or protests. We had a huge gathering of people and a wonderful potluck was served. Pam Bunte, our Anthrapologist and her crew, Sandra Kennedy and Anne Coyner came from California to observe the election.

While upgrading our Little Shell database, I became knowledgeable with enrollment blood degrees and various other criteria of the enrollment of our tribal members.

I was appointed to the Enrollment Committee at a Council meeting in Helena, by Chairman John Sinclair and The Little Shell Tribal Council. I then started the enrollment application process of members, with the help of Darrel (Koke) Rummel, and we worked together to get more members enrolled.

I made the CD’s and finalized the print out of our enrollment that was sent to The Office of Federal Acknowledgment in Washington D.C., for our Federal Recognition Petition.

At different times I helped on various activities of the Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program.

In 2006 I ran for and won a position on the Tribal Council.

Before retirement I worked as an Office Manager and Bookkeeper for over 30 years, and also worked for the State of Montana, Brands Enforcement Division. I know I have enough experience to work with the Tribal Council, for the benefit of our Tribe. I am also a Board Member for War Shield Economic Development Corporation. I would really appreciate your vote and support in our elections this year.

Our Federal Recognition is of the upmost importance. When we achieve that status, next would be programs for Health, Education and Housing and Economic Development.

Until we get our Federal Recognition, my goals will be to get a good Judicial System in place, open council meetings, have area representatives again, be more available to our members, have more activities and pot lucks and last, get our members active in our tribe again.




September 27, 2008

Final Determination of Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana to be delivered January 28, 2009

From the US Dept of the Interior (DOI) Office of Federal Acknowledgment

Final Determinations Pending: 1
Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of MT (#31) (letter of intent 4/28/78; ready 3/23/95; active 2/12/97;
proposed positive finding published 7/21/00; comment period closed 1/17/01; extended at request of
petitioner to 7/16/01, to 1/12/02, to 7/16/02, to 1/16/03, to 7/14/03, to 1/10/04, to 5/9/04, to 9/7/04, to
2/1/05, and to 2/5/05; response period closed 4/6/05; final determination projected to 1/28/09)

Status Summary of Acknowledgment Cases as of September 22, 2008 (PDF)



September 26, 2008

C.M. Russell Museum celebrates Native American Week

From the Great Falls Tribune

The C.M. Russell Museum culminates its celebration of Native American Week with special activities Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

Award-winning Blackfeet Indian singer, songwriter and storyteller Jack Gladstone will perform from noon to 1 p.m. followed by games and crafts.

The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe of Montana will sell Indian tacos.

Visitors can view a new exhibition, "Native America in Art," featuring artwork from the permanent collection by more than 25 artists from the 19th through 21st centuries.

Native America in Art examines the ways in which American Indian life has been portrayed in paintings, prints and sculpture by both Indian and non-Indian artists.

For more information on Native American Week at the Russell Museum, contact the Education Department at (406) 727-8787 ext. 347.



September 25, 2008

Senate business meeting and recognition hearing

From Indianz.com

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a Business meeting and Hearing on Sept 25, 2008. You can view the Webcast.

The proceeding lasted about 90 minutes. The committee approved S. 3355, the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act, with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) voting no.

The hearing focused on four federal recognition bills. They are: S. 1058, the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians of Michigan Referral Act; S. 724, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act of 2007; S. 514, the Muscogee Nation of Florida Federal Recognition Act; and H.R. 1294, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2007.

Audio clips can be downloaded below:
Introduction

Testimony
The Honorable Jim Webb, United State Senate, Washington, D.C.

The Honorable Tim Kaine, Governor of Virginia

The Honorable Jim Moran, House of Representatives (VA-8), Washington, D.C.

Business Meeting

Testimony | Q&A
Mr. Lee Fleming, Director, Office of Federal Acknowledgment, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

The Honorable Anne Tucker, Chairwoman, Muscogee Nation of Florida, Bruce, Florida

The Honorable John Sinclair, President, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, Great Falls, Montana

The Honorable Ron Yob, Chairman, Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dr. Helen C. Rountree, Professor Emeritus, Old Dominion University, Department of Anthropology, Hampton, Virginia

Committee Notice:
BUSINESS MEETING to consider S. 335, to be followed immediately by a LEGISLATIVE HEARING (September 25, 2008)

Webmaster Note:Following is the Written Testimony of Little Shell Tribe Chairman John Sinclair:

TESTIMONY OF THE HON. JOHN SINCLAIR, PRESIDENT

THE LITTLE SHELL TRIBE OF CHIPPEWA
INDIANS OF MONTANA

Before

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Hearing on S.724
September 25, 2008

Chairman Dorgan, Vice Chairman Murkowski, our good friend Senator Jon Tester, and honorable members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of S.724, a bill that would confirm the federal relationship between the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana and the United States, and address related issues.

My name is John Sinclair and I have the honor of serving as President of the Little Shell Tribe. I follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather in that honor and appear before you today in the same work at which they labored – the long effort to confirm federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe. S.724, introduced by our tireless champion Senator Tester, would accomplish this long sought goal for the Tribe. I urge the committee to act favorably on S.724. The bill is consistent with Congress’ and the Department of the Interior’s historical commitments to acknowledge our people and establish a land base for them. This bill is necessary since our experience with the acknowledgment process administered by the Office of Federal Acknowledgment, Bureau of Indian Affairs, shows that the Department either cannot or will not bring that process to conclusion. And the terms of S.724 show it to be a reasonable approach that would address, and thereby expedite, issues related to confirmation of the Tribe’s federal status.

THE HISTORY OF THE LITTLE SHELL TRIBE
The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians is the successor in interest to the Pembina Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota. We were buffalo hunters who lived and hunted around the Red River and the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota in the early 1800s. The Pembina Band was recognized by the United States in an 1863 treaty that was ratified by the Senate. See Treaty of October 2, 1863, 13 Stat. 667. After the treaty, some members of the Pembina Band settled on reservations in Minnesota but our ancestors followed the buffalo herds into western North Dakota and Montana, eventually settling in Montana and in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota.

In 1892, the United States authorized the creation of a commission to negotiate for a cession of land from the Turtle Mountain Chippewa and provide for their removal. Chief Little Shell and his followers walked out on the negotiations and refused to accept the terms of the eventual agreement. Some of Little Shell’s followers moved to Montana and joined with other members of the Pembina Band who had settled in Montana; our collective Pembina ancestors came to be known as the “Little Shell Band.” When our traditional means of livelihood died with the buffalo herds, our ancestors were left to eke out an existence in a number of shantytowns across Montana. We became known as “the trash-can Indian,” or “the landless Indians.” Forced to live in communities which did not welcome us, our people faced severe racism and discrimination throughout Montana, some of which continues today.

For one hundred years now, Congress has known of and attempted to address the plight of the Little Shell people. In 1908, Congress first appropriated funds to settle our people on a land base. 35 Stat. 84. Congress appropriated funds again in 1914 and, again, every year thereafter until 1925 – all to provide a reservation land base on which to settle the “homeless Indians in the State of Montana.” The acquisition was never made and the Tribe never recognized.

In the 1920’s, newspaper articles chronicled the plight of our people. Our leaders pleaded for help for the destitute Little Shell people. Tribal leader Joseph Dussome asked Congress, “Are we not entitled to a Reservation and allotments of land in our own County, just the same as other Indians are?” Two weeks later, the Department of the Interior rejected our leader’s plea:

The Indians referred to are Chippewas of the Turtle Mountain Band. They were under the leadership of Little Shell who became dissatisfied with the treaties of the United States and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewas. He accordingly refused to accede thereto…The disaffected band, by its failure to accede to the terms of the treaty and remove to the reservation is now unable to obtain any rights thereon for the reason that the lands of this band are all disposed of, and the rolls became final[.] … There is now no law which will authorize the enrollment of any of those people with the Turtle Mountain band for the purposes of permitting them to obtain either land or money.

Letter of Asst. Secretary Scattergood, dated December 14, 1931. Three years later, however, Congress enacted the Indian Reorganization Act [IRA], which provided a mechanism for groups of Indians like ours to organize and apply for land. In December 1935, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs took steps to organize our people under the IRA. The Commissioner proposed a form to enroll our people, stating:

It is very important that the enrollment of homeless Indians in the State of Montana be instituted immediately, and it is proposed to use this form in the determination of Indians who are entitled to the benefits of the Indian Reorganization Act.

BIA Letter, December 23, 1935. This effort resulted in the Roe Cloud Roll, named after Dr. Henry Roe Cloud, an Interior official who played a large part in the project. Once the roll was complete, the Field Administrator clearly stated that the purpose of the roll was to settle our people and bring them under federal jurisdiction:

The landless Indians whom we are proposing to enroll and settle on newly purchased land belong to this same stock, and their history in recent years is but a continuation of the history of wandering and starvation which formerly the Rocky Boy’s band had endured.

Out of the land purchase funds authorized by the Indian Reorganization Act, we are now purchasing about 34,000 acres for the settlement of these Indians and also to provide irrigated hay land for the Indians now enrolled on Rocky Boy’s Reservation. The new land, if devoted wholly to that purpose, would take care of only a fraction of the homeless Indians, but it is our intention to continue this program through the years until something like adequate subsistence is provided for those who cannot provide for themselves. The first step in the programs is to recognize those Indians of the group who may rightfully make claim of being one-half degree, which is the occasion for presenting the attached applications. The fact of these people being Indian and being entitled to the benefits intended by Congress has not been questioned.

Roe Cloud Roll applications, 1937. The Department of the Interior never fulfilled this promise. The limited resources available to acquire land were expended for tribes already recognized. In 1940, Senator James Murray requested Interior to fulfill its promise of land for the Little Shell Band. Assistant Commissioner Zimmerman responded that his office was “keenly aware of the pressing need of the landless Chippewa Cree Indians of Montana. The problem thus far has been dealt with only in a very small way. I sincerely hope that additional funds will be provided for future purchases in order that the larger problem remaining can be dealt with in a more adequate manner.” Unfortunately, the federal government’s efforts to assist the Little Shell Tribe gave way during the termination era of the 1950’s to the termination policy, and, as a result, the land promised for our people was never forthcoming.

RECENT EXPERIENCE WITH THE OFFICE OF FEDERAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT [OFA]
When the Department of the Interior adopted regulations establishing an administrative process to acknowledge Indian tribes in 1978, once again the Little Shell people had hope. We hoped that the Department’s process would finally bring to conclusion the Tribe’s long effort to achieve federal recognition. The administrative process has turned out to be just another cruel hoax on the Little Shell people. We began work on through this new process in 1978 and, thirty years later, it still has not been completed.

For years after its initial submission, the Tribe researched its history and community to establish the seven mandatory criteria under the regulations. We had numerous technical assistance meetings with the staff and responded to requests for additional information. Finally, nearly twenty years later in 1995, the Bureau of Indian Affairs declared that the Tribe’s petition was ready for active consideration.

However, a “ready for active consideration” designation does not mean that the OFA will commence its review; it only means that you get into line. Active consideration begins only when the Bureau of Indian Affairs has time to commence active consideration. In our case, that was 1997, two years after the petition was declared ready for active. At that point, we hoped that we were at least on the road toward completion of the process. Once again, we were wrong.

On July 24, 2000, the Bureau of Indian Affairs finally issued the proposed finding on the Tribe’s petition. The proposed finding found that the Tribe had met all the seven mandatory criteria and should be recognized - but this was not the end of the process. It merely triggered the next step – which is public comment on the proposed finding and review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of those public comments as part of its final determination.

The Tribe takes very little comfort in the favorable proposed finding. Although the Department found that the Tribe met all the mandatory criteria, the Department “encouraged” the Tribe to submit more documentation. No significant evidence was submitted in opposition to the favorable proposed finding. Unlike many other cases, neither the State of Montana nor any local government submitted adverse comments on the proposed favorable finding for the Little Shell Tribe. But the Department made clear that it preferred that the Tribe submit additional records for certain time periods before the 1930s. We took the Department’s suggestion to heart, submitting approximately 1000 pages of additional reports and appendices supported by several boxes of documentation.

We are still waiting for the Department’s final determination on the Tribe’s petition. The Director of OFA advised a federal court in June 2005 that OFA expected to issue its Final Determination on Little Shell in February 2007. See 8th Declaration of Lee Fleming, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council v. Norton, Case No.1:01CV00111 (D.D.C.) This did not happen. Then, OFA advised the Tribe in writing to expect the commencement of active consideration on the final determination on August 1, 2007. This did not happen, either. Instead, OFA granted itself extensions, advising the Tribe to expect active consideration on the final determination to begin by August 1, 2008, with a final determination to be issued by the end of 2008. Once more, this did not happen. On July 24, 2008, the Tribe received another letter from OFA, granting itself yet one more extension. Now, we are told to expect a final determination by January 28, 2009. Of course, nothing prevents the OFA from granting itself another extension, so the Tribe has no confidence that this new deadline is any more firm than the earlier deadlines.

Over the past 30 years, the Tribe has been fortunate to have the services of the Native American Rights Fund on its petition. Without NARF’s assistance, it would have been impossible for the Tribe to participate in this protracted and expensive administrative process. NARF has spent over 3,400 attorney hours over the last fifteen years on our petition. Consultants and graduate students put in thousands and thousands of additional hours. Tribal consultants, such as historians, genealogists and graduate students, donated substantial amounts of time pro bono or worked at substantially reduced rates in compiling large portions of the petition. Even with this generosity, the total cost for consultants and associated expenses over the last fifteen years exceeds $1 million dollars.

The lengthy process also imposes an immeasurable human cost, with the recognition battle passing from one generation to the next. The demands of providing for my people without the protection of federal recognition, a protection that has been promised for one hundred years, has been daunting, to say the least. And it is just heartbreaking to think that, after all we’ve been through with this administrative process, the Department could at the end of day even decide not to confer federal acknowledgment, to reverse its own favorable proposed finding.

Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to step in, to accept what the Department itself found in its proposed finding – that the Little Shell Tribe is entitled to federal recognition. It is unconscionable that nine years after it found that the Little Shell constitutes an Indian tribe, that in the face of no significant opposition to that proposed favorable finding, that the Little Shell Tribe is still waiting. One entire generation of Little Shell people has passed away, including my own father, as we wait for administrative action and we have no confidence that the new deadline will be met.

The Constitution of the United States gives the Congress the privilege and right to recognize tribal governments. The Congress has considered the needs of the Little Shell people time and time again. Congress should not wait any longer, and should not force the Little Shell people to wait any longer, for the completion of a seemingly never ending administrative process. It’s time for Congress itself to issue the final determination on the status of the Little Shell Tribe and enact S.724.

THE REASONABLE AND NECESSARY TERMS OF S.724
First and foremost, S.724 takes the final step that has been interminably delayed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs - even though it has essentially acknowledged that the Little Tribe is real and should be recognized - and that is the confirmation of federal recognition for the Tribe. This has been promised to the Tribe, both by Congress and the Department of the Interior. There is no rational reason for further delay. Since the Department does not seem capable of bringing its deliberations to an end, the Congress should do so by recognizing the Little Shell Tribe through legislation.

I must underscore that the State of Montana, affected local governments, and all recognized tribes in the State of Montana support the bill to recognize the Little Shell Tribe. The circumstances here truly are unique. The Department of the Interior has already issued a proposed favorable finding on the Tribe’s petition and there is no government opposition to recognition of the Tribe. In this case, the enactment of federal recognition legislation only makes sense.

In addition, S.724 does more than simply confirm federal recognition. It addresses many of the issues newly recognized tribes and local communities struggle with for decades after formal federal recognition – the establishment of a land base and a tribal service area. It is well documented that it takes years and sometimes more than a decade for the Department of the Interior to take land into trust for newly recognized tribes. For example, it took eight years after the Jena Band of Choctaw Tribe was recognized before Interior took that Tribe’s cemetery and governmental offices into trust. Further, many tribes suffer from the years it takes for the Department to establish a service area for the newly recognized tribe. For example, after completion of administrative challenges to the Department’s final determination acknowledging the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in 2002, the Cowlitz Tribe still does not have a BIA service area. Thus, even if the Department of the Interior does issue its final determination next year (which is doubtful given the Tribe’s experience with OFA), the Tribe could be forced to endure many additional years in legal limbo as it struggles to establish and land base and service area.

S.724 addresses these issues. It defines a service area for the Tribe consisting of four counties where our people live. It also directs the Secretary to acquire trust title to 200 acres located within the service area to be used as a tribal land base. With these terms, the Little Shell people are put much closer to the actual delivery of federal Indian trust services and benefits.

Can any reasonable person believe that the Little Shell people haven’t waited long enough? The enactment of S.724 would finally end the uncertainty regarding the status of the Little Shell people. The enactment of S.724 would finally provide for the establishment of a land base for the Little Shell people, something the Department of the Interior promised one hundred years ago. And the enactment of S.724 would provide certainty for the local governments that support recognition of the Little Shell Tribe, by defining the Tribe’s service area and the location of a land base.

CONCLUSION
As our history shows, the Little Shell people are persistent and patient. But I have difficulty in explaining to my people why we still remain unrecognized, even though the Department of the Interior issued a favorable proposed finding on the Tribe’s petition in 2000. We have waited on the Department for one hundred years. Now it’s time for Congress to act. The Little Shell people implore this committee to act favorably on S.724 and allow the bill to move forward.



September 23, 2008

'Native America in Art' on display at museum

From the Great Falls Tribune

By Great Falls Tribune Staff

A new exhibition, "Native America in Art," opened at the C.M. Russell Art Museum on Monday, the first day of Native American Week.

The exhibition features artworks from the museum's permanent collection by more than 25 artists from the 19th through 21st centuries. Many of the works of art in the exhibition have not been seen in years.

"Native America in Art" examines the ways in which American Indian life has been portrayed in paintings, prints, and sculpture by both Indian and non-Indian artists.

On Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., families can experience Native American culture at the museum. Special events include Blackfeet singer, songwriter and storyteller Jack Gladstone from noon to 1 p.m., followed by games and craft activities. Also on hand will be members of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe of Montana selling Indian tacos.

Admission, activities and games are free and open to everyone.



September 23, 2008

Senate committee to take up four recognition bills

From Indianz.com

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will take up four tribal recognition bills at a hearing on Thursday.

The hearing focuses on S. 1058, the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians of Michigan Referral Act; S. 724, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act of 2007; S. 514, the Muscogee Nation of Florida Federal Recognition Act; and H.R. 1294, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2007.

The witness list follows:

The Honorable Jim Webb, United State Senate, Washington, D.C.

The Honorable Tim Kaine, Governor of Virginia

The Honorable Jim Moran, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Lee Fleming, Director, Office of Federal Acknowledgment, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

The Honorable Anne Tucker, Chairwoman, Muscogee Nation of Florida, Bruce, Florida

The Honorable John Sinclair, President, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, Great Falls, Montana

The Honorable Ron Yob, Chairman, Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dr. Helen C. Rountree, Professor Emeritus, Old Dominion University, Department of Anthropology, Hampton, Virginia



September 19, 2008

Star party, Native music, dance on tap at Interpretive Center

From the The Great Falls Tribune

By JENI DODD
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

It's a busy weekend at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, with activities both celestial and earthbound.

STAR PARTY

Jupiter, star clusters, galaxies and the moon are some of the things you can explore at this month's star party, tonight at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

The party runs from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Interpretive Center parking area.

Members of the Central Montana Astronomy Society will be on hand with telescopes and to help explain the sights.

METIS MUSICIANS, NATIVE DANCE

The Interpretive Center celebrates Native American Memorial Week with a special presentation on Saturday. Jim and Vince Fox, Métis musicians, and the Great Falls Public Schools Indian Education Department dance group will perform at the Interpretive Center Theater at 1 and 3 p.m. The performances mark the beginning of Native American Memorial Week.

Métis music combines traditional European music styles with Native American instruments and rhythms, producing a unique musical genre.

The Foxes performed at the Interpretive Center during the Lewis and Clark Festival in June. The father-and-son team plays Métis guitar and fiddle and recently recorded an album with Philip Aaberg. Vince Fox is nationally recognized and has won awards for his work on the fiddle.

The Great Falls Public Schools Indian Education Department dancers feature students and parents. The group presents a series of traditional and contemporary Indian dances in full regalia.

Dancers are accompanied by a traditional drum group. In between dances, members offer some history of the dances, details on the attire the dancers wear, and will describe the role of music and dance in Native cultures. The group includes the Teen World Championship Chicken Dancer and Miss Little Shell.

Each presentation lasts 60 to 90 minutes. Admission is free.

In addition to the music programs, the Title VII Indian Education Parents Advisory Committee will set up a food stand on the Interpretive Center grounds from noon until 4 p.m., offering Indian tacos and other refreshments for sale. Proceeds from the stand will support the Indian Education for All programs in the Great Falls area, including the annual children's powwow.

"We are happy to welcome back these great performers from this summer," Supervisory Interpreter Jeff LaRock said. "Their programs are so dynamic, and the musicians and dancers offer some incredible performances. These are two fantastic programs, so we hope that a lot of folks will come out and celebrate with us."

Support for the Native American Memorial Week program is provided by USDA Forest Service and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Association Challenge Cost Share program.

Call the Interpretive Center at 727-8733 or visit www.fs.fed.us/r1/lewisclark/lcic for more information.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 18, 2008

Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana Election Information:

The Election will have polling places in Great Falls and Havre and will be posted on this website once they have been desginated. If you cannot vote in Person, you MUST Call the Tribal Office and request an Absentee Ballot. Or, If you like, you can download a copy of an Absentee Ballot Request form in either Microsoft Word(Click Here) or Adobe Acrobat(Click Here), fill out the Fields, print, sign, and include a Stamped Self-Address Envelope and send it all to the main office at:

NOTE: The Absentee Ballot REQUEST must be returned to the Tribal office no later than 5pm October 14th.

Little Shell Chippewa Tribal Office
Attn: Absentee Ballot Request
PO Box 1384
Great Falls, MT 59403

All 7 seats on the Little Shell Council are up for Election this year. The Schedule is as follows:

Elections Day: November 8, 2008
Ballot Count Date: November 15-16, 2008
Notice of Results: November 17, 2008
Protest Period (filing fee $250.00): November 17–27, 2008
Swearing In Ceremony: January 17, 2009

Here is the Current List of Candidates running for a seat in the Little Shell Tribal Council
(listed in Alphabetical order as they will be listed on the Election Ballot):

Alvina (Gardipee) Allen
Desiree (Dirden) Bell
Ronald “Cree” Doney
Steve Doney
Caroline (Murphy) Fleury
Louella (Campbell) Fredricksen
Gerald Gray Jr.
Carol (Doney) Hofeldt
Leona (Doney) Kienenberger
Bruce Landrie
Randy Randolph
Darrel (Koke) Rummel
James Parker Shield
John Sinclair

Webmaster Note: I have purposely removed which seat each candidate desires as our constitution does not allow candidates to collect votes for a particular seat from the Tribal Population. Only the TOP 7 Vote Getters will be seated on the Tribal Council, and only the Tribal Council, in Secret Ballot, will elect the Executive Committee Members of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer.

2nd Webmaster Note: There is a nasty rumor going around (possibly from the tribal office itself) that candidates are only running for a particular office and not for the council in general and that is how they will be listed on the ballots. This is false. Our Constitution prohibits the tribal population from voting for the Executive Committee seats that consist of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer. ONLY the newly elected Tribal Council can vote for the Executive Committee members and it is done so as a secret ballot. The way our system works is that each candidate runs against ALL the other candidates for the Tribal Council, only the TOP 7 vote getters are elected to the Tribal Council as a whole. Once those 7 council members are decided, then the Tribal Council goes into a secret session and they then vote for the 4 Executive Committee seats.

While it is true that particular members will mention the council or Executive Council seat they wish to serve under, they in fact are running against all candidates instead of the one or two who wish the same seat. This nasty and incredulous rumor is being put out there by candidates or supports of candidates for the sole purpose to confuse and miss-inform the Tribal members and is in fact a violation of our Constitution and by extension Federal and State Election Laws. Our Constitution places us under the jurisdiction of the United States Constitution and the Laws of the United States, being a Tribal Group, although Sovereign in many ways, we are still subservient to the US Government and it's laws, and as such, we are protected in our civil AND Constitutional Rights that some so-called leaders of our tribe who think that the "Rules do not Apply" to them, will try to circumvent. So, keep a watch for any violations of your civil and constitutional rights by those who wish to make you subservient to their iron lust for power at any costs.

Our Elections are held in accordance to your Constitution and Bylaws. Here are the applicable parts:

ARTICLE I SECTION IV.

Elections shall be held every two years, for each Council member, every four (4) years for the executive officers.

ARTICLE VII SECTION I: OFFICERS

(A) The President, Vice-President, 2nd Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer shall be elected by majority vote of the council members of the Tribe by secret ballot.

(B) District council members shall be elected in the manner prescribed by that particular district’s voters.

Currently, our tribe does not hqave seperate Districts so all the election rules are govenend by the Council resolutions itself. The last knows Election bylaw is located on the "Official" Little Shell website Here: and is worded as follows:

LITTLE SHELL TRIBAL ELECTION ORDINANCE
ORDINANCE No. 2006-001

The following ordinance shall be known as the Little Shell Tribal Election Ordinance.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this ordinance is to establish the rules governing the election process and procedures of the Little Shell Tribe of Indians of Montana. These rules are to be interpreted and used so as to ensure that procedures used in Tribal Elections are legal, consistent, fair and efficient.

Section I: Scope of Ordinance
This ordinance shall govern all election procedures including election for Tribal Council members, initiatives, recall petitions, and any other ballot issues, for the Little Shell Tribe.

Section II: Voters and Elections

A. Tribal members who are at least eighteen (18) years of age on Election Day shall be eligible to vote in tribal elections.

B. To be eligible for membership on the Tribal Council, candidates must have the following qualifications:

(i) Be a member of the Tribe;
(ii) Be at least eighteen (18) years of age on the date of election; and
(iii) Not have been convicted of a felony or convicted of a misdemeanor involving dishonesty.

Section III: Tribal Council Elections
A. Election of Tribal Council Members shall be held every two (2) years. Election of Little Shell Officers shall be held every four (4) years.

B. The Elected at-large Little Shell Council Members shall be elected to serve two (2) year terms. The President, the First Vice President, the Second Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer shall be elected to four (4) year terms.

C. The biannual elections shall be conducted by the election committee appointed by the Tribal Council during the three month period preceding the election.

D. The duties and responsibilities of all Tribal Council Members shall be as defined by the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Constitution and Bylaws.

Section IV: Notice of Elections
Notice of all elections shall be published at least sixty (60) days before tribal Election Day in a notice or tribal newsletter. The same notice shall be posted at all tribal offices and other public places as determined by the Little Shell Tribal Council. The notice shall specify the offices to be filled and/ or the issues to be decided in the election, the date, the hour, and the place or polling places of the election.

Section V: Polling Places and Times
A. Elections of Tribal Council members and of the Officers shall be held on the day designated by the Tribal Council by notice of election.

B. Polls shall be open from 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m.

C. Balloting in all elections shall take place at the locations determined by the Little Shell Tribal Council unless otherwise specified in the notice. Locations shall include, at a minimum, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, and Cut Bank/Browning area of Montana. Other locations may be designated as determined appropriate by the Tribal Council.

Section VI: Elections Committee
A. The Tribal Council shall appoint an Election Committee of a minimum of three (3) members and first and second alternates. Election Committee members shall be appointed and shall serve until they have certified the election. Committee members may be appointed for successive terms. Any committee member who resigns, is removed or is unable to serve will be replaced by an alternate.

B. Election Committee members shall be persons who are eligible to vote in tribal elections. Any committee member who becomes a candidate for tribal office shall be automatically removed from the elections committee.

C. Members of the Election Committee who carry out their duties on the day of the election shall be compensated at the rate of $25.00 for that day and a stipend to cover the expense of two meals if funds are available as determined by the President and Tribal Treasurer.

Section VII: Election Committee Authority and Responsibility
The Election Committee shall have authority and responsibility to include, but not be limited to the following:

(a) To publish and post notice of all elections;
(b) To prepare ballots;
(c) To compile lists of eligible voters before the polls open; (d) To provide oversight at polling places;
(e) To verify the eligibility of every person who wishes to vote and to distribute one ballot to each eligible voter at the polls;
(f) To keep a record of persons who vote and of the number of ballots distributed and cast at an election;
(g) To resolve any disputes which may arise regarding a person’s eligibility to vote or balloting procedure;
(h) To count and validate ballots and record the number of votes cast for each candidate or for each option on the ballot;
(i) To certify the results of the election in writing to the Tribal Council within thirty (30) days after the election;
(j) To recommend to the Tribal Council any supplemental rules or changes in this ordinance which the committee believes are necessary to achieve the purpose of the ordinance.

Section VIII: Election Committee Oath
Before taking office, election committee members shall swear or affirm that they will carry out their duties faithfully; that they will not let their preferences in an election influence their actions as committee members; and, that they will not engage in, sanction, or permit to go unchallenged conduct which could prevent a fair election.

Section IX: Candidate Filing Procedures
A. Candidates for all offices shall file with the election committee in writing and pay the required fee.

B. Any enrolled tribal member who is at least 18 years old shall be eligible for election to tribal office. All candidates shall be subject to a background check and shall be required to pay for their own background check.

C. No person may be approved for candidacy unless that person meets qualifications required a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to an election. Any candidate may purchase a copy of the names and addresses of Little Shell members at the Little Shell Tribal offices at a price to be set by the Tribal Council.

Section X: Ballots
A. Candidates for each office shall be listed on the ballot alphabetically by their last name. A box shall appear next to the name of each candidate so a vote may be marked in the box.

B. When more than one council position will be filled by an election, voters shall vote for as many candidates as there are Council positions to be filled. If a person votes for more candidates than there are positions open, that portion of the ballot shall be invalid.

C. All elections shall be by secret ballot.

D. Absentee ballots are available by mail or electronically via Little Shell related websites to be posted in the newsletter. To request an absentee ballot by mail, members must send a request in writing and include a self-addressed stamped envelope. All absentees ballots received must be notarized and postmarked a minimum of three (3) days before the date of the election. The envelope containing the absentee ballot must be marked “Absentee Ballot.” Absentee ballots will be opened and counted within seven (7) days of the election. E. The counting of the ballots shall be open to all tribal members. Ballots shall be counted a minimum of three times. The totals must agree at least twice to be valid. Ballots shall be secured in a locked container and shall be kept in the Little Shell Tribal Archives.

F. The Secretary/Treasurer shall inform the Bureau of Indian Affairs in writing of the election results immediately following certification of the Election.

Section XI: Polling Regulations
A. Voting in elections governed by this ordinance shall be by secret, written ballot;

B. No person shall campaign or otherwise attempt to influence voters or shall loiter at the polling place within 200 yards during hours when the polls are open.

C. Voters who are unable to mark a ballot without assistance because of such special circumstances as physical disability or illiteracy may be assisted in voting by an Election Committee member or by a person of the voter’s choice.

D. Consumption of alcoholic beverages, marijuana, narcotics, or other intoxicants at the polls is prohibited. No smoking shall be allowed at the polls or in the interior of the polling location.

Section XII: Challenges A. Any person who has been disqualified from voting by the Election Committee may vote by sealed ballot and may then appeal the Committee’s decision by filing an immediate protest in any reasonable form or legible format. The Tribal Council shall then consider evidence presented by the disqualified person and by the Election Committee and shall decide whether a person was improperly disqualified before the Council accepts the Election Committee’s certification of election results.

B. Any person who believes that an unqualified person was permitted to vote in an election may protest the election committee’s decision to allow that vote under the same method as is provided for hereinabove. C. If the Tribal Council determines that an ineligible person voted in an election or that a person eligible to vote was denied the right to vote in an election or that substantial irregularities existed in the voting process and further determines that such error affected or may have affected the results of the election, the Tribal Council shall determine the recourse, which may, but need not, include rescheduling of a second vote.

D. If at least five percent of eligible voters sign a petition requesting a recount of the ballots in an election and submit the petition to the Tribal Council by the first regular Tribal Council meeting after the election, the Tribal Council shall order a recount unless it is clear that such petition is presented purely for political purposes as determined by the unanimous decision of the Tribal Council President and Election Committee Chairman.

E. If at least five percent of eligible voters sign and submit an appropriate petition for recount describing violations of this ordinance or irregularities which could have affected the outcome of an election, the Tribal Council shall investigate the charges made in the petition. If the Tribal Council determines that a violation of this ordinance or other irregularities did affect or could have affected the results of the election the Tribal Council shall determine the recourse which may, but need not, include rescheduling of a second election or a vote for the particular office which is involved in the challenge.

Section XIII: Certification of Elections and Inauguration
Unless it receives a challenge to an election as provided hereinabove, the Tribal Council shall accept Election Committee certification of an election and shall inaugurate newly elected officials at the beginning of the first regular Tribal Council meeting following the election. Newly elected councilmember(s) will assume duties as of January 1st of the following year. Outgoing officials shall serve until the new officials are inaugurated. Inauguration procedure shall be as determined by tradition or by procedure to be approved by the current Little Shell Tribal President.



September 13, 2008

New report highlights cooperative efforts between state, tribes

From the The Great Falls Tribune

BY TRAVIS COLEMAN
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

Gov. Brian Schweitzer touted tribal economic and educational gains among others in a tribal relations report.

The report spotlights the major accomplishments made during the 2008 fiscal year which have resulted from the working relationship between state officials and Montana's eight Native American tribes.

According to the report released Thursday, there were nearly 500 cooperative agreements and programs in effect this fiscal year in Montana, covering economic development, human services, the environment, education and justice issues.

"These achievements represent a long-term effort to build state-tribal relations based on the principle that strong Indian Nations benefit all of Montana," Schweitzer said in a news release. "I am proud of these accomplishments and committed to continuing these efforts in the months and years ahead."

Some of the accomplishments detailed in the report include:

Signing a tax revenue sharing agreement with the Fort Peck Tribes set to prevent double taxation and promote new oil and natural gas development on reservations.

Signing the Birch Creek water agreement with the Blackfeet Tribe that includes provisions to transfer $15 million in accrued interest from the Legislature to the tribe.

Creating a pilot project with the Chippewa Cree Tribe to assist tribal members with Medicaid eligibility.

Continued support for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians for tobacco use prevention and assistance to urban Indian programs.

To help remedy the high unemployment rates on the state's reservations, the state Department of Commerce also gave grants this year for endeavors such as a child care center for the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe, a buffalo jerky business at the Fort Belknap Indian community and a Blackfeet business specializing in lightweight materials for military use, according to the report.

Also, state-funded tribal history projects have been established to enable Montana public school students to learn about the history of Native American people as told by the tribes.

"Today this state and tribes are working together on all fronts to make life better for Indian people," said Jennifer Perez-Cole, coordinator of Schweitzer's Indian Affairs Office.

Schweitzer has also appointed more than 120 Native Americans as advisers and to state boards, councils and commissions.

The full report is available on the Web at http://gain.mt.gov/reports.asp.

Webmaster Note: According to the report, The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe was awarded $70,000 to design, develop and implement a child care center based on Chippewa traditions. Located in Great Falls, the center will partner with Great Falls Public Schools for pre-school activities. The project is leveraged with $154,400 from various sources and will create two jobs immediately, with the potential to employ 12-20 at full implementation.

State of Montana Annual Indian Nations Agreement Summary:

Tribe		Agency		Broad Activity		Agreement Name				Current Status	Contact(s)	Phone #
-----		------		--------------		--------------				--------------	----------	-------
Little Shell 	Department of 	Law Enforcement-	Burial Preservation Board 		In Effect 	Manion, 	(406)444-3310 
		Administration 	Cooperation 									Michael

		Department of 	Business 		Flathead Forest BRD - ICED 07-08B 	In Effect 	Sobrepena-	(406)841-2775 
		Commerce 	Development 									George, 
														Heather

							Nokomis Child Care Center - BRD -	In Effect 	Sobrepena-	(406)841-2775 
							ICED 08-06						George, 
														Heather

							Tribal Identification Card Improvement 	In Effect 	Sobrepena-	(406)841-2775 
							Project STEDC-08-06 					George, 
														Heather

		Dept. of 	Land Management 	Morony Park Negotiations 		Proposed 	Maurier, Joe 	(406)444-3750 
		Fish,Wildlife
		& Parks


		Labor & 	Housing & 		Boiler Safety Inspections 		In Effect 	McGimpsey, 	(406)841-2009 
		Industry	Community 									Jim 
				Development

				Job & Worker 		Montana Career Resouce Network 		In Effect 	Hildebrand, 	(406)444-3239 
				Training 		(MCIS) 							Shaunda

							SWIB Statewide MOU (All Tribes) 	In Effect 	Smith, Leisa 	(406)444-1609

		Office of 	Public Education 	Montana Advisory Council on Indian 	In Effect 	Juneau, 	(406)444-3024 
		Instruction 				Education (MACIE) 					Denise

		PHHS Public 	Public Health & 	Tobacco Use Prevention Grant 08-07-	Expired 	Swant, Jason 	(406)444-3866 
		Health & Human 	Health Services 	3-31-018-0


		PHHS Public 	Public Health & 	Tobacco Use Prevention Grant 08-07-	Expired 	Swant, Jason 	(406)444-3866 
		Health & Human 	Health Services 	3-31-024-0 Little Shell & Billings Area 
		Services 				Indian Community

							Tobacco Use Prevention Grant 08-07-	Expired 	Swant, Jason 	(406)444-3866 
							3-31-031-0 Great Falls Area Indian 
							Community




September 5, 2008

Billings Gazette Weekly Webb: Loos bids farewell with studio sale

From the The Billings Gazette

By JACI WEBB
Weekly Webb

For four decades, Billings artist Donna Loos has quietly bolstered the Billings art scene, first as a teacher then as a professional artist. But always a mentor and innovator who constantly pushed the boundaries of landscape painting through experimentation and study.

Now as she prepares to move to Missoula this month to be closer to her daughter, Marie DeMarois, Loos is offering another gift to the community - 20 of her expressive oil and acrylic paintings at half the usual price. She's calling it a studio sale and is holding it on Sept. 13 at her studio at Level 504, located at 504 North 20th St., across from North Park.

Loos's landscapes showcase the Billings skyline, the jutting rocks along the Rims, the golden cornfields west of town and the wheat fields she watched rise up out of the soil when she lived south of town along the Yellowstone River. Unlike so many other painters, Loos celebrates Montana's prairie and expansive blue sky, not the mountains and pine trees. Driven by her love of the wide open spaces around Billings, Loos mostly paints on large canvases, usually 4-foot by 6-foot, and sometimes in multiple panels. Her triptych "Cornfields" will be on display at Jens Gallery through Nov. 7.

Loos's studio is large and bright, compliments of two tall south-facing windows. She and ceramic artist Marcie Selsor were the first artists to rent studios at the artist coop across from North Park back in 1997. When I visited her studio last week, we talked of Loos' influences. Among them Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin and her cowboy father. "Matisse showed me you could paint flat and Gauguin showed me you can change the color of things; you can have purple grass. My paintings are strong, physically and emotionally. It's impression. But sometimes I go so abstract, the impressionists won't claim me."

Loos' father, John Baptiste Fleury, was a member of the Little Shell tribe and worked as a cowboy in the tiny community of Hyattville, Wyo., across the mountains from Sheridan.

"It was one of the lucky things in my life, growing up with the red rocks and the green pastures and the mountain streams. It was also lucky that I was part of the Little Shell band, which is what my dad called it, because we didn't get swallowed up on a reservation."

Loos married and became a mother of two girls. Her daughter Margaret Loos now lives in California. At 26, Loos began working on her teaching degree at Powell Community College, then a two-year school. By the time she finished, though, teachers were required to have four years of college coursework so she persuaded her husband to move the family to Billings so Loos could finish her degree.

"I got to study under three famous teachers, Isabelle Johnson, Ben Steele and Lyndon Pomeroy. I was so shy, I couldn't go to Isabelle's house, even though she often had students over. Ben especially taught me a lot about painting and drawing. He always told you the truth. I remember once I saw this painting of an Indian on velvet and I told Ben how beautiful it was. He said that wasn't his idea of good art."

One of her first paintings for Steele was of two nuns walking under an arch. Loos said she didn't know how to draw the nuns' habits and she was struggling with the shape of the ornamental arch.

"Ben came over and told me, 'I think it would be easier to paint something in your own life.' By the end of the semester, I remember he and Isabelle standing there looking at my artwork and saying, 'I think we've got a painter here.' "

Loos began her teaching career in 1963, preferring to teach in middle schools and helping open Castle Rock Middle School in the late 1970s. She finished her career in 1991 as an art teacher at West High.

Now 77, Loos is still nurturing young artists, often sharing her studio with newcomers. Her studio was once the meeting spot for a lively arts group, Dialogue, that met weekly to critique each others' work and to mull the local and national art scene. Most of them, including Jennifer Hawke and Brian Scott, have since moved on, but Loos stays in touch, and one of her favorite pieces in her studio is a metal and glass sculpture Scott made "before he got famous and started selling his work all over the West."

To a soundtrack by Etta James, Loos worked in her studio last week moving out the clutter, leaving only the large canvas chapters of her life. In one stack were panels of collage works she made while studying under Rocky Mountain College's Jim Baken. On a wall hung a remnant of the shadow paintings she experimented with in a class taught by Neil Jussila at Montana State University Billings. Another row of paintings included a portrait of her husband's family.

"I never got cautious; I've always been a flamboyant painter," Loos said. "I never worried about whether a painting would sell. How lucky is it for an old lady to inherit 17 years to be able to devote it to painting."



August 21, 2008

Opinion: John Sinclair to suppress Free Speech of ALL Little Shell Tribal members

From the http://www.LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster

John Sinclair has announced in the latest Tribal Newsletter that he is taking action to prevent the use of the name "Little Shell" and "Little Shell Tribe" by tribal members and by other Chippewa tribes that are affiliated with and/or Descended from Chief Little Shell. He claims that in order for him to “Rule” the Tribe, he must prevent anybody within the tribe or other Little Shell tribes from using the terms "Little Shell", “Little Shell Tribe” for their personal use in describing their Heritage and affiliation with the Tribe. The Legal name of our tribe according to our Constitution is: "Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana". This name is owned by the Tribal Executive Committee (Tribal Council) as both a government name and as a non-profit organization (so we can be a legal entity before we were recognized by the State of Montana and pending our Federal Recognition). But, "Little Shell" and "Little Shell Tribe" are Generic names that cannot be copyrighted and/or trademarked and are used by the Chippewa and most notably, the Pembina descendants both here in the United States and Canada, in describing our heritage and affiliation.

These terms have been used for hundreds of years ever since the First of Three Hereditary Chiefs, each named Little Shell, was leader of our tribe since the mid 1700's. (As described by John Tanner in his book "The Falcon" and other historical works). Examples of this use are Little Shell who are made of individuals descended from the Chippewa branches in the Pembina area of North Dakota and Minnesota. Some have filed for Federal Recognition, some have not. Some individuals are on Chippewa Reservations such as the White Earth, Turtle Mountain, and Chippewa Cree Reservations among others, that although they cannot by law register as Tribal members of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, they still acknowledge their affiliation with Chief Little Shell and consider that they are part of a “Little Shell Tribe”.

John Sinclair's push to claim personal ownership of a Public Domain/generic term/name of a group of people is in violation of Article II Section 1 and Article III Section 1 of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana's Constitution. Also by extension, Montana Copyright/trademark Laws, United States Copyright/trademark Laws, the Indian Civil Rights Act, the Indian Arts and Craft act, Several United States Free Speech and Civil Rights laws and United States Constitutional Amendments. If you want to extend that to Canada as there are Ojibwa there who ALSO use "Little Shell" and "Little Shell Tribe" to designate their heritage and affiliation, then you are looking at a global effort to suppress a lot of people’s free speech rights.

With Sinclair’s proclivity to rule with an iron fist, following in the footsteps of fellow Socialist propagandists, Nazi Joseph Goebbels and the Soviet GRU, is not new. Sinclair has taken steps before to prevent any tribal member to express their free speech rights because he feels that he must control any and all information, news, and opinions by individual tribal members in order for him to rule the tribe. This is the essence of a propagandist and a Tyrant.

In the past he has tried to suppress Tribal members from expressing their Free Speech rights by demanding that articles posted to the http://www.LittleShellTribe.com website by tribal members be removed because he did not agree to their opinions and ideas. When this webmaster refused to capitulate to his demands, (as noted by the letter at the bottom of the main page of the website) Sinclair then took action to shut down the website using illegal and unconstitutional means and without Tribal Council approval. He then began working with the webmasters at http://www.LittleShellTribe.us. But it did not take long for Sinclair to begin the same thing there and when the webmasters rebelled against him and refused to allow him to stop dissent and free speech; he tried to shut it down so nobody’s opinions and views would be heard. Now he wants to prevent ANYONE from exercising their free speech rights and to claim their heritage and affiliation.

Violating Tribal members Civil Rights are another area where the Stalinist Sinclair has exercised his iron fist. During the 2004 elections, he violated many, many tribal members civil rights and Federal Election Laws in conducting the election. Ignoring the Tribal Council and Forcing the Election Committee to violate federal civil rights and election laws by commandeering the election, changing election rules without notice, forcing absentee ballots to arrive late so they would not be counted, to allow for a “Late Voting” by some absentee ballots but not others, to actually threaten a candidate for the Tribal Council for posting a dispute in the election on the official Little Shell Tribal website where the election was being held, illegally mishandling ballots by carrying ballots to the election office while he was a candidate and having his two direct family members run the election office in his hometown of Havre MT, refusing to notify ALL the Tribal members of the elections and instead held them in secret on a website so only less then 5.8% of the tribal members were allowed to vote, and a large majority of these were personal friends and family. He also colluded to “Change the rules after the fact” to allow other colluders to vote for him. There were about 23 Constitutional and Civil Rights violations by Sinclair and his crew during the 2004 elections. These violation were documented and submitted to the US Attorney’s office, in Billings MT, in January 2005 for prosecution, but whereas the US Attorney’s staff noted that the actions by Sinclair and his crew were in fact serious Civil Rights and Constitutional Violations and prosecutable in Federal Court. The Charges were not filed as the Candidate who submitted the charges decided not to go through with it for the harmony of the tribe. But that is not to say they cannot be filed in the future by other tribal members as there is no statue of limitations on Civil Rights and Constitutional Violations and the evidence and witness testimonies are still available. There are now complaints by several Tribal Members that his is again trying to manipulate this years elections so that he can continue his “Reign of Tyranny”.

Ruling by an Iron Fist is a favorite leadership tactic of Sinclair. When a council member who was not part of his “Crew”, he harassed, yelled, browbeat, and threatened them with “Legal Action” till they resigned. He then bypassed the Tribal Constitution (Article I Section V) and “Appointed”, by fiat, replacement council members in direct violation of our laws. Only the Tribal Council, “Executive Committee” has the power to replace, by special election, council members. Sinclair has NO Constitutional powers to “Appoint” anybody, much less executive committee (Tribal Council) members, thus rendering every single Ordinance, law, and vote by the council null and void since January 2005. But this does not matter to the Stalinist Sinclair. Constitutional and Civil Rights, both tribal and federal, of tribal members is not a concern to Stalinist Sinclair and are a hindrance to his reign of tyranny.

These are just a few of the things Stalinist Sinclair has done in his attempt to destroy our tribe, our beliefs, our heritage, the suppression of our Free Speech and dissent, and threat of legal action against all those who do not agree and/or supplicant themselves at his feet. His decision to stop everyone from using the terms “Little Shell” and “Little Shell Tribe” is just a small tip on the iceberg of disgrace of our people by this power hungry and socially clueless Stalinist.



August 17, 2008

Little Shell candidates to run team campaign

From the The Great Falls Tribune

Six candidates for the Little Shell Tribal Council will run as a team, assisting with each other's campaigns, according to one of the candidates.

The candidates are former Vice Chairman James Parker Shield, Darrell Rummel, Louella Fredricksen and Caroline Fleury, all of Great Falls, along with Leona Kinenberger of Dodson and Gerald Gray of Billings. Rummel, Fredrickson and Fleury are former council members.

Little Shell tribal elections will take place in November, with all seven spots on the council up for grabs. Parker Shield said he did not know who else was running in the election.

Phone messages left for Chairman John Sinclair weren't immediately returned Saturday night.

Although they will run a slate campaign team, voters are not obligated to vote for all of them, as they will each be listed separately on the ballot, Parker Shield said.



August 16, 2008

James Parker Shield Announces Candidacy for Little Shell Tribal Council

From the The James Parker Shield Website

James Parker Shield has announced that he will run for Tribal Council in this years Little Shell Tribal Council Elections to be held November 2008. He has filed in accordance with the tribe Constitution and Tribal Council election ordinances and will be requesting a list of all tribal members so he can bring his message to ALL Little Shell Tribal members.

James has created a website that will allow him to communicate to the Online Little Shell Community at large. http://www.JamesParkerShield.com will allow you to see his accomplishments to help forward the people of the Little Shell and the steps we will need to take to full Federal Recognition with the United States Government and beyond once we are our own self-governed and sovereign tribe.



August 15, 2008

Little Shell Tribal Members to testify before the Montana State-Tribal Relations Committee August 21, 2008

From the The Montana State-Tribal Committee Site

The State-Tribal Relations Committee will meet August 21 to discuss Indian education, oil and gas compacts, racial profiling, The Tribal History Project, and other issues at a meeting in Helena. The meeting is to start at 9 a.m. in Room 137 of the State Capitol. The public is invited to attend and will have an opportunity to address the Committee.

Russell Boham will testify at 1:15pm for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana.



July 24, 2008

Opportunities to learn about native culture abound

From the The Great Falls Tribune

By JO DEE BLACK
Great Falls Tribune Business Editor

The Great Falls Development Authority invited the businesses and individuals that invest in the local economic organization to its annual meeting Wednesday at the C.M. Russell Museum.

About 35 people listened to the summary of local economic activity — there are 51 new projects and business expansions in the works and the Great Falls area is on the short list for another 43, GFDA officials said — and heard the highlights of a strategic economic planning project.

Great Falls can do a better job leveraging its assets, including the Missouri River corridor, and improving the aesthetics and pedestrian compatibility of 10th Avenue South, said Ben Loftsgaarden, senior project manager for Angelou Economics, the Texas-based firm hired to conduct the planning project. "Your assets are hidden," he said.

The GFDA hired Angelou to conduct a $75,000 study, paid for with a Big Sky Trust Fund grant, to look at the area's real estate, create an updatable labor market database model and define the trade area. The project also includes an assessment of the Great Falls area's competitiveness in data-center recruitment.

Electricity rates that fall in the high-end compared with other parts of the nation are a disadvantage, because data centers, which house computer servers and data for businesses, use a lot of energy, the Angelou consultants said. Those rates are offset, however, by the land with access to infrastructure that is available in the city's proposed industrial park north of Great Falls, they said.

In other business, the GFDA board expanded its size from 29 members to 31. The added seats will be filled by the Blackfeet and Little Shell tribes.

New directors for GFDA's board are Al Hobbs of Montana Refining Co.; Eugene J. McAllister of the University of Great Falls; John Koppelman of Wells Fargo; Brian Chandler of the Great Falls Clinic and Kelly Tynes of Gene Tynes Dental.

Executive board officers for this year are Steve L'Heureux, chairman; Bob Nebel, vice chairman, Koppelman, treasurer; and Bill Weber, secretary.



June 22, 2008

Opportunities to learn about native culture abound

From the The Great Falls Tribune

By PAUL LLOYD-DAVIES
For the Great Falls Tribune

From dancers and drummers to makers of parfleche and oral traditionalists, the Grasslands Loop Trail outside the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center will fill Saturday with opportunities for festival visitors to learn much about native cultures across the Plains and the Northern Rockies.

"From the beginnings of the center, we have always wanted to make sure we highlight the Native American side of the story," said supervisory interpreter Jeff LaRock.

About every half-hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday during the Lewis and Clark Festival, you can watch, listen and learn from skilled tribal members who share their cultural heritage. Presenters include:

Marie Torosian, "Root Harvest."

Nellie Boyd, "Women of the Upper Missouri,"

Darrell Norman, "Blackfeet Parfleche,"

Clint Brown, "A Day in the Life of a Spiritual Person."

Dancers and drummers from the Indian Education Program in the Great Falls Public Schools.

The exact schedule will be available at the festival information tent.

In an interview, Torosian, education director of the People's Center in Pablo and an enrolled member of the Salish and Pend d'Oreille, noted visitors will leave with an understanding of traditional plants that were used for foods and medicines. "A lot of these are still used today," she said.

Most of the dancers will be 13 to 16 years of age, said Sandra Boham, director of the Indian Education Department. They will explain the significance of their regalia and what they are meant to portray, she said.

The dancers are expected to include jingle, grass, men traditional, women traditional, fancy, as well as chicken, said Boham, a member of the Salish tribe.

Visitors also will learn how songs and drums fit into the American Indian traditions, including Blackfeet, Little Shell Chippewa, Chippewa Cree, Gros Ventre and Assiniboine, she said.

"Because the way the powwows have been, we share a lot of dances between the tribes," Boham said.

A couple of times a year, the middle- and high-school students who will be featured at the festival also dance to help teachers in the school district understand the cultures through the Indian Education for All program, Boham said.

"We don't get chances like what we'll be doing at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center," she said. The scale of the program at the center will be the first time for the students, she said.

"It provides students the opportunity to educate the non-native people and to show the leadership the kids fulfill in their tribes," Boham said. The students serve as role models, she said, and through traditional dance, they build a sense of pride.

"When they're dancing, they make a choice to try to be good students, to try to be positive," Boham said.

People who skip the performances in the Grasslands Loop, she said, will miss "an opportunity to really learn about the traditional native dancing that is part of our America Indian heritage in Montana."

Unlike viewing a video of dancers, people at the festival will have an excellent opportunity to see the dancing and understand what it means," Boham said.

Being near a drum during the dancing also is a special experience that means the most in person, she noted. "It's not often that dancers will take time to explain it all."

Norman, a Blackfeet artist living near Browning, will work on a parfleche, as well as walk visitors through how to turn animal hides into containers.

Boyd, who is Hidatsa, Mandan, Assiniboine and Sioux, will share stories, song and artifacts as she takes visitors through a woman's life from childhood to old age.

Brown, a Gros Ventre, will invite visitors into his tepee to share how his maintenance of age old beliefs affect his life.

LaRock noted that without the help of native people from dozens of tribes, the Lewis and Clark Expedition wouldn't have succeeded.



June 22, 2008

Research takes students on personal journeys

From the The Missoulian

By BETSY COHEN
of the Missoulian

Three weeks ago, five University of Montana students embarked on an academic reconnaissance mission to Washington, D.C.

Funded by the Smithsonian Institute, the young researchers were given a month to accomplish the following objectives: Explore the National Archives and locate all records, documents, recordings, photographs and artifacts pertaining to Montana's Indian tribes.

Make copies of significant findings and map the vast collections where the history is found so others can pick up the trail and find the material over the many summers it will take to copy and bring Montana's Indian history home.

For students Wilena Old Person, Helen Cryer, Miranda McCarvel, Eli Suzukovich III and Glen Still Smoking II, the colossal assignment is both an academic honor and a personal journey unlike any they have ever undertaken.

Entombed in the windowless caverns of the Smithonian's National Anthropological Archives, where the air is stale and the landscape is dominated by floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets, are the stories of their ancestors - the stories of an early Montana few people know.

Add to that prestigious repository all the material regarding Montana's tribes stored in the Library of Congress plus the National Archives, and the information-gathering possibilities quickly overwhelm even the most dogged archivist.

“It's overwhelming and exciting,” said Miranda McCarvel, whose grandparents homesteaded in eastern Montana. “There is so much to find and go through that we all have to remind ourselves to take a deep breath and that you can only do it a day at a time - and that it's worth doing.”

Just how massive is the project?

Eli Suzukovich put it this way: In just one Bureau of Indian Affairs file covering the time period 1881 to 1907, an estimated 2 million pages contain information about water rights irrigation, land sales, and correspondence between Indian agents and the Federal Indian Commission.

Given the mountains upon mountains of material, the hunt can easily become daunting, said Suzukovich, who is of Little Shell and Chippewa-Cree heritage. Luckily, just when the research starts becoming tedious, a thrilling nugget of history is overturned and that gets everyone re-energized.

Sometimes the discovery is an academic treasure, sometimes it is far more profound, like finding the late-1880s deportation orders of the Canadian “half-bloods” also called the “Red River half-bloods” of his Cree relatives.

Such academic work, Suzukovich said, quickly becomes a personal matter.

“It can be a little emotional,” he said. “You are looking at records of somebody you are related to and it's kind of cool to see those chapters of your family's history you didn't know about.”

Glen Still Smoking said words don't really explain how he felt when he unearthed an 1889 letter written by his great-great-great-great-grandfather Mountain Chief, a Blackfeet chief who wrote about a situation regarding his father, also named Mountain Chief.

The letter, addressed to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, states: “The Mountain Chief and Lame Bull - Two Piegan Chiefs made a treaty at the mouth of the Judith River Mont. With Gov. Stevens, about 1855. The Mountain Chief was my father. When he died I turned over his papers and medals to Agent Armitage, he gave me a copy of the treaty which I have since lost. ... I write to ask if you can get me a copy, as I would like very much to have it.”

According to their family story, all of Mountain Chief's belongings - including the treaty - burned when fire destroyed his home, Still Smoking said.

Two other letters from Mountain Chief were found, each asking for a response from the commissioner.

“At first, it took me by surprise that the federal agents didn't follow through,” he said, “but then I wasn't so surprised.”

Still Smoking said he's not sure if Mountain Chief ever got his wish, but he understands why his ancestor made multiple attempts for a response.

The 1885 treaty in question was the Blackfeet tribe's first with the United States, he said, and that time period was filled with great changes for the Blackfeet and all Montana tribes.

“Mountain Chief wrote this letter after the Blackfeet had subsequently sold the Sweetgrass Hills but before the agreement to sell the land that is now Glacier National Park and the Badger Two Medicine lands,” explained David Beck, a UM professor of Native American studies and adviser to the student researchers. “It would have been important for tribal leaders to have copies of the treaties when they were arguing for their rights, and among other things, the 1885 treaty had created a 99-year common hunting ground for many Plains tribes down in the area where Dillon is now.”

A few days later and in a different file, McCarvel came upon a disturbing 1892 letter written by Z.T. Daniel, an Army physician at the Blackfoot Agency, who tells of collecting Indian bodies from graves, which he sent to the Fort Assiniboine and eventually became part of the Smithsonian collection.

“I have gotten the crania off at last. I shipped them today. ... There are fifteen of them,” Daniel wrote. “The burial place is in plain sight of many Indian houses and very near frequented roads. I had to visit the cemetery at night when not even the dogs were stirring. This was usually between 12 a.m. and daylight. After securing one (a head) I had to pass the Indian sentry at the stockade gate, which I never attempted with more than one for fear of detection.”

Daniel explained his hunting coat had large pockets and was good for carrying and hiding the stolen skulls. “Nearly every time I saw wolves who howled at me, they were always near the dead bodies,” he explained. “The greatest fear I had was that some Indian would miss the heads, see my tracks and ambush me, but they didn't.”

With just one week remaining in their inaugural mission, the students are uncovering more than Beck could ever have hoped.

“This is just an amazing crew of students,” he said. “They have been very enthusiastic and conscientious and really engaged in what they are finding.

“What they are doing is incredibly hard work. You don't find gems of information every single day, and what they have found so far is incredible.”

Everyone involved with the research had an inkling the project would take several years to complete.

Now that they've gotten a good sense of what the archives hold, the enormity of their quest has become exceedingly clear.

“It's obvious we are at the very beginning of a very long journey,” Beck said.

With continued funding from the Smithsonian's American Indian Program, which gives each student researcher a modest stipend and an airline ticket, and with additional funding yet to be determined, the project will likely take eight to 10 years to complete.

Copying and converting all the materials into digital format that can be accessed by computer will be costly. But whatever the price tag may ultimately be, the expense is worth the opportunity for full public access to a remarkable and critical part of Montana's history, Beck said.

As the materials are copied and brought back, they will be made available to Montana's tribes for their own records, and turned over to UM's library for public use.

UM's library will instantly gain world-class stature when the stories and knowledge come out of storage back East, Beck said.

Few people have the time or the resources to comb through the national archival repositories, and much of Montana's Indian history between 1881 and 1907 - which covers critical issues such as the establishment of boarding schools and the end of bison on the Great Plains - can only be found in microfilm and individual documents that are strictly controlled by the National Archives, which is difficult to navigate.

“Once these documents are up on the Internet for all to see, there's no way to know how it will change things,” Beck said. “So much of the material has a very real personal connection to people alive today, and we will never know all the impacts this project will have.”

From the sidelines, Jason Younker is cheering on the Montana researchers.

He led a crew of University of Oregon students on a similar journey in the 1990s, when the Smithsonian's JoAllyn Archambault, director of the National Museum of Natural History's American Indian Program, provided the same funding support.

“From my perspective, you know you are Indian but there's equity in paper truth,” said Younker, a member of Oregon's Coquille tribe who now teaches at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“When you are actually reading these documents and seeing the name of your family, you become very much attached to those who not only recorded it, but proud someone took the time to memorialize your family.”

There's no way to know the ripple effect of his team's successes in finding and making public the once-buried history of his tribe.

But in recent years, dozens of master's and doctoral theses have sprung from the material, several books are in the making, and Indian history in Oregon is being re-written. He expects the same will unfold in Montana when the material becomes available at UM.

“You have all these memories floating around about tribal people and their history and what actually happened, and then you have the history books that don't necessarily portray the personal connection and the personal histories,” Younker said. “When you sit down and read these fantastic documents, you realize that history has stolen from you the truth and you get a new sense of what actually happened.

“There are a lot of Native people that felt incomplete because who are they to challenge history texts and historic interpretation - and now you have a brand new voice through old documents telling a slightly different story in a different time period.

“We can all learn from that.”

Emboldened by their research and excited for future discoveries, the UM students are making their own history by taking every advantage of their unique assignment.

Last week, they met with Montana Sen. Jon Tester, and this week they meet with the rest of Montana's congressional delegation, Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Dennis Rehberg.

“We are telling them how important this project is and that is should get funded until the work is done,” said Wilena Old Person, granddaughter of Blackfeet Chief Earl Old Person.

Old Person said she was inspired to help arrange the meetings with the delegation after finding in the archives letters her grandfather wrote to the nation's top political leaders.

“I was excited to see how he influenced not only Blackfeet tribal history but the tribal history of Montana,” she said. “And this project is going to take a good amount of years, but it's important to all of Montana.”

Reporter Betsy Cohen can be reached at 523-5253 or at bcohen@missoulian.com.



June 15, 2008

Youths compete with survival skills of their ancestors during International Traditional Games

From the The Great Falls Tribune

POPLAR — Regulations require Walker Magnan, 11, to wait another year before he can go elk hunting with his bow and arrows.

When that time comes, he will have had plenty of practice, having competed in archery Friday at the ninth annual International Traditional Games, which features competitions in survival skills his ancestors once used to obtain food, clothing and shelter.

"I like learning self-control, and you can learn a lot of new games if you get bored this summer," said Walker, a Poplar sixth-grader.

About 125 youths from reservations in Montana and South Dakota are competing in the two-day event, which was hampered by severe thunderstorms and cool temperatures Friday.

The games, some of which are centuries old, include lacrosse, doubleball, ring the stick, the stick game, the string game and the Stone People game.

Today's events include the endurance race, in which participants race a horse for two miles, swim 200 yards and run five kilometers to the finish line — the tribal version of a triathlon, organizers said.

Among the athletes competing in the games are 12 Boys & Girls Club members from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, many of whom are competing in traditional events for the first time.

"They didn't know what to expect when they first got here, but once they started, they really got into it," said Laura No Runner, unit director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Blackfeet Nation. "It's really good for the youth to carry this tradition on."

The first International Traditional Games were held in 1999, after a group of teachers wanted to create an event to help preserve traditional skills that were being lost.

The games played in Poplar this weekend were popular before the tribes came in contact with Europeans in the 17th and 18th centuries, said DeeAnna Leader, director of the International Traditional Games Society.

The events are taught and supervised by tribal elders, community members and officers from the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Department, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Fort Peck tribes, which hosts the event.

"Children now are given knowledge and technology in schools and they don't get enough of nature and physical activity," Leader said. "They also have multi-age interaction. How often during the day does a child have the opportunity to talk with an adult in a meaningful way?"

The first two International Traditional Games were held on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Since then, the event has been hosted by the Fort Belknap and Flathead reservations, as well as the Little Shell Tribe in Great Falls and the Assiniboine Tribe in Canada.

The Blackfeet Tribe has requested to host next year's games, Leader said.

Webmaster Note: Richard Parenteau of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana was/is one of the teachers who founded the return of the Traditonal games of our people.



May 23, 2008

City Manager Doyon tours area's important Native American sites

From the The Great Falls Tribune

New Great Falls City Manager Greg Doyon took a tour Thursday morning of various area sites important to Native Americans.

"It went good," said James Parker Shield, who thought of the idea for the tour. "We have the state's largest urban Indian population. Our future is also Great Falls' future."

Shield said Great Falls is home to more than 6,000 Native Americans, roughly 10 percent of the city's population.

The tour included Hill 57 and Mount Royal, northwest of the city, where low-income Indians once lived in often shoddy conditions half a century ago.

"We didn't bother getting out" to tour the hillsides on the rainy day, Shield said.

The tour also took in the Little Shell Chippewa tribal office, Indian Family Health Clinic, the University of Great Falls Native student program, the Benefis Healthcare American Indian Welcome Center and the Great Falls School District's Indian Education Center program based at Longfellow Elementary School. The tour began at Shield's office at War Shield Development in Great Falls.



May 7, 2008

2010 census strives for better counting of Native Americans

From the The Great Falls Tribune

By KARL PUCKETT
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

Members of the Native American Local Government Commission — pointing out that a few thousand Cascade County Indians were not recorded in the 2000 census — told U.S. Census Bureau officials Tuesday they could reduce the undercounting by hiring better counters in 2010, including more Native Americans.

An accurate population estimate is important to Native Americans and non-Native Americans alike because federal funding for state and tribal services often is linked to population size.

The Native American commission, which advises the city of Great Falls and Cascade County, met for an hour and a half with Mark Hellfritz, a regional census manager, and Wayne Chattin, a tribal partnership specialist, at the Courthouse Annex.

Hellfritz and Chattin, who have been in Montana for more than a week meeting with Montana's eight tribes, are with the Census Bureau in Denver, a regional office that oversees 10 states, including Montana.

They are scheduled to conclude their Montana meetings today on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Hire more Native Americans as enumerators, said commission Chairman James Parker Shield, a member of the Little Shell Tribe.

"That's a key," he said.

The Census Bureau needs to do a better job of hiring counters who know the nuances of the various tribes in the states, said Sandra Boham, director of Indian Education for Great Falls Public Schools. One source of educated census workers would be students attending college in Great Falls, she said.

The knowledge of the counters, she pointed out, will determine "whether they get accurate information or whether they get a door in their face."

In 2000, the Native American undercount was around 2 percent nationally, Chattin said. It was 12 percent in 1990.

Historically, population undercounts have been more pronounced on reservations, Chattin said. He blamed mistrust of the government as part of the problem.

"We want to do better," he told the commission members.

"We want to help you do better," Shield said.

In 2000, Cascade County, at the urging of Native American leaders, unsuccessfully challenged the Census Bureau estimate of 4,000, saying it was more like 7,000.

"We found problems both with misidentification of individuals and missing individuals," Cascade County Commissioner Peggy Beltrone said.

This time around, the county is being proactive, she said.

Commission members also asked for a better count of urban Native Americans.

The goal of the government-to-government discussions is to raise awareness about the upcoming census and to improve the accuracy, Hellfritz said.

"One of the questions we ask is, 'What do you want to be called?'" Hellfritz said.

Not being specific enough about the tribe in which they are officially enrolled is a big factor in undercounting Native Americans, officials said.

For example, a resident of Montana's Fort Belknap Reservation, home of the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes, might answer "Assiniboine," and they might not be counted because there are Assiniboine tribes in other states.

Census officials asked the Montana tribal leaders in helping to "capture" those uncounted individuals. One way they can do that is by informing their members which specific tribal name they should give.

"Promotion, advertising, is really important," Hellfritz said.

A statewide census office will open in Billings Oct. 1, Hellfritz said. The first job will be identifying all of the houses in the state.

Offices will open in Great Falls and Missoula in October 2009.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Karl Puckett at 406-791-1471, 800-438-6600 or kpuckett@greatfallstribune.com.



April 23, 2008

Obama campaign kicks up Indian Country outreach

From the The Missoulian

By JODI RAVE
the Missoulian

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in Montana kicked up its outreach efforts in Indian Country on Wednesday, with the announcement of its newly unveiled Montana Native Americans for Obama steering committee.

Tribal chairmen from the Crow Nation and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are co-chairing the committee, as well as a tribal councilman from the Chippewa Cree Tribe.

The steering committee includes members from all seven reservations in Montana, urban areas and the Little Shell band.

“Federal prisoners of this country receive better health care than Indians,” said Crow Nation Chairman Carl Venne. “That’s not right.”

Venne said two of the greatest concerns in tribal communities are affordable health care and education. He noted that Obama co-sponsored the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to provide an additional $1 billion for the Indian Health Service to address problems facing Native communities.

“Obama also understands that quality education is the key to empowering tribal nations to build a better future. ? We cannot survive as Indian tribes if we’re not educated,” said Venne.

He is among two tribal chairmen in Montana to endorse Obama. Chairman James Steele of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes has also pledged his support.

Gay Kingman, Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association executive director, said the Illinois senator has also gained majority endorsements from all North Dakota tribal chairmen. And leaders of the two largest reservations in South Dakota - the Rosebud and Pine Ridge tribal chairmen - have also endorsed Obama.

Meanwhile, the Montana Natives for Obama campaign continues to move forward. Last week, the campaign announced Samuel Kohn would lead its tribal outreach campaign to reservations and tribal communities in the state.

“Sen. Obama understands the challenges facing Native Americans in Montana,” said Chippewa Cree tribal Councilman and state Rep. Jonathon Windy Boy. “He knows that Indians are a population forgotten by many in the federal government. That is why he proposes a real government-to-government relationship with steps such as the appointment of a senior-level Native policy adviser in the White House.”

Windy Boy said Native people historically have been offered a lot of “empty rhetoric, words with no meaning or no definition.” He said Obama is offering change Indian Country can believe in.

“He has made a commitment,” said Venne. “And we’re following him.”

Reach reporter Jodi Rave at 800-366-7186 or jodi.rave@lee.net.



April 20, 2008

Building at damsite doubtful as tribal office

From the The Great Falls Tribune

By RYAN HALL
Tribune Staff Writer

The Montana State-Tribal Relations Committee on Saturday toured the Morony damsite, over which the Little Shell Chippewa was given control in the 2007 Legislature.

The committee then held its quarterly meeting in the Little Shell's headquarters in the Westgate Mall.

Several topics were discussed during the meeting, but the condition of the damsite and its potential future use took center stage Saturday morning. Control of the historic but dilapidated building and seven to 10 acres around it was given to the Little Shell for 10 years during the 2007 legislative session. Since that time, tribal members have toured the site and the building and begun formulating a plan for use of the site.

"It's one of those things where we didn't even know what we were getting into," said John Sinclair, president of the Little Shell.

Sinclair said the former apartment building was in even worse shape than was reported, with a restoration estimated at least $500,000.

"That's way low," he said, noting that the tribe has received an estimate of $40,000 just remove to mice and bats and their hazardous waste from the structure.

"The building costs a lot of money to demolish it or clean it up," said State-Tribal Relations Committee member Sen. Joe Tropila, D-Great Falls.

He added that committee members who chose to tour the building Saturday did so with respirators as a safety precaution because of the danger of hantavirus in the waste.

The condition of the building and the layout of the land, much of which can't be built on has forced to tribe to change its plan for the site, Sincair said.

"It's good hunting ground, that's about it," Sinclair said of the additional acreage made available to the tribe, adding it is mostly ridges and dips.

Originally, the Little Shell hoped to establish a tribal headquarters in the building and eventually locate additional services there if the tribe achieves federal recognition, which it has sought for 116 years. Now the plan is to use the damsite as a cultural site and possibly a campground, Sinclair said.

"We've had to change our focus," he said, adding that if the tribe is federally recognized it may try to secure another site to house a tribal complex, which could include a health clinic and a corrections office.

"You just don't house that in one building," he said.

Tropila noted that, even if the tribe does not restore and use the apartment building, the site offers lots of opportunity, including access to a seven-mile undammed stretch of the Missouri River. He added it was in Cascade County's interest to have the Little Shell utilize the land because, even though it wouldn't add to the tax base, their presence would likely reduce the number of "beer busts" and incidents of vandalism at the site. He added that having a land base could aid the tribe in its process to be federally recognized.

The next step for the damsite is an evaluation, Sinclair said, noting funds need to be identified to prepare the site for any type of cultural use. He added that there is plumbing in the area that must be tested to see if the tribe can make use of it. Once the tribe's 10-year lease on the land expires, the Little Shell can renew the lease or the state can choose to permanently transfer the building and surrounding land to the tribe.

Other topics on the committee's agenda Saturday were an update on the Department of Corrections' methamphetamine treatment programs, an intergovernmental agreement for the Chippewa Cree to access Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grants and other topics.

Tropila said potential future legislation that would allow the state to officially recognize the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe also was discussed. He introduced a resolution recognizing the tribe in 2001, which passed, but said a bill stating the same could help the tribe secure federal recognition.



April 16, 2008

Little Shell Buffalo Meat Distribution

Robert, Michele and Cheyenne Bigback of Bigback Silkscreening announce that on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 6:30pm at Bigback Silkscreening in Butte Montana, there will be a Little Shell Tribal Informational Meeting and a Tribal Buffalo Meat Distribution.

As the Distribution is for Tribal Members only, Please bring your Tribal I.D. card or Enrollment # to receive the distribution. The Distribution will take place directly following the meeting.

Details:
April 29th, 2008 Tuesday 6:30pm
Bigback Silkscreening
66 West Park
Butte, MT 59701

Further Info or Application:
406-782-2713 or 406-452-2892

Click for map and directions to Bigback Silkscreening

Visit Robert, Michele & Cheyenne at their Art Gallery, Gift & Silkscreen Print Shop or our Website

Locally Owned & Operated
CCR Registered, GSA Vendor
SBA, MBE, DBE Certified, HUB Zoned
100% Native American Business
Custom Orders
Stock Orders
Retail, Wholesale
Teams, Schools,Groups,Organizations
nacupowwow@gmail.com
bigbacksilkscreening@msn.com
Webpage
Online Catalog
Map to Store in Butte, MT


April 13, 2008

Native Montana Magazine Launch!

From the The Great Falls Tribune

James Parker Shield, a member of the Little Shell Chippewa tribe, is coordinating efforts with the monthly publication, Great Falls River's Edge Journal, for his latest business venue, Native Montana. "Native Montana will provide people with information about happenings in Indian Country, along with in-depth articles about businesses and culture and successful Indian entrepreneur stories," Shield said.

Shield turned to Great Falls River's Edge Journal publisher Gordon McManus and his staff members for advice. That discussion turned into a partnership.

The first issue of River's Edge Journal/Native Montana will publish in May and will be distributed statewide.

"One cover is the River's Edge Journal, then half way through the magazine, you flip it over and the other cover is Native Montana," Shield said.

Articles in May's issue of Native Montana include one about the Montana Indian Business Alliance and a contribution from the Montana Historical Society.

Webmaster's Note: The Great Falls River's Edge Journal is located Here: River's Edge Journal. Soon to come will be the Native Montana Magazine Website.

April 10, 2008

Montana Rep Denny Rehberg announces Housing Grants for Montana Tribes, but none for Little Shell Tribe.

From Rep Denny Rehberg's Website

WASHINGTON D.C. - Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, announced today the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has cleared the way for more than $14.5 million in housing grants for Montana’s Native American Tribes.

"Home ownership is part of the American Dream and I want that dream to become a reality for more of Montana’s Native American communities," said Rehberg a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "Many Native American families are forced to deal with substandard housing and this grant will help improve the situation for Montana’s tribes."

The grant is part of the Indian Housing Block Grant developed by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) of 1996. The funds can be used for construction, improvements and upgrades, management of low-income housing, crime prevention and safety and other housing services.

Last September, Rehberg joined House colleagues in approving a reauthorization of NAHASDA and has been actively working on the Appropriations Committee to fight for HUD funding for Native American Housing.

The grants:
· $6,227,778 grant for the Blackfeet Indian Reservation
· $4,109,638 grant for the Salish and Kootenai Tribe on the Flathead Indian Reservation
· $2,504,204 grant for the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
· $1,988,780 grant for the Chippewa-Cree Tribe on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation

# # #



April 10, 2008

New Opinion Letter to the editor by Henry Gladeau

From the The Great Falls Tribune

Henry Gladeau of Burley Idaho has sent another "Letter to the Editor" to the Great Falls Tribune. Here is a copy of it in it's entirety:

Silly, lying games

We, the Little Shell Tribe of Montana Indians, have played the government's silly games ever since I can remember. They are all broken promises and lies.

What is the difference between our race of people and other races, except that we are half white and half Indian? That is what our ancestors were.

Our ancestors were probably not supposed to survive, but survive they did by taking jobs nobody wanted or living off the dump grounds of other people.

And don't anyone say that there has been no discrimination or prejudice toward our race, because I have lived with it all my life. It comes from Indians, whites and the government.

We have been told the government has money and land set aside for us. Are they hoping we will all die off as our ancestors have? The government has hired lawyers to fight for us, paid by them, and it's just another lie to our council. The lawyers are sure not fighting for us when the U.S. government is paying them.

They say we are only part Indian, but that is not how they declared our ancestors. Our ancestors were declared to be full-blooded Indians, because the law said Indians could not own land. Therefore, we are full-blooded Indians.

Letters of truth must be sent all over the world. I need your help.

— Henry Gladeau, Burley, Idaho



April 10, 2008

Montana Legislative panels plan meetings

From the The Billings Gazette

Committees of the Montana Legislature meet regularly between regular sessions to conduct in-depth studies of topics of public interest.

All meetings are open to the public and include opportunities for public comment. Meetings are also televised in Billings (Channel 70), Bozeman (63), Helena (19) and Missoula (67).

Meeting times are subject to change. Confirm times before attending any meeting. All meetings are in the State Capitol in Helena unless otherwise noted.

• Law and Justice Committee: 9:30 a.m. today and 8 a.m. April 11, Room 137.

• Taxation and School Funding Subcommittee: 8:30 a.m. April 17, Room 102.

• Property Tax Subcommittee: 8:30 a.m. April 17, Room 137.

• Revenue and Transportation Committee: 3 p.m. April 17 and 8 a.m. April 18, Room 102.

• State-Tribal Relations Committee: 1 p.m. April 19, Little Shell Tribal Offices, 1807 Third St. NW, Great Falls.



April 2, 2008

Bill Clinton says "he" would commit to Indian Country

From the The Great Falls Tribune

By RICHARD PETERSON
For the Great Falls Tribune

HAVRE — If his wife is elected president in November, former President Bill Clinton said he'd make it his personal responsibility to tackle the issues that are important to Native Americans.

The former president, campaigning in Havre for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, made the pledge to about 30 Montana tribal leaders in a private meeting before his morning speech in the MSU-Northern Armory Gymnasium.

The meeting was attended by tribal leaders from the Blackfeet, Fort Peck, Fort Belknap, Chippewa-Cree and Little Shell tribes.

His commitment to the tribes at the hour-long meeting surprised some leaders who've been dissatisfied with the Bush administration's Native American policies during the past seven years.

"He said if she's elected, he'll commit himself to the concerns of Indian Country. It was a profound statement," said Fort Peck Tribal Councilman Tom Christian, who attended the meeting. "He said as a president, he never had time to pursue the things that needed to be done for Indians. I felt he was sincerely committed to that statement."

The tribal leaders also discussed the health care provided by the Indian Health Service, tribal gaming, water rights, law enforcement and federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe, based in Great Falls.

The president's visit to Havre and Montana was a chance for his wife's presidential campaign to reach out to Native American voters, a campaign official said.

"This is historic, that this campaign has taken on issues in Indian Country that are important to Senator Clinton," said Matt McKenna, a spokesman for Bill Clinton. "It's an historic opportunity to come to Montana and discuss these tribal issues."

Clinton also said the tribes' relationship with the federal government has deteriorated since he left office; his wife would like to renew those ties.

Tribal leaders also stressed to Clinton the dire shortfalls in the IHS budget, which forces the federally funded clinics to ration health care and provide medical referrals only when a patient is about to lose a life or limb.

Clinton told the tribal officials that those concerns could disappear under Hillary Clinton's health care plan, which would provide health insurance for most or all Americans requiring such coverage, several leaders said.

State Rep. Shannon Augare, D-Browning, a member of both state and national steering committees for Hillary Clinton, met with the former president before his speech in Great Falls.

"The meeting between the president and the Blackfeet Tribe was a great success. We were reflecting on what it was like during the Clinton administration," Augare said. "... Reflecting on what a Clinton administration once brought the Indians and what another Clinton might do for Indian Country."

Though many tribal leaders were impressed with the former president's ideas, others would rather hear about those initiatives from the former first lady's mouth. "A lot of the issues he addressed were right on," said Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, of the Rocky Boy's Reservation. "But they would have been more meaningful if the senator had showed up."

After the meeting, the tribal leaders presented gifts of beadwork, history books and blankets to the president, who also signed autographs and posed for pictures with most of the tribal delegations.

Webmaster Note : The Pledge given is not from the Presidential Candidate herself but from her Husband Bill Clinton, who is prevented by the Constitution from exercising or being President of the United States. The Pledge made is from a Private Citizen with no executive powers and will still have no powers if His wife is elected. It is a shame that a candidate would not pledge to help our tribes as the Chief Executive, but would only have the "First Husband" deal with the Sovereignty and Relations with Native Americans. Personally, I appreciate that the Ex-President would pledge his support to our tribes, but it shames me to hear that it is conditional support on his wife winning the presidency and that the candidate herself has not made the same commitment to our people.



March 4, 2008

Tribal leaders pleased with early discussions

From the The Great Falls Tribune

By PETER JOHNSON
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

Indians from around Montana gathered in a meeting room at the C.M. Russell Museum on Monday to brainstorm ideas for the 2009 Legislature.

At the end of six hours of discussion, the group's suggestions included more workforce training grants for good reservation businesses; elimination of certain taxes levied against tribal governments, and renewing funding to help reservation schools improve.

State Sen. Carol Juneau and Rep. Shannon Augare, the two Browning Democrats who suggested the "policy roundtable," said it was the first time individual Montana Indians had met so early to brainstorm legislative ideas.

Juneau said that tribal leaders will probably get together later to discuss budget issues and that Gov. Brian Schweitzer will meet later this spring with Indians to discuss legislative ideas.

She said it makes sense for Indians from across Montana to start coming up with ideas now, noting that Schweitzer already is asking state department heads to start planning for the session.

"I'm delighted at how it went," Augare said. "We had a cross section representing individuals from all seven tribal communities, plus urban Indians."

James Parker Shield of Great Falls, a member of the landless Little Shell Chippewa tribe, called it "a great idea" to bring representatives of reservation tribes together with urban Indian groups to discuss shared concerns.

Blaine County Commissioner Dolores Plumage agreed at the end of the day that the session was worthwhile, but said it might have tried to condense too much discussion of complex subjects in to too little time.

"We hit on a lot of topics, but maybe too quickly," she said. "We need the luxury of time to discuss maybe one or two topics. That way we can get to know each other and understand our areas' different views."

Augare said this was the first such meeting, and improvements can be made next time.

"This represented a beginning conversation of what could be the 2009 legislative agenda from Indian Country," he stressed.

Group members divided into four groups, roughly paralleling the jurisdiction of legislative committees, and brainstormed goals for each area. They switched to different committees in the afternoon, and did the same thing.

The group reports will be printed up and those "reflection documents," as Augare called them, will be sent to participants and potential Indian allies, including Schweitzer, he said.

Juneau and Augare said the state's 10 Native American legislators will probably try again to pass a law that would prevent local and state taxation of tribally owned fee land. Similar property owned by city, county, school districts and churches is not taxed, they said.

While the Montana Water Reserve Rights Compact Council is close to wrapping up most water compact negotiations between the state and Indian tribes, group participants said the council might need to be extended beyond its July 2009 expiration date.

It's easier and less expensive to negotiate through a council than to litigate through court action, Juneau said.



February 24, 2008

Opinion: Little Shell Tribe has waited long enough: Tribe deserves at least a hearing on gaining federal status

From the The Missoulian

Talk about red tape. For nearly 100 years, the people who claim membership in the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa have been trying to gain federal recognition - and they still don't know when they can expect a final decision.

Over the years they've tried just about every available avenue to plead their case. They have outlined their ancestry back to their grandparents' grandparents, submitted reams of required paperwork and allowed federal agents to scrutinize their tribal activities.

And still, the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs continues to collect more information about the tribe's 4,300 members, most of whom live in the Great Falls area. Federal agents say they just don't have the resources to move any faster.

Montana's congressional delegates have done what they can to speed things up. Most recently, Rep. Denny Rehberg sponsored House Resolution 1301, which, if approved, would immediately provide federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe. It's a tactic that has worked for other tribes; last year alone seven different tribes received federal recognition through congressional legislation.

But the Little Shell Tribe wasn't one of them. Even though Rehberg introduced his resolution back in March 2007, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. So now, he's pushing for a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee.

It looks like a federal hearing is the tribe's best shot at hastening the recognition process, Little Shell Chairman John Sinclair told the Missoulian's editorial board this week. “If we don't get a hearing, this is never going to move forward,” he said.

Sinclair pointed out that his tribe must have federal recognition before it can apply for certain federal services.

“We're hoping for the basic services other tribes enjoy - health care, education for our children, maybe some affordable housing,” he said. “That's our main goal.”

Federal recognition would also help the tribe lay claim to its own land base. Currently, it is based out of an office in Great Falls. Sinclair suspects some legislators are getting pressure from people concerned about the land issue, while others are more worried about the possibility of the Little Shell Tribe opening its own casino.

“We're not even interested in that at this point,” Sinclair said.

It's worth noting that people claiming Little Shell ancestry began pushing for federal recognition long before the nation's tribal gaming industry took off. As Sinclair put it, “We've been in the process since before there was a process.”

Indeed, the Little Shell Tribe has been functioning as a group longer than the various federal agencies they've petitioned. They have come close to receiving federal recognition several times only to be thwarted by circumstances beyond their control. Once, they were even promised their own reservation. But that was during the Great Depression, and they were told the government didn't have enough money to buy the land.

In 1978, the Bureau of Indian Affairs launched a formal Federal Acknowledgement Process for tribes seeking federal recognition, and the Little Shell Tribe was among the first to submit a petition. Yet the Interior Department didn't grant even preliminary recognition until 2000. And even now, the petition is still pending.

The Little Shell Tribe isn't alone. Several dozen other groups have been trying to claim their sovereignty - some for more than 10 years. But few have waited as long as the members of Little Shell.

That's why many are now calling for the current recognition system to be replaced with a more streamlined process - a debate that's certain to drag on as well.

Sinclair believes once his tribe has the opportunity to plead their case, federal recognition will be the obvious choice. After all, it's obvious to everyone in Montana that they are a tribe and deserve to be recognized. The state of Montana gave its official recognition years ago.

We agree with Rehberg that the Little Shell Tribe has waited for an answer long enough. Its members have been exceptionally patient and persistent. At the very least, they deserve a hearing.



February 14, 2008

Rep. Rehberg renews push for Little Shell recognition

From the Great Falls Tribune

By Great Falls Tribune Staff

U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., renewed his request Wednesday for the House Natural Resources Committee to hold a hearing on federal recognition for the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe.

"The Little Shell deserve federal recognition," said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "I know it. The state of Montana knows it.

"It seems the only ones that don't know it are the bureaucrats at the Interior Department," he added.

Last year, Rehberg introduced legislation to recognize the tribe, which has its headquarters in Great Falls. Federal recognition increases the availability of federal money for a tribe in the form of grants and programs.

"It's time we take a different route and move my bill through the legislative process," Rehberg said. "I'm hopeful the chairman and ranking member will agree the foot-dragging has gone on too long."

The Little Shell Tribe is made up of approximately 4,300 members, mostly in the Great Falls area. In 2000, the same year the tribe was recognized by the state of Montana, the Department of the Interior issued a positive finding for the tribe, making it eligible for recognition.

Since then, little progress has been made because of bureaucratic obstacles, Rehberg said. His proposed bill bypasses the bureaucracy by using the legislative process.

"This year marks the 30th consecutive year the Little Shell Tribe has pursued federal recognition through the Department of Interior's Office of Federal Acknowledgement (OFA) process," said Rehberg in the letter to the House Natural Resources Committee. "I strongly urge you to schedule a hearing on HR1301 before another generation of the Little Shell Tribe members goes unrecognized."

===================================================

PRESS RELEASE

Congressman Denny Rehberg, 516 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

N E W S

February 13, 2008

30 Years is Long Enough!

Rehberg Urges Committee Hearing on Little Shell Recognition

WASHINGTON, DC - Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today renewed his request to Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Ranking Member Don Young (R-AK) of the House Natural Resources Committee to hold a hearing on federal recognition for the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe. Rehberg introduced a bill last year to recognize the Tribe.

“The Little Shell deserve federal recognition,” said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “I know it. The state of Montana knows it. It seems the only ones that don’t know it are the bureaucrats at the Interior Department. It’s time we take a different route and move my bill through the legislative process. I’m hopeful the Chairman and Ranking Member will agree the foot dragging has gone on too long.”

The Little Shell Tribe is made up of approximately 4,300 members, mostly in the Great Falls area. In 2000, the same year the tribe was recognized by the state of Montana, the Department of Interior issued a positive finding for the tribe making them eligible for recognition. Since then, little progress has been made due to bureaucratic obstacles. Rehberg’s bill expedites recognition through the legislative process.

“This year marks the 30th consecutive year the Little Shell Tribe has pursued federal recognition through the Department of Interior’s Office of Federal Acknowledgement (OFA) process,” said Rehberg in the letter. “I strongly urge you to schedule a hearing on H.R. 1301 before another generation of the Little Shell Tribe members goes unrecognized.”

Letter:

February 13, 2008

Dear Chairman Rahall and Ranking Member Young,

As the second session of the 110th Congress begins, I would like to renew my request for a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on my bill, H.R. 1301, to federally recognize the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana.

This year marks the 30th consecutive year the Little Shell Tribe has pursued federal recognition through the Department of Interior’s Office of Federal Acknowledgement (OFA) process. While the House Natural Resources Committee held several hearings in 2007 on federal recognition bills and the broken OFA process, the Little Shell Tribe was unable to share with the Committee its unique history and struggle with the recognition process.

Last year, I was pleased to support legislation federally recognizing the Lumbee Tribe, the Chickahominy Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe – Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, the Monacan Indian Tribe, and the Nansemond Indian Tribe. The Little Shell Tribe is just as deserving of recognition and it remains essential for the establishment of a tribal land base, preservation of sovereignty and culture, as well as access to vital services and benefits for tribal members.

I strongly urge you to schedule a hearing on H.R. 1301 before another generation of the Little Shell Tribe members goes unrecognized.

Please contact myself or Heather Stefanik of my staff at 225-3211 for further details. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Denny Rehberg
Member of Congress

# # #

HR 1301 IH

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1301

To extend the Federal relationship to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana as a distinct federally recognized Indian tribe, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 1, 2007

Mr. REHBERG introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources


A BILL

To extend the Federal relationship to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana as a distinct federally recognized Indian tribe, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act of 2007'.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act:

      (1) TRIBE- The term `Tribe' means the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana.

      (2) MEMBER- The term `member' means an individual who is enrolled in the Tribe pursuant to section 7.

      (3) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior.

SEC. 3. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:

      (1) The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians is one of the political successors to signatories to the Pembina Treaty of 1863, by which a large area of land in what is now North Dakota was ceded to the United States.

      (2) The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa of North Dakota, and the Chippewa-Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation of Montana, which also are political successors to the signatories to the Pembina Treaty of 1863, already have been recognized by the Federal Government as distinct Indian tribes.

      (3) The members of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa continue to live in Montana as their ancestors have done for more than a century since their ancestors ceded their lands in North Dakota.

      (4) The Little Shell Tribe repeatedly petitioned the Federal Government for reorganization in the 1930s and 1940s under the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 461 et seq.; commonly referred to as the `Indian Reorganization Act'). Federal agents who visited the Little Shell Tribe and Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier attested to the Federal Government's responsibility toward the Little Shell Indians. These officials concluded that Little Shell tribal members were eligible for and should be provided with trust land, thereby making the Tribe eligible for reorganization under the Indian Reorganization Act. Due to a lack of Federal appropriations during the Depression, however, the Bureau lacked adequate financial resources to purchase land for the Tribe, and the Little Shell people were thereby denied the opportunity to reorganize.

      (5) In spite of the Federal Government's failure to appropriate adequate funding to secure land for the Tribe as required for reorganization under the Indian Reorganization Act, the Tribe continued to exist as a separate community with leaders exhibiting clear political authority. The Tribe, together with the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa of North Dakota, and the Chippewa-Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation of Montana, filed two suits under the Indian Claims Commission Act of 1946 to petition for additional compensation for lands ceded to the United States by the 1863 Treaty and 1892 McCumber Agreement. These tribes received Indian Claims Commission awards, which were distributed under 1971 and 1982 Acts of Congress.

      (6) The Tribe petitioned the Bureau of Indian Affairs for recognition through the Bureau's Federal Acknowledgement Process in 1978. Nearly 30 years later, the Tribe's petition is still pending.

      (7) The United States Government, the State of Montana, and the other federally recognized Indian Tribes of Montana have had continuous dealings with the recognized political leaders of the Little Shell Tribe from the 1930s through the present.

SEC. 4. FEDERAL RECOGNITION.

    Federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana is hereby extended. All laws and regulations of the United States of general application to Indians or nations, tribes, or bands of Indians, including the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 461 et seq.) that are not inconsistent with any specific provision of this Act, shall be applicable to the Tribe and its members.

SEC. 5. FEDERAL SERVICES AND BENEFITS.

    (a) In General- The Tribe and its members shall be eligible, on and after the date of the enactment of this Act, for all services and benefits furnished to Federally recognized Indian tribes without regard to the existence of a reservation for the Tribe or the location of the residence of any member on or near any Indian Reservation.

    (b) Service Area- For purposes of the delivery of Federal services to enrolled members of the Tribe, the service area of the Tribe shall be deemed to be the area comprised of Blaine, Cascade, Glacier and Hill Counties in Montana.

SEC. 6. REAFFIRMATION OF RIGHTS.

    Nothing in this Act shall be construed to diminish any right or privilege of the Tribe, or the members thereof, that existed prior to the date of enactment of this Act. Except as otherwise specifically provided in any other provision of this Act, nothing in this Act shall be construed as altering or affecting any legal or equitable claim the Tribe might have to enforce any right or privilege reserved by or granted to the Tribe which was wrongfully denied to or taken from the Tribe prior to the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 7. MEMBERSHIP.

    Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Tribe shall submit to the Secretary a membership roll consisting of all individuals enrolled as members of the Tribe. The qualification for inclusion on the membership roll of the Tribe shall be determined in accordance with Article 5, Sections 1-3, of the Tribe's September 10, 1977, Constitution. The Tribe shall ensure that such membership roll is maintained and kept current.

SEC. 8. TRANSFER OF LAND FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE TRIBE.

    (a) Homeland- The Secretary shall acquire trust title to 200 acres of land within the Tribe's service area for the benefit of the Tribe for a tribal land base.

    (b) Additional Lands- The Secretary may acquire additional lands for the Tribe pursuant to the authorities granted in section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act (25 U.S.C. 465).

END

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January 27, 2008

Letter: Federal government lies to Little Shell Indians

From the Billings Gazette

Letter to the Billings Gazette Editor

We, the Little Shell Indians of Montana, would like to know when we of these United States are going to get our equal rights, as all other races of the U.S. people are supposed to have?

There has been prejudice and discrimination against our race of people ever since the United States government declared our ancestors to be Indians. Why? Is it because our race of people are half Indian and half white? Our race of people started in these United States when the Louisiana Purchase lands belonged to France.

When the United States took over the Louisiana Purchase lands, they found many of our ancestors had already homesteaded in these lands. The United States government made its own laws to suit its wants, not its needs, as it still does to this day. One of its laws was that Indians could not own land. So our ancestors were then declared to be Indians.

Our ancestors were never given lands as all other Indian tribes in these U.S. were given. Why? The government has been lying to our people ever since, making promises that we are going to get the same as other Indian tribes have, but when?

Our state of Montana has recognized our tribe to be Indians. Now what is the United States government's problem with not recognizing us to be Indians? After all, it is they who declared us to be. It has been a long wait for equal rights in our own homeland. Why?

Henry Gladeau
Burley, Idaho

January 11, 2008

Opinion: Highwood Generation Station Benefits

From the Great Falls Tribune

Recently the Tribune reported on a meeting between regional tribal leaders and Great Falls business leaders who were discussing the importance of regional economic development and its possible impact on members of the Rocky Boy, Fort Belknap, Blackfeet, Little Shell, and Fort Peck tribes. One of the sponsors of the event, James Parker Shield, was quoted as saying that the meeting would serve as a forum where tribes and business leaders could get acquainted and develop relationships that could prove mutually beneficial for a regional economy that must compete globally.

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe is working toward similar goals in southeastern Montana. One of the important ways that we are working on developing (and protecting) the economy on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation is by controlling the cost of our electricity. The Cheyenne Reservation is served by the Tongue River Electric Co-op, which is one of the members of SME, the co-op that is working to build the Highwood Generation Station east of Great Falls. Although the power plant is being built in a region of more direct economic connection to the Rocky Boy, Fort Belknap, Blackfeet, Little Shell, and Fort Peck tribes, it will benefit our members by providing us with a source of long-term, predictably priced electricity. Many of our members are on a fixed income or are low-income. They need the economic protection that will be provided by allowing the co-ops to build their power plant.

— Diana McLean, Northern Cheyenne Tribal member, Lame Deer



January 7, 2008

EMPLOYMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS WITH LITTLE SHELL TRIBAL OFFICE

Job Title: Tobacco Abuse Prevention Specialist
Location: Great Falls

Half time position will provide support, develop and implement an effective tobacco abuse prevention program in the Great Falls area. Other duties to be assigned with Access To Recovery program. Must be able to attain associates degree. Computer skills a must. Self motivation, good work ethics and people skills a must. Drug-free workplace. Knowledge of Little Shell tribal and Native American history of the Great Falls area.. Must be postmarked by closing date January 18, 2008.

Mail resume and letter of interest to:

Little Shell Chippewa
Russell Boham
P O Box 1384
Great Falls, MT 59403


Tribal Historian

The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana is seeking a Tribal Historian to conduct historical research that will culminate in a book entitled “History of the Little Shell Chippewa.”

Duties: Largely, review, organization and consolidation of existing documentation as well as gather other appropriate documentation, conduct original field research and develop appropriate text and original documents.

Abilities/Requirements: Minimum of a 4 year degree from an accredited university in social science or a related field; Master’s or Doctorate preferred. Social Science field research experience, ability to collect, analyze and interpret qualitative and quantitative data a must. Knowledge of the Little Shell Chippewa people required. Strong writing ability required. Native American/Tribal Preference.

This is a 2 year position depending upon availability of funding. Salary range is $38,000- $43,000 DOE.

The Little Shell Tribal History Project is funded through the Office of Public Instruction, Department of Indian Education in support of Indian Education for All. This has a starting date of February 1, 2008.

Send letter of interest and sample of writing to:

Dr. Russell V. Boham
Little Shell Chippewa Tribe
P O Box 1384
Great Falls, MT 59403



January 6, 2008

Tribal group among many seeking to be recognized by U.S.

From the Billings Gazette

Great Falls Tribune Version

By MATTHEW BROWN
Associated Press

GREAT FALLS - Long after the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa was stripped of its land and scores of its people had been moved to Canada, the 4,300 surviving members are fighting to reclaim the shards of their past.

Through the years, and with intermarriage with Canadian fur trappers, tribal members have been left in such an ethnic and cultural limbo that, to some, it would appear they have lost their identity. But tribal leaders say it's that history of tragedy and perseverance that defines them.

"People look at us and say 'You're not Indian,' " said Little Shell chairman John Sinclair. "We say, 'We're not. We're Little Shell.' "

For now, the bond remains largely of the tribe's own making. The federal government has yet to recognize the tribe despite a campaign spanning more than a century. The Little Shell and 95 other groups are actively pursuing tribal sovereignty claims, many of which have languished for decades.

Work to address the backlog has moved at the rate of barely one decision a year while groups like the Little Shell struggle to keep their claim on history alive.

In a black hole

Frustrated at the bureaucratic morass, some members of Congress, tribal leaders and Indian advocates are calling for an end to the current recognition system, established in 1978. They say its intent - to provide a level playing field - has devolved into a "black hole" that swallows petitions for decades.

"It's been a 30-year experiment that's failed," said Jack Campisi, a retired Wellesley College anthropologist who worked on recognition petitions for more than two dozen tribes. Of those petitions, only three have been successfully resolved.

"I worked on the Little Shell petition in the '80s, and most of the people that I worked on it with are now dead," said Campisi, who is in his mid-70s.

Federal officials blame the glacial pace on a combination of stretched resources and rigorous standards. A spokeswoman for the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs said the agency had no choice but to adhere to the system established by Congress.

"The process is in place. It is what it is," said spokeswoman Nedra Darling.

Legislation to scrap the current system has not advanced beyond the committee level, but the stacks of documents submitted for pending cases are steadily growing. One petition, by the United Houma Nation in Louisiana, has ballooned to more than 100,000 pages.

Little Shell members say recognition would provide access to federal health care, affordable housing and education grants. And it would give new focus to a people pulled apart by time, distance and repeated rejection.

"We want to try to get the culture back in our family before it's gone," said Bruce Landrie, a Little Shell who grew up on a Crow reservation in southeastern Montana. "If we wait 50 years more, it will be."

Migration to Northern Plains

The forefathers of today's Little Shell were a band of the Chippewa who migrated to the Northern Plains in the 1700s.

After ending up in the Turtle Mountain region of North Dakota in the late 1800s, the tribe was approached by federal agents seeking to buy land for white homesteaders. The offered price was 10 cents an acre.

Chief Little Shell refused to sign what he considered an unfair deal. His people were taken off the Chippewa tribal roll and became a "landless tribe" - an estimated 5,000 people roaming the Northern Plains in search of the last great bison herds.

The bison were soon nearly wiped out by white settlers and the Little Shell scattered. An estimated 600 were relocated by federal authorities to the Canadian border. Most walked into Montana. They ended up on other reservations and on frontier outposts, where they intermarried with French-Canadian trappers.

Because of their mixed ancestry, many of today's Little Shell have pale skin. Some are blond. Their traditional song is a fiddle tune, the Red River Jig. Their flag has a split background: half red and half white.

In the early 20th century, a tribal leader named Joe Dussome revived the Little Shell's federal recognition hopes. He and other leaders held dances to raise money for trips to Washington to press their case.

In the 1930s, federal officials promised a reservation but later backed out after being unable to raise the money for the land, according to the tribe.

To be recognized under the current federal system, the Little Shell must prove not just who they are but who their parents were. And their grandparents. And their great-grandparents - all the way back to the 1860s.

Looking for families

A descendant of Dussome, 73-year-old Edna Teske, has been chronicling her people's history since the 1980s, visiting dozens of communities across the Northern Plains and up into the Canadian Rockies, searching out families to add to the tribe's federal petition.

"We've been scattered all over ever since I can remember, just pushed from here to there and everywhere," Teske said.

About 300 Little Shell members recently convened in Great Falls for their annual Joe Dussome Day.

Surveying the crowd was an anthropologist from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, who measured the depths of tribal relations and studied the deference given to tribal leaders.

The anthropologist declined to be interviewed, but R. Lee Fleming, director of the bureau's Office of Federal Acknowledgment, said such visits can determine if there is sufficient "continuity" to support a tribe's recognition claim. The agency's aim is "to understand their travels through time," he said.

In 2000, Fleming's office announced it was leaning toward recognition for the Little Shell. But the government also said the tribe's case needed to be bolstered. Thousands more documents have since been submitted.

A final decision could be made by the spring. Sinclair, the tribal president, said he has learned not to expect too much.

"They try to treat every tribe the same, but they all have different histories and they all have different heritages," he said. "We don't act like the white people or the red people want us to act or look. We're Little Shell first."



December 26, 2007

Tribes contribute $1 billion to economy

From the Great Falls Tribune

Associated Press

MISSOULA (AP) — A new report says the state’s tribes contribute about $1 billion toward the Montana economy.

The state-funded study, published in the latest issue of Montana Business Quarterly, is considered a first step in identifying the sources and uses of tribal funds. Information came from audited financial reports and government documents for Montana’s seven reservations and the landless Little Shell Band of Chippewa.

“This is a first step in evaluating the impact of the tribes’ monetary contributions” to Montana, said Shawn Real Bird, chairman of the state tribal commission. “In growing the state’s economy, it is important we acknowledge the tribes’ contributions.”

Eleanor YellowRobe of Rocky Boy wrote the report after doing three years of research while a student at the University of Montana.

Paul Polzin, director of UM's Bureau of Business and Economic Research, edited the final report.

“Montana’s American Indian tribes have long been important components of the state’s political and social landscape,” Polzin said. “In an initial report like this, credibility is of paramount importance because this is the first time putting it all together.”

He said the numbers are larger than many people thought and document what tribal leaders have long suspected: direct and indirect activities have a lot of zeros behind them.

The information gathered is limited to tribal, federal and state sources. It does not include money from privately owned businesses operating on the reservations.

About 69,300 people in Montana, or 7 percent of the state’s population, are tribal members. Montana’s reservations encompass about 8,626 of the state’s 147,046 square miles.

State Sen. Carol Juneau, D-Browning, said the information will help in discussions with tribal and legislative leadership, especially in matters of economic development and education.

“It was a good report,” Juneau said. “And it’s the first time I’ve seen such a detailed report from our tribal communities.”

According to the study, the Flathead Reservation had the greatest share of economic activities among the reservations at $317 million. Fort Belknap had the least at $76 million, or about 7.4 percent. The landless Little Shell Tribe had economic activities of about $204,600.



December 15, 2007

Tribal, business heads discuss strengthening groups' economic ties

From the Great Falls Tribune

By RICHARD PETERSON
Great FallsTribune Staff Writer


Native Americans from seven tribes in northcentral Montana and along the Hi-Line have a long history of shopping and dining in the Electric City.

Several economic development groups and local officials met with dozens of tribal leaders Thursday and Friday to say they hope to strengthen those economic ties with collaborations and partnerships.

"It's important for Great Falls businesses to realize that tribes of today are not the tribes of 20 years ago. Tribes are now in a position of being possible business partners," said James Parker Shield, director of War Shield Development.

War Shield, the Great Falls Development Authority and the Fort Belknap Planning and Development Corp. sponsored the two-day event, named "Leaders at the River," which included presentations from local business leaders and elected officials, as well as tours of business, education and cultural facilities throughout the city.

Tribal leaders and officials from the Little Shell Tribe and the Blackfeet, Rocky Boy's, Fort Belknap and Fort Peck reservations networked with Great Falls business leaders and other officials throughout the two days.

"It's imperative we work as a regional partner. We can't afford to waste people power," said Great Falls City Commissioner Sandy Hinz. "Opportunities are knocking. Let's open the door."

The tribes represented at the Great Falls conference contributed more than $473 million to the state's economy in fiscal year 2003, according to the State Tribal Economic Development Commission and the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

"A lot of that ends up in Great Falls," Shield said.

Maria Valandra, a First Interstate BancSystem vice president and the chairwoman of the Montana Indian Business Alliance, told the gathering that of the 104,202 businesses in Montana, 1,190 of them are Indian-owned. A little less than half of the Indian-owned businesses are on reservations, said Valandra, a member of the Rocky Boy's Chippewa-Cree Tribe.

"Great Falls is an economic force in the region, so it's important we establish business-to-business and tribal-to-local-government relationships," Valandra said.

One issue raised at the forum was the trouble many Native Americans have when trying to obtain loans to start or maintain businesses.

"Access to credit is a major barrier in Indian Country," said Sue Woodrow, the community affairs director of the Federal Reserve Bank's Helena branch.

She said many in the business community believe tribal governments lack commercial laws in their court systems to clamp down on people who don't repay loans. Woodrow and other Federal Reserve Bank officials established The Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act, which gives tribal courts more teeth when enforcing commercial laws.

The Crow Tribe was the first tribal nation in Montana to adopt the law into their justice code, Woodrow said.

"Thirty tribes (nationwide) have enacted or are in the process of enacting it," Woodrow told the tribal and business leaders. "This will help tribal members applying for credit, which is essential for business development."

She added that her office is more than willing to help area tribes get the law into their code books.

Brett Doney, executive director of the GFDA, said Great Falls is a regional trade center dependent on rural communities and Indian reservations.

"We are trying as much as possible to take a regional approach," he said.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Richard Peterson at 791-6547, 800-438-6600 or rpeterson@greatfallstribune.com.



December 11, 2007

Tribal, business leaders focus on regional economic development

From the Great Falls Tribune

By Great Falls Tribune Staff

Regional Indian tribal leaders will meet with Great Falls business leaders Thursday and Friday to talk about economic development.

The two-day regional economic development event is called "Leaders at the River." The event is sponsored by the Great Falls Development Authority, the Fort Belknap Planning and Development Corp. and War Shield Development Corp. of Great Falls, a nonprofit community development group seeking to improve social and economic conditions for Native Americans.

The event will bring together elected tribal officials, planners and economic development staff members from Rocky Boy, Fort Belknap, Blackfeet, Little Shell and Fort Peck tribes to meet Great Falls economic development officials, elected officials and business leaders.

The event will kick off with a breakfast at the Civic Center's second floor Missouri Room at 9 a.m. on Thursday, with several tours branching off to other locations.

The agenda includes presenters and tours of selected area facilities and businesses, including the Great Falls International Airport, Benefis Healthcare, Sletten Cancer Institute, Centene, Avmax, the malt plant, MSU-Great Falls College of Technology, the C.M. Russell Museum and others.

"The Leaders at the River event will serve as a forum where tribes and Great Falls business leaders can get acquainted and develop relationships that could prove mutually beneficial for a regional economy that must compete globally," said James Parker Shield, director of War Shield Development.

He praised the Fort Belknap Planning and Development Corp. for its "forward-thinking approach to economic development."

For more information on the event, or to register call Kara Todd-Iwen or Linda Buck at 406-353-2501 or Parker Shield at 406-727-7483. Buck also can be reached by e-mail at lfleurybuck@yahoo.com

The registration fee is $125 per person or $525 for a group of up to 10 persons. The fee includes two breakfasts and two lunches.



November 1, 2007

'Indianpreneur' winners honored

From the Great Falls Tribune

By Tribune Staff

War Shield Development Corp. has announced award winners from its six-week business startup class.

About 10 young adults from the Great Falls-area Indian community took the "Indianpreneur" classes taught last summer by James Parker Shield, executive director of the nonprofit and a former contractor, tribal official and government aide. The classes focused on developing business plans and learning what community resources are available to entrepreneurs.

Elton LaTray, a Blackfeet and Little Shell Chippewa, was awarded first place in the competition for best business plan, with a proposal to develop an office equipment company to serve tribal markets. He won a $500 prize sponsored by Rural Dynamics, Consumer Credit Counseling.

"We're excited to support this great program," said Jolene Bach, Rural Dynamics communications director. "Sharing knowledge, failures and successes with each other is how to continue to move our region forward and build economic stability in our communities."

The runner-up prize of $300 was awarded to , a member of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe, for his business plan for a new restaurant. That award was sponsored by the Montana Commerce Department, which also financed the class.

"Course participants are to be commended for pursuing their goals of starting a business," Parker Shield said. "The opportunity to develop a business plan and compete for a cash award was an added incentive."



October 14, 2007

Tribal elder keeps culture alive

From the Helena Independent Record

MARGA LINCOLN
Helena Independent Record

Henry Anderson, 76, the chair of the Helena Indian Alliance, is a local elder in the Little Shell tribe.

As a former tribal cultural director, he has sought to keep his tribe’s culture vibrant.

He teaches Indian games to youth.

“We have all these Indian games, traditional games. We’re trying to keep kids away from drink and smoke and ...” he said, silently wiggling his thumbs, acting out electronic game remotes.

He also teaches students that if he goes into the hills to cut any saplings for an activity, he always says a prayer of thanks.

“Before you take something, you offer something back. We offer tobacco,” he said.

And he burns sweetgrass before games and says a prayer to protect any of the players from injury, he said.

“We give kids wisdom,” he said, “and the kids give us strength.”

He keeps alive the sacred pipe ceremony.

“I’m a pipeholder.”

He’s taught the ceremony to his sons and stepson and to Little Shell council people.

“Each time the pipe is handed, say a few good words and ask for whatever we are sitting here for and turn it around in the direction of the sun,” Anderson said.

And he has taught tribal languages, speaking Cree, Chippewa, French Canadian and the Métis language, Michif.

“We’re Indians. We should know our language and talk it,” he said. “We should know our history and not just from a book. You have to know what your ancestors knew and pass it on.”

He shared some of his own story.

He recalled growing up, raised by his grandmother in Harlem on the Hi-Line during the 1930s.

“We went to a half-breed dance to raise money to send Joe Dussome to Washington,” he said.

Dussome, known as “The Man of Loyalty,” led the Little Shell efforts for federal recognition from the 1930s to the 1960s. He was instrumental in getting state of Montana tribal recognition in the 1930s. A celebration honoring his memory and a tribal gathering were held in Great Falls Saturday.

Anderson recalled fiddle dances every winter during his youth to raise money for Dussome.

It was tough during the Depression, he said. They lived by hunting wild game, selling some of it, and collecting berries. His grandmother would dry much of the food.

“No one had any money,” he said.

His grandmother, Flora Swan, was born in Dearborn in 1864.

She loaded rifles during the 1885 uprising of famous Métis leader Louis Riel, who fought for aboriginal rights for the Métis — the mixed-blood group that includes many Little Shell.

“I would like to be federally recognized for our children and our elders and the medical help coming to them,” he said. “We’re just living on hope.”

He admitted he’s not sure he’ll see it in his lifetime.

“It could be another 15 years,” he said.

Reporter Marga Lincoln: 406-447-4074 or marga.lincoln@helenair.com



October 14, 2007

Little Shell Tribe has sought federal recognition for over a century

From the Helena Independent Record

By MARGA LINCOLN
Helena Independent Record

Little Shell Tribe has sought federal recognition for over a century

For local tribal elder Henry Anderson, federal recognition of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe of Montana would mean more educational opportunities for youth and better health care for elders in his tribe.

The Little Shell have sought federal recognition for more than 100 years.

This week a Bureau of Indian Affairs investigator is in the state interviewing tribal members as part of the recognition process.

In 1978 and 1985 the tribe petitioned for recognition through the BIA Office of Federal Acknowledgement, said historian Nicholas Vrooman, who is also interim director of the Helena Indian Alliance.

They then re-applied in 1996, and in 2000 received provisional recognition, Vrooman said.

“It’s now 2007 and nothing’s been resolved,” he said.

So the tribe took a different route and turned to Montana’s delegation to seek congressional recognition.

Earlier this year Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., introduced a bill to grant the Little Shell federal recognition, Vrooman said.

Also, Montana officially re-recognized the Little Shell Tribe this year. The state had already recognized the tribe in the 1930s, Vrooman said.

“They (the Little Shell) know who they are,” said Vrooman. “They know they’re a tribal people. They trace their tribal lineage to the Pembina Chippewa. They don’t need the federal government to tell them who they are.”

However, federal recognition is needed to qualify for education and health programs and to purchase land and put it into a trust, he said.

“The petition is not about getting a reservation,” Vrooman added.

Congressional action is temporarily on hold, because the BIA re-activated the Little Shell’s application.

An Independent Record phone message to the BIA national office was not returned.

“The landless Little Shell is an unresolved crisis” left over from the 19th century Indian Wars, Vrooman said.

He compares the plight of the 4,500 Little Shell enrolled members across Montana to that of the landless Kurds and Palestinians in the Middle East.

Of enrolled tribal members, 188 live in Helena and 45 in East Helena, according to tribal records.

The ancestors of today’s Little Shell were mostly Chippewa, Cree, Assiniboine and Métis — people of mixed blood who are descendants of intermarriages with fur traders.

Because Chief Little Shell refused to sign a treaty in 1892 at the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, he and his band were expunged from the tribal roll, said Vrooman. When they returned from a Montana hunting trip, they were turned away from the Turtle Mountain Reservation.

Under Chief Little Shell they came to Montana to live and sought federal recognition until his death in 1901.

They were left out of the land transfers at the end of the 19th Century that set up the seven reservations for 11 tribes in Montana, Vrooman said.

“They have literally wandered from community to community,” living in Indian neighborhoods, such as Moccasin Flats in Helena and Hill 57 in Great Falls.

“They were poverty-stricken and were scavenging food,” he said. The homesteaders and townspeople complained to the government.

“In 1896 there was a human cattle drive. Buffalo soldiers led by John J. Pershing (who would become a general in World War I) led soldiers down the Front Range and rounded up Indians, herding them to Great Falls, where they were shipped by rail car to Lethbridge (Canada),” Vrooman said.

Others were force-marched to the Canadian border.

“This is a pogrom,” Vrooman said.

They didn’t stay in Canada. Many returned to Montana and hid out in coulees and canyons.

“They lived very pitifully,” Vrooman said. “They had no access to resources.”

Montana artist Charlie Russell and writer Frank Linderman championed the rights of the landless bands led by chiefs Little Shell, Rocky Boy and Little Bear. In 1916, the Little Shell were part of negotiations with these two other bands that led the federal government to create the Rocky Boy Reservation, said Vrooman.

“All three bands were told to go there. When they got there, there was not enough food, supplies and resources to go around,” he said. “This is the situation we live in today, since 1916, it’s been unresolved.”

“All of this stems from when the buffalo disappeared,” Vrooman added. “Indians had to place their faith in the hands of the government that treaties would be upheld and justice served. Their subsistence disappeared. Their world — their world view died.”

The Little Shell are the only tribe from the Northern Plains still seeking federal recognition, said Vrooman.

However, as of 2005, 302 tribes across the country were suing for recognition, said Vrooman.

The BIA has told the Little Shell a decision may be made by February, he said. If the BIA denies the tribal application, the Little Shell will work with the Montana delegation to seek recognition from Congress.

Reporter Marga Lincoln: 406-447-4074 or marga.lincoln@helenair.com



October 8, 2007

Native blessing: New center to showcase student work, Montana's many unique tribes

From the Great Falls Tribune

By BETSY COHEN
the Missoulian

Holding a braid of smoking sweetgrass, Scott Russell called out in the language of his Crow ancestors and asked the Creator to bless the University of Montana School of Journalism's new Native American Center.

On the third floor of the state-of-the-art Don Anderson Hall, the smoke puffed and climbed skyward as Russell stood under the center's signature giant wooden wheel held up by eight tree-like columns.

At the top of each column are individual plaques honoring the landless Little Shell nation and state's seven reservations: Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Flathead, Blackfeet, Rocky Boys, Fort Belknap and Fort Peck.

The unique room specifically honors the achievements of the school's Native American journalism students, its Native News Honors Project, and reznet online training and mentoring program.

In keeping with Crow tradition, Russell, a Crow tribal leader, began the Sunday ceremony facing east.

Each day the sun rises in the east, heralding a new dawn of possibilities, Russell explained to a small gathering of students, faculty, administrators and community members. It is the direction that represents the future - and hope.

Russell prayed that good things be brought through the center's doors. He asked that all who enter the room bring good intent and that all who come to the center leave feeling better, knowing more, and taking forth something positive into the greater world.

He prayed the School of Journalism, which is the center's home, continues to teach Indian people - more and more each year - and for others, through the power of the media and the teachings of the school, teach others about Indian people.

He prayed for all the knowledge that enters in and out of the building and the center to be shared and to serve the greater good of all peoples.

“Everybody comes here with a purpose, whether it is to learn or to teach,” Russell said. “This is an important resource, and it can make a difference in peoples' lives.

“For Native Americans, it can help our kids gain prominence in contemporary society,” he said. “Media is a powerful tool, and it can be used to harm people or it can be used for good and with this blessing, I pray we are trying to bring out the good.”

Russell, who is secretary of the Crow Tribe, was asked to perform the blessing because he is a longtime friend of the journalism school's Native American programs and he has a family member who is a current student in the program, said Denny McAuliffe, reznet project director.

Although the completion of $12 million Don Anderson Hall was celebrated last spring, without the blessing, its Native American Center was in name only, McAuliffe said.

“Now that it is blessed, Native students can feel properly comfortable being here,” McAuliffe said.

The center is not intended to be museum-like or solely classroom-like, McAuliffe said. Rather, it will be place to display the best work of the school's journalism students, to showcase the individuality of Montana's tribes, to be a gathering place for students and the home for reznet and the Native News Honors Project.

“It means a lot to me to sit in a room surrounded by all the tribes,” said Mary Hudetz, a journalism student and member of the Crow nation. “I think it is perfect, really - with the history the school has had reporting on reservations and really improving journalism for Indian people, either by doing stories about us or increasing the number of us telling Indian stories.

“The blessing feels right. That's what we do for anything - when you move to a new house, we bless it, when you do new things or have new things,” she said. “Blessing this place feels right, it feels like what should be done.”

“I think this room is so beautiful and striking and the fact that is honoring Montana natives is a wonderful thing,” said Breanna Roy, a UM journalism student of Blackfeet and Cree descent.

Roy said she especially enjoys having class in the room.

“The round table in here is provides such a unique learning environment,” Roy said. “In other classrooms, all the energy is directed at one person who stands in the front of the room, but here, everyone is equal. Everyone contributes and everyone is at the same level.

“Everyone is participating,” she said, “and that contributes to a whole different kind of feel - one that's really nice.”



September 27, 2007

State designation allows Little Shell to be eligible for Toys for Tots

From the Great Falls Tribune

By JO DEE BLACK
Great Falls Tribune Business Editor

Thanks to hard-working Marine veterans, a generous corporate donation and the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs, the youngest members of Montana's 11 state-recognized Native American tribes will have presents under the tree this Christmas.

Toys R Us donated $1 million worth of toys to the Marine's Toys For Tots program, with 26 pallets of toys delivered to Helena. More than half of those will be distributed by Montana's Indian tribes.

The first delivery — about 190 toys — were dropped off at the Little Shell Tribe's office at the Westgate Mall on Wednesday morning.

"This is wonderful, we have a lot of kids in need," said Little Shell President John Sinclair.

The donation represents more than the smiling faces it will create on Christmas morning.

The Little Shell Tribe is recognized by the state of Montana, but not by the federal government. Federal recognition would mean better health care access for the tribe's 4,500 members and more opportunities for college scholarships and affordable housing, Sinclair said.

However, being recognized by the state also opens doors, such as the chance to receive the recent Toys For Tots donation, he said.

Major Robinson, the acting coordinator for the state Office of Indian Affairs, said his office was approached by the Toys For Tots Foundation's Helena office about distributing the toys.

"The tribal officials will look for opportunities to find the right places for those toys," he said.

Retired Marine Jeff Heffernan coordinated the logistics of the Toys R Us donation.

"We got this done thanks to about 70 hard-working volunteers who unloaded the semi," Heffernan said. "It's all to make sure that every child has a toy at Christmas time, so that no one is left out."



September 24, 2007

Recognition focus of Chippewa meeting in Billings Thursday

From the Billings Gazette

An informational meeting regarding the status of the federal recognition of the Little Shell Chippewa opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, at the old Garfield School, 3212 First Ave. S., Billings, MT.

The upcoming visit of Kimberly Cook from the Office of Federal Acknowledgement will be discussed. Cook will do a site visit for the final determination of the petition for recognition.

For more information, call the Little Shell Tribal office at 406-452-2892.



September 20, 2007

Leaders say process to gain federal recognition too slow

By Diana Marrero of the Gannette News Service Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Leaders of American Indian tribes seeking federal recognition asked lawmakers for help Wednesday, saying the Bureau of Indian Affairs has taken too long to process their applications.

"With delay, comes a terrible human cost," said John Sinclair, president of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

The Little Shell Tribe, which has been trying to get recognition for nearly three decades, is among 17 tribes nationwide whose applications for federal recognition are pending with the BIA. More than 200 other Indian groups also are seeking recognition.

The distinction is important because a federally recognized tribe is eligible for government programs and assistance. Recognized tribes often can begin seeking approval to build Indian casinos, which have become a source of wealth for some tribes.

The BIA could make a decision about the Little Shell in the next year, Sinclair said. But he is not waiting for the agency to act. Instead, he is lobbying lawmakers to intervene.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who introduced legislation this year to grant the Little Shell federal recognition, said the "bureaucratic red tape these tribes are put through are absolutely ridiculous."

"They've waited for a long time," he added.

Earlier this year, Montana granted the Little Shell state recognition and gave tribal members control of several acres of land outside of Great Falls.

The tribe has been seeking federal recognition since 1978. They received preliminary recognition from the BIA in 2000.

The Native American Rights Fund, which has taken on the Little Shell's case, has spent about $1 million for anthropologists and travel costs to help put the tribe's documentation together, said K. Jerome Gottschalk, an attorney with the nonprofit law firm.

The Little Shell have about 4,500 members across the state, with many living in the Great Falls area. Tribal members are suffering as they wait for federal recognition, Sinclair said.

"We want an answer," he said. "Yes or no."

Tribes seeking recognition want lawmakers to pressure the BIA to speed up its application process. Some have asked lawmakers to step in and grant them recognition through legislation addressing their specific cases.

BIA officials have made decisions in 40 cases since the agency established a process to grant tribes federal recognition in 1978, said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who heads the Indian Affairs Committee.

Of those cases, 16 have been approved and 24 have been denied. During the same time period, Congress has stepped in to recognize 28 tribes through legislative action, Dorgan said. There are 563 federally recognized tribes.

The BIA is supposed to take about two years to complete a case for federal recognition but agency backlogs have meant the process can take up to 15 years, said Lee Fleming, director of the Office of Federal Acknowledgment at the BIA.

Fleming said tribal leaders seeking recognition often contribute to delays by filing incomplete applications or taking years to complete the required documentation. Tribes seeking recognition must provide documentation to prove they meet seven criteria, such as showing they have existed as a distinct political entity.

Dorgan, who called the delays unfair, asked Fleming to quicken the pace of the application process.

"A process that lasts 20 or 30 years is a process that's broken and ought to be fixed," he said. "We're not serving anybody's interests with these lengthy, lengthy delays."

Ann Tucker, tribal chairwoman for the Muscogee Nation of Florida, said tribal members are being priced out of their ancestral homelands because of increases in property taxes in that state. Federal recognition for her tribe is about "survival as Indian people," she said. Tribal lands are generally tax-exempt.

"We are sick of waiting for justice," said Tucker, who noted that tribal members have sought recognition since the 1970s.

Contact reporter Diana Marrero at dmarrero@gns.gannett.com.



September 20, 2007

Agency seeks to expedite tribal OK

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - American Indian tribes that gain federal recognition stand to gain substantial housing, education and health benefits. But the process isn't easy - some tribes have been waiting decades for the government to acknowledge them.

The Interior Department is taking steps to speed up that process, a government official told Congress Wednesday.

Unrecognized tribes from Montana, North Carolina, Michigan and Florida testified before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, all saying they have waited years and submitted stacks of paperwork to the department. Tribal members have died waiting for better health care, the tribes' representatives said.

Members of Montana's Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, a tribe of more than 4,000 based in Great Falls, say they have been fighting for federal recognition for many decades. The U.S. Interior Department granted the tribe preliminary recognition in 2000. But the tribe still doesn't have reservation land, housing, medical care and other benefits that come with federal recognition.

"Every day that passes has concrete impacts on the tribe," tribal president John Sinclair told the senators.

R. Lee Fleming, director of the Interior Department's Office of Federal Acknowledgment, said the Bureau of Indian Affairs will attempt to expedite the process by trying to eliminate paperwork and layers of bureaucracy that have stalled some tribes' efforts.

The department is also considering hiring additional staff to work on the recognition process and establishing firmer timelines so that petitions move along.

"Our goal is to improve the process so that all groups seeking acknowledgment can be processed and completed within a set time frame," Fleming said.

Also testifying were representatives of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the Muscogee Nation of Florida and Michigan's Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians.

"We have been trapped in the BIA's bureaucracy for over 30 years and we have nothing but expense and frustration to show for it," said Ann D. Tucker, a tribal chairwoman for the Muscogee Nation.

The U.S. House voted to give federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe earlier this year. Montana's congressional delegation has introduced legislation that would give similar acknowledgment to the Little Shell.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a Democratic member of the committee, said recognition shouldn't require an act of Congress.

"This is a broken process that needs to be repaired," Tester said.



September 20, 2007

Tribes battle bureaucracy Feds' recognition slow in coming, native groups find

By Diana Marrero, Gannette News Service

WASHINGTON - Kenneth Woodrow, a real estate investor in Salinas, has been seeking federal recognition for his American Indian tribe, the Eshom Valley Band of Michahai and Wuksachi, for two years.

"We just want to keep our culture," said Woodrow, the tribe's chairman.

He could be in for a lengthy, bureaucratic ride unless the Bureau of Indian Affairs speeds up its application process.

The agency's system for evaluating which tribes should be granted federal recognition was the subject of a congressional hearing Wednesday by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

The agency is supposed to take about two years to complete a case for federal recognition, but agency backlogs have meant the process could take 15 years,

said Lee Fleming, director of the Office of Federal Acknowledgment at the BIA.

In some cases, tribes have been waiting for decades for recognition.

Since the BIA established a process to grant tribes federal recognition in 1978, agency officials have made decisions in 40 cases, said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who heads the Senate committee.

Of those, 16 have been approved and 24 denied. During the same time period, Congress has stepped in to recognize 28 tribes through legislative action, he said.

There are now 563 federally recognized tribes across the country.

Dorgan, who called the delays unfair, asked Fleming to quicken the pace of the application process.

"A process that lasts 20 or 30 years is a process that's broken and ought to be fixed," he said. "We're not serving anybody's interests with these lengthy, lengthy delays."

Federal recognition is important because it makes tribes eligible for government programs and federal assistance. Federally recognized tribes also can often begin seeking approval to build American Indian casinos, which have become a source of wealth for some tribes.

Central Coast natives' plans

The Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation, whose ancestral homelands are in the Salinas Valley, has been seeking federal recognition since 1992.

Rudy Rosales, the former tribal chairman, said tribal members would benefit from recognition by having access to education grants and housing programs. The tribe has about 520 members. Many have left the area because of exorbitant housing prices, he said.

Rosales said members have plans to build a mock village site and museum once they gain federal recognition.

"We'd get our pride, our dignity and our heritage back," he said.

Tribes seeking recognition want lawmakers to pressure the BIA to speed up its application process. Some have asked lawmakers to step in to grant them recognition through legislation addressing their specific cases.

Woodrow is fairly new to the process, submitting a letter two years ago to the BIA stating his intent to seek recognition for his tribe, whose lands are in California's Central Valley.

Although most of the tribe's members live in the Central Valley, about a dozen live in Salinas, Woodrow said.

Like Rosales, Woodrow said tribal members would benefit from recognition, including access to federal funds for education, housing and health care programs.

"It's very hard for unrecognized Indians to get services," he said.

For Woodrow, the absence of federal recognition perpetuates the injustices committed by the United States against his ancestors.

'A terrible human cost'

His mother, like other American Indians of her generation, was sent to an Indian boarding school in Nevada, far from her relatives and culture.

"First, they were wards of the government," he said. "Then they were nothing."

The tribe is among more than 200 Indian groups seeking recognition. Of those, about 17 tribes have pending applications for recognition at the BIA.

"With delay comes a terrible human cost," said John Sinclair, president of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, which began trying to get recognition nearly three decades ago.

But Fleming said tribal leaders seeking recognition often contribute to delays by filing incomplete applications or taking years before completing the required documentation. Tribes must provide documentation to prove they meet seven criteria, such as showing they have existed as a distinct political entity.

The BIA could make a decision about the Little Shell in the next year, Sinclair said. But he is not waiting for the agency to act. He is lobbying lawmakers to intervene.

"We want an answer," Sinclair said. "Yes or no."

Contact reporter Diana Marrero at dmarrero@gns.gannett.com.



September 20, 2007

Testimony of Chairman John Sinclair before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

TESTIMONY OF THE HON. JOHN SINCLAIR, PRESIDENT
THE LITTLE SHELL TRIBE OF CHIPPEWA INDIANS OF MONTANA
SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
HEARING ON THE PROCESS OF
FEDERAL RECOGNITION OF INDIAN TRIBES
SEPTEMBER 19, 2007

Chairman Dorgan, Vice Chairman Murkowski, and honorable members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning. To our good friend and strong advocate Senator Jon Tester, I thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of the Little Shell Tribe.

My name is John Sinclair, and I am the President of the Little Shell Tribe. Following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather, I have had the honor to serve as President of my Tribe for the past four years. I am here today to share with you our history with the federal government, our experience with the Federal Acknowledgment Process (FAP) and our request that this honorable body act to ensure federal recognition for my people. The recognition for which we ask you today has been promised to us for more than seventy years. The following 1935 letter from the Department of the Interior from which I quote below is just one piece of a large volume of documentation reflecting the federal government's long, but as of yet unsuccessful, efforts to provide official recognition and a land base for the Little Shell people:

This [letter] acknowledges your letter of January 28, [1935] written in behalf of landless Indians in northern Montana and suggesting that a certain tract of land be set aside for their use.

This Office [the Lands Division for Indian Affairs] in general and the commissioner [John Collier] in particular are thoroughly cognizant of the unfortunate situation in which these landless Indians find themselves. To no other groups of Indians is so much constructive thought and persistent effort being directed, for it is fully realized that theirs is the greatest need.

Also it is most heartening to read in your letter your forthright assurance that, once lands are placed to your use, you will be proud to make good.

All government enterprises move slowly in spite of the best of intentions, but it is hoped and believed that in the not too distant future a satisfactory plan will be consummated for landless Indians in general, including, of course, the group to which you belong. Letter to Joseph H. Dussome from J.N. Stewart, Chief, Land Division, Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior (March 2, 1935) (emphasis added).

Federal recognition for our Tribe enjoys long-standing broad, bi-partisan support. Identical legislation to recognize the Little Shell Tribe has been introduced this Congress by Senators Tester and Baucus in the Senate (S. 724) and by Congressman Rehberg in the House (H.R. 1301). Tribes in Montana and our cousins the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota, have expressed their support of our federal recognition.

Governor Schweitzer and the Montana State Legislature, by Joint Resolution, have expressed their support for our federal recognition. Hill, Cascade, Glacier and Blaine County as well as the City of Great Falls, the local governments most directly impacted by our recognition, have expressed their support of legislation to recognize the Little Shell Tribe. In fact, over the past year the State of Montana has provided us land from which we can provide essential governmental services -- something the federal government had promised to do throughout the twentieth century but has yet to succeed in doing.

The Department of the Interior has issued a proposed finding in favor of federal recognition for our Tribe. Within the next year, we anticipate that the Department of the Interior could issue a final determination as to whether to recognize our Tribe. On the surface, it may seem odd that we would seek federal legislation when we appear to be so far along in the administrative process. The answer is simple. First, as leader of the Little Shell Tribe, I cannot in good conscience let another day go by without doing everything in my power to secure recognition that has been wrongfully withheld. Every day that passes has real life consequences for my people, consequences that never make the headlines in Washington, D.C. - tribal members denied the most basic health care services, a tribal government without a federally secured land base or federal funding to provide and maintain essential governmental services.

Second, the Department has acted on our petition in a unique manner. The Department concluded in its proposed favorable finding that we are a Tribe, but it -encouraged- us to submit more documentation. Basically, the Department found that the available evidence supported its findings on each of the criteria, that no evidence was submitted in opposition to the particular finding, but that the Department would prefer to have additional records for certain time periods before the 1930s. We took the Department's suggestions to heart, submitting approximately 1000 pages of additional reports and appendices supported by several boxes of documentation.

We are therefore in a situation where the Department essentially stated in 2000 that it believes we are a tribe but that without additional documentation it could walk away from its favorable finding. Concerned with its application of the regulations to our Tribe, the Department expressly invited comment on the consistency of the proposed finding with the existing regulations. To the best of our knowledge, not a single recognized tribe or state governmental entity commented on or objected to the Department's proposed favorable finding as inconsistent with the regulations. We now find ourselves in an uncertain situation where we fear that the Department may reverse its finding even though we have submitted thousands of pages of additional evidence and neither the State, its local governments nor other federally recognized tribes have submitted evidence to the contrary or objected to the Department's proposed favorable finding.

Third, our legislation does more than simply confirm federal recognition. It addresses many of the issues newly recognized tribes and local communities struggle with for decades after formal federal recognition - the establishment of a land base, a tribal service area and certainty that our recognition will not be revoked. It is well documented that it takes years and sometimes more than a decade for the Department of the Interior to take land into trust for newly recognized tribes. For example, it took eight years after the Jena Band of Choctaw Tribe was recognized before Interior took that Tribe's cemetery and governmental offices into trust. Some of this delay is due in part to the application of the National Environmental Policy Act to these acquisitions. Further, many tribes suffer from the years it takes for the Department to establish a service area for the newly recognized tribe. For example, after completion of administrative challenges to the Department's final determination acknowledging the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in 2002, the Cowlitz Tribe still does not have a BIA-designated service area. Thus, we know that even if Interior issues a decision within the year, the Tribe could be forced to endure many additional years in legal limbo as it struggles to establish a land base and service area.

Although the State of Montana, the federally recognized tribes within Montana and local governments support our recognition, it is becoming increasingly common for parties to challenge the Department's acknowledgment decisions. And most recently, the Department reversed its decision to acknowledge a tribe because of such a challenge. While we do not expect a challenge from a governmental entity within the State of Montana, we cannot say with certainty that a decision by Interior to acknowledge our Tribe will not be challenged. Such challenges typically take years to resolve. Thus, we believe that legislation makes sense even if Interior is on track to issue a decision within a year. The legislation reflects the desires of the Tribe, the State and the local governments most directly impacted by our recognition. That is why we seek legislative recognition.

I. OUR HISTORY WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

My Tribe, historically often referred to as the -landless Indians,- has been the subject of federal legislation since the early 1900s. The Little Shell Band is the successor in interest to the Pembina Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota. We were buffalo hunters who lived and hunted around the Red River and the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota in the early 1800s. The Pembina Band was recognized by the United States in an 1863 Treaty ratified by the Senate. This treaty gave the United States possession of the section of our lands near the Red River. After that treaty, while some members of the Pembina Band settled on reservations in Minnesota others followed the buffalo herds into western North Dakota and Montana, eventually settling in Montana and in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota.

In 1890, the United States authorized the creation of a commission to negotiate for a cession of land from the Turtle Mountain Chippewa and provide for their removal. Chief Little Shell and his followers walked out on the negotiations and refused to accept the terms of the eventual agreement. In the years that followed the 1892 Agreement, some of Little Shell's followers moved to Montana and joined with other members of the Pembina Band that had settled in Montana. After their traditional livelihood came to an end with the disappearance of the buffalo, Little Shell people were left to barely eke out an existence in a number of shantytowns across Montana, competing with both local reservation Indians and white settlers for resources. The Little Shell became known as the -landless Indians- of Montana. Like many American Indian people, we faced severe racism and discrimination throughout Montana, some of which continues today.

A. CONGRESSIONAL EFFORTS TO ASSIST THE LITTLE SHELL BAND 1900 - 1920.

Congress began appropriating money to buy land for the landless Little Shell as early as 1914, when it set aside funds to be used for -support and civilization of Rocky Boy's Band of Chippewas, and other indigent and homeless Indians in the State of Montana[.]- 38 Stat. L. 582. Every year thereafter until 1925, Congress consistently appropriated funds for the Rocky Boy's Band and the -homeless Indians in the State of Montana.- Nearly simultaneously, in 1916, Congress enacted legislation establishing a -reservation for Rocky Boy's Band of Chippewas and such other homeless Indians in the State of Montana as the Secretary of the Interior may see fit to locate thereon . . ..- Shortly after the reservation was set aside, the Department established a tentative roll of the Indians of the reservation. The initial list consisted of 657 individuals. In preparing the final roll, Interior eliminated 206 applicants from the list. The Indian Inspector reported that he had -given first consideration to the needs of the older and homeless Indians, without means of support.- Department of the Interior, Proposed Finding for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, Technical Report (-Technical Report-) at 86. Shut out by the Department, Little Shell members were forced to subsist on vacant lands in north-central and north-western Montana.

B. THE LITTLE SHELL BAND'S REPEATED PLEAS FOR ASSISTANCE: 1920 - 1934 Newspaper articles of the 1920s chronicled the plight of our ancestors. Newspapers in the Great Falls area reported the City's failed attempts to remove -the Indians who have been long encamped- on the edge of town. Technical Report at 90. In December 1931, Little Shell Tribe/Homeless Indians leader Joseph Dussome explained to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that the landless Indians of Montana lived on the -dump piles of our Towns . . . going to the back allies, digging down the swill barrels for their daily bread.- Mr. Dussome pleaded for help, stating -that a great injustice has been done to my fellow Chippewa and Cree Indians of Northern Montana. Are we not entitled to a Reservation and allotments of land in our own Country, just the same as other Indians are[?]?

Less than two weeks after receiving Dussome's plea for assistance, Interior responded that because we had refused to sign a Treaty and had removed from the land in North Dakota, we did not retain rights to land at Turtle Mountain:

The Indians referred to are Chippewas of the Turtle Mountain Band. They were under the leadership of Little Shell who became dissatisfied with the treaties of the United States and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewas. He accordingly refused to accede thereto . . .. The disaffected band, by its failure to accede to the terms of the treaty and remove to the reservation is now unable to obtain any rights thereon for the reason that the lands of this band are all disposed of, and the rolls became final[.] . . . There is now no law which will authorize the enrollment of any of those people with the Turtle Mountain band for the purposes of permitting them to obtain either land or money.

The Little Shell Tribe thus remained homeless.

C. INTERIOR'S EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH A RESERVATION AND REORGANIZE OUR PEOPLE UNDER THE INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT.

Reflecting the significant shift in modern federal Indian policy, three years after Interior's rejection of Dussome's plea, Congress sought to remedy situations such as ours through the enactment of the Indian Reorganization Act (-IRA-) in 1934. We had continued our pursuit of a tribal land base by meeting with Interior Department officials shortly before the passage of the IRA. During one trip, tribal leader Dussome impressed upon the Commissioner of Indian Affairs the dire straits of our people. This trip, combined with passage of the IRA, triggered a flurry of activity by the Department to acquire lands for the Little Shell. Initially, Interior officials in Washington, D.C. pursued lands near the Ft. Belknap Reservation, stating:

The Office [of Indian Affairs] referred to certain plans to purchase tracts of land in Montana which could be set aside for the use of the Chippewa Indians, special mention being made of a project to acquire -some 20,000 acres near the Fort Belknap reservation.- Plans for the use of this area do not in any sense contemplate the mixing of the Chippewa Indians with those now on the Fort Belknap reservation. The area under negotiation is not part of the Fort Belknap reservation and justification for its purchase is not based on the needs of the Fort Belknap Indians. If it is purchased it will be available for the use of the Chippewa Indians exclusively[.]

Plans for settling the Little Shell Band on the parcel near Ft. Belknap were abandoned by the Department based on the belief that our ancestors were not willing to settle on that land.

In the mid 1930s, the Department expended considerable effort to acquire land near the Rocky Boy's Reservation for our people. Assistant Commissioner Zimmerman explained that the land could be established as a new reservation for the landless Indians or added to the Rocky Boy's Reservation. Although original estimates suggested that the acquisition would be sufficient for approximately 100 families, the Department ultimately concluded that the purchased land could only accommodate 25 families.

The conclusion that the parcel near the Rocky Boy's Reservation was insufficient to meet existing needs did not deter the Department from its efforts to find land for the Little Shell. Interior officials underscored the Department's determination to secure a land base for our people, explaining:

The landless Indians whom we are proposing to enroll and settle on newly purchased land belong to this same stock, and their history in recent years is but a continuation of the history of wandering and starvation which formerly the Rocky Boy's band had endured.

Out of the land purchase funds authorized by the Indian Reorganization Act, we are now purchasing about 34,000 acres for the settlement of these Indians and also to provide irrigated hay land for the Indians now enrolled on Rocky Boy's Reservation. The new land, if devoted wholly to that purpose, would take care of only a fraction of the homeless Indians, but it is our intention to continue this program through the years until something like adequate subsistence is provided for those who cannot provide for themselves. . . . The fact of these people being Indian and being entitled to the benefits intended by Congress has not been questioned.

The Department realized that although -it would be highly desirable to secure a single area or reservation which would meet the needs of all the Chippewa Indians of Montana . . . this seems to be impossible at this time . . . [and] the Indians must adjust their plans to take advantage of the best that we can secure for them.- Reflecting this sentiment, during this time period, the Bureau of Indian Affairs acquired a 42-acre tract of land near Great Falls, Montana. The land was acquired for the benefit of landless Indians located in the vicinity of Great Falls. Although Little Shell members were ready to move to the parcel, Interior explained that -[l]ocal public opinion forced the abandonment of the project. Local residents of the vicinity did not wish the Indians as their neighbors.- In 1950, Congress enacted legislation providing for the sale of those lands. P.L. 714, 81st Congress, 2d Session, August 18, 1950.

D. THE ROE CLOUD ROLL - THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR PREPARES AN INDIAN ROLL TO FACILITATE ORGANIZATION UNDER THE IRA

In addition to its efforts to secure a reservation near the Rocky Boy's Reservation, Interior took steps to prepare a detailed census of our people who were one-half or more Indian blood. In December of 1935, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs submitted a proposed form of enrollment under the IRA. The Commissioner explained that the form was modeled upon a number of other tribal enrollment forms. In his memorandum seeking approval, the Commissioner emphasized the plight of the Little Shell people, stating: It is very important that the enrollment of homeless Indians in the State of Montana be instituted immediately, and it is proposed to use this form in the determination of Indians who are entitled to the benefits of the Indian Reorganization Act. This enrollment process resulted in the Roe Cloud Roll, named after Dr. Henry Roe Cloud, an Interior official who played a large part in the enrollment project. Leaders of the Little Shell Tribe provided invaluable assistance to the enrollment project. As one Indian Affairs official explained, Joseph Dussome's -services were indispensable in identifying the Indians and in advising us where to locate them.-

Our current members are generally the descendents of Indians who were either on the Roe Cloud Roll or immediate kin to someone on the roll. The Roe Cloud Roll is important for a number of reasons, including that it is a federal document certifying our ancestors as being one-half or more Indian blood and it reflects the efforts and intentions of the Department to provide for the reorganization of our Tribe. These efforts were taken to reverse the destructive federal policies of previous decades.

E. STATE AND FEDERAL EFFORTS TO SECURE FEDERAL RECOGNITION FOR OUR PEOPLE: 1940 - 1950

As Interior moved forward on the enrollment project, its progress in acquiring lands for the Little Shell slowed largely because of the lack of federal appropriations to acquire land. In other words, had appropriations been sufficient to acquire land, it appears that both the Department and the State of Montana strongly supported establishment of a reservation for our people. Had a reservation been established, we would be recognized today.

Records from this time period provide ample evidence that the lack of appropriations prevented our recognition. For example:

Assistant Commissioner Zimmerman explained to Senator Murray in 1940, -[t]he Indian Office is keenly aware of the pressing need of the landless Chippewa Cree Indians of Montana. The problem thus far has been dealt with only in a very small way. I sincerely hope that additional funds will be provided for future purchases in order that the larger problem remaining can be dealt with in a more adequate manner.- May 13, 1940 Letter from Assistant Commissioner Zimmerman to Senator James E. Murray.

In 1941, the Montana State Senate and House highlighted our plight of -living in makeshift dwellings on the outskirts of our various Montana Cities- and sent a Joint Memorial to the United States Congress urging the Congress -to immediately enact appropriate legislation to create an Indian Reservation for all Montana landless Indians.-

In response to the local Superintendent's request for funds so that tribal leader Dussome could travel to Washington to advocate for the purchase of land, Commissioner John Collier (largely credited as the architect of the IRA) explained:

[Our] Office, as you know, has been sympathetic toward the desires of these people to secure land upon which they could settle and build homes.

Unfortunately appropriations have not been sufficient to permit us to do much in the way of rehabilitating this group upon newly acquired lands. Various members of the Congressional delegation from Montana have been interested in the condition of these people . . . . [l]ittle can be accomplished by the Indian Office until funds have been made available by Congress for their rehabilitation[.]

That same year, Assistant Commissioner Zimmerman underscored the Department's dilemma - that it desperately wanted to assist our people but that it could not do so because of a lack of appropriations.

We have on several occasions studied this problem and can see no way in which any solution can be arrived at without specific, adequate appropriations. There are more than 500 families in the State without resources of any kind, who have no equity in any reservation, and who constitute a serious social problem. Essential to any scheme of self-support for them is an adequate land base. . . . To provide necessary land for this number of families would require a million dollars, in addition to some lands now part of the public domain. Another million would be required for loans and grants for cattle purchases, machinery, homes, and farm buildings. . . .

We are ready to undertake this task if the Congress is willing to provide the necessary funds. . . . The project is perfectly feasible; the Indians undoubtedly are in great need; they deserve some effort on the part of the Federal Government. We shall be happy to cooperate in any way.

Responding to a petition requesting that a nearby ranch be purchased for our benefit, the Office of Indian Affairs explained their predicament to Joseph Dussome:

As mentioned in prior correspondence there are no funds available with which to enter into a land purchase program for the benefit of the landless Indians of Montana. We fully appreciate the land needs of these Indians, and it is our desire to aid them at the first opportunity. As stated before, such action will be dependent upon the availability of funds. . . . As previously intimated, a large sum will be necessary to take care of the land needs of the group in which you are interested, and until such time as Congress appropriates the necessary funds for this purpose, we will be able to do very little.

In 1949, the Department reiterated its desire to assist my people and its inability to establish a land base because of the lack of appropriations. In a letter to Representative Mike Mansfield, Acting Commissioner William Zimmerman explained:

Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of February 1, enclosing one from Hon. John W. Bonner, Governor of Montana, concerning the landless Indians of Montana with particular reference to their destitution and need for rehabilitation.

Our files contain considerable correspondence concerning the needs of these Indians and suggested plans for their rehabilitation, but due to lack of funds this office has been unable to do very much to relieve the situation. . . . Before anything can be done for the relief of these Indians, it will be necessary for Congress to appropriate adequate funds for that purpose.

In 1940, a tribal representative of the Little Shell Tribe perfectly summarized the quandary of the Tribe, stating:

[Assistant Commissioner] Zimmerman . . . told us that we couldn't have any allocation or organization or corporate charter under this act until we have land. He said -we haven't got money to buy land and appropriations have been drastically cut from year to year and there is nothing we can do.- Summing up our negotiations with the Interior Department we come to this conclusion: First, we are entitled to rights as an Indian but as to forming an organization, borrowing from the revolving loan, we must first have a charter. We can't get a charter unless we have land. We can't have land because the Indian Office is broke . . .

Because adequate funds were never appropriated to acquire land for my people, the Tribe continued to struggle over the decades that followed to satisfy the basic needs of our members. As you know, in the late 1970s the Department of the Interior formulated an administrative process. Because we are in the final stages of that process, I do not feel it is in the best interest of my Tribe to criticize the process or the Department. I will, however, provide a few general observations regarding our petition for acknowledgment.

II. OUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS

We originally filed a letter petitioning for federal acknowledgment on April 28, 1978, almost six months before Interior's administrative process for acknowledgment was created. The process has proved to be extremely resource intensive. I believe that the lack of available resources greatly hinders both the tribes in the process and the Department.

Over the past 29 years, we have been fortunate to receive the services of the Native American Rights Fund. Without their assistance, it's unfathomable that we could have found the funds necessary to retain legal counsel and consultants for this extended period of time. Over the past 15 years, NARF has spent over 3,400 attorney hours on our administrative petition. Consultants and graduate students put in thousands and thousands of additional hours. Tribal consultants, such as historians, genealogists and graduate students, donated substantial amounts of time pro bono or worked at substantially reduced rates in compiling large portions of the petition. Even with this generosity, however, the total cost for consultants and associated expenses over the last fifteen years exceeds $1 million dollars. Literally tens-of-thousands of documents have been provided with regard to our petition.

The lengthy process also inflicts an immeasurable human cost, wherein the acknowledgement torch is passed from one generation to another. The task of securing professionals to assist us with our petition and the collection of documents from repositories across the United States, Canada and England is itself demanding, but it pales in comparison to the demands of providing for my people without the protection of federal recognition, without a land base. And our current status impacts the prospects for our future generations. Moreover, it is heartbreaking to consider the idea that after nearly 30 years in the administrative process, in the politically charged atmosphere of Washington, D.C., the Department could reverse its proposed favorable finding and decide not confer federal acknowledgment.

Our tribal status is well documented. Interior's proposed finding documents include a 234 page technical report that provides evidence to satisfy each of Interior's mandatory criteria. Interior expressly concluded that each of the mandatory criteria were satisfied, requesting the Tribe to search for additional evidence to supplement the evidence that already exists. We have submitted additional documentation, as requested by the Department. Notably, we have provided additional documentation to demonstrate that 94.4% of our members descend from a historic tribe. In all, we estimate that we have submitted thousands of pages of additional documentation for our petition.

One criterion that the Congress may wish to consider for modification is criterion (a) - since 1900, identification of a Tribe by external sources. Although we clearly satisfy this factor (as the Department concluded in its proposed finding), we submit that it is nonsensical that a petitioner could satisfy all of the other criteria, thus demonstrating that it is a Tribe, and yet potentially fail to be recognized simply because a non-Indian never documented the Tribe in the early 1900s or that documentation no longer exists.

III. THIS HONORABLE BODY SHOULD ACT TO RECOGNIZE THE LITTLE SHELL TRIBE

I respectfully implore this honorable Committee to act favorably on the legislation introduced by Senators Tester and Baucus to confirm our federal recognition. I submit that this Congress should complete the efforts of previous Congresses to secure to us a fraction of the Indian lands lost by our people over time. Congress undertook this honorable effort in the 1910s and 20s, appropriating money for the purchase of land for our ancestors but, as Interior officials acknowledged, it was woefully inadequate to meet our desperate needs. In the 1930s and 40s, the Department of the Interior made substantial efforts to enroll our ancestors and acquire land for us, but Congress never appropriated the funds necessary to secure a land base for us. This Congress has an opportunity to finish what it started by acting on our pending legislation. Legislation that will cost the public very little, but will be a giant first step in putting our Tribe on an equal footing with our sister Tribes.

From time to time, representatives in this honorable institution have rightly questioned Congress- ability to determine whether a particular group constitutes an Indian tribe. I submit that this Congress has a more than ample record on which to enact this legislation. In addition to the tens of thousands of records held by the Department in connection with our Petition, the Congress has a long legislative record of acting for our benefit. Congress also has a history of enacting similar legislation. In recent history, Congress enacted such legislation for tribes like the Little Traverse Bay Band and the Little River Band - Tribes for whom Department attempted to recognize in the 1930s but because of the lack of appropriations recognition was never completed. And unlike other tribes acknowledged by federal legislation, here the Congress can rely upon the Department of the Interior's proposed favorable finding to recognize our Tribe.

Our strong historical record is reinforced by the fact that our recognition is not politically controversial in the State of Montana. Our Congressional delegation supports this legislation. Montana's State and local governments support our recognition. And in addition to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, every federally recognized Tribe in the State of Montana supports our recognition. Indeed, we are the only non-federally recognized tribe included in two significant inter-tribal organizations - the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council and the

Council of Large Land Based Tribes. Area tribes recognize our legitimacy. Indeed, we know of no opposition to this legislation by any recognized governmental entity within the State.

As I've previously mentioned, Senator Tester and Baucus- legislation resolves more issues than our recognition. The legislation also addresses issues that often present significant challenges to tribes and local communities after a tribe is recognized through the acknowledgment process. This legislation provides certainty to all interested parties regarding land acquisition and establishes a service area in which the Tribal members can immediately begin to receive long over-due federal services. And finally, the bill provides the certainty of federal acknowledgment. While we fully expect to the Department to affirm it favorable finding - particularly since to the best of our knowledge no party has submitted a single historical record that would undermine Interior's previous finding - such certainty is understandably important. For almost 100 years we have relied on the federal government's promises to take the steps necessary recognize our government and secure a home for our people. We often get so very close and then something goes awry. This legislation is your opportunity to ensure that previous mistakes are not repeated.

Every day that passes has concrete impacts on the Tribe. For example, even though we are eligible for Indian Health Care services, for several years now over 1200 Little Shell members have been taken off of the Indian Health Service rolls because they were not on the original roll the Little Shell Tribe presented to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1989. Many of these members were not even born at the time of the original roll or are not on the rolls because of clerical oversight. Federal recognition would alleviate this situation and ensure that all of our tribal members receive necessary health services.

IV. CONCLUSION

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to provide this Committee with an overview of our history, our experience with the Federal Acknowledgement Process, and why this honorable Committee should favorably report S. 724 out of Committee. I am happy to answer any questions from the Committee.

Webmaster Note: For more on the Senate Hearing, go here: HEARING on the process of federal recognition of Indian tribes

The Senate has not yet released a transcript of the hearing at this time, once it becomes available, I will provide a link to it.

Here are PDF Versions of all the Witness's who testified at the hearing:

MR. LEE FLEMING
Director Office of Federal Acknowledgment, U.S. Department of Interior
Washington, DC

THE HONORABLE JIMMY GOINS
Tribal Chairman Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
707 Union Chapel Road, Pembroke, NC 28372

THE HONORABLE JOHN SINCLAIR
Tribal President, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
Great Falls, MT

HONORABLE ANN D. TUCKER
Tribal Chairperson, Muscogee Nation of Florida
Bruce, FL

THE HONORABLE RON YOB
Tribal Chairman, Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians
Grand Rapids, MI

September 19, 2007

Deadline announced for drawing of the Two Little Shell Buffalo Hunt permits for Tribal Members

(Last Paragraph updated Sept 26, 2007 to correctly reflect tribal office actions)

The Little Shell Tribal Office has announced that the drawing deadline for the two Buffalo Hunt permits is to be October 9, 2007. To place your name on the list for the random drawing, call the tribal office at 406-452-2892 or send an e-mail to lstgtfalls@bresnan.net. Only Enrolled Tribal members will be allowed in the drawing.

The 2008 permits will allow the hunting of wild buffalo from January 23, 2008 through February 15, 2008. As the State law allows for the issuance of permits when the state fish, wildlife, and parks commission issues 40 or more special wild buffalo licenses in any license year, this year 2 permits per Montana Indian Tribe is allowed. According to Montana Code 87-2-731 (2005 Senate Bill 91), The commission shall issue two special wild buffalo licenses to individuals designated by the respective tribal diabetic programs. For the Little Shell Tribe, this means that the Main office will hold a drawing after 0ctober 9th 2007. The winning names will be announced and hopefully be posted here on this website.

According to the main office, After the two Tribal Members names are drawn from the pool of names and the state is notified, the Little Shell Hunters will be required to attend a meeting in Helena for review of the hunting regulations, seasons, and areas for the buffalo hunt. The individuals will also be required to attend a meeting in Great Falls for cultural training required to the complete the hunt in a traditional manner. As in the past, the tribal diabetic program will keep one half of each buffalo and the other half will go to the individual. The office will NOT be taking names for distribution of any buffalo items.



September 18, 2007

Little Shell leader to testify on federal recognition frustrations

From the Great Falls Tribune

By KARL PUCKETT, Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

John Sinclair, president of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe, is hoping a heartbreaking story about a child hits home with federal lawmakers and leads to a brighter future for the Great Falls-based tribe.

Sinclair will testify before the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. on the recognition process the federal government uses to recognize the nation's Indian tribes.

He will tell committee members about the 1985 case of a Little Shell child who was placed in foster care with a non-native family and later died because of physical abuse.

The tribe couldn't intervene in that child welfare case, or any other, because it was not federally recognized. It still can't.

"Hopefully, that will break their hearts," Sinclair said.

More than 20 years after the tragic case — and after more than a century of seeking recognition — the tribe still is not recognized by the U.S. government. Federal lawmakers are beginning to question why it's taking so long for recognition requests of the nation's Indian tribes to be processed.

The federal recognition process is the focus of the hearing, which will feature first-hand accounts from officials of tribes seeking recognition and the head of the Federal Acknowledgement Office of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"No one should have to wait 30 years to get an answer to a question," said Barry Piatt, a spokesman for Sen. Bryon Dorgan, D-North Dakota, the committee's chairman.

Federal acknowledgement is critical to tribes because it establishes a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the tribes, making them eligible to receive funding and services from the BIA.

"We're not after the dirty 'R' word — reservation," Sinclair said.

Depending on what they learn, committee members could issue a report or recommend changes in the law to speed up the recognition process, Piatt said.

"It's kind of a diagnostic hearing to try and understand where this system is going wrong," Piatt said.

As part of its quest, the Little Shell applied for recognition through the Office of Federal Acknowledgement in 1978. The tribe has been recognized by the state of Montana and all seven other tribal nations in the state and even has its own state license plate.

Preliminary recognition came from the Office of Federal Recognition in 2000 and an anthropologist is scheduled to travel to the area in October to interview tribal members, said Toni Jo Atchison, the tribe's tobacco abuse prevention specialist. She said the tribe could know as soon as February 2008 about the final recognition.

The Little Shell has an estimated enrollment of 4,500. Many of the members live in Great Falls, although Sinclair said they are scattered about the state.

Russell Boham, executive director of the Little Shell, said committee members are "interested in finding out from us the brokenness of the administrative process."

Tribes recently have turned to federal legislation in their quests for recognition. Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg and Max Baucus and Jon Tester, the state's senators, introduced legislation in March that would bring national recognition to the Little Shell.

Matt McKenna, a spokesman for Tester, who serves on the Indian Affairs Committee, said the senator wants the administrative process streamlined so legislation becomes unnecessary.

Piatt said tribes have "thrown up their hands" and turned to the legislative process out of frustration.

The Little Shell want both the administrative and legislative avenues of recognition to remain open, Sinclair said.

To be recognized, seven criteria must be met. For example, tribes have to show they have been in continuous social and political existence and descend from a historical Indian tribe or tribes.

While waiting for recognition, Little Shell officials say members have died from inadequate health care and Indian children have been adopted to non-Indian parents, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Sinclair hopes the story of the foster child who died hits home with the senators. "That's my aim," he said.

The Little Shell, because they are not federally recognized, do not qualify for child custody services under the Indian Child Welfare Act. Therefore, the tribe could not intervene and place the child with a family member another native family, Sinclair said.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Karl Puckett at 406-791-1471, 800-438-6600 or kpuckett@greatfallstribune.com.

Webmaster Note: For more on the Senate Hearing, go here: HEARING on the process of federal recognition of Indian tribes



September 17, 2007

Senators probing delay in tribal recognition

From the Great Falls Tribune

By Great Falls Tribune Staff

Why it takes so many years for some Indian tribes seeking federal recognition to get answers from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs will be probed Wednesday by a U.S. Senate committee.

John Sinclair, president of the unrecognized Great Falls-based Little Shell Chippewa Tribe, is among those scheduled to testify.

Sen. Bryon Dorgan, D-North Dakota, chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, has asked tribal representatives from the Little Shell and other tribes seeking recognition to testify before the committee. Sen. John Tester, D-Mont., also serves on the committee.

Dorgan spokesman Barry Piatt said the committee may issue a report recommending changes in the law to speed up the process.

“It’s kind of a diagnostic hearing to try and understand where this system is going wrong,” Piatt said.

The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe has been trying since 1978 through the Office of Federal Acknowledgement to be recognized.



September 16, 2007

History in the making: State of Montana releases License plate for Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana!

From the Great Falls Tribune

Little Shell get license plate
By RICHARD PETERSON
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

It's only fitting that the designer of the newly released Little Shell Tribe license plates be the first to attach a set to his vehicle.

Adorned with symbols related to the history and culture of the Little Shell Tribe, the plate designed by James Parker Shield joins the 86 other specialty plates available to Montana motorists, most of which are on the walls of each county treasurer's office.

"I feel proud," said Parker Shield, who purchased three sets of the new tribal plates for his family's vehicles this week. "This license plate is another way of reminding people that we're here."

The tribe's seal is on the left side of the plate — a yellow circle filled with a west-facing buffalo, symbolizing the westward migration of the Little Shell band from the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota. Behind the buffalo are an eagle staff and the Little Shell flag. Faded in the background is a Red River cart, used by tribal members during hunting and trading trips in North Dakota, Minnesota and Canada more than 100 years ago. Montana is spelled out in red letters at the top of the plate.

Profits from the license plates, which cost the tribe $4,000 to produce, will go into its general fund.

The Little Shell is a band of Chippewa and Cree Indians that has been seeking federal recognition for the past 115 years. Most of its 4,500 members live in the Great Falls area.

"Little Shell members will be proud to have them on their cars around the state," Parker Shield said.

Only time will tell if the license plate becomes as popular as others in Cascade County. The ongoing favorite f is the bright blue Glacier Park license plates, which was sold to about 1,500 local residents in the past year, said Dean Roberts, state Motor Vehicle Division administrator.

The second most popular set of plates preferred by county residents is the Lewis and Clark commemoration plates, he said.

That should start dropping off as things die down," he said of the Lewis and Clark frenzy throughout the state during the expedition's bicentennial between 2004-06.

Surprisingly, one of the other most popular sellers among locals is the Gallatin County Open Lands Board plate, featuring a scenic watercolor painting of a river and trees surrounded by mountains.

"It's a really nice plate, a hot seller from day one," Roberts said. In the past year, 762 drivers Cascade County purchased the plate that's also popular in Yellowstone and Missoula counties — each reported selling more than 1,000 of the plates.

The sale of the Great Falls Public Schools plate has raised more than $16,000 for the local school district, Roberts added.

Webmaster Note: The License Plates cost $35, and $20 for renewal. Click on the plate below to take you to the Montana Department of Justice website for License plates. Warning, the email address listed on the DOJ website is not that of the Tribal Council's main office, but to the personal e-mail of Tribal Council President John Sinclair. For the Main office information, go to our main office for more information.



September 15, 2007

US Senate Conducts hearings on Federal Recognition Petitions

The US Senate will be conducting hearings on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 and will "investigate" the process and status of Petitions before the Bureau of Indian Affairs by tribal entities seeking such recognition. Rumor has it that the Petiton for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians will also be presented, but no word yet on who will testify at the committee hearing for our people as the Senate has yet to release their witness list.

More as it becomes available, in the meantime, here is a link to the senate hearing webpage. HEARING on the process of federal recognition of Indian tribes



September 14, 2007

Office of Federal Acknowledgement to conduct onsite interviews

From Office of Federal Acknowledgement:

Dr. Kimberly Cook, Anthropologist, will be visiting Montana and surrounding areas to conduct interviews for the purpose of investigating the Little Shell Tribe's Petition for Official Government to Government relations with the United States Government. She will be arriving Saturday, September 29 2007 and will finish around October 19, 2007. She will be talking with the Tribal Council and will be conducting interviews with random tribal members on a 0ne-to-one basis to get a sense of our tribe's politics, community, and history.

More information will be posted as it comes available.

If you have any questions about Dr. Cook's visit, please contact the main office for more information.

Webmaster Note: If you know of, or are in possession of any tribal council minutes from any year or proof of any council actions, in particular the 1970's and 1980's, please mail, fax, or drop off these documents to the tribal office. Thank You.

September 4, 2007

IMPORTANT Federal Recognition Meetings for ALL Tribal Members

From Little Shell Tribal Office:



Informational meetings regarding the status of the Federal Recognition of the Little Shell Chippewa will be held in the following towns:

Lewistown:
Saturday, September 1 – 9:30 am Lewistown Fairgrounds

Havre:
Saturday, September 8 – 1:00 pm HRDC

Helena:
Thursday, September 13 – 7:00 pm Helena Indian Alliance

Butte:
Saturday, September 15 – 10:00 am 66 West Park

Great Falls:
Tuesday, September 18 – 7:00 pm West Gate Mall

Browning:
Friday, September 21 – 7:00 pm Old Eagle Shield

Billings:
Thursday, September 27 – 7:00 pm Garfield School

Please plan to attend as these meetings will discuss the upcoming visit of Dr. Kimberly Cook from the Office of Federal Acknowledgement. Dr. Cook will be doing a site visit for the Final Determination of our petition.

For more information, contact the Little Shell Tribal office at 406-452-2892.

SAVE THIS DATE:
Little Shell Chippewa Community Gathering
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Family Living Center, MT Expo Park, Great Falls
More Information to follow



August 5, 2007

Plains Indian and Buffalo Culture Collection amassed by late, enigmatic artist could be worth $22.5M

From the Billings Gazette

By LORNA THACKERAY
Of the Billings Gazette Staff

CODY - Artist and ethnographer Paul Dyck spent much of his 88 years piecing together the largest, most significant and most complete private collection of Plains Indian artifacts in the world.

Early last month, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody acquired the collection, most of it rare material from the pre-reservation Buffalo Culture. Only a few people have had access to the collection of nearly 2,000 items, which Dyck kept at his ranch home in Rimrock, Ariz. It has never been available to the general public.

"It's going to stun people," said former Wyoming Sen. Alan K. Simpson, the chairman of the museum's board of directors. "It certainly stunned us."

Even board members with expertise in American Indian culture were awed by the remarkable collection, which includes children's toys, ghost dance dresses, a peace medal Lewis and Clark may have given to a Mandan chief and huge buffalo-hide tepees, he said.

"It's going to enrich the world, and we'll do it in a way that will enrich the world," Simpson said.

Dyck had a longstanding friendship with the museum in Cody and with many associated with it, including Simpson.

Dyck, a dapper, white-haired rancher, dreamed of his own museum to display the beauty of the Buffalo Culture he fell in love with as a child. Three decades ago, he bought 40 acres of land near Little Bighorn Battlefield, hoping to build his museum there.

But time ran out for Dyck, who died in February 2006.

The Paul Dyck Foundation Research Institution of American Indian Culture, the nonprofit organization he founded, decided that the best way to keep the collection intact and to honor Dyck's commitment was for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center to take possession through a combination gift-and-purchase agreement.

After a year of negotiations, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center's board voted unanimously July 3 to approve the deal. A fundraising drive will be launched to raise about $10 million necessary to complete the purchase and preserve and maintain the collection, Simpson said.

American Indian artifacts in the collection were conservatively appraised at $22.5 million a few years ago. The estimate did not include the antique guns or six peace medals that were part of the inventory that went to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. The peace medals may prove to be among those Lewis and Clark gave to Indian headmen during their 1804-06 journey.

"We talked to several museums who offered more money, but it wasn't really about money," said John Dyck, Paul's son and president of the Paul Dyck Foundation. "It was about doing what's right for the collection."

The fact that Paul Dyck helped design the Plains Indian wing of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center was among the key reasons it was chosen. Its location was important, too.

"My dad worked 30 years to build a museum at the (Little Bighorn) Battlefield," John Dyck said. "That was just not going to happen. The museum was closest to the battlefield, and they are very devoted to Native Culture."

The foundation was also concerned that sacred objects Paul Dyck had been given for safekeeping, mostly by adoptive relatives among the Plains tribes, be handled properly.

"They have the right people in place to do that," John Dyck said. "It really is a good museum - as good as I've been in. They have the right people in the right places."

In the late 1960s, Simpson said, Dyck had talked to the Cody museum board about taking the collection. But it would have come with conditions the museum couldn't meet. That's when Dyck decided he wanted to build a museum at the battlefield.

"I think it was always a bit of a disappointment to him that it didn't happen," Simpson said.

Although many people know about the collection - scholars, collectors, traders and museums - most of it has never been viewed by the public, said Rusty Rokita of Hardin, a longtime friend of the collector and a member of the foundation board.

A few items may be displayed by next summer, but it will probably take at least three years to catalog, document and conserve the entire collection, said Emma Hansen, the curator of the Center's Plains Indian Museum.

Grant applications are being prepared to help pay for additional staff needed to curate, restore and process the artifacts.

Eventually, items from the collection will be displayed in the Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Gallery within the museum. Lee Haines, the director of public relations for the Center, said the museum has about 1,700 square feet of display space available in the gallery. Articles from the collection will be rotated each year.

The museum also plans to create a large traveling exhibit that can be featured at other institutions in the United States and around the world, Hansen said.

The collection has been on loan to the center for the past 15 months. It was moved to Cody from Arizona after Paul Dyck's health began to fail and he moved into a nursing home. The center had agreed to pack and insure the collection and to move it to a secured and controlled environment within the museum.

The staff did not begin working with the artifacts until early July, when the agreement with the foundation became final.

"I'm learning more every day about just how amazing it is," Hansen said.

Rokita said the collection illustrates the advanced state of Plains Indian culture in the time before European-Americans had widely infiltrated the West.

"This isn't really recognized for what it is," he said while examining some of the richly decorated ceremonial shirts in the collection. "You can take any one of these shirts and hold it up against any art in any museum collection."

The heart of the collection dates from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s. That makes the artifacts both rare and unique. Since most items created by American Indians were made from organic materials, few survive from pre-reservation days, Rokita said.

The earliest collectors of Plains Indian artifacts were Europeans. But when they could no longer outbid newly rich Americans and after modern art swept through Europe, the Plains Indian materials in European collections fell out of favor there, he said. Through the years, Dyck reclaimed some of those items from European owners and brought them back.

Dyck didn't amass his collection randomly, Rokita said. He wanted it to tell the story of how people on the Plains lived. He traded and purchased items with an eye to presenting the most complete picture possible, Rokita said. If he had two or three similar objects, he might trade one for an item of lesser value that would add a piece to the story.

Dyck inherited some of the collection from his father, who started gathering items in the 1880s while the family lived among the Blackfeet in southern Alberta.

Most of the sacred items came through American Indians who deposited their medicine objects with Dyck for safekeeping when the ceremonies and traditions of their people began to disappear, Rokita said.

The collector was a very spiritual man, whose beliefs were aligned with those of native religions, Rokita said. Dyck shared the Indians' reverence for the sacred objects entrusted to him.

"He threatened many times to burn them up rather than have them wind up with traders and at auctions," Rokita said.

Dyck maintained a huge library that is still with the Dyck Foundation in Arizona. He also kept volumes of notes on objects he gathered. All of that material has to be examined and researched to establish just what is in the collection.

When the work is complete, the museum and the Paul Dyck Foundation plan to publish a catalog both for his Buffalo Culture collection and for a collection of his own paintings that came with it. Eventually, the Dyck paintings, as well as those of other artists in his collection, will be displayed in the Whitney Gallery of Western Art at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

The museum and the foundation will also publish a biography of Dyck's long and colorful life.

Dyke's library and notes will eventually come to the museum. In the meantime, museum staff and the foundation will be working to research and identify each piece in the collection.

"Who knows what we're going to find?" said Robert Pickering, deputy director of collections and education at the Cody museum. "I really believe this collection is a national treasure and we're going to be able to reveal this national treasure to the world."

Contact Lorna Thackeray at lthackeray@billingsgazette.com or 406-657-1314.



June 10, 2007

Enrolled Little Shell Tribal member Rick LaPier passes

From the Great Falls Tribune


Richard LaPier

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Former Great Falls resident Richard "Rick" LaPier, 65, of Dandridge, Tenn., a Vietnam Navy veteran, died of pulmonary fibrosis May 17 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Burial has taken place in Tennessee Veterans Cemetery.

Survivors include his wife, Deloris LaPier of Dandridge; daughters Tara (Scott) Rinehart, Penny (Dave) Hutchinson and Kelly LaPier; a son, Shane (Karen) LaPier; sisters Victoria Boham, Sherri Bishop and Mona "Chi Chi" (Ernest) LaFromboise; brothers Ronnie (Cindy) Bishop, Russell (Sandra) Boham, Randall (Regina) Boham and Earl LaPier; nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Rick was born April 7, 1943, in Great Falls, where he was raised and educated. He worked in the mines, construction and as a ranch hand until he was employed by the Xerox Corp. in Riverside, Calif. He moved to Dandridge, Tenn., where he worked for Ikon Office Solutions until he retired.

Rick was an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana. He was proud of his Indian heritage and enjoyed fry bread, camping and fishing. He loved swapping stories with his brother Ronnie, but his favorite thing in life was spending time with his grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred LaPier and Marie Bishop Boham; and brothers Joey LaPier and Audie LaPier.

Condolences may be sent online to greatfallstribune.com/obituaries.



May 26, 2007

U.S. Rep. Dennis Rehberg(R) requests hearing for Little Shell bill

From the Great Falls Tribune

By Great Fall Tribune Staff

U.S. Rep. Dennis Rehberg(R) asked Friday for a hearing on his bill proposing federal recognition of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe.

Rehberg, R-Mont., introduced legislation earlier this year to recognize the tribe.

"The Little Shell have spent more than a century seeking recognition and being held up by the bureaucratic process," said Rehberg. "It's time we give the tribe an opportunity to discuss the importance of the bill."

The Little Shell Tribe is made up of approximately 4,300 members, mostly in the Great Falls area.

In 2000, the same year the tribe was recognized by the state of Montana, the Department of Interior issued a positive finding for the tribe, making it eligible for recognition. Since then, little progress has been made.

Rehberg's bill seeks to expedite recognition through the legislative process. Such recognition would bring benefits to tribal members.

"Federal recognition is essential for the Little Shell Tribe to establish a tribal land base, preserve its sovereignty and culture, as well as gain access to vital services and benefits for tribal members," said Rehberg in his letter to House leadership.

"The bureaucrats over at Interior have held this thing up too long," Rehberg said. "Let's have a hearing, discuss the bill, and bring the tribe the recognition they deserve."

The tribe has been seeking recognition from the federal government for more than 115 years.



May 18, 2007

Little Shell Member Group: War Shield Development offers assistance to Indian business

From the Great Falls Tribune

By PETER JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Writer

...

A new, nonprofit community development corporation is gearing up to help improve social and economic conditions for Indians in Great Falls, and perhaps later statewide.

War Shield Development is launching a six-week course next week, dubbed "Indianpreneurship," to help Native Americans learn how to start businesses.

The group obtained its state and federal nonprofit status earlier this year, said program director James Parker Shield, a veteran Native American leader.

"We're just in the early stages, but I think we're off to a good start with this program encouraging entrepreneurial efforts among tribal members," he said.

Parker Shield said he and a seven-member board of directors started the community development corporation to help spur economic and social growth.

Although all are members of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe, the development group is not officially connected with the tribe.

Parker Shield will instruct the class. He's been a contractor, tribal official and government aide, but had to study to be certified to teach the class. Guest speakers will discuss marketing, finance, business law and other topics.

Classes will be 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays in the county extension office meeting room at Westgate Mall. Ten Native Americans have signed up, filling the class, which will follow a curriculum created by Oregon Native American Business Enterprise Network.

The student finishing the class with the best business plan will win a $300 prize, Parker Shield said, and War Shield Development hopes to provide them additional support as they launch businesses.

The classes are funded with small grants from the Montana Department of Commerce and the State Tribal Economic Development Commission, he said.

"We're starting up in Great Falls, which has more than 1,000 of the state's 4,500 Little Shell members," Parker Shield said. "But we're hoping eventually to help Little Shell and other tribal members around the state."

The Little Shell is a landless tribe that's been trying for years to officially get recognized by the federal government, which would bring benefits for its members.

Parker Shield said War Shield Development also is considering programs to rehabilitate existing subsidized, low-income apartments and to promote homeownership for tribal members.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Peter Johnson at 791-1476, 800 438-6600 or pjohnson@greatfallstribune.com.



April 29, 2007

Little Shell Tribal Member Has Grand Opening of Retail Store in Butte Montana!


Bigback Silk-Screening will be having a grand opening on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 in Butte Montana at 66 West Park Street.

The day will feature Traditional Flute Music (Northern Cheyenne Flute Player - Charles Rising Sun), Dance, Drumming (Hand Drummer Jack Perry), Food, Artists, Crafts People, and a Local Contemporary Musician. Mrs. Bigback is an Enrolled Member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, and Mr. Bigback is an Enrolled Member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe. Both have been Vending at the powwow's, conferences, and artshows for the past several years and are now setting up both a retail and a wholesale silkscreen printing service in a permenant store front in Butte Montana. The Retail Store will highlight an Art Gallery, a Gift Shop, and of courst the Silk Screen Print Shop. If you are in Butte Montana, please stop by and say hello to Robert, Michele, and Cheyenne.

If you would like to order Silk-Screening or other items, you can contact them at:

Bigback Silk-Screening
66 W. Park St.
Butte, MT 59701
406-782-2713
406-494-1051 (fax)
bigbacksilkscreening@msn.com
www.BigbackSilkScreening.com



April 26, 2007

Montana Governor Signs Little Shell Bill for the 2nd time

From the Great Falls Tribune

By ERIC NEWHOUSE
Great Falls Tribune Projects Editor

A bill giving the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe an office building was signed into law again Wednesday by Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

"Now you have state recognition and the Morony site," Schweitzer told tribal leaders at a formal bill signing in the C.M. Russell Museum. "The next step is federal recognition."

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Shannon Augare, D-Browning, gives the tribe control of the historic Morony apartment building on the damsite outside Great Falls for the next 10 years.

It also gives the tribe control of the land around it, perhaps six or seven acres, said Roger Semler, regional parks manager for Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

"We have the latitude to inspect the site, determine what it will cost to fix it up, and the time to raise funding to pay for it before we take physical possession," said John Sinclair, tribal chairman.

The tribe has sought federal recognition, which would enable it and its members to qualify for government services and aid such as education and health care funding, for 115 years.

FWP currently supervises the park. Under the new law, the tribe could renovate the two-story brick building with a porch that's falling off, and use it for offices and cultural activities, but the bill provides no state funding for it.

"Obviously, it would be quite a costly endeavor to restore that building to its historic design," Semler said. "It could be well over a million dollars would be my guess."

After a decade, the tribe can renew its lease, or the state can permanently transfer the building and acreage around it to the tribe.

According to the governor's office, Schweitzer originally signed the bill into law early in April.

"I think the governor wanted to sign the bill in Helena real quick so they couldn't take it back, then sign it again with us," Sinclair said.

"It's good to be here with you," Schweitzer said. "And it's good to be out of the Capitol building because there are bad spirits there that sometimes drive people to say things they may not mean."

Earlier in the day, House Majority Leader Michael Lange had unleashed a profanity-laden tirade against the governor.

"He works hard at this, and I have nothing but respect for him," Schweitzer responded. "I believe we should never take the measure of a man at his weakest moment."

Reach Tribune Projects Editor Eric Newhouse at 791-1485, 800-438-6600 or enewhousegreatfallstribune.com

WEBMASTER NOTE: This Bill was lobbied for and with the blood, sweat, and tears of Little Shell Tribal Member James Parker Shield and we all need to congradulate him for his tireless dedication to the tribe and to our people. Chairman John Sinclair forced James Parker Shield to resign from the Vice-Chairmanship over this issue in a very ugly and disrecpectful and public way.



April 7, 2007

Little Shell tribe gets yes vote for townsite

From the Associated Press via Billings Gazette.

By The Associated Press

HELENA - Gov. Brian Schweitzer has signed a bill that offers the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe control of a two-story brick building and a few acres at the Morony Dam site as part of a legislative effort to help the tribe gain federal recognition.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Shannon Augare, D-Browning, would give the tribe control of the historic Morony apartment building for the next decade.

Roger Semler, regional parks manager for the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Great Falls, said the tribe also would control six or seven acres. The state agency supervises the Morony park.

"We thought that if the Little Shell had a land base, maybe Congress would grant them recognition a little quicker," said Sen. Joe Tropila, D-Great Falls, the bill's co-sponsor. Greater acreage has been discussed, he said.

For 115 years, the Little Shell have sought federal recognition, which would enable the tribe and its members to qualify for government services and aid such as education and health care funding.

Under the new law, the tribe could renovate the brick building and use it for offices and cultural activities. The bill does not provide any state funding.

"Obviously, it would be quite a costly endeavor to restore that building to its historic design," Semler said. "It could be well over a million dollars would be my guess."

After a decade, the tribe could renew its lease, or the state could permanently transfer the building and surrounding acreage to the tribe. Details still need to be worked out, said Russell Boham, the tribal executive officer.

"All of it, as far as the tribe is concerned, merely provides the impetus for negotiations," he said. "And until negotiations begin, everything is up in the air.

"However, we're pleased that the legislation has been passed and signed, and we consider it a great opportunity."

Negotiations over the bill led to the resignation of Little Shell Vice Chairman James Parker Shield earlier this year. Tribal President John Sinclair said at the time that he was unaware of Shield's negotiations with the state until "way late in the game."

The Little Shell have offices in a Great Falls shopping center.



April 6, 2007

Tribe offered control of Morony Dam building

From the Associated Press via Billings Gazette

By The Associated Press

HELENA - Gov. Brian Schweitzer has signed a bill that offers the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe control of a two-story brick building and a few acres at the Morony Dam site as part of a legislative effort to help the tribe gain federal recognition.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Shannon Augare, D-Browning, would give the tribe control of the historic Morony apartment building for the next decade.

Roger Semler, regional parks manager for the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Great Falls, said the tribe also would control six or seven acres. The state agency supervises the Morony park.

"We thought that if the Little Shell had a land base, maybe Congress would grant them recognition a little quicker," said Sen. Joe Tropila, D-Great Falls, the bill's co-sponsor. Greater acreage has been discussed, he said.

For 115 years, the Little Shell have sought federal recognition, which would enable the tribe and its members to qualify for government services and aid such as education and health-care funding.

Under the new law, the tribe could renovate the brick building and use it for offices and cultural activities. The bill does not provide any state funding.

"Obviously, it would be quite a costly endeavor to restore that building to its historic design," Semler said. "It could be well over a million dollars would be my guess."

After a decade, the tribe could renew its lease, or the state could permanently transfer the building and surrounding acreage to the tribe.

Details still need to be worked out, said Russell Boham, the tribal executive officer.

"All of it, as far as the tribe is concerned, merely provides the impetus for negotiations," he said. "And until negotiations begin, everything is up in the air.

"However, we're pleased that the legislation has been passed and signed, and we consider it a great opportunity."

Negotiations over the bill led to the resignation of Little Shell Vice Chairman James Parker Shield earlier this year. Tribal President John Sinclair said at the time that he was unaware of Shield's negotiations with the state until "way late in the game."

The Little Shell have offices in a Great Falls shopping center.



April 6, 2007

State offers control of Morony Dam building to Little Shell Chippewa Tribe

From the Great Falls Tribune

By Great Falls Tribune Staff

HELENA — A bill giving the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe an office building was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Shannon Augare, D-Browning, would give the tribe control of the historic Morony apartment building on the damsite outside Great Falls for the next 10 years.

"The bill would give the tribe control of the old apartment building and the land around it, perhaps six or seven acres," said Roger Semler, regional parks manager for Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Great Falls.

"There's been no discussion of any other acreage beyond that," said Semler.

"Right now, we're looking at giving the tribe 30 or 40 acres of the Morony damsite," bill co-sponsor Sen. Joe Tropila, D-Great Falls, said Thursday. "We thought that if the Little Shell had a land base, maybe Congress would grant them recognition a little quicker."

The Little Shell have sought federal recognition, which would enable the tribe and its members to qualify for government services and aid such as education and health care funding, for 115 years.

FWP currently supervises the park. Under the new law, the tribe could renovate the two-story brick building with a porch that's falling off, and use it for offices and cultural activities, but the bill provides no state funding for it.

"Obviously, it would be quite a costly endeavor to restore that building to its historic design," Semler said. "It could be well over a million dollars would be my guess."

After a decade, the tribe can renew its lease, or the state can permanently transfer the building and acreage around it to the tribe.

Details still need to be worked out, said Russell Boham, the tribal executive officer.

"All of it, as far as the tribe is concerned, merely provides the impetus for negotiations," he said. "And until negotiations begin, everything is up in the air.

"However, we're pleased that the legislation has been passed and signed, and we consider it a great opportunity," Boham added.

The Little Shell currently operate out of offices in a Great Falls shopping center.

Webmaster Note: This Bill was championed by Vice Chairman James Parker Shields who worked tirelessly to get this bill through the Montana Legislature along with other items helpful for the Tribe. Sadly, in a very ugly and public display of disunity and disloyalty to the Little Shell Tribal Members, Chairman John Sinclair forced the resignation of James Parker Shields because he had a disagreement over this issue.

The Law is effective July 1, 2007.



Click HERE to view HB284 in PDF Format

HOUSE BILL NO. 284

INTRODUCED BY AUGARE, J. TROPILA, SMITH, CORDIER, JAYNE, SMALL-EASTMAN, JUNEAU, CAMPBELL, BIXBY


AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE RENOVATION OF THE HISTORIC BUILDING AT THE MORONY TOWNSITE IN GIANT SPRINGS STATE PARK; GRANTING AUTHORITY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH, WILDLIFE, AND PARKS TO ENTER AN AGREEMENT WITH THE LITTLE SHELL CHIPPEWA TRIBE FOR MAINTENANCE AND SECURITY AT THE PARK IN EXCHANGE FOR THE TRIBE'S USE OF THE PARK AND RENOVATION AND USE OF THE BUILDING; PROVIDING AN APPROPRIATION; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

 

AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE RENOVATION OF THE HISTORIC BUILDING AT THE MORONY TOWNSITE IN GIANT SPRINGS STATE PARK; GRANTING AUTHORITY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH, WILDLIFE, AND PARKS TO ENTER AN AGREEMENT WITH THE LITTLE SHELL CHIPPEWA TRIBE FOR MAINTENANCE AND SECURITY AT THE PARK IN EXCHANGE FOR THE TRIBE'S USE OF THE PARK AND RENOVATION AND USE OF THE BUILDING; PROVIDING AN APPROPRIATION; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

 

     Section 1.  Renovation of Morony apartment building at Giant Springs state park. (1) (a) The department of fish, wildlife, and parks may enter into a 10-year agreement with the Little Shell Chippewa tribe that would authorize the tribe to renovate the historic Morony apartment building at the Morony townsite in Giant Springs state park and use the building for offices, interpretive areas, and related cultural and recreational activities.

     (b) If the provisions of the agreement have been adhered to during the first 10-year period, the department and the tribe may renew the agreement for a longer term or agree to transfer the building and acreage to the tribe.

     (c) The agreement must provide that written approval by the department is required for major improvements costing more than $5,000 and for architectural plans proposed by the tribe for the building and site. The department may not unreasonably withhold approval for the tribe's proposals.

     (d) The agreement must contain a provision that the site remain open to the public for general recreation and related activities during the term of the agreement.

     (e) The agreement must contain a provision that gambling, casinos, or similar gaming enterprises are prohibited in the building or on the site.

     (f) An appropriate default provision must be included in the agreement.

     (2) Renovation and improvement of the building are contingent on written concurrence from PPL Montana, from whom the original Morony townsite was granted. All renovation of and upgrades to the building must comply with current and applicable building codes, permitting, requirements of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and other requirements related to a public building.

     (3) The agreement with the Little Shell Chippewa tribe may include a provision that grants the tribe nonexclusive use of the park and associated outbuildings and fixtures and the renovated building in exchange for the tribe's maintenance and security at the townsite, including the renovated building.

 

     Section 2.  Appropriation. There is appropriated $500 from the general fund to the department of fish, wildlife, and parks for the purposes of [section 1].

 

     Section 3.  Notification to tribal governments. The secretary of state shall send a copy of [this act] to each tribal government located on the seven Montana reservations and to the Little Shell Chippewa tribe.

 

     Section 4.  Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 2007.

- END -



April 5, 2007

Little Shell Chippewa get access to land

From the Great Falls Tribune

By Great Falls Tribune Staff

HELENA — A bill giving the Little Shell Chippewa access to land was signed into law by Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Thursday.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Shannon Augare, D-Browning, would give the tribe control of the Morony Dam townsite outside Great Falls for the next 10 years. The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks now supervises the park. The tribe could renovate the building and use it for offices and cultural activities.

After a decade, the tribe could renew its lease, or the state could permanently transfer the building and land around it to the tribe.

The Little Shell now operate from offices in a Great Falls shopping center. The tribe has been seeking federal recognition for more than 100 years. Montana’s congressional delegation has introduced legislation to speed the process.



March 15, 2007

Little Shell Tribal Member Selected To Tobacco Control Youth Leadership Institute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE	       	Contact: Roseanne David
March 13, 2007		     		 571-323-5660	


Tohni Laverdure
Little Shell Tribal Member

Little Shell Tribal Member Selected To Tobacco Control Youth Leadership Institute
American Legacy Foundation® Trains the Next Generation of Tobacco Control Community Leaders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tohni Laverdure, a senior at Great Falls High School in Great Falls, M.T., was one of 11 high school students nationwide selected to participate in the Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) of the American Legacy Foundation?, the largest national public health foundation dedicated to preventing teens from smoking and providing resources to smokers who want to quit. Laverdure was chosen from a competitive field of more than 80 applicants and represents a group of young people who aspire to become leaders in social justice issues in their communities, including tobacco prevention.

Each year, more than 400,000 Americans die from tobacco-related diseases, including heart disease, cancers, emphysema and stroke. Research also shows most smokers start before the age of 18. Engaging young people in tobacco control issues is essential to reaching youth before they take up smoking, a life-threatening habit. In Montana alone, 23 percent of high school-age students smoke, which is higher than the national average (22 percent).

The Institute convened in Washington, D.C., where the students were trained in public speaking and other communication skills. The youth also increased their knowledge of social justice issues, such as how tobacco-use can disproportionately affect underserved populations like low-income and racial, ethnic and cultural minority groups. They were briefed on the foundation's efforts in tobacco prevention and cessation and outlined ways to reach out to their respective communities.

“Legacy is delighted to provide this rich educational experience to young people who volunteer their time and energy to the Youth Leadership Institute,” said Cheryl Healton, Dr. P.H., Legacy’s president and CEO. “Many of the foundation’s programs focus on youth and we look forward to jump starting their roles as tobacco control advocates and leaders in public health,” Healton said.

Laverdure, a 17-year-old of the Little Shell Tribe of Montana, was selected to participate in the week-long Institute because of her demonstrated interest in and commitment to community initiatives. In Great Falls, Laverdure has volunteered with the Indian Family Health Clinic Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program, participating in numerous activities such as Kick Butts Day and other monthly activities. She is president of the Great Falls High School Native American Club and volunteers with other youth organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club.

“I’m eager to do more and am glad for this opportunity to learn more and grow as a leader with the American Legacy Foundation’s Youth Leadership Institute,” Laverdure said. “If I could just stop one child from smoking or help one person quit, it would be very satisfying.”

Research shows that American Indians disproportionately suffer from tobacco-related diseases. In addition, data show that among seniors in high school and adults, American Indians had higher rates of tobacco use than any other ethnic group.

Members of the Youth Leadership Institute will be groomed to take on more leadership responsibilities and may possibly become members of the American Legacy Foundation’s Youth Activism Council upon graduation from high school, if qualified. The foundation’s Youth Activism Council is made up of college-age students who serve as tobacco control advocates on behalf of the foundation and spread the word about tobacco’s deadly toll to peers and community organizations.

Legacy’s Youth Leadership Institute members are:

Name			Home City/State		School

Christina Cartaciano	Hagatna, Guam		Academy of Our Lady of Guam
Jalisa Cooper		Columbus, OH		Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Ctr
Artisha Hairston 	Winston Salem, NC	Mount Tabor High School
Jesse James		Milan, NM		Grants High School/PLC
Summer Jenkins-Pua’a	Kaunakakai, HI		Molokai High School
Zenobia Johnson		Hyattsville, MD		Bladensburg High School
Tohni Laverdure		Great Falls, MT		Great Falls High School
Krystal Pelayo		Wailuku, HI		Henry Perrine Baldwin High School
Monica Torres		Bridgeport, NE		Bridgeport Public Schools
Tasha Tydingco		Barrigada, Guam		Academy of Our Lady of Guam
Ciera Wood		Columbus, OH		Columbus Alternative High School

The American Legacy Foundation® is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use through grants, technical assistance and training, youth activism, strategic partnerships, counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns, research, public relations, and outreach to populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco. The foundation’s national programs include truth®, Great Start® and a Priority Populations Initiative. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five US territories, and the tobacco industry. Visit www.americanlegacy.org.

###


March 8, 2007

Little Shell tribe gets yes vote for townsite

From the Great Falls Tribune

Little Shell tribe gets yes vote for townsite
By GWEN FLORIO
Tribune Capitol Bureau

HELENA — The Little Shell Chippewa would be landless no longer under a bill that received preliminary approval Wednesday in the House of Representatives.

The tribe would take control of the Morony Dam townsite outside Great Falls for the next decade under the bill sponsored by Rep. Shannon Augare, D-Browning.

"This is a group of people wandering our state since 1896. This is the first time they've got a place they can call home and do business," said Rep. Gordon Hendrick, R-Superior.

The tribe operates from offices in the rear of a Great Falls shopping center. Last week, Montana's congressional delegation introduced legislation to bring federal recognition to the Little Shell, which has sought it for 115 years.

Along with recognition, which would qualify the tribe for certain federal benefits, the Little Shell seek land. Augare said the little-used Morony Dam townsite is ideal.

"Part of this land was actually ceremonial to many Native Americans across Montana. This is an opportunity to allow this certain American Indian population to utilize the property once again," Augare said.

As part of their agreement with the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, which now manages the site on the Missouri River, the tribe would maintain a walking trail in the park and seek money to renovate the deteriorating brick building there.

The Morony Dam Park comprises more than 300 acres, but Augare's bill doesn't specify how much of that would be turned over to the tribe. The bill originally would have allocated $500,000 to renovate the building, but that amount has been reduced to $500. Augare said the tribe would try to raise private funds for work on the building.

During debate on the bill Wednesday, Augare tried to allay concerns that the tribe might use the site for a gaming operation if the state permanently turns over the land.

"This is happening all over the United States. Tribes are taking advantage to develop gambling casinos as sources of revenue, whether they're on or off the reservation, whether they're a tribe, or not a tribe," said Rep. Tom McGillvray, R-Billings. "I don't think it's good for Montanans."

Augare said members of the tribe have assured him they don't want the land for a casino.

"I think it's really unfortunate that we would penalize certain populations for something they have not even done," he said to McGillvray.

The House approved the bill, 76-24. The measure faces a final vote in the House before going to the Senate.

To read the full text of House Bill 284, view:

HB 284 Legislative Info Page


PDF Version of MT House Bill 284

March 7, 2007

Little Shell would be landless no longer under bill

From the Great Falls Tribune

Little Shell would be landless no longer under bill
Great Falls Tribune Capitol Bureau

HELENA – The Little Shell Band of the Chippewa tribe would be landless no longer under a bill that received preliminary approval Wednesday in the House of Representatives.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Shannon Augare, D-Browning, would give the tribe control of the Morony Dam townsite outside Great Falls for the next 10 years.

At the end of that time, the state could permanently transfer the site to the tribe, which has spent decades seeking federal recognition.

Rep. Tom McGillvray, R-Billings, said he was concerned that the tribe eventually would seek to run a gambling hall at the site.

But Augare said he’d been assured that would never happen. The House approved the bill, 76-24. It faces one more vote before moving to the Senate.



March 4, 2007

Helena Independant Register Editorial Supports Recognition for Little Shell Tribe

From the Helena Independant Register

About time for Little Shell Tribe
By The Helena IR - 03/04/07

So what if it’s 100 years late? We’re sure Montana’s Little Shell Chippewa Tribe will still take it.

That’s how long the 4,300 Little Shell members have been trying to obtain federal recognition as a tribe — the recognition that is necessary to qualify for government services already available to other Native Americans.

Montana’s congressional delegation — Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Rep. Denny Rehberg — introduced legislation last week that requires immediate action. The tribe was recognized by the state seven years ago, joining the seven other tribal nations in Montana. At about the same time, the Department of the Interior issued a positive finding for the tribe. Since then, however, the matter has been snarled in what the delegation called “bureaucratic obstacles.”

As “landless” Indians, the Little Shell Tribe, based in Great Falls but with many members in the Helena area as well, has long been denied basic services afforded to Indians on reservations.

The bill includes tribal land as well making members eligible for education, housing, health care, and other assistance.

Many Native Americans, whether on reservations or not, suffer from poverty and all the problems that come with it, including substance abuse and poor health.

Given their history, they of all people deserve the assistance they need.

We wish the delegation well in quickly pushing the measure through Congress and onto the president’s desk.



March 4, 2007

Montana's congressional delegation Unites to bring Federal Recognition to Little Shell Tribe

From the Billings Gazette

Delegation pushes tribe recognition
By Billings Gazette News Services

WASHINGTON - Montana's congressional delegation has united in an effort to bring federal recognition to the state's Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

The Little Shell, a tribe of more than 4,000 based in Great Falls, say they have been fighting for federal recognition for more than 100 years.

The U.S. Interior Department granted the tribe preliminary recognition in 2000. But the tribe still doesn't have reservation land, housing, medical care and other benefits that come with federal recognition.

"This is just the quickest way to do it," said tribal president John Sinclair, who added that he was appreciative of the congressional effort.

Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg introduced the House bill, similar to legislation he introduced in the last Congress. Democratic Sen. Jon Tester introduced the Senate version of the legislation, his first bill since becoming a senator in January. Democratic Sen. Max Baucus is a co-sponsor.

Tester said the bill would require immediate action.

"Not only does this bill provide tribal land, it formally sets up a government-to-government relationship between the tribe and the United States - something all tribal nations deserve," Tester said.



From the Great Falls Tribune

Montana delegation bills would recognize Little Shell Tribe

For the Great Falls Tribune

WASHINGTON — Montana's congressional delegation introduced legislation Thursday to recognize the landless Little Shell Chippewa Tribe.

Federal recognition, which the tribe has sought for more than 115 years, would enable it to qualify for existing government services.

The Little Shell is recognized by the state of Montana and all seven other tribal nations in the state.

"The Little Shell have spent over a century tirelessly trying to gain federal recognition and this bill will help them get it," said Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., who introduced similar legislation last session.

"This recognition is critical for the tribe to gain better access to increased education and health-care funding," he said

Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., introduced parallel legislation in the Senate.

"This bill fulfills a long overdue promise owed to the 4,500 Montanans who belong to the Little Shell Band of Chippewa Indians," Tester said. "Not only does this bill provide tribal land, it formally sets up a government-to-government relationship between the tribe and the United States —something all tribal nations deserve. This bill also cuts to the chase by requiring action now, rather than funding another red-tape study of the issue."

Montana's Little Shell Chippewa Tribe is long overdue for getting federal recognition, Baucus said.

"That's why I'm working together with Jon and Denny to pass legislation so tribal members can get the federal recognition and the benefits they deserve," Baucus said. "I'm committed to getting this legislation passed."

John Sinclair, chairman of the Little Shell Tribe, expressed his appreciation for the proposed legislation.

"Many of our tribal members are in need of health care, and this legislation would help them get it," he said. "It's important that we get this legislation passed and achieve recognition as soon as possible."

In 2000, the same year the Great Falls-based tribe was recognized by the state of Montana, the Department of Interior issued a positive finding for the tribe, making it eligible for recognition. Since then, however, little progress has been made because of bureaucratic obstacles.

WebMaster Note:

Rep Denny Rehberg submitted "H.R. 1301 : To extend the Federal relationship to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana as a distinct federally recognized Indian tribe, and for other purposes.", on March 1, 2007.
PDF Version of H.R. 1301

Sen Jon Tester submitted "S.724 : A bill to extend the Federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, and for other purposes.", on March 1, 2007. The Bill is CoSponsered by Sen Max Bacus.
PDF Version of S. 724

Thomas Register has yet to post the text of either bill, once they provide it, I will post a copy here.


Feb 22, 2007

Little Shell Tribe to Receive Equity Funds to help develop private businesses

From the Great Falls Tribune

New program brings equity to Indians going into business

By JO DEE BLACK
Great Falls Tribune Business Editor

When Johnel Barcus and her husband bought the Park Lanes bowling lanes in Browning from her in-laws, they had access to something rarely found on Montana's Indian reservations — equity.

"The majority of our loan came from my parents, who have money that they received in a settlement," said Barcus. "They decided to invest in their children, but generally, access to capital is very rare on reservations. It's one of the biggest barriers to private development."

That's a situation with which the state's new Indianpreneur Equity Fund is intended to help.

The Equity Fund was developed by the Montana Department of Commerce in cooperation with the State Tribal Economic Development Commission and the Governor's Office of Economic Development.

The $70,000 fund will allocate $7,875 to each of Montana's seven Indian reservations and the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe.

Applicants need to match the fund dollar-for-dollar with other money or collateral.

The money is intended to help Native Americans develop or expand private businesses on or near reservations, said Philip Belangie, the director of the Montana Department of Commerce's entrepreneur development program.

"You need to take equity to the table to get a loan, generally 25 percent," he said. Sometimes that comes from relatives or friends. Others use equity in their homes to begin a business.

"But data shows that those traditional resources don't exist on reservations," Belangie said. "The money is there and home ownership rates are lower."

The new fund is generating plenty of interest, said Barcus, who also is the executive director of the Browning Community Development Corp.

"We talked about it at our meeting with the Browning Chamber of Commerce and I think almost every member plans to apply," she said.

"For people who choose to live here, business ownership is a means of survival. You need to create your own opportunities to make a living."

Applications will be taken until June 30 and the program will be monitored, said Belangie.

If successful, it's likely that the program will seek more money.

"This Equity Fund will help Indianpreneurs achieve their goals and enhance their community," said Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

"This is a way to improve the economic climate of Indian country, one business at a time."



Feb 14, 2007

Leadership Struggle places State Park Plans and future of Little Shell Tribe in jeapordy, Chairman Sinclair forces resignation of Vice Chairman James Parker Shields in public disagreement of deal.

Webmaster Update 2/15/2007: Louella Fredricksen, Tribal Council Member has also announced her resignation from the Tribal Council in protest of John Sinclair's actions. That now makes 5 Tribal Council Members who have resigned in Protest of Chairman Sinclairs policies and actions since the 2004 Elections. This does not protend good things for our tribe.

From the Great Falls Tribune

By CHELSI MOY
Tribune Capitol Bureau

Little Shell Chippewa Tribe may secure land for the first time in 100 years

HELENA — Plans are under way to give the landless, federally-unrecognized Little Shell Chippewa Tribe something it hasn't had in more than a century — a home.

Negotiations are under way between state and tribal leaders to have the Little Shell take responsibility for renovations of the Morony Dam townsite northeast of Great Falls and perform routine maintenance to the nearby walking trail for the next decade.

In return, the state promises to consider donating the land to the tribe at the end of the contract.

"It's something we've not had since 1892: a homeland, a place to conduct our tribal affairs," said Little Shell Vice Chairman James Parker Shield.

Although the availability of land is good news to some, it doesn't resonate well with all tribal members.

Future negotiations will move forward without Shield's participation. Shield, the tribe's primary spokesman, submitted his letter of resignation Monday following a disagreement with the tribal chairman over whether the tribe could financially commit to long-term maintenance of the state park.

"We've had a falling out over a difference of opinions," said Tribal President John Sinclair, who indicated that it wasn't until "way late in the game" that he learned of Shield's negotiations with the state.

Shield, whose resignation is effective as of Saturday, disagrees. "I thought this was discussed and decided that we would go for it," he said.

Regardless, Gov. Brian Schweitzer's Chief Policy Advisor, Hal Harper, is excited to move forward and calls the proposed land exchange a win-win situation.

Not only would the tribe acquire land, but the state wouldn't have to continue to pay for maintenance of the building in the townsite in the face of increased vandalism, FWP Director Jeff Hagener said.

Estimates to repair the damages to the rickety brick building range anywhere from a $500,000 to $1 million, Hagener said.

"It's hard to be out there all the time," Hagener said. "We don't have the money to put into it. (Morony) is not a high priority for us."

The Little Shell tribe is headquartered out of a shopping mall in Great Falls. Negotiating a land deal at Morony Dam was "one of my pet projects," said Shield, who envisioned moving the tribe's headquarters there.

"It needs water and septic improvements," he said. "The front porch is collapsing on one corner. Other than that, it's a good building."

The tribe would also be responsible for about 30 acres of land, which includes the historical Sacagawea Springs.

The Legislature tabled a bill that would hand the Little Shell $500,000 and the rights to use and maintain the Morony townsite.

Hagener put the brakes on the bill, saying FWP doesn't have that kind of money. He instead offered $10,000 to the tribe to use to pay a grant writer to find financing for the project through grants, foundations, corporations or donations.

Sinclair said he needs to weigh the cost-benefit of maintaining the land before he can determine whether to move forward.

"We are not desperate to have the site," Sinclair said. "Our financial situation is not good. If it became a huge financial burden to us, the value would disappear."

Shield said he would be disappointed if the land agreement fails. He would hate to see a good opportunity fall to the wayside because of friction among tribal leaders, he added.

"You can only have one leader," Shield said. "It was becoming awkward for him (Sinclair) that I was getting a lot of public notice. Sometimes that can turn into friction."

Sinclair said he intends to appoint Ronald Doney as a temporary replacement for Shield.

Rep. Shannon Augare, D-Browning, is sponsoring the bill that would allow the land lease agreement to take place.

Although the bill is tabled in the House Fish, Wildlife & Parks Committee, Augare plans to insert new language into the bill in the next week that reflects the negotiations of the contract reached between tribal leaders and the governor's office. The committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Milburn, R-Cascade, will then likely vote on the bill again.

******Webmaster Note: Since the 2004 Tribal Council Elections, the Resignation of James Parker Shields marks the 4th Resignation of Tribal Council Members in Public Disagreements with Chairman Sinclair about the policies and the direction of the Tribe. A special Election was held last November to fill 3 open Council Seats.



Jan 30, 2007

Audio of Jan 23, 2007 Hearing of Montana House Bill 284 available.

House Bill 284 is a bill that will allow the Little Shell Tribe to use a building on the old Morony Township in Giant Springs State Park for use as a Tribal Headquarters in return, the Little Shell Tribe will provide maintenance and security services for Giant Springs Park. The Hearing was conducted before the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee in Room 152 at 3pm on Jan 23, 2007. Witnessess testifying before the Committee was Vice chairman James Parker Shield and Joe Maurier Administrator for Parks Division of FWP.

Listen to the "Edited" Version of the hearing here : HB284 Hearing 1-23-07: 39:50 minutes long.

(Note: Edited version only has the discussion of HB-284, if you want to listen to the whole hearing, click here: 070123FIH.rm (Real Audio Required to listen to).

Jan 22, 2007

Montana House to Debate Bill giving maintenance and security of Giant Springs Park to Little Shell Tribe

UPDATE Jan 23: The Bill will be debated before the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee in Room 152, 3 p.m.

From the Billings Gazette

The Bill is scheduled to be debated on the House Floor January 23rd, 2007. Here is the copy of the Bill HB 284:

HOUSE BILL NO. 284

INTRODUCED BY S. AUGARE

A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT DIRECTING THE RENOVATION OF THE HISTORIC BUILDING AT THE MORONY TOWNSITE IN GIANT SPRINGS STATE PARK BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH, WILDLIFE, AND PARKS; GRANTING AUTHORITY FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO ENTER AN AGREEMENT WITH THE LITTLE SHELL CHIPPEWA TRIBE FOR MAINTENANCE AND SECURITY AT THE PARK IN EXCHANGE FOR THE TRIBE'S USE OF THE PARK AND THE RENOVATED BUILDING; PROVIDING AN APPROPRIATION; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE."

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

NEW SECTION.

Section 1. Renovation of Morony apartment building at Giant Springs state park.

(1) The department of fish, wildlife, and parks shall renovate the historic Morony apartment building at the Morony townsite in Giant Springs state park.

(2) Renovation and improvement of the building are contingent on written concurrence from PPL Montana, from whom the original Morony townsite was granted.

(3) The department may enter an agreement with the Little Shell Chippewa tribe that grants the tribe nonexclusive use of the park and associated outbuildings and fixtures and the renovated building in exchange for the tribe's maintenance and security at the townsite, including the renovated building.

NEW SECTION. Section 2. Appropriation. There is appropriated $500,000 from the state special revenue fund established for state parks, from money from the motor vehicle registration fee collected for state parks in 61-3-321(18), to the department of fish, wildlife, and parks for the purposes of [section 1].

NEW SECTION. Section 3. Notification to tribal governments. The secretary of state shall send a copy of [this act] to each tribal government located on the seven Montana reservations and to the Little Shell Chippewa tribe.

NEW SECTION. Section 4. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 2007.

- END -



Jan 19, 2007

Republican Denny Rehberg says he'll help Little Shell Tribe gain federal recognition

From the Great Falls Tribune

Rehberg says he'll help Little Shell Tribe gain federal recognition

By ERIC NEWHOUSE
Great Falls Tribune Projects Editor

U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg promised Thursday to introduce legislation on Feb. 1 seeking federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe.

The Montana Republican introduced similar legislation last July, but it died at year's end.

"I got it in a little late last year," he said.

"This year, I want to get it in as soon as possible so I can begin working with committee chairmen and ranking members to make sure it gets a fair hearing," he said. James Parker Shield, vice chairman of the Great Falls-based tribe, said about 200 tribes around the country are seeking federal recognition.

But when he met with Rehberg today, Parker Shield told him that most of those petitions have problems, including a lack of local support.

"The governor is with us; our two senators are with us; the city of Great Falls, Cascade County and the Great Falls Tribune have all been with us," said Rehberg.

"With no opposition, that makes us unique among the 200 tribes seeking recognition," he added.

Federal recognition is critical for the tribe to gain better access to existing education and health care services, Rehberg said.

Approximately 4,300 members of the landless Little Shell Tribe have been petitioning the federal government for recognition for about 115 years.

It could mean the construction of an Indian agency in Great Falls, as well as a tribal health clinic.

"Federal recognition of an Indian tribe can have a tremendous effect on the tribe, surrounding communities and the nation as a whole," stated a Government Accountability Office report issued a few years ago.

According to the report, in fiscal year 2000 about "$4 billion was appropriated for programs and funding almost exclusively for recognized tribes."

The report added that recognition "establishes a formal government-to-government relationship," between a tribe and the United States.

Last year, Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed and read a declaration supporting federal recognition.



Dec 21, 2006

Governor Schweitzer gives Money Clips to tribes.

From the Great Falls Tribune

Schweitzer: Youthful reservations have great potential
By GWEN FLORIO
Tribune Capitol Bureau

HELENA — Indian Country has the potential to become the United States' equivalent of the so-called "Irish miracle," Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Wednesday in presenting the state's annual tribal relations report.

Schweitzer reminded representatives of the state's tribes that just a few years ago, Ireland was among the most impoverished countries in Europe, burdened by high unemployment and one of the youngest populations on the continent.

"Does that sound like any opportunities we have in a situation in Montana?" Schweitzer asked, in a clear reference to the state's seven reservations, which have the highest proportion of young people in Montana, and a winter unemployment rate that can hit 80 percent.

Ireland's economy, thanks to a plentiful workforce channeled into high-tech jobs, is now booming.

In Indian Country, the governor suggested that "we can train the population of young people to do the work, and then turn them loose."

Jobs are key, concurred Julia Doney, president of the Community Council at the Fort Belknap Reservation, where unemployment can reach 70 percent even in the summertime.

"All of our reservations really are economically disadvantaged because of their (isolated) locations and lack of natural resources," Doney said. "... The big thing that would really help is if a person had a job."

Schweitzer addressed a group conspicuously missing a member: There were no representatives of the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes, which recently tangled with the governor over the terms of the gaming agreement on their Western Montana reservation.

Schweitzer said the Salish-Kootenai had a conflicting meeting Wednesday and Council Chairman James Steele Jr.'s grandfather died recently. No one from the tribes had called to let him know they wouldn't be attending, Schweitzer said.

Salish-Kootenai spokesman Rob McDonald confirmed that "family took precedence" for Steele, but said there was no mandatory tribal meeting Wednesday. However, he said, "there was no specific decision not to show up."

Schweitzer called gaming the "sticky wicket" of tribal issues, and said — as he did when the situation with the Salish-Kootenai Tribes reached a breaking point at the beginning of the month — that he had no power to expand the tribes' gaming agreements.

The state's relationship with the Indian tribes within its borders is in "uncharted territory," he said.

"We may take two steps forward, one back," he added. "This is a learning experience. If we have failures, it's not from lack of trying."

Representatives from the state's other tribes, including the landless Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa — headquartered is in Great Falls — attended the meeting on relations between the state government and the tribes, which are sovereign nations within the United States.

The mandatory annual report is a result of 2003 legislation sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder. It requires that the tribes have a say in development of state policies affecting them, and also requires that state employees receive training in Indian law and culture.

"While a few issues get a lot of press ... what this report shows is just how many things, how many programs, we touch together," said Dave Ewer, the administration's budget director. There are more than 300 cooperative agreements between the state and the tribes, he said.

Major Robinson, senior economic development specialist for the Governor's Office on Economic Opportunity and a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, reiterated that the 2005 Legislature allocated $1 million over two years for economic development in Indian Country.

That includes a total of nearly $500,000 in economic development grants to the reservations in Montana, among them $55,000 to the Chippewa Cree to assess the possibility of an ethanol plant; $55,000 to the Fort Belknap tribes for a meat-packing plant; and $55,000 to the Apsaalooke (Crow) Nation for start-up loans for small businesses.

At a lunch after the meeting, Little Shell Vice President James Parker Shield presented Schweitzer with a beaded pendant, and a suggestion.

If Ireland's economic miracle is really a template for Indian Country, he half-jokingly suggested, maybe a trade mission to Ireland was in order?

For his part, Schweitzer presented tribal representative with money clips.

"Here's wishing you prosperity for the new year," he said, "and hoping you fill it with money for your people."

Contact Gwen Florio at 406-442-9493, or gfloriogreatfal.gannett.com



Dec 15, 2006

Great Falls MT city Commission places on Agenda for Dec 19, 2006 Resolution Supporting Federal Recognition of Little Shell Tribe

From the Great Falls City Commission

The City Commission of Great Falls Montana has placed upon the Calendar for Vote Resolution 9623 calling for the Federal Recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana.

ALL Little Shell Tribal Members are encouraged to attend the December 19th Meeting of the City Commission and speak in favor of this resolution.

The City Commission meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Their meeting place is the Commission Chambers located on the second floor of the Civic Center.

Here is a copy of the Agenda Notice: (PDF Version)

CITY OF GREAT FALLS, MONTANA AGENDA # 7

A G E N D A R E P O R T

DATE: December 19, 2006

ITEM RESOLUTION 9623, A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE FEDERAL RECOGNITION OF THE LITTLE SHELL TRIBE OF CHIPPEWA INDIANS OF MONTANA

INITIATED BY THE LITTLE SHELL TRIBE

________________________

ACTION REQUESTED ADOPT RESOLUTION 9623

PRESENTED BY PEGGY BOURNE, CITY CLERK

------------

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends the City Commission adopt Resolution 9623 on final reading.

MOTION

“I move the City Commission adopt Resolution 9623.”

SYNOPSIS

In 1984 the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana petitioned the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Federal Acknowledgements (OFA) for federal recognition, and has made several supplementary submissions to the OFA since then. On July 14, 2000, the OFA issued its favorable Proposed Findings to acknowledge the Tribe and requested additional information from the Tribe and the Little Shell Tribe responded to the OFA’s comments and requests and awaits the OFA’s review and analysis of the documentation. Federal recognition is expected to bring benefits and services to the Little Shell people, including health care and child welfare services.

In an effort to demonstrate community support for this formal recognition, leadership of the Little Shell requested local governments to adopt resolutions of support and forward them to the appropriate federal agency. In 2001, the State Legislature adopted a House Joint Resolution showing support. In 2004 and again in 2005 Cascade County adopted resolutions supporting the Little Shell recognition. In October 2006, Governor Schweitzer signed a declaration supporting recognition of the tribe.

Resolution 9623 is submitted to honor the request of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians for the City Commission to support the Tribe’s efforts to obtain recognition by the federal government.

Here is a copy of Resolution 9623: (PDF Version)

RESOLUTION 9623

A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING FEDERALLY RECOGNIZING THE
LITTLE SHELL TRIBE OF CHIPPEWA INDIANS OF MONTANA

WHEREAS, in 1984 the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana petitioned the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Federal Acknowledgements (OFA) for federal recognition, and has made several supplementary submissions to the OFA since then; and

WHEREAS, on July 14, 2000, the OFA issued its favorable Proposed Findings to acknowledge the Tribe and requested additional information from the Tribe; and

WHEREAS, the Little Shell Tribe responded to the OFA’s comments and requests and awaits the OFA’s review and analysis of the documentation; and

WHEREAS, federal recognition is expected to bring long-awaited benefits and services to the Little Shell people, including health care and child welfare services.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF GREAT FALLS, MONTANA that the City Commission supports the efforts of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in obtaining recognition by the United States Department of the Interior so that tribal members may begin to participate in the services available to federally recognized Indian Tribes. The City Clerk is hereby directed to forward copies of this resolution to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and the Little Shell Tribal Council.

PASSED by the Commission of the City of Great Falls, Montana, on this 19th day of December, 2006.



Dec 14, 2006

High School exhibit displays history of Hill 57 and Little Shell Tribe

By ERIN MADISON
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

From Great Falls Tribune

Heather Rich didn't even know before this school year that Hill 57 existed, let alone that people lived there in shacks, scrounging for money and food.

Rich, 17, was one of 14 Skyline High School students who spent the last couple of months studying Hill 57 and other hills in Great Falls that the landless Little Shell Chippewa Tribe have called home in varying numbers from the 1920s through the 1980s.

The high schoolers' work went on display Dec. 1 at the High Plains Heritage Center History Museum.

Rich couldn't believe that the Indians who lived on Hill 57, Mount Royal and Wire Mill Road were so impoverished that they sifted through the town dump looking for scrap metal to sell, or that they had to beg for leftover meat from local butchers.

"I was amazed by it," said Kyra Tilson, 18, who also worked on the project.

The display at the heritage center includes black and white photos of Hill 57 in the 1950s, a report from interviews the class conducted and a stove taken from one of the houses on the hill.

"It's a story that has never really been told in pictures," said Curtis Valladolid, Skyline's Indian Education coordinator.

James Parker Shield, vice chairman of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe, chatted with museum visitors and glanced occasionally at the photos lining the wall during the exhibit opening.

The Skyline students interviewed Parker, who lived on Wire Mill Road periodically during his childhood, about life on the hills.

The students were surprised by some of the stories he shared with them, he said. They were surprised to hear that Indians were segregated into separate classes at Franklin Elementary School. They didn't realize the hardships people on the hills went through.

"I never really saw it as being that difficult because everybody around me lived the same way," Shield said.

Those communities were very tight knit, he added.

The federal government does not recognize the Little Shell Tribe. The tribe has been fighting for recognition for more than a century.

In October, Gov. Brian Schweitzer announced the state's recognition of the tribe.

Projects like the Skyline's help the tribe's battle for recognition because it helps raise awareness, Shield said.

"You don't grow up in Montana reading about us."

That's why projects like this are important to the tribe as it gains more attention.

"It's adding to that snowballing effect," he said.

Federal recognition would mean better access to education and health services for the tribe's roughly 4,300 members. It would also mean more money coming from the federal government to the tribes.

Most importantly, being federally recognized means having standing as a people and being entitled to dignity and respect as an Indian tribe, Shield said.

Rep. Denny Rehberg introduced a bill in July to formerly recognize the Little Shell Tribe.

Shield doubts the tribe will ever have a reservation, but if it is recognized, it would probably get some land in or near Great Falls for its headquarters, he said.

He would also like to see Hill 57 — the one with the "GF" painted on it that sits above the Valley View — neighborhood, designated as a historical site.

"People in Great Falls need to be reminded that Great Falls itself has a unique Indian history," he said.

The museum display was the first project of this kind that Skyline has done, said Scott Pasek, history teacher at the high school.

It was a very valuable learning experience for the students and the teachers, he said.

The school will most likely continue doing history projects like this, and there has been some discussion about the next subject the students will tackle, Pasek said. The history of jazz in Great Falls in the 1930s is one topic they're leaning toward.



Dec 12, 2006

Swearing In Ceremony for newly Elected Tribal Council Members announced

Click Here for a PDF Version of this Invitation.

You are cordially invited to attend the
Little Shell Chippewa Tribal Council
Swearing In Ceremony

To be held:

January 6, 2007
1:00 pm
Little Shell Chippewa Tribal Office
Westgate Mall
Great Falls Montana

Refreshments to follow

Come and meet your tribal council

John Sinclair – President
James Parker Shield – Vice Chairperson
Edward Lavenger – 2nd Vice Chairperson
Jessie Fuzesy – Secretary Treasurer

Newly elected at-large council members

Alvina Allen
Steve Doney
Louella Fredricksen



Dec 5, 2006

Official results in Little Shell election

Due to some mis-settings of the spam filter on the e-mail server, there was a delay in getting the official results from the Elections held this year for 3 "At-Large" Tribal Council Seats. Here they are.. With them are the Counts of total votes each of the Candidates received. Many Many Thanks to Toni Jo for getting these to me!

Votes were counted at 1pm December 1, 2006.

Russell Boham, Darrel Rummel and Toni Jo did the count. Caroline Fleury was a witness.

At Large Seats Filled:   Total Votes Received
Alvina Allen			123
Steve Doney			112
Louella Fredricksen             86

Remaining Candidates:
Caroline Fleury                 84
Richard Parenteau               66
Randy Randolph                  62
Alfred McGillis                 61
Carol Hofeldt                   49
Mark Landrie                    36
(Note: only about .03% of the 4100 Enrolled Tribal Members actually voted in this election.)

Contact the Tribal office for more information.



Dec 3, 2006

UnOfficial results in Little Shell election

UnOfficial Results are from Council bulletin Board, but no official notice from the Tribal Council by mail or even an auditing of how many votes each of the 9 candidates received or even a total of how many of the 4100 Tribal Members voted in this election were mentioned in the posting. Nor reasons why the Council President extended the voting time period. Please Contact the Tribal office for more information.

At-Large Council seats filled:

Alvina Allen
Steve Doney
Louella Fredricksen

One Candidate, Caroline Fleury, is raising concerns that this may be another Flawed election not conducted within the Tribal Consitutional guidelines,guidelines outlined in DOI/BIA Code of Federal Regulations Title 25, and the enabling act of Congress approved on the 18th day of June, 1934.

Nov 20, 2006

Richard Parenteau gives thanks for help in CreditSmart Program this summer!

From Great Falls Tribune

"Thank you to all the volunteers, organizations, businesses and participants of the CREDITSMART classes held this past year at Westgate Mall: the staff at Westgate (John and Larry), Little Shell Tribe, NHS, Wells Fargo, Montana United Indian Association, Great Falls Indian Education Association, and the Indian Family Health Center, Subway, and the Coach Stop Trading Post. Others from the Native American Community included Mary Gopher, Skye and Belynda Gopher, Richard and Denise Gladeau, Steve and Tammy Parenteau and presentors the late Phil Procopio, Karen Crawford, Candace Hubbard, Gordon Plainbull, Jr., Henry Anderson, Klane King, and especially my co-instructor Vicky Augare!"

— Richard D. Parenteau, CreditSmart instructor, Great Falls



Nov 17, 2006

Little Shell Tribal President Extends Tribal Election by a week!

From Little Shell Chippewa News:

The Little Shell Tribal Council Election will be extended an additional week according to Chairman john Sinclair. Voting will take place on Saturday, November 18 from 12 noon to 4:00pm at the following polling sites:

Great Falls:
1807 3rd NW Ste 35A.........................406-452-2892

Browning:
City Hall...................................406-338-7077

Havre:
HDRC........................................406-265-2922

Helena:
436 N. Jackson..............................406-449-5796

Butte: 9:00am - 6:00pm
NAIA 100 E Galena...........................406-782-0461

Billings: 
711 Central Ave Ste 28......................406-238-0090
The Candidates are (for 3 open At-Large Council Seats):
Alvina Allen - Harlem

Steve Doney - Zortman

Caroline Fleury - Great Falls

Louella Fredricksen - Great Falls

Carol Hofeldt - Chinook

Mark Landrie - Billings

Alfred McGillis - Great Falls

Richard Parenteau - Great Falls

Randy Randolph - Havre

Absentee Ballots can be sent in before November 18, 2006 as well.

For More Inforation, Call 406-452-2892

Nov 8, 2006

Little Shell Tribal Council FINALLY mails out Absentee Ballots!!! Vote Today!

From LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster.

The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana has finally mailed out absentee ballots. They were mailed Monday November 6, 2005 leaving Tribal members less then 4 days to fill out the ballot and get them in the mail. This is the Notice Included in the Ballot:

Absentee ballots need to be POSTMARKED by Friday, November 10, 2006.

PLEASE note on the Envelope "ABSENTEE BALLOT".

Any question, please call the Littel Shell Chippewa Tribal Office at 406-452-2892.

There are 9 Tribal Members who are running for three at-large Tribal Council Positions this year. You can only choose 3 candidates and no more. Those Running for office in the order as they appear on the Ballot is:

Alvina Allen

Steve Doney

Caroline Fleury

Louella Fredricksen

Carol Hofeldt

Mark Landrie

Alfred McGillis

Richard Parenteau

Randy Randolph

Although the Election Committee neglected to print the Mailing Address to return your filled ballot, you can send the ballots to:

Little Shell Chippewa Tribal Office
ATTN: ABSENTEE BALLOT
PO Box 1384
Great Falls, MT 59403

Get them postmarked BEFORE This Friday, November 10, 2006 for your votes to be counted!

Contact Tribal office for any questions you have about the Tribal Elections in General or if you have not yet received your Absentee ballot.

For those voting in person on Saturday, November 11, 2006, this is the list of cities where the Council has setup polling places:
POLLING PLACES:		POLLING TIMES:

 Great Falls		 12-8 pm
 Havre			 12-8 pm
 Helena			 12-8 pm
 Browning/Cutbank	 12-8 pm

Addresses for the polling places were not included in the Latest Tribal Newsletter.
Please Contact the Tribal office to verify WHERE you will vote in your area.

Nov 5, 2006

Great Falls Mayor pledges city's support of tribe's quest for recognition

From Great Falls Tribune

By RYAN HALL
Great Falls Tribune Night City Editor

Members of the landless Little Shell Chippewa Tribe will likely get a new recognition in the next couple of weeks, though they will have to wait until at least 2007 to get the federal recognition they have sought for more than a century.

Great Falls Mayor Dona Stebbins told tribal members Saturday that the city is drafting a resolution to recognize the tribe. The announcement came during lunch at the Tribal Recognition and U.S. Policy Symposium, held at the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center.

Prior to officially making the announcement, Stebbins said she hoped the resolution, which may be adopted as soon as Nov. 17, would help support the tribe in its battle for federal recognition.

"Our landless Little Shells have had a pretty hard road," she said.

Just a little more than a week earlier, Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed a declaration Oct. 27 giving state recognition to the tribe.

In addition to Stebbins' announcement, the symposium featured a number of presentations focusing on the history of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe, the requirements for federal recognition and an update of that plight.

Tribal Vice Chairman James Parker Shield noted the tribe received preliminary recognition in 2000, which was followed by a six-month comment period.

"That six months stretched out to six years," he said after speaking at the symposium.

"We've done everything they've said, we've been good little boys and girls, good little Indians and nothing ever happened," Shield told the symposium audience during his talk on recognition efforts.

The tribe now shifts its focus from the application process to congressional recognition.

In July, Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., introduced a bill in the House that would grant the Little Shells federal recognition, paving the way for federally funded programs and services to be available to the tribe.

That bill has yet to reach the floor and must be re-introduced in January, Shield said.

"We're going to do our part," he added.

Besides the Little Shell recognition presentations, the symposium also featured talks on Montana's Indian Education for All Act and urban and reservation Indian access to health care.



Nov 3, 2006

Interpretative center offers symposium on "Tribal Recognition and U.S. Policy"

Laura Ritter
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

From Great Falls Tribune

"Tribal Recognition and U.S. Policy," will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

Attendance is free, and lunch will be provided.

The Montana Office of Public Instruction has approved the workshop for six Renewal Units.

Indian and non-Indian leaders discuss the history of traditional Indian lands. Learn about the destructive effect of past policies and how federal recognition can restore pride.

Speakers include:

Carol Juneau, member of the Montana State Legislature and author of "American Indian Education for All"

James Parker Shield, vice-chairman of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe

Russell Boham, Ph.D., instructor of Native American studies at Salish Kootenai College

Garland "Ping" Stiffarm, assistant area director of Billings Indian Health Services

June Pouesi, director of the Office of Samoan Affairs in Los Angeles

Anne Coyner, genealogical researcher

A representative from the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colo.

Symposium admission is free and lunch is provided. Teachers are eligible to receive renewal units through the Montana Office of Public Instruction. Call 406-452-2892 for more information.

Nov 1, 2006

Indian vote could be the difference

By GWEN FLORIO
Great Falls Tribune Capitol Bureau

From Great Falls Tribune

HELENA — In these final few, frantic days of campaigning, there's a certain similarity in the voters being pursued by Republican U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns and his Democratic challenger, Jon Tester.

They're both spending time on the state's Indian reservations.

The numbers could explain why:

Several polls conducted this month show varying results, but several — with the exception of the Montana State University-Billings poll, which showed Tester leading Burns by 11 percentage points — see the race as virtually tied. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which abandoned Montana in August, has come roaring back with $310,000 worth of last-minute ads.

Here's some more math:

Indian people comprise about 7 percent of the state's population. In 2004, nearly 42,000 Indian people were eligible to vote in Montana. That year, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Schweitzer beat Republican Bob Brown by 4 percentage points, which translated to nearly 20,000 votes. More than 17,000 people voted on the reservations alone, according to one study, and more than half of Montana's Indian population lives off the reservations.

"Schweitzer was able to win because of the impact of the tribal vote. It was huge, huge," said Russ Lehman of Washington State, author of "Native Vote 2004: A National Survey and Analysis of Efforts to Increase the Native Vote In 2004 and the Results Achieved."

The state's Republican Party views districts with large Indian populations as so Democratic that it didn't bother to field legislative candidates in most of them.

"In close races in Montana, the Indian vote makes a difference," said Stan Juneau of Browning, a former Blackfeet Tribal Council member whose wife, Democrat Carol Juneau, is a state representative seeking a state Senate seat this year.

"I think this year, in the race between Burns and Tester, the reservation vote — the Indian vote — is going to be the deciding factor," Stan Juneau said.

Despite the attention being lavished upon them, tribes generally don't endorse candidates.

"We have to work with both parties," said James Steele Jr., chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Steele pointed out that with Gov. Brian Schweitzer and U.S. Sen. Max Baucus being Democrats, and Burns and U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg being Republicans, it behooves tribes to be bipartisan.

"We have contributed to all (major) campaigns of the different parties," he said.

While not endorsing candidates, tribes are focusing on efforts to get out the vote. "Voting is a real powerful tool that our people have tended not to use," said Bruce Sunchild Sr., a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribal Council on Rocky Boy's Reservation.

Indians did not receive the right to vote until 1924, and for decades, turnout on reservations remained abysmal.

That's changing. Lehman's study found that in 2004, voter turnout on the Fort Belknap reservation topped 80 percent of eligible voters, well ahead of the state average of about 67 percent.

Voting at Fort Belknap that year was driven in part by interest in a new voting district encompassing the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy's reservations, but in general, voter turnout increased on all the state's reservations in 2004, Lehman found.

The aim is to see it go higher still this year, said Donald Spotted Tail, executive assistant to Crow Tribal Chairman Carl E. Venne. Volunteers are calling tribal members, urging them to vote on Election Day, and offering to provide a ride to the polls, if needed, he said.

"This is the first time, myself, (that) I've seen tribal members involved in the political arena," he said.

Tester, accompanied by Schweitzer, will have visited all seven reservations by week's end. Baucus is to join them Thursday on the Flathead Reservation, according to Tester's schedule.

"Jon Tester will represent all Montanans in the U.S. Senate. Montana's First Peoples are a vital part of this state's history and its future," said Tester campaign spokesman Matt McKenna.

Burns visited all seven reservations in October, as well as the Great Falls offices of the landless Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, said his campaign spokesman, Jason Klindt.

The latter stop resulted in a misunderstanding when the Burns campaign touted an endorsement from the Little Shell. But the endorsement wasn't from the tribe itself, but from a tribal members' Web site, said Robert Rudeseal of Denver, who runs the site.

Klindt said that tribes "have always been a priority for Conrad. ... I think they are appreciative of Conrad's efforts for them in the U.S. Senate."

Burns, who sits on the Interior Appropriations subcommittee that handles tribal issues, has directed more than $238 million in federal money to Montana's tribes during his 18 years in the Senate, Klindt said.

That works out to less than $2 million per year for each of Montana's seven reservations. Democrats especially criticized Burns for helping Michigan's delegation obtain $3 million in federal funds for a wealthy Michigan tribe that had donated $34,000 to his campaign.

The Saginaw Chippewa tribe was a client of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty earlier this year in a congressional influence-peddling scandal. Burns returned all the money — about $150,000 — that he received from Abramoff and his associates, and donated some of it to Montana's tribal colleges.

Contact Gwen Florio at 406-442-9493, or gfloriogreatfal.gannett.com

Oct 28, 2006

Governor recognizes Little Shell Tribe

By ERIC NEWHOUSE
Tribune Projects Editor

From Great Falls Tribune

From AP Wire article via Billings Gazette

Montana's landless Little Shell Tribe finally won recognition Friday — but not from the federal government, yet.

On Friday, Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed and read a declaration supporting the tribe's century-old battle for federal recognition.

"I commit the Executive Branch and encourage the Legislative Branch of the state of Montana to acknowledge the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe and to work with the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe," the governor's declaration stated.

State Sen. Joe Tropila immediately pointed out that the Legislature is already on record as supporting such recognition.

"But thank you very much for your support," Tropila added. "We appreciate that."

"When seeking recognition from the federal government, it's important to have the support of your state," added Little Shell Vice Chairman James Parker Shield. "So this is an important day for us."

The governor also announced his support of a proposal to renovate a building that once housed workers for Morony Dam, northeast of town, for use as the Little Shell tribal headquarters.

The building, which is the only one left at the Morony Town Site, was donated to the state in the 1990s for use as a visitor center and trailhead for the North Shore Trail.

Shield said he has discussed that idea with officials from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, whom he described as quite receptive.

"We would like to manage the park for them and turn the big building into a tribal headquarters," he said. "And they've been quite willing to negotiate with us."

"The Fish, Wildlife & Parks response was that they could do that, but it would take some dollars to fix up," Schweitzer said. "And only the Legislature could do that."

He suggested that Tropila sponsor a bill to provide the money for the renovation.

"If the governor supports the renovation, I can support it," Tropila said.

Schweitzer also announced that his office will be sponsoring legislation next session to provide $200,000 for the Little Shell to write its history in its own words.

Finally, the governor asked permission to include the current site of the Little Shell tribal headquarters behind the Westgate Mall on the official state maps of Montana.

"It's a wonderful gesture," said tribal Chairman John Sinclair of Havre. "The Little Shell has always looked for any recognition, any scrap of recognition.

"I can see by your actions that you're sincere in recognizing our tribe, so we're honored to accept your offer," he added, as Shield nodded in agreement.

After the ceremony, tribal officials were asked about the status of tribal recognition by the federal government, which the Little Shell has sought for nearly 115 years.

"For years, we pursued the administrative route, which is a very complex process with a lot of hurdles," Shield said. "After a lot of frustration, our tribal council decided to seek recognition through Congress, which is what we're doing now."

U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., is sponsoring a bill in the House of Representatives. U.S. Sens. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., have announced their support, but neither has sponsored similar legislation in the Senate, Shield said.

"We had been hoping for a companion bill that might put a little more pressure on Congress," Sinclair said.



Oct 27, 2006

Democrat Tester gives lip service to Little Shell Tribe and it's members then blows us off as not important, Republican Burns shows FULL support for our Sovereignty

From Great Falls Tribune

Burns seems intent upon showing he still has a few moves that could leave a newbie in the dust. Both candidates have been courting Montana's Indian tribes, with each meeting with the leaders of all seven reservations.

So far, though, only Burns visited the Great Falls office of the landless Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, which has petitioned the government for more than a century for federal recognition. With 4,300 members, the Little Shell represent a tiny voting bloc.

But Burns won the tribe's appreciation with his visit last week, said tribal Vice Chairman James Parker Shield.

Shield said that when tribal representatives asked Tester if he'd support legislation to bypass Bureau of Indian Affairs red tape in the recognition process, Tester replied that he hadn't read the proposal, and couldn't commit to supporting it.

"I felt I was asking a general question in general terms," said Shield, a former chairman of Cascade County Republican Party. "He should have been able to give a yes or no answer."

However, Tester supports federal recognition for the Little Shell, and has voted in favor of it in the state Senate, according to his spokesman, Matt McKenna.

To Burns, Shield said, "We need your help."

Burns, in turn, asked for some help for himself.

Talk to your tribe's members, he urged Shield.

"Tell 'em to vote early and often," he said with a laugh, as he posed for photos beneath the feather bustle displayed on the wall, which Shield wears when he dances at powwows.

Then he donned his parka and ducked back out into the darkening day, heading through the persistent snowfall toward Lewistown and his next opportunity to ask still more people to vote for him just this once more.



Oct 12, 2006

Indian Civil Rights Commission to combat discrimination

From Great Falls Tribune

Indian Civil Rights Commission to combat discrimination

Indian Civil Rights Commission to combat discrimination
By KAREN OGDEN
Tribune Enterprise Editor

Montana tribes are teaming up to fight racism through a new group established for Indians, by Indians.

The Montana Indian Civil Rights Commission held its first meeting in Great Falls Tuesday at the headquarters of the Little Shell Tribe.

The group aims to fight racism and discrimination through education. When ugly incidents do happen, it will help victims — who often don't know where to turn — seek justice.

"Every tribe has their own horror story, believe me," said Blackfeet Tribal Councilman Rodney "Fish" Gervais, who is leading the effort.

Gervais is tracking a case in Cut Bank where someone allegedly urinated in a Blackfeet girl's tea at a restaurant. He would not release further details, but said racism is especially deep-rooted in border towns.

That's where the new group — with representatives from each of Montana's eight tribes, including the Little Shell — will focus its work, Gervais said.

Participating tribes support the fledgling group.

The commission plans to fight for broad civil rights causes as well as advocate on behalf of individual discrimination victims.

Gervais handed out a civil rights resource book at Tuesday's meeting.

Participants discussed housekeeping issues, such as bylaws, and talked about their hopes for the commission.

Education is crucial, said Susan Webber, who runs a consulting firm for business startups on the Blackfeet Reservation.

NonIndian lenders are reluctant to loan to Native entrepreneurs, even when they present a solid business plan, Webber said. Many harbor stereotypes. Some fear interference by the tribal council or a lack of recourse with the tribal court if plans go awry.

As a result, reservation economies suffer, she said.

Webber wants the commission to tackle stereotypes and misconceptions through education.

Education also is important for victims of discrimination, participants said.

Although there is recourse through agencies such as the state Human Rights Bureau, few seek it.

Many Native Americans were taught by their elders to keep quiet about discrimination, for fear they will be treated worse if they complain, Gervais said. Some are so accustomed to discrimination that they accept it, he added.

Others don't know where to turn, or are intimidated by dealing with government agencies that historically mistreated their people.

Tuesday's meeting was an example of how those attitudes are changing, Gervais said: "What you have is educated Indians who are standing up."

The commission will help victims navigate channels for filing civil rights complaints, he noted.

He would like to see the commission set up offices on every reservation, giving people a place to turn for help where "you have people of your color."

For more information about the Montana Indian Human Rights Commission, contact Gervais at 406-338-7179.

Webmaster Note: We will be forwarding the 2004/2005 civil rights and disenfranchisement complaint that was filed with the United States Justice Department concerning the violation of basic civil rights of Little Shell Tribal Members during the 2004 Tribal Elections.

Oct 5, 2006

Little Shell Tribal Elections for At-Large Council Members announced! Elections will be held November 11, 2006

HURRY TO CALL the Tribal office if you want to run for one of the three At-Large Positions!


The Council has only given a few days notice for anyone who wants to be a candidate for office, The Deadline has passed. Contact the Local office for information. (Deadline = October 10, 2006)!

Offices to be filled:
The Three at-large Little Shell council members whom shall serve 2 year terms.

Candidates:
To file for candidacy in this election, a candidate MUST send a LETTER OF INTENT to the Tribal office, which includes their name and a current mailing address, as well as the $35 Filing Fee (which covers administrative costs and criminal background check), by 5:00 pm October 10th, 2006. (you may want to include the platform you are running on.)

POLLING PLACES:		POLLING TIMES:

 Great Falls		 12-8 pm
 Havre			 12-8 pm
 Helena			 12-8 pm
 Browning/Cutbank	 12-8 pm

Addresses for the polling places were not included in the Latest Tribal Newsletter.
Please Contact the Tribal office to verify WHERE you will vote in your area.

To VOTE BY Absentee Ballot:
First, Call the Tribal office and request an Absentee Ballot Request Form. (Also look in the Tribal Newsletter). The Voter should mail the completed absentee ballot request form along with a self-address STAMPED (put enough postage for it to be delivered back to you!!) envelope. Photocopies can be made are allowed. This request should be sent to the Tribal office no later then 5:00pm, October 27, 2006. A ballot and instructions will then be mailed to the voter. Mail the request form and self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Little Shell Chippewa Tribal Office
PO Box 1384 Great Falls, MT 59403


All Questions, complaints, referrals, and other information about this Election, contact the Tribal office only. Thank You!

Oct 2, 2006

Little Shell Tribe Crown's Chippewa Tribal Princess

From Great Falls Tribune

A 13 year old girl from Great Falls, Cree Shield, has been crowned Little Shell Chippewa Tribal Princess.

Cree Shield had to show her proficiency in tribal history and culture, pow-wow etiquette and participate in a traditional dance exhibition at the annual Little Shell Pow-Wow and Metis Celebration in Lewistown over the Labor Day weekend.

First runner-up was Sarah Simpsonof Great Falls and second runner-up was Nihtawnemiw Bohamof St Ignatius.

Cree Shield is the daughter of Kristina and James Parker Shieldof Great Falls. She is an eighth-grader at East Middle School.

As Little Shell Chippewa Tribal Princess, she will represent her tribe at pow-wows, conferences, schools and public events throughout her year-long reign.

Sept 28, 2006

Little Shell Tribal Member's wife becomes new Indian Education department director to replace Director DeeAnna Leader

From Great Falls Tribune

District names Indian Ed director
By KEILA SZPALLER
Tribune Staff Writer

A new Indian Education department director is on her way to Great Falls.

Sandra Boham of St. Ignatius was offered the job Wednesday. She will begin work Oct. 16

Director DeeAnna Leader announced earlier this summer that she would depart at the end of September.

Boham said she sought the position because she has worked in Indian education for a long time and understands its importance.

"I believe that these kids need an opportunity to achieve their full potential," she said.

Those students need all their options open to them, she said, and they need to feel connected to their schools.

Boham has a master's degree in adult and higher education from Montana State University-Bozeman. She works as a financial aid specialist at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo.

She has taught more than a dozen courses there, including "The Reservation Indian" and "History of Indians in the United States." She has also taught Native American studies and related courses at Humboldt State University and the College of the Redwoods, both in California.

Boham stood out among the candidates because she believes that Native American students need to think beyond their high school education, said Dick Kuntz, assistant superintendent for secondary grades.

"That vision was there," said Kuntz, who was part of the hiring committee.

Her management and administrative skills also stood out, he said.

This year, the district focuses on implementing Montana Indian Education for All, which means teaching all students about the state's Native Americans.

Kuntz said he hopes that iniative helps Native students. Currently, none are in the district's gifted education program.

"We'll understand that culture better in our district, which we think will open more doors and more opportunities for our Native kids," he said.

Leader worked well as director, Kuntz said, and Boham can build on Leader's achievements and push students to a higher level.

"We're not challenging them enough," Kuntz said. "That's what we want this director to do."

Boham is a member of the Salish tribe and her husband, Russell Boham, is a Little Shell member. He is originally from Great Falls. They also bring their daughter, a high school freshman, to Great Falls.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Keila Szpaller at 791-1466, 800-438-6600 or kszpalle@greatfal.gannett.com.

Webmaster Note: We would like to say "Welcome Back!" to the Boham family on their return to the City of Great Falls, Montana and we wish the best of luck to Mrs. Boham with her new position.



Sept 22, 2006

Great Falls Area students explore Indian history

From Great Falls Tribune

Area students explore Indian history
By KEILA SZPALLER
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

Today is Native American day, and today Shantel Ray knows a little bit more about Native American history.

Ray, a junior at Skyline Alternative High School, heard a presentation Thursday about reservation maps.

The talk was part of the Indian Education Department's activities during the month-long celebration of Native Americans.

Thursday, Indian Education Coordinator Curtis Valladolid showed the students a 1492 map of what is now the United States. Then, it was all Indian country, he said. Land for Natives shrunk in 1830 with the Indian Removal Act.

In 1851, two reservations in Montana were established — the Blackfeet and the Crow. Now, Montana has 12 tribes on seven reservations, and the reservation land has contracted.

During the presentation, Valladolid asked students questions about the tribes.

"What's so famous about the Little Shell?" he asked.

They're not federally recognized, and they're a landless tribe — Ray was interested to learn.

Donta Lauderdale, a Skyline senior, has lived in Montana for 10 years, and he too liked the talk.

He's been on reservations, he said, but "This is my first time getting more in-depth with their culture."

For participating in the presentation, the students receive various credits, such as art, literacy and U.S. or world history.

Along with celebrating Native American month, the class is part of a statewide push to teach all students about the Native American tribes, people, reservations and cultures in Montana



Sept 20, 2006

Benefis honors Indian culture

From Great Falls Tribune

Benefis honors Indian culture
By PAULA WILMOT
Tribune Staff Writer

George Horse Capture Jr. sees the new Native American Welcoming Center at Benefis Healthcare as a place where natives can feel comfortable, a place where they can support each other through sickness to health.

Maggie Coffman sees it as a strong message that the hospital respects the Indians' ways.

It was good medicine all around at Tuesday's grand opening of the new 1,200-square-foot space set aside for Native American families to gather, wait and pray while their loved ones get medical attention upstairs.

Along with the Welcoming Center, the hospital has added a new staff position to help Indians deal with illness and hospitalization, often far away from home.

Victoria Augare is the hospital's first Native American patient advocate.

Russ Boham, a Little Shell Chippewa, gave Augare an eagle feather to post above the door. The breast feather signifies healing, Boham said.

"If it's over the door, all people will be blessed when they enter and have peace in their hearts," he said.

The center will serve as a contact point for reservation hospitals, clinics and families, as well as a place for family members to gather for meditation or traditional prayer. A comfortable place for families, the center also has a kids' corner.

Four tribal groups in the region served by Benefis worked on the committee that advised the hospital during the creation of the center, which features Indian art and historic photographs.

"It's a place for us to cry, laugh, smoke and smudge while our people are lying here sick and scared and don't know what to do," said Horse Capture, a Gros Ventre spiritual leader who traveled to the ceremony from Fort Belknap.

A traditional smudge marked Tuesday's dedication event.

"Smoking has nothing to do with cigarettes," Augare said. "Smudging makes smoke to ward off sickness and the smoke carries up to the Creator."

"I hope other hospitals follow and create places like this," Horse Capture added.

"This is to show our appreciation for your cultural ceremonies," said John Goodnow, Benefis president and CEO.

To express gratitude to hospital staff for caring for Native Americans, Earl Old Person, Chief of the Blackfeet, bestowed Blackfeet names on Kathie Avis, director of the Sletten Cancer Institute, and her husband Dr. Fred Avis, deputy medical director at the institute.

"Give her strength, knowledge, understanding and wisdom to help others in many years to come," Old Person said as he gave Kathie Avis the name Wise Bird Woman.

For Fred Avis to remain strong, like the buffalo, Old Person named him Buffalo Healer.

Fred Avis said he was "almost speechless at the honor," adding that he has enjoyed working with Native Americans on a number of things, in addition to the Welcoming Center. Among them are huge grants to study disparities in — and barriers to — care for Indian cancer patients and internships for newly graduated Native American nurses.

"This cultural diversity is why we came to Montana," said Coffman, a nurse practitioner. She said that she and her husband have traveled the world to see drum ceremonies like she saw Tuesday.

Cultural education for Benefis employees is another new emphasis, Avis said.

"Native American's have helped us find solutions. They've had as much to do with this as we have," he added.

Tribal representatives presented blankets to several Benefis officials. In turn, Benefis served a lunch of buffalo stew and fry bread.

"We all know what a bad rap hospital food gets," joked Mary Ellen LaFromboise, a Blackfeet, who emceed the program. She added that she was optimistic about the feast.

Sept 5, 2006

House bill seeks to improve cemeteries for Native American veterans

From Helena Independant Record

House bill seeks to improve cemeteries for Indian veterans

WASHINGTON - Traditionally, when American Indians are killed in battle, their remains are returned to their tribal lands for burial.

But for the families of the many Indians who join the U.S. military, death brings a difficult choice: The veterans can be buried in a national veterans' cemetery with fellow comrades in arms. Or they can be buried close to home on tribal land.

There is no way to do both.

The Native American Veterans Cemetery Act would change that.

Rep. Tom Udall, the New Mexico Democrat who wrote the bill, said it would authorize states to provide grants financed by the Department of Veterans Affairs for the development or improvement of veterans' cemeteries on tribal land. At present, tribal governments are not eligible for department money.

In June, Udall's measure was unanimously approved by the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Both the House and the Senate included it in comprehensive veterans' bills approved last month. The next step is for those bills to be reconciled by a conference committee after Congress returns in September.

Nearly 20,000 people classified as Native American/Alaskan Native are serving in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, according to the Defense Department's most recent tally, from December 2005. By the end of 2006, there will be an estimated 181,361 American Indian veterans, according to the VA. The National Native American Veterans Association estimates that 22 percent of American Indians 18 years or older are veterans.

''This is about recognizing that it's not just states that have rights - tribes, too, should have rights,'' Udall said in a recent interview.

There are 562 federally recognized tribes in the United States. New Mexico alone has 22 tribal reservations, and the population of Udall's district is 19 percent Indian.

Explaining the importance of being buried close to home, Thomas Berry, a Navy veteran and a founder of the two-year-old National Native American Veterans Association, said tribes have sacred ceremonies and rituals to honor the dead and ease passage into the next life.

''If a Native American is buried in a national cemetery, a lot of the rituals cannot be performed because of coding restrictions and regulations,'' Berry said. ''So it's important to us to have a place on tribal land to bury our veterans.''

November 16, 2005

Little Shell Office needs Tribal Survey's returned!!


By LittleShellTribe Webmaster:

The Little Shell Main Office has recently sent out a survey to all enrolled Little Shell, they were sent to Families (Close to 3000) as opposed to individuals. The deadline for the survey was November 15, 2005. The office is requesting that ALL Surveys be returned regardless of the Date. (Don't throw them out, go ahead and fill them in and send them back to the office). The survey data will be used to apply for Tribal Grants, Federal Recognition, etc. Do not dispair if you have not personally received a survey, your family should have received one. If anyone has any questions, please call the Main Office at 406-452-2892



November 9, 2005

Cascade County Backs Little Shell; to allow County to be "Home Base" for Tribe


By KIM SKORNOGOSKI
Tribune Staff Writer

County commissioners agreed Tuesday to let Cascade County be the home base for the landless Little Shell Tribe.

The decision would set up medical and government services on 200 acres in the county.

While that sounds like big progress, it all hinges on federal recognition — something the tribe has been fighting to earn for more than 20 years.

The U.S. Interior Department granted the Little Shell preliminary recognition in 2000, opening it to discussion for the next six months. Five years later, the tribe still doesn't have reservation land, housing, medical care and other benefits that come with federal recognition.

The Little Shell, consisting of more than 4,000 Chippewa Indians, began the process in 1984. Historically, tribes received recognition through treaties, legislation or administrative decisions.

The tribe recently kicked up its efforts, urging Rep. Denny Rehberg to expedite the process by putting it before Congress instead of the Department of the Interior.

"We're tired of waiting," tribal Vice President James Parker Shield said. "There are people that are dying while waiting for this."

In their vote Tuesday, the commissioners backed the Little Shell's efforts and said once they are recognized they will discuss selling or leasing land for their home base.

Where that is, whether it's county, state, federal or private land and exactly how much will be determined during negotiations.

The Little Shell want to strengthen their position before the federal government by obtaining the support of county governments. They asked Glacier, Blaine, Hill and Fergus counties to pass similar resolutions. Except for Fergus, the counties were chosen because they are where a number of Little Shell live.

Last week, Hill County balked at giving up land, saying plans were too nebulous and that the county didn't want to lose taxable property.

"We support their efforts to become recognized as a tribe," Hill County Commissioner Doug Kaercher said. "Until there's something more concrete to support, I feel I wouldn't be doing my duty in gathering all the information before making a decision."

Shield said the tribe is backing off its plans outside Cascade County. Instead, it hopes to set up field offices in the four counties where tribal members could get job training, information to build new businesses and learn tribal news.

Before Cascade County Commissioners voted Tuesday, Shield eased common concerns — the Little Shell would need just a small piece of land, not the thousands of acres most of Montana's reservations have, and he vowed the land wouldn't house casinos.

"The day that (recognition) comes, we're going to need a small piece of land to build our tribal headquarters," Shield said.

Cascade County would be an ideal headquarters, he said, because it's centrally located and home to the largest concentration of enrolled members. Roughly 800 Little Shell live here.

"We're in support of their recognition, even if it means giving up 200 acres," Commissioner Lance Olson said. "They're headquarters may eventually be outside of Cascade County. We'd like it to be here."

Shield said the headquarters would likely be on agriculture land, located close to Great Falls.

Having the headquarters in Cascade County could help the economy, as the tribe would look at building a cultural center and hold ceremonies here, Shield said.

"All of this would bring another player to the local economy," he said. "Our federal recognition would provide more services and jobs to our people. And after 100 years, we'll have a homeland, a place to point to and say is ours."

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Kim Skornogoski at 791-6574, (800) 438-6600 or kskornog@greatfal.gannett.com.

November 9, 2005: Indianz.com Article

November 9, 2005: Great Falls Tribune Article

November 2, 2005

Little Shell seek Hill County support for a reservation


Ellen Thompson
Havre Daily News
ethompson@havredailynews.com

Representatives of the Little Shell Indian Tribe asked the Hill County Commission on Monday to sign a resolution supporting the tribe's effort to get federal recognition that might also mean the acquisition of land for a small reservation in Hill County. The commissioners said Monday they need to review the resolution.

The commissioners agreed that if the Little Shell are federally recognized, the county may have no say over whether land is taken off the county tax rolls and given to the now-landless tribe, but they said their policy is to oppose the loss of any taxable property.

“That's been our stance with the Chippewa Cree Tribe,” Hill County Commission chair Kathy Bessette said. The issue has come up when residents of Box Elder have tried to have their homes annexed to the reservation, she said.

“We support your quest,” Bessette added.

The Little Shell tribal council has prepared similar resolutions for five counties to help pave the way for federal legislation, tribal chairman John Sinclair said today. The legislation is to be introduced this year by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., Sinclair said. The resolution before the Hill County Commission was proposed by Rehberg's office, Sinclair said.

“They wanted to be sure they're not stepping on anybody's toes,” he said.

Cascade, Hill, Blaine, Fergus and Glacier counties have each signed resolutions supporting federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe, but Rehberg's office wanted to be sure the counties know that if the tribe receives recognition, it could mean a loss of tax base in the county where a reservation is established.

The Cascade County Commission has indicated that it will support the resolution, Sinclair said. The Cascade County Attorney's Office is drafting a resolution based on what the tribe submitted, he said.

The proposal is for 200 acres as a land base where the tribe could have a hospital and other services, vice chair James Parker Shield said today. He said the tribe would hope the land would come from federal land such as U.S. Bureau of Land Management land, so no county would lose funds.

If the Hill County commissioners don't agree to the proposal, it's not likely to harm the effort to get land and recognition, Sinclair said.

“We'll still go on. We'll have the Cascade resolution. We'll hopefully soon have Glacier and Blaine. We'll just have to bypass Hill County, which would be a shame,” he said.

Sinclair said the tribe's ideal is to have a base in Cascade County and satellite offices, including trust land, in four other counties. What actually is established would be determined by the legislation.

If Hill County decided not to agree to support the possible loss of taxable property, it might consider writing a resolution that reiterates the county's support for the tribe's effort at recognition.

“The most important item, of course, is to keep our support that we do have among the counties for the federal recognition,” Parker Shield said.

The Little Shell are also trying to be recognized through an administrative process of the U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Federal Acknowledgment.

“We're going (the legislative) way, one, to speed it up, and. two, if (the Office of Federal Acknowledgment) comes back with a negative result,” the tribe has another way to be recognized, Sinclair said.

If the tribe is recognized through Interior, counties would have less control over how a reservation is established than if it's done through legislation sponsored by the state's own congressional delegation, Sinclair said.

He said he hopes to hear back from the Hill County Commission soon and “allay their concerns, hopefully.”

“I can see Hill County's point. If they are opposing adding Chippewa Cree land into trust, they are trying to be consistent,” Sinclair said. “The ball is in their court and we're waiting for them to come back for us.”

November 2, 2005: Indianz.com Article

November 2, 2005: Havre Daily News Article

October 15, 2005

Historic tour takes place on Hill 57


By KAREN OGDEN
Tribune Enterprise Editor

HELENA — Members of Gov. Brian Schweitzer's administration toured Hill 57 northwest of Great Falls Friday during a historic meeting with the Little Shell Tribe.

The visit marks the first time a Montana governor has sent administration officials to meet the Little Shell on their turf, according to Little Shell Vice Chairman James Parker Shield.

Shield said Schweitzer planned to attend the meeting, but canceled to attend the funeral of Andrew Bedard, a 19-year-old Marine from Missoula who was killed in Iraq Oct. 3.

"We understand that," said Shield. "It was historic that they even went to Hill 57, one of our community sites, and saw for themselves our tribal history."

The hill was once home to dozens of Little Shell families, who established a settlement there as Montana's only landless tribe.

The "57" in the name comes from a giant number 57 made of white stones on the hill to advertise Heinz ketchup.

Over the decades, the hill became a symbol of Indian poverty and segregation in Montana. But to the Little Shell, it is also a place where the scattered tribe's heritage was preserved in daily life and through sweat lodges, giveaways and other ceremonies.

Known as Montana's "landless Indians" because their tribe lacks a reservation homeland, the Little Shell have about 4,000 enrolled members.

Although the Little Shell won recognition from the state in the 1990s, the tribe has fought for decades to win federal recognition. The Interior Department granted preliminary recognition five years ago, but has not followed through with a final decision.

The Little Shell now are working with the five counties where they have the most members to try to get land, including in Cascade County.

Friday's visit was part of Schweitzer's effort to pay a personal visit to each of Montana's tribal nations, said Anna Whiting-Sorrell, a deputy policy advisor for Schweitzer and member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes.

In addition to the tour, the governor's delegation met with tribal officials at their Great Falls headquarters in Westgate Mall.

Officials with the governor's office asked the tribe to appoint a working group to meet with state officials over the next few months, Shield said.

The goal of the meetings is to define the tribe's relationship with the state government, Whiting-Sorrell said.

That relationship will determine, among other things, how tribal members might access state services through the tribal government.

"Part of what makes this historic is we're really trying to clarify what the relationship is," Whiting-Sorrell said. "We're trying to do this in a very deliberate, methodical fashion."

Other representatives from the governor's staff at the meeting were Indian Affairs Coordinator Reno Charette, Tribal Economic Development Specialist Major Robinson and Judy Paynter and Deanne Sandholm from the Office of Budget and Planning.

The other Little Shell members present were Chairman John Sinclair and council members Alvina Allen and Steve Doney.

October 15, 2005: Great Falls Tribune Article

October 11, 2005

Little Shell Warrior loses home to fire



Guardsman's house burns down in Cascade - Coming home for leave, man sees home ablaze

By ERIC NEWHOUSE
Great Falls Tribune Projects Editor

CASACADE — First Lt. Richard Salois looked forward to seeing his eldest daughter as he drove toward Cascade Sunday, home for a week's leave from Fort Riley, Kan.

Instead, as he drew near, he saw his worst nightmare; his house was on fire.

"I was afraid our daughter was still in the house," said Salois, a member of the 190th Military Police Company, currently deployed to Fort Riley, Kan.

Firefighters quickly told him that 15-year-old Cierra was safe at the fire station.

But within 30 minutes the house was gone.

The family was unable to insure the home because of its age and the condition of the wiring, said Salois' wife, Heather Salois.

"Richard hadn't even got home yet, and he lost everything," said his father, Roger Salois, a former councilman for the Little Shell Tribe.

Salois is one of about 120 military policeman with the Montana Army National Guard deployed since last November to backfill for units serving in Iraq.

Leaving their children with his parents, his wife flew to Fort Riley to join him last weekend, then the couple drove to Great Falls Sunday for a week's leave to attend a family wedding.

They had picked up their two youngest children, Chance 13, and Cheyenne, 11, and were on the way home when the fire broke out.

Cierra, a freshman at Cascade High School, was in the house waiting for her parents, finishing homework due on Monday, said her mother.

"When she saw smoke, she did everything she was supposed to do," she said.

"She dropped to her knees, grabbed the portable phone, crawled out of the house and called for help."

Heather Salois said fire investigators told them the cause of the fire was electrical.

Capt. Ray St. Onge, the county fire coordinator, was off duty Monday for Columbus Day and unavailable for comment.

Neighbors already have begun to offer assistance, said Richard Salois, adding: "Small towns are good that way.

"But we're going to have to sit down and talk about what we're going to do," he said. "We lost everything but the clothes on our backs."

October 11, 2005: Great Falls Tribune Article

August 30, 2005

Cash Sought To Help Hurricane Victims, Volunteers Should Not Self-Dispatch

WASHINGTON, D.C. (FEMA News)-- Voluntary organizations are seeking cash donations to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina in Gulf Coast states, according to Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response. But, volunteers should not report directly to the affected areas unless directed by a voluntary agency.

“Cash donations are especially helpful to victims,” Brown said. “They allow volunteer agencies to issue cash vouchers to victims so they can meet their needs. Cash donations also allow agencies to avoid the labor-intensive need to store, sort, pack and distribute donated goods. Donated money prevents, too, the prohibitive cost of air or sea transportation that donated goods require.”

Volunteer agencies provide a wide variety of services after disasters, such as clean up, childcare, housing repair, crisis counseling, sheltering and food.

“We’re grateful for the outpouring of support already,” Brown said. “But it’s important that volunteer response is coordinated by the professionals who can direct volunteers with the appropriate skills to the hardest-hit areas where they are needed most. Self-dispatched volunteers and especially sightseers can put themselves and others in harm’s way and hamper rescue efforts.”

Here is a list of phone numbers set up solely for cash donations and/or volunteers.

Donate cash to:

American Red Cross 1-800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English, 1-800-257-7575 Spanish;

Operation Blessing 1-800-436-6348

America’s Second Harvest 1-800-344-8070

Donate Cash to and Volunteer with:

Adventist Community Services 1-800-381-7171

Catholic Charities, USA 703 549-1390

Christian Disaster Response 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee 1-800-848-5818

Church World Service 1-800-297-1516

Convoy of Hope 417-823-8998

Lutheran Disaster Response 800-638-3522

Mennonite Disaster Service 717-859-2210

Nazarene Disaster Response 888-256-5886

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance 800-872-3283

Salvation Army 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769)

Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief 1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440

United Methodist Committee on Relief 1-800-554-8583

For further information: visit the website for the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) at: http://www.nvoad.org/.

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

For FULL and Accurate news of the Katrina Disaster and ways you can help, Go to: http://www.disasternews.net/

Beware of "Commercial", "Third Party", and "Fake" organizations when donating your money to help disaster victims. To learn how to NOT become a "Donation Victim", Read this Article: Make sure your donation counts

August 30, 2005

Lewistown Montana 2005 Metis Celebration and Pow Wow begins Sept 1

by ANNETTE HAYDEN
News-Argus staff writer


The cultural enchantment of the 2005 Metis Celebration and Pow Wow will come to Lewistown and the Fergus County Fairgrounds Sept. 1 – 4, and there is no admission fee. Festivities celebrating the Metis’ contribution to the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery will kick off with the Metis National Anthem at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“The entire weekend of events is free and open to the public,” said steering committee member John LaFountain of Billings. “There will be Native American fiddlers, dancers, singers, and crafters from throughout the United States and Canada, and we want to make sure everybody knows they are welcome to come out to the fairgrounds and enjoy themselves.”

Tipis and other pieces of the Metis culture will be on display in Lewistown next week as the annual Metis Celebration begins. The annual celebration is a family event and an opportunity to let children experience Native American cultures that are part of the area’s history. Native American dance demonstrations and contests, raffles, displays, games, storytelling, cultural demonstrations, concessions, and more, promise to engage visitors in the commemoration of Montana’s native beginnings.

Pow Wow dancing and contest categories will include youth, men’s, and women’s, in fancy, traditional, grass, and jingle dance with prizes in each category and an open registration.

A music talent contest, open to all, will also begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, with cash prizes for first-, second- and third-place winners.

“The winners will be chosen by people’s choice,” said event coordinator Ron LaFountain, of Music Is in Lewistown. “All singers and musicians are welcome. Audience members are welcome, too.”

The Pow Wow opens at 1:30 p.m. Friday, giving visitors to the area time to enjoy downtown Lewistown. Numerous activities will then take place throughout the afternoon and evening, including an auction at 8 p.m.

“People attending the celebration bring items for the auction, so we are not sure what all will be there,” said John LaFountain. “I am hand-crafting a diamond willow walking stick with a crystal on top for the auction, and I know there will be paintings, but everything else will be a surprise.”

The auction is a big part of financing the annual celebration, according to John LaFountain. “There are no admission or entry fees during the celebration, so we really count on income from the auction.” Central Montanans are welcome to donate items to the auction, in support of the event, and will receive recognition. Items can either be delivered to Music Is in Lewistown or taken to the fairgrounds Thursday and Friday.

The Metis Celebration parade, at noon on Saturday, is also “open to everyone interested in participating,” according to coordinator Martina Tafolla, of Havre. “All entries for the parade should depict life pre-1900,” she said. “The parade is being sponsored by the Little Shell Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program and category prizes will be awarded to winning entries.”

Parade winners will include three adult categories including horse and rider, walker/costume/dancer, and floats, which also need to be decorated pre-1900. Two youth category winners will include horse and rider, and walker/costume/dancer. No prior registration is required to enter the parade. Lineup will begin at 11 a.m. on 7th Ave. South starting at the Lewistown Library.

The Little Shell Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program will promote health with a one mile Wellness Walk on Sunday. “The walk will start at 9:30 a.m. at the fairgrounds and there will be T-shirts, water, and I am not sure what else,” said Tafolla.

Free camping set-up at the Fergus County Fairgrounds begins at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1. Tipi poles, drinking water and showers are available. There is a fee for electrical hook-up. Alcoholic beverages, illegal substances, and dogs are prohibited during the event.

For more information about the Metis Celebration, call Robert LaFountain at 248-2948; about the Pow Wow, call Robert LaFountain at 248-2948; about concessions and camper parking, call Donna Walraven at 452-2812; about the parade or Wellness Walk, call Martina Tafolla at 945-2356.

Schedule of 2005 Metis Celebration events

All Metis Celebration events occur at the Fergus County Fairgrounds

Thursday, Sept. 1:
3 p.m. - Open camp and set up.
7 p.m. - Metis National Anthem and opening ceremony
7:10 p.m. - Talent contest sponsored by Music Is. Cash prizes. Fiddling, dancing and open mike after the contest.

Friday, Sept. 2:
1:30 p.m. – Speakers.
7 p.m. – Metis National Anthem. Dance demonstration with Caroyln Truscott. Fiddling and dancing.
8 p.m. – Live auction of handcrafted and donated items. Proceeds support the annual event.
9 p.m. – Fiddling and dancing.

Saturday, Sept. 3:
9:30 a.m. – Little Shell/Metis Panel.
11 a.m. – Parade line-up on 7th Ave. South in Lewistown.
Noon – Parade begins.
1:30 p.m. – Grand Entry and Pow Wow.
5:30 p.m. – Metis Feed - open to the public.
7 p.m. – Grand Entry and Pow Wow.

Sunday, Sept. 4:
9:30 a.m. – Wellness Walk/1 mile, sponsored by the Little Shell Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program. T-shirts and water available.
1 p.m. – Grand Entry and Pow Wow.
6 p.m. – Closing Ceremony and evening socializing.

August 5, 2005

Little Shell Tribal Council send Condolences and support to Little Shell Family

By Robert D. Rudeseal
LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster

My Father, Robert Pearson Rudeseal, passed early July 28, 2005 at the age of 68. Vice-Chairman James Parker Shields has sent a Condolence letter to myself and my family. Although my father was not Little Shell, surviving him are a wife Dixie Anne, three sons, Thomas Wayne, Robert Dean, Mark Eric, and a daughter Toni Marie, who are all enrolled members of the Little Shell Tribe. Part of his ashes were spread around the Little Big Horn Battlefield as he had always said he wanted to know what happened there. The remainder will be spread in the mountains he so loved next year.

I want to send my personal and my families thanks and gratitude to the Little Shell Tribal Council and in particular to Vice-Chairman James Parker Shields for their thoughts and prayers. If other Little Shell Tribal Members would like to send their condolences, please do not e-mail me, but send them directly to my mother as she needs the most support from the Tribe:

Address removed

July 27, 2005

Feburary 2007 is for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Federal Recognition FINAL Determination

By Indianz.com

The Bureau of Indian Affairs plans to make decisions affecting the federal recognition of 17 tribes within the next two years, according to documents recently filed in federal court.

A declaration by R. Lee Fleming, the chief of the Office of Federal Acknowledgment, and a summary of recognition cases give an update on the BIA's heavy workload. As of February 4, there are seven groups on the "active" list 12 groups on the "ready" list, and two groups on the "reconsidered" list, according to the documents.

At the same time, the agency is still working with a limited amount of staff and resources. Fleming's office currently employs 10 people, down from the 12 or 13 in years prior, and has contracts with seven others. The recent retirement of an anthropologist means the BIA only has two full teams, instead of the usual three, working on recognition cases.

The teams are currently working on the seven cases that are under "active" consideration. The cases are: the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (proposed finding by September 2005); the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe of Montana (final determination by February 2007); the Steilacoom Tribe of Washington (final determination by January 2007); the Biloxi, Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees of Louisiana (amended proposed finding by October 2005); the Port Au Chien Indian Tribe of Louisiana (amended proposed finding by October 2005); the United Houma Nation of Louisiana (final determination by October 2006); and the Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan (final determination by February 2006).

For the Full Story along with Relevant Documents and LST Timetable, go to the News Page.

For more information contact the Little Shell Tribe Main office at:

Address:
Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
Box 1384
1807 3rd St NW Ste 35A
Great Falls, MT 59403

Phone: (406) 452-2892
Fax: (406) 452-2982
E-Mail: lstgtfalls@bresnan.net



July 4, 2005

The Little Shell Tribe is "Tired of Waiting"

By ERIC NEWHOUSE
Great Falls Tribune Projects Editor

Montana's Little Shell Tribe is switching strategy after waiting 113 years for recognition from the federal government. It's also talking with Cascade County commissioners about leasing land for a "tribal capitol." "We got preliminary recognition (from the Interior Department) four years ago, but we never heard anything since," said Vice Chairman James Parker Shield. "So we've decided to submit a congressional recognition bill because we're tired of waiting." Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., have agreed to sponsor legislation, he said. Rehberg said he's enthusiastic about sponsoring such a bill.

For the Full Story along with the Relevant Documents, go to the News Page.

June 28, 2005

Little Shell Tribe Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program has a Job opening!

By Toni Jo Atchison
Little Shell Tribe Tobacco Specialist

The Little Shell Tribe Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program has an opening for a Program Analyst in Great Falls Montana.

Provide the overall clerical support to the Little Shell Tribe Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program. Must be self motivated. Knowledge of office practices/procedures with working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Access, Excel and other computer software. Good work ethics and people skills a must. Drug-free workplace. Knowledge of Little Shell Tribal history.

Must be postmarked by closing date: 7/13/05.

For Full Information about this opening including address to send Resume, go to the Little Shell Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program Webpage at: Tobacco.LittleShellTribe.org

May 20, 2005

Little Shell Vice Chairman Congratulates GED Graduates at Skyline Education Center

Proud night for nine graduates

By KEILA SZPALLER
Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

Helen Tapp held her son's hand as she marched to Pomp and Circumstance.

Nine Great Falls students wearing navy blue caps and gowns marched at Skyline Education Center Thursday night. All faced obstacles, overcame them and received a GED (General Education Development), equivalent to a high school diploma.

Tapp's children, 7 and 1, inspired her to finish.

"In order to expect my child to graduate from school, I need to do that myself," said Tapp, 23.

James Parker Shield, who identified himself as "a fellow GEDer," spoke to an audience of roughly 75.

"I have a special place in my heart for these types of schools and these types of students," said Parker Shield, vice chairman of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe.

He relates. He flunked first grade and failed eighth grade twice. Later, he received his GED.

Parker Shield asked the students to memorize a Booker T. Washington quote: "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed."

The students saw obstacles and dark days. Illness, laziness, drugs and family pressures pulled them away from high school.

Tori Simpson, 17, moved to Montana from Idaho one year ago. The move stressed her out, and she neglected her homework.

Nick Kynett, 18, described himself as "lazy." His mother, who stood next to him, nodded in agreement.

Vicky George, 23, fell ill with bronchitis.

Methamphetamine consumed Sean Root, 23, for much of his adult life.

Their lives turned around. This year, 122 students received GEDs from Skyline. Nine chose to march this trimester. Thursday night, their futures looked bright.

Simpson would like to be an Emergency Medical Technician.

Kynett recently joined the Montana Air Guard and hopes to attend the University of Montana in one year.

Just last week, George opened her own business, a detail shop. She plans to learn medical transcribing, too.

Root hopes to counsel others with chemical dependency.

His wife, Erin Root, stood next to him, rocking 1-year-old Connor on her hip.

"I was really proud of him," she said. "He's been wanting to do this for a long time."

May 27, 2005 Article in Great Falls Tribune: Proud night for nine graduates



May 27, 2005

Judge threatens Chippewa group with contempt

From Indianz.com Website:

The Little Shell Pembina Band of North America, a self-proclaimed tribe of Chippewa Indians, has been warned not to try to enforce its tribal court rulings.

U.S. District Judge Garr M. King in Oregon said the band was more than welcome to hold its own trials and issue judgments. But she said she would hold its officials in contempt if they tried to enforce the rulings.

The Little Shell Pembina Band claims descent from Chippewa Chief Little Shell. However, the group is not affiliated with the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe of Montana, whose legitimacy is embraced by other tribes and the state, and whose federal recognition has been given a favorable review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and by the courts.

The Little Shell Pembina Band has been accused more than once of using its alleged sovereign status to skirt laws. The Anti-Defamation League has labeled the group "extremist."

*****LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster Note: Previous Tribal Council Press Releases have stated emphatically that the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana has no official contact or affilitation with either the "Little Shell Pembina Band of North America" nor the "Pembina Nation Little Shell Band of North America" both of whom claim to be the descendants of and a continuance of the Pembina Council set up by Chief Little Shell III to dispute the "Ten-Cent Treaty" (McCumber Agreement of October 22, 1892).*****

For Further Reading about these Groups and articles:

Anti-Defamation League webpage on extremism of the Little Shell Pembina Band of North America.

Article in "The Oregon Live" explaining why a Federal Judge ruled that a "Self-Proclaimed" Judge cannot enforce rulings

Official Website of the Little Shell Pembina Band of North America

Official Website of the Pembina Nation Little Shell Tribe of North America

April 22, 2005

Little Shell Tribal Office needs ALL Enrolled Tribal Members to Respond

Official Little Shell Tribal Council Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Enrollment Office of the Little Shell Tribe in compliance with the Bureau Of Indian of Affairs, Office of Acknowledgement is notifying all tribal members that the tribe needs current street address or detailed directions to their homes. This is to include those that have sent in applications and are in pending enrollment status. Members and applicants are asked to please send this by mail, e-mail, fax or call the office as soon as possible.

According to John Sinclair, Tribal Chairman, "updating our tribal members residence and location is a key part of the quest for federal recognition".

Contact person:

Darrel Koke
Little Shell Tribal Office
Phone: (406) 452-2892
Fax: (406) 452-2982
E-Mail: lstgtfalls@bresnan.net

1807 3rd St NW 35A.
PO Box 1384
Great Falls, MT 59403

March 22, 2005

Little Shell Tribal Members offer support and prayers to Red Lake Chippewa Tribal members

By LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

Little Shell Tribal Members express their support and prayers to our brethren families of those affected by yesterday's horrible shooting at Red Lake High School in northern Minnesota. We mourn for those killed and wounded and offer our prayers and support to the survivors and to the Red Lake Tribe as a whole.

Cards and condolences can be sent to the Red Lake Tribal Council at:

RED LAKE TRIBAL COUNCIL
PO BOX 550
RED LAKE, MINNESOTA 56671
VOICE 218-679-3341 FAX 218-679-3378
Red Lake Nation of Chippewa website

March 15, 2005

Lewistown Photography Studio get Renovation

By LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

Many Little Shell Tribal members have stored in their basements, attics, and old shoeboxes, picture postcards of our ancestors. Imprinted upon those pictures are "Culver Studios". Culver Studios is located in Lewistown Montana and is one of the most historic buildings in town and was built in 1899. It has been bought by Harley and Carol Eads, who will renovate the building back to it's original condition. They are also looking for "Culver Treasure" that may be hidden within the building.

To read an article by the Lewistown News Argus, go to the News page for the story of it's renovation, the History of the building, and how William H. Culver’s exploits interacted with Little Shell Tribal Members.

Little Shell News Page

March 4, 2005

Little Shell Tribal Member sends Greetings from the Iraqi Front

By LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:


Click Image above for full picture of Richard
with an Iron Horse unit he was working with
in one of a variety of missions he has
performed in Iraq.


Richard Parenteau Sends a Big Hello from Camp Warrior near Kirkuk, Iraq. He says he is doing well and has been all over the country.

Quotes Richard: "The picture that I sent is a group of guys that I had the pleasure to work with on a variety of missions right before the historical elections in this country. Pretty dangerous work, but we completed all missions. If anyone wants to e-mail me or just say hi, my e-mail is parenteaurichard@yahoo.com".

I think I speak for all Little Shell Tribal Members in sending out our Prayers, Pride, and heartfelt graditude for Richard's and other Tribal Members serving in the US Armed Forces for their safekeeping and accomplishment of their mission to protect us here in the homeland against our enemies. Godspeed Richard and I hope we hear back from you soon!

Febuary 1, 2005

Bill sets aside tags for tribes if bison hunt resumes

By By SCOTT McMILLION Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer:

A bill in the Montana Legislature would set aside up to 16 bison hunting licenses a year for Montana Indian tribes.

Tribal members must use "traditional" methods of hunting, the bill says, but those methods are not defined other than a stipulation that the methods can include horses.

Bison "must be harvested by tribal members in accordance with the traditional ceremonies of each tribe," says Senate Bill 91, sponsored by Sen. Frank Smith, D-Poplar.

State agencies also would have the authority to write bison hunting rules, Smith's bill says.

The hunting tags would be distributed free to the tribes on the seven reservations in Montana, plus the Little Shell Band of Chippewa, which has no reservation.

For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

January 24, 2005

Sitting Council Members express Concerns about election prior to Certification Vote

By LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

Several Council Members expressed concerns prior to the Certification of the 2004 Council Elections. Some of the questions brought forward are alleged violation of the Tribal Laws by the action of the Election Committee by placing a constitutional Amendment upon the ballot without authorization of a majority of the Council or a majority of the Enrolled Tribal members in accordance with our Tribal Constitution (Article IV, Section 1 and Article VI, Section 1). Other concerns are questions about the Late Absentee Ballots, and their inability to be returned in time to be counted, Nepotism charges, candidate for Office of Tribal President transporting unsecured Election Ballots. Copies of two of these council member statements are located on the Election 2004 Petition Page.

For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

January 21, 2005

Little Shell Tribal Warriors to be honored in Iraq

By LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

A flag of the United States that flew over the United States Capitol through the Office of Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado will be traveling this week to fly over Iraq. The US Flag flew over the United States Capitol building April 29, 2004 in honor of Little Shell Tribal Warriors. The Flag was loaned to Major (Dr.) Dave Hnida, Medical Officer in the U.S. Army Medical Corp, to fly over Iraq to honor the Warriors of the Little Shell Tribe past, present, and future for their bravery, honor, and spirit in War on Terror.

For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

January 20, 2005

LittleShellTribe.com Congradulates President George W. Bush on his Inaguration Day

With Hopes of great things to come to the United States in the next 4 years, we here at the Littleshelltribe.com website send our heart felt congradulations and blessings to United States President George W. Bush on his 2nd Inaguration.

January 15, 2005

Lewistown area ranch is home to an ancient buffalo jump

by JIM DULLENTY
News-Argus Staff Writer

Anne and Dave Leininger look over artifacts discovered at a buffalo jump on their ranch west of Lewistown. The artifacts are displayed in a museum in the basement of their house. They hope the museum and jump will become part of packaged tours of sites in the Lewistown area.

Dave Leininger was digging a ditch with a pull-type ditcher for a water tank drain line on his ranch 10 miles west of Lewistown when he saw what he thought were “sticks” coming up from the ground.

His sons, who were helping with the ditch project, asked him to stop, exclaiming “there’s bones everywhere!”

He said he went home that night knowing he had discovered an ancient Native American buffalo jump. He soon learned the Indians killed the buffalo there, prepared the meat and robes and packed it up and went home.

For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

January 15, 2005

Local Native American and game warden save injured golden eagle

by ANNETTE HAYDEN
News-Argus Staff Writer

Game Warden Bob Barber and Lewistown’s Ron La Fountain tracked the downed eagle for about a mile before Barber backed it into some brush and then, within seconds, netted and gathered the raptor to his chest. Once in Barber’s arms the eagle rested like a pet during the hike back to the vehicles.

“What a way to start the New Year, this is so awesome,” said Ron La Fountain, as he held the golden eagle he and Game Warden Bob Barber rescued on Monday.

La Fountain, a Metis and owner of Music Is in Lewistown, first spotted the downed eagle near the Charlie Russell Choo-Chew Station on Hanover Road Saturday evening. “It was such a beautiful day I had taken a couple of friends for a drive,” he said. “Rhonda and Mattea Thomas and I saw the bird standing by the side of the road, so I slowed down to do some calls at him and see if he would say hello. Usually they just look at you and fly off, but he turned and hopped away. That was when I first thought he must be hurt.”

La Fountain went back Sunday and found the eagle was still there. He was near the home of Bud and Rosemary Barta so he stopped and asked them to report the eagle to Fish Wildlife and Parks, but the office is closed on Sunday. “I didn’t want to upset the bird, so I stayed away from it, but on our way back home I checked again and he was still there.”

For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

January 9, 2005

'Landless Indians' elect new council members; potluck planned

By SONJA LEE Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer :

Members of the Little Shell Tribe have elected new council members, who will be sworn in next weekend.

Chairman John Sinclair of Havre retained his position, defeating challenger Councilman Robert Van Gunten.

James Parker Shield of Great Falls will be the new first vice chair, based on the results of the early-December election, said Darrel Koke, outgoing first vice chair for the tribe. Shield defeated Darryl Olson.

Councilman Edward Lavenger of Havre was unopposed for second vice chair, she said.

Jessie Fuzesy of Havre defeated incumbent Caroline Fleury for secretary/treasurer, and Alvina Allen of Harlem and incumbent Kenneth Erickson of Havre both were elected to council seats.

Three council seats were open, Koke said. Fleury of Great Falls agreed to fill the third council position.

The council met Saturday and approved the results, Koke said.

Balloting took place in several cities, including Great Falls, Havre and Billings. Absentee ballots from across the state and Washington also were tallied. Koke said official vote tallies will be available Saturday.

A potluck is planned for noon Saturday at the tribal office in the Westgate Mall, 1807 3rd St. N.W. The swearing-in will follow, and the public is welcome to attend, Koke said. For more information, call the tribal office at 452-2829.

Known as Montana's "landless Indians" because their tribe lacks a reservation homeland, the Little Shell won recognition from the state in the 1990s. The tribe won preliminary federal recognition in May 2000. About 4,000 people are enrolled in the tribe.

In 2001 and 2002, the Little Shell were embroiled in an election controversy that led to a carefully supervised new election in 2003.

Jan 9, 2005 Great Falls Tribune Article

January 7, 2005

Little Shell Tribal Council have Called Special Council meeting for Saturday, Jan8, 2004

By Webmaster of LittleShellTribe.com:

Council Member Robert Van Gunten has called to let Tribal Members know that a special session of the Full Little Shell Tribal Council has been called to review the Election Results and decide whether or not to Certify the Election held December 11, 2004 or to Call for a new Election. Mr. Van Gunten informs us that the meeting will be held at the main office in Great Falls and the Decision of the Council should be known by 1pm Mountain time.

No word on whether or not Tribal Member concerns as noted in the Tribal Member Citizen Petition will be addressed at that time or at a later date.

Developing....

January 7, 2005

Little Shell Tribal Members begin Petition Drive to convene Panel of Elders to Investigate and rule upon 2004 Election Infedilities

By Webmaster of LittleShellTribe.com Website:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LITTLE SHELL TRIBAL MEMBERS BEGIN CITIZEN PETITION DRIVE TO INVESTIGATE TRIBAL ELECTION INFEDILITIES

________________________________________________________________________

Members of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana have begun a Petition drive to convene a Panel of Elders to sit as a Tribal Court to Investigate and Rule upon alleged infidelities that occurred in the latest Tribal Council Election. A Treaty Tribe organized under a Federal Statute and recognized by the State of Montana, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana is currently petitioning the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian affairs, and the US Congress for Federal Recognition. The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians currently has approximately 4000 enrolled tribal members who reside mostly in Montana but are living all over the United States and other foreign countries. The following are some of the issues the Tribal Citizens are requesting:

• Violations of Tribal Constitution by the Election Board in allowing an ineligible candidate to run for and sit upon the council.

• Failing to use the Tribal Rolls to Notify and Register Eligible Tribal members of the Election. The Election Board instead relied on “Word of Mouth” and an obscure Internet message board to notify members.

• Changes to the election rules and regulations by the Election Board after the start of the election without notification to the tribal members in accordance with Tribal Constitution, US Constitution, and federal law.

• Violation of equal protection rights of tribal members by inappropriate extension of ballot deadline for only 63 absentee ballots for Spokane Washington area members only.

• Violation of Tribal Nepotism Policy by planning to seat two immediate family members on the Tribal Council.

• Violation of Tribal Constitution, US Constitution, and Federal Law by the Election Board by failing to Notify All Eligible members of the Tribe of the Election and Failing to Register Eligible Tribal Members in accordance with Federal Law and BIA Guidelines.

• Civil Rights Violations by the Election Board Chairman and the Webmaster of the Official Tribal Council Website against a Candidate for Office by making written threats and alleged blackmail if that member protested the actions of the Election Board and the election.

• Calls for an invalidation of the 2004 Election and a New Election are called if it is found that the Election Board violated the Tribal Constitution, US Constitution, and Federal Law in conducting the Election.

• Calls for the Panel to sit as a tribal court to try and convict the members found to violate the Civil and Constitutional Rights of Tribal Members during the course of the election.

• To investigate and rule on any violations of the Tribal Constitution, US Constitution, and Federal Law found during the course of the Investigation by the Panel of Elders.

For Full List of complaints and a copy of the Petition along with supporting documentation and evidence, go to http://election2004.littleshelltribe.com

Contact:
Bob Rudeseal
Webmaster unofficial tribal member website
Email:Webmaster@LittleShellTribe.com
Tel: 303-756-4497
Web: http://www.LittleShellTribe.com


January 4, 2005

Little Shell Flag to fly on grounds of Montana State Capitol

By JODI RAVE of the Missoulian:

HELENA - Marking an unprecedented invitation, Native peoples arrived with their nation's flags and brought the songs that go with them.

Soon, the flags representing Montana's eight tribal nations will fly next to the United States and Montana flags on the grounds of the state Capitol. As memory goes, it will be the first time in the state's 115-year history.

"It's a good day for Native Americans in Montana," said Tuffy Helgeson of the Fort Belknap Reservation.

As part of Monday's gubernatorial inauguration ceremonies, representatives from the Blackfeet, Chippewa Cree, Crow, Assiniboine, Sioux, Gros Ventre, Little Shell, Northern Cheyenne, Salish and Kootenai brought their flags to the Capitol.

They will likely be raised, and rotated on a weekly basis.

For many of the state's indigenous people, the invitation to fly their flags and to join Gov. Brian Schweitzer in inaugural festivities marked a significant day in state and tribal government relations.

For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

December 28, 2004

Little Shell Election Committee Investigates Disenfranchisement Claims and Election Contest

By the LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

The Chairman of the Little Shell Tribe Election Committee of 2004 has investigated, just before Christmas, 41 Claims of Disenfranchisement, his report will be posted to this website in the coming days. But basically the report shows that some Enrolled members were disenfranchised but no action will be taken by the Election Committee for any recommendation or relief to the Tribal Members. The Election Committee considers all claims of Disenfranchisement to be closed.

Also, just before Christmas, Darryl Olsen, Candidate for the position of 2nd Vice President, had filed a complaint with the Election Committee claiming fraud, disenfranchisement of tribal members, and a badly handled election. He requested relief in the form of either a revote or a complete new election. His complaint was denied by the Election Committee with no further action to be taken. His complaint along with the report from the Chairman of the Election Committee will also be posted in it's entirety here on this website in the coming days.

More Details to come...

December 18, 2004

Little Shell Election Committee announces winners of 2004 election

By the Little Shell Tribe Election Committee:

Posted Saturday, December 18, 2004 @ 02:48 PM

*PRESIDENT:
John Sinclair
*VICE PRESIDENT:
James Parker Shield

*2nd VICE PRESIDENT:
Ed Lavenger

*Secretary/Treasure:
Jessie Fuzesy

*COUNCILPERSON:
Alvina Allen
Kenneth Erickson
(vaccant) Rule 10 of the election rules will apply here to fill this seat.

*Ballot Measure Number #1
PASSED

Secretary and Treasure will be two positions



December 17, 2004

Little Shell Tribal Members upset by Election irregularities, Several Members request intervention by US Federal Goverment Agencies to ensure fair and accurate results.

By the LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

No election is perfect, but the 2004 Elections for the Little Shell Tribal Council has pushed the limits of credibility. With Election Rules being changed without notice to all the members, to Polling Places not opening disenfranchising members, and Absentee Ballots being withheld by the Election committee for no apparent reason, Tribal members are understandably upset. Some have sent letters to the United States Civil Rights Commission to investigate and other letters are being drafted to be sent to the Department of the Interior, the Federal Election Commission, and to the United States Department of Justice. These letters are asking for an intervention and investigation to see if Tribal Members Constitutional rights and Civil rights have been violated and to insure the Election has been conducted in accordance with the Tribal Constitution and the the Laws of the United States.



December 16, 2004

Toni Jo Atchison, Little Shell Tobacco Abuse Prevention Specialist Announces Tribal Newsletter is FREE to Tribal Members

By the LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

Toni Jo Atchison, Little Shell Tribal Tobacco Abuse Prevention Specialist has announced that the Tribal newsletter is FREE to all Enrolled Tribal Members. Previously, a subscription of $10 was required for the newsletter and was published quartely. The subscription cost covered monies that funded the creation, mailing of the newsletter, along with helping with office expenses. Now, with funding provided in part under a contract with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, and the Little Shell Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program, the Newsletter will be published 12 months a year. To place your name on the List for the newsletter (if you do not currently receive it), contact Toni Jo at the main office or write a letter requesting your name to be placed on it. Tribal and Non-Tribal members are still welcome and are encourgaged to send donations to the Office to help with tribal expenses.

Dec 4, 2004

Absentee Ballots Sent out by Election Committee December 2, 2004

By the LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

The Little Shell 2004 Election Committee has finally sent out the Absentee Ballots. Postmark on the Ballot indicate that the Election Committee Delayed until December 2, 2004 before sending out the ballots. Although the Rules posted publically by the Election Committee specifically note that the ballots are to be sent no later then November 20, 2004. the Election Committee decided to delay based on 2 reasons, the 1st being that a member of the Election Committe was sick, the 2nd being that there was a "Delay" in sending out a newsletter, the election committee decided to extend the request for Absentee ballots from September 4, 2004 to November 30, 2004, the Election Committee decided for unknown and unexplained reasons to NOT send out Ballots requested earlier (that were requested within the Original Posted Deadlines) till December 2, 2004. The Election Committee has said that they have extended the receipt of the completed ballots from December 4, 2004 to December 8, 2004. Since the US Postal Service has a minimum of 5 days to deliver mail, the Election Committee have, by delaying the mailing of the Ballots, effectivly disenfranchised ALL Little Shell Tribal Members who have requested an Absentee ballot as none can be returned by the December 8, 2004 deadline.

The Election Committee needs to explain it's actions publically to all members of the Tribe and they need to explain why they have Disenfranchised Members who requested Absentee Ballots.

The Election Committee needs to also COUNT ALL Absentee Ballots, even if received AFTER their December 8, 2004 deadline but POSTMARKED before the December 11th Election.

Our Little Shell Tribal Constitution

To find more information and/or Register a Complaint, Contact the following:

You can contact the Election Committee at:

Elections Committee Members:
Mark A. Landrie
Chairman (Billings, MT)

Carol (Suzi) Hofeldt
Secretary (Chinook, MT)

Pearl Chilton
Member (Chinook, MT)

Jose Landrie
Member (Tacoma, WA)

Moon Charette
Member (Billings, MT)

Melvin Swan
Member (Butte, MT)

Donovan J. Emerson
Member (Kalispell, MT)

Elections Committee
PO Box 849,
CHINOOK, MT 59523

Little Shell Main Office:
Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
Box 1384
1807 3rd St NW
Great Falls, MT 59404

Phone: (406) 452-2892
Fax: (406) 452-2982
E-Mail: lstgtfalls@bresnan.net

DOI Mailing Address:
Department of the Interior
ATTN:Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Phone: 202-208-3100
E-Mail: webteam@ios.doi.gov

Nov 30, 2004
By the LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

Absentee Ballots may not be sent out in time to be counted in Little Shell Elections:
Members Fear Disenfranchisment

Several inquiries have been made to the Little Shell Election Committee Chairman requesting Information on whether or not the Requested Absentee Ballots for the Little Shell Tribal Elections have been sent out. According to the Rules set by the Election Committee, Absentee Ballots were to be sent out no later then 20 November 2004. An e-mail sent to Election Committee Chairman Mark Landrie on November 23, 2004 received this Reply: "They are being sent tomorrow. Carol got sick and did not get a chance to send them out. MARK". After no receipt of the Absentee Ballot by this member, a 2nd e-mail was sent on November 29, 2004 that again requested a time on when the Absentee Ballots will be sent out. This is the reply received: "ALL, Absentee ballots will be sent out this week. Since we extended the availability to request an absentee ballot until tomorrow it only made sense to wait and send all of the ballots out at the same time. ELECTIONS COMMITTEE"

It currently takes an average of 5 days for the United States Postal Service to deliver an envelope. If the Absentee Ballots were sent out today (Nov 30) it would not arrive till December 5 2004 (one day after the postmark deadline) and if you return it the next day (December 6th) it will arrive at the Election Committee mailbox on December 11th, 2004. According to the Deadline posted in the Election Rules by the Election Committee, All Absentee Ballots MUST BE POSTMARKED by December 4 2004 in order to be counted. (Rule 4 of the Election Rules: 4. Absentee ballots with your vote must be received by the Elections Committee no later then 4 Dec 2004. For absentee ballots to be considered valid they must have been post marked on or before 4 Dec 2004. Absentee ballots that do not meet the requirements above will be considered invalid and not counted.)

This Delay in sending out the ballots (over 10 days after the rules state they should have been mailed) may disenfranchise members and their votes will not count in this year's Election. An e-mail has been sent to the Current Tribal Council and to the Election Committee Chairman with these concerns. When a reply is received I will post it. If you have any concerns or questions about whether or not your vote will count, contact the main Little Shell Tribal Office at:

Contact Information:

Address:
Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
Box 1384
1807 3rd St NW
Great Falls, MT 59404

Phone: (406) 452-2892
Fax: (406) 452-2982
E-Mail: lstgtfalls@bresnan.net

Update: Reply from Mark Landrie, Election Committee Chairman: November 30, 2004
"YES, but they must be received by the Elections Committee no later then 8 December. Originally we had 4 December so we could insure we had all ballots back but since the newsletter was delayed we moved it to the best we could do. If you think your ballot will not get back in time you may fax it to me direct @ (406) 248-2042 attn: Mark Landrie. Since this is a military fax number nobody there is going to care what your vote is or isn't. We have to put a time limit on everything and some times it doesn't meet with everyone's expectations but we are trying to do the best thing. ELECTIONS COMMITTEE"

Nov 22, 2004
Little Shell to elect officers next month

The Little Shell Tribe will elect its officers Dec. 11, with balloting taking place in six cities.

Councilman Robert Van Gunten is challenging John Sinclair for the chairman's post, according to Carol Hofeldt, a member of the election committee.

James Parker Shield and Darryl Olson are vying for first vice chair, while councilman Edward Lavenger is unopposed for second vice chair.

Jessie Fuzesy is challenging incumbent Caroline Fleury for secretary/treasurer, and Alvina Allen and incumbent Kenneth Erickson are running for council. Three council seats are open.

Balloting will take place at the following locations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 11:

  • Conference room at the Westgate Mall, 1807 3rd St. N.W. in Great Falls.

  • HRDC Building, 2229 5th Ave. in Havre.

  • Naval Reserve Center, 717 N. 22nd St. in Billings.

  • North American Indian Alliance, 100 E. Galena in Butte.

  • Sons of Norway Hall, 347 1st Ave. E in Kalispell.

  • 721 N. Cincinnati in Spokane, Wash.

    Absentee ballots are available from the tribal office, 1807 3rd St. N.W., and must be mailed in by Nov. 30.

    The ballots will be counted Dec. 12, Hofeldt said, and the new council will be sworn in Jan. 15.

    Nov 22, 2004 Great Falls Tribune Article

  • Oct 18, 2004
    From Great Falls Tribune:

    Great Falls to play host to 15th annual Indian family conference

    Registration is under way for the 15th annual Indian Child and Family Conference, being held Oct. 26-28 in Great Falls.

    "Native Pride, Personalities and Perseverance: Facing Today's Challenges in a Two-World Environment" is the theme of the gathering, billed by organizers as the largest statewide conference on trauma, depression, youth suicide, foster child adversity challenges and traditional Indian intervention programs.

    Billings-based In-Care Network Inc. is coordinating the conference. Among other things, In-Care Network provides culturally sensitive foster care services for Indian children.

    National media expert Peter DeBenedittis will talk about how the mass media affects Native American children; Renee Samson Flood, author of "Lost Bird of Wounded Knee: Spirit of the Lakota" will lecture; and Chance Rush, a Native American motivational speaker, will present "Rezology 101," a short course that mixes comedy and tragedy to explain the complexities of life in Indian Country.

    Other speakers include Indian professionals and elders from the Gros Ventre Tribe, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the Blood Tribe of the Blackfeet Nation, as well as tribal members from the Fort Peck, Fort Belknap, Rocky Boy's and Standing Rock Sioux reservations, and the Cree and Crow tribes.

    "These meetings annually attract over 200 participants that work with American Indian children and their families through the foster care and adoption systems, through tribal courts, as medical practitioners to American Indian children and youth, and as traditional healers that work in reservation-based communities and provide cultural and spiritual services to help heal the wounds of child abuse and neglect," Bill Snell, In-Care's executive director, said in a news release.

    Oct 18, 2004 Great Falls Tribune Article

    Oct 6, 2004
    From Billings Gazette:

    Little Shell Tribe meeting moved

    A meeting of the Little Shell Tribe of the Chippewa in Billings on Saturday has been moved to the Westgate Mall in Great Falls, according to tribal officials. The meeting starts at noon.

    Meanwhile, candidates can apply for the tribal council election to be held in December or to become the tribe's Billings area representative by calling tribal offices at (406) 452-2892.

    LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster Note: We contacted Moon Charette, Billings Area Local Representive to confirm this change in the meeting and Moon informs us that the Tribal Council has asked that all members in the Billings Area to go to Great Falls Montana for the Meeting. So there will not be a Potluck lunch or Local Area Meeting this Saturday, Oct 9th. The Meeting in Great Falls starts at Noon.

    Oct 5, 2004 Billings Gazette Article

    Sept 29, 2004

    John Gilbert, Former Tribal Chairman, wins the 2004 Minority Small Business Person of the Year award for Montana from the U.S. Small Business Administration

    Brokering canned peaches from vendors in California for school lunch programs across the country isn't what Chinook-resident John Gilbert expected he'd be doing for a living.

    But recently he made a $3 million deal to do just that, thanks to the Internet and federal programs aimed at helping small, minority-owned businesses in economically disadvantage areas.

    A member of the Little Shell Tribe, Gilbert runs Silver Wolf Enterprises, with his wife, Pattie, and son, Shawn.

    On Sept. 14, he received the 2004 Minority Small Business Person of the Year award for Montana from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Now his name is in the hat for regional and national awards.

    "We have a lot of wonderful small businesses in Montana owned by Native Americans. They don't get enough recognition, and that is why these awards are so important," said Robert Much of the Montana Small Business Administration office.

    For the Full Story, go go to the Little Shell News Page

    Silver Wolf Enterprises

    Sept 27, 2004

    Little Shell Election Committee has announced final dates for the Election

    Mark A. Landrie, Little Shell Tribe Election Committee Chairman has announced the following Dates for our elections.

    December 11, 2004 is the date of the Election

    . Nominations for office will be accepted between 9 Oct 2004 and 22 Oct 2004.

    Requests for an absentee ballot will be accepted between 4 Sep 2004 and 12 Nov 2004 and must have been post marked on or between those dates.

    Absentee ballots with the nominee’s will be mailed or emailed depending on your request on or before 20 Nov 2004.

    Absentee ballots with your vote must be received by the Elections Committee no later then 4 Dec 2004. For absentee ballots to be considered valid they must have been post marked on or before 4 Dec 2004. Absentee ballots that do not meet the requirements above will be considered invalid and not counted.

    Polling station elections will be held on 11 Dec 2004 at the designated polling stations. The time at each station will be 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

    Ballots will be counted on 12 Dec 2004 and election results will be posted as soon as possible on the Little Shell web site and available from either your local area rep or the tribal office.

    New Councilpersons will be sworn in to office on 15 Jan 2005 at the Little Shell Tribal office.



    Webmaster Note: I will post the full Rules of the Election and Notices within the next couple days.

    Sept 15, 2004

    Little Shell Tribal Contest

    John Sinclair, Little Shell Executive Board President has also forwarded information on the Little Shell Contest.

    "If you send your address into the Great Falls office, I believe before Nov. 6th you will be put into a drawing for 1st prize $100.00 and 2nd prize a Little Shell Flag valued at $75.00."

    If you have any questions on the rules of the contest or you would like to enter the contest, You can send your name and address to:

    Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
    Box 1384
    1807 3rd St NW
    Great Falls, MT 59404

    Phone: (406) 452-2892
    Fax: (406) 452-2982
    E-Mail: lstgtfalls@bresnan.net



    Sept 15, 2004

    Oct 9th quarterly meeting clarified

    John Sinclair, Little Shell Executive Board President has forward the following clarification for the Oct 9th meeting in Billings Montana:

    "The meeting you have posted on your site for Oct. 9th in Billings is not a Council meeting it is a local area meeting. We plan to meet on the 9th but it will probably be in Great Falls. I have trouble getting quorums any place else. We had 3 at the Métis Celebration."

    This Local Area Meeting will be at 1 p.m. Monday (Oct 9th) at Friendship House, 3123 Eighth Ave. S. Billings Montana.

    For more information, call Moon Charette at 406-252-1047

    Sept 15, 2004

    Indian craft supply shop grows out of lack of materials

    By JO DEE BLACK
    Tribune Staff Writer

    Susan Altona enjoys selling the traditional Native American crafts she makes by hand. But it wasn't easy finding the supplies she needs to make those crafts in Great Falls.

    "Either you couldn't find things, or what you could find cost too much to make any profit on," she said.

    So Altona created her own source and opened Sacred Earth Treasures in July.

    In a move that economic developers call niche marketing, she stocks beads, feathers, flags, leather and craft supplies used for bead work, dream catchers and other traditional Native American work.

    In addition, she sells hand-made crafts on consignment, mostly made by Native Americans. Tourists are her main target market.

    Crafters say they appreciate the venue.

    For the full story go to the Great Falls Tribune or go to the Little Shell News Page.

    Sept 2, 2004

    Metis celebration and pow wow kicks off Today!

    by ANNETTE HAYDEN
    News-Argus Staff Writer

    The 2004 Metis Celebration and POW Wow brings it cultural magic to Lewistown and the Fergus County Fairgrounds, Thursday though Sunday, Sept. 2 through 5.

    The event is free and open to the public and will feature Native American fiddlers, dancers, singers, speakers and vendors from throughout the United States and Canada, sponsored by The Metis Celebration Committee.

    Jig contests, raffles, displays, games, storytelling, cultural demonstrations, concessions and more promise to transport visitors to the Native American way of life preserved from 200 years ago.

    POW Wow Dance categories include youth, men’s, women’s, fancy, traditional, grass, and jingle dance with prizes in each category and an open registration.

    Special this year is a “horse archery demonstration, by Patrick Stoddard and a jig contest to honor Super Doney.

    Free camping set up begins Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 3 p.m. Tipi poles, good water and showers are available. There is a fee for electrical hook-up. Alcoholic beverages and dogs are prohibited during the event.

    For more information about the Metis Celebration call Robert LaFountain at 406-248-2948 about the POW Wow; Donna Walraven at 406-452-2812 about concessions, camping and parking; or John LaFountain at 406-252-3235 about demonstrations and speakers.

    Schedule of events

    Wednesday, Sept. 1 – 3 p.m. Open camp

    Thursday, Sept. 2 – 7 p.m. Metis National Anthem/fiddling/dancing/open mic & jam

    Friday, Sept. 3 – 1:30 p.m. Speakers
    7 p.m. Metis National Anthem/fiddling/dancing/jig contest
    8 p.m. Auction
    9:30 p.m. Fiddling and dancing

    Saturday, Sept. 4 – 9:30 a.m. Little Shell - Metis
    Panel
    1 p.m. Parade, line-up at fairgrounds
    1:30 p.m. Grand entry - POW Wow
    5 p.m. Horse archery demonstration
    5:30 p.m. Metis feed - open to the public

    Sunday, Sept. 5 – 1 p.m. Grand entry - POW Wow
    6 p.m. Closing ceremony/evening social



    Aug 19, 2004

    Little Shell's dreams need stronger BIA leadership

    Great Falls Tribune Editorial:

    After a tedious 16-year effort, the federal government approved preliminary recognition for Montana's Little Shell tribe.

    "It's a glorious, glorious day for the Little Shell tribe," tribal Chairman Tim Zimmerman crowed. "They've signed off on it, and we're finally there."

    Well, not quite.

    That happy event was more than four years ago, and the slow wheels of the Bureau of Indian Affairs haven't turned much since then.

    The Little Shell still aren't federally recognized, and now we expect the increasingly unfair process to be drawn out even longer.

    That's because the BIA bureaucrat in charge of federal recognition is stepping down -- just four months after taking the job. Her predecessor resigned after acknowledging possible conflicts of interest.

    So for the third time in less than a year, another person steps into the hot seat.

    And hot it is. Hundreds of tribes are seeking federal recognition.

    Unlike the Little Shell, which can document more than a century of existence, many of the others have a hard time demonstrating their history as a tribe.

    But they're trying anyway, because recognition translates into the ability to open casinos. And Indian casinos are very big business.

    In 2001, for instance, tribal casinos brought in some $12.7 billion in gaming revenue. That's even more than Nevada casinos made that year.

    With so much at stake, there's a huge lobbying effort on behalf of some "tribes."

    In Montana, the potential for a big-bucks casino is limited. The roughly 4,000 members of the Little Shell, who live mostly in Great Falls and along the Hi-Line, have more basic needs.

    Recognition means eligibility for federal assistance with housing, health care and education.

    Right now, for example, a Little Shell member can't be treated at an Indian Health Service clinic. That would change with federal recognition.

    The tribe also has about $2.5 million in federal escrow. That money's not available to the Little Shell until recognition is complete.

    Unfortunately, as Native Americans here want for health care and housing, a few hundred members of the Schaghticoke Tribe of Connecticut sought recognition with the clear intention of establishing a casino.

    This spring BIA officials granted that recognition -- against the advice of their own staff, who found that the tribe did not meet the historical qualifications.

    Such horror stories are not new.

    Two years ago, a General Accounting Office report found that the federal recognition process was flawed.

    "A lack of clear and transparent explanations for their decisions could cast doubt on the objectivity of the decision makers, making it difficult for parties on all sides to understand and accept decisions," the report concluded.

    The problems persist, made even worse by the revolving door among BIA staff.

    Until strong leadership emerges at the agency -- or Congress steps in -- there's not much immediate hope for the Little Shell.

    Aug 19, 2004: Great Falls Tribune Editorial

    Aug 7, 2004

    Little Shell set quarterly meeting in Billings Mt. Correction

    Moon Charette, Little Shell Tribe Area Representative for Billings Montana has issued a correction to the Billings Gazette article of August 5th. The Gazette erroneously published that the Quarterly Little Shell Tribal Council meeting was to be held this Monday (Aug 9th). The Correct date is Saturday, October 9th 2004. Here is the correct article that hopefully the Billings Gazette will publish:

    The Little Shell will hold the annual quarterly meeting, Sat. October 9th. at The Friendship House, 3123 8th. ave. So. Billings Mt.,

    Pot Luck to follow. 1:00-5:00pm. Contact Moon Charette at 406-252-1047.

    Aug 5, 2004

    Little Shell set quarterly meeting in Billings Mt.

    The Little Shell Tribe will have its quarterly meeting at 1 p.m. Monday (Aug 9th) at Friendship House, 3123 Eighth Ave. S. An update on tribal recognition will be presented.

    A potluck follows the meeting. For more information, call Moon Charette at 406-252-1047.

    Aug 5, 2004: Billings Gazette Article

    July 17, 2004

    Little Shell Tribe Federal Recognition Petition Documents now online

    Federal Recognition Petition documents courtesy of INDIANZ.COM is now online here at the LittleShellTribe.com webpage. You can view them using either a .TIFF VIewer or using the Adobe Acrobat PDF Viewer.

    They are located on our Federal Recognition page.

    July 16, 2004

    INDIANZ.COM Posts Federal Recognition Documents

    As the Cobell Suit has prevented the Bureau of Indian affairs from activating their websites, Indian memberships all over the country has found it almost impossible to access information about the status of their Federal Recognition Petitions.

    Our Friends INDIANZ.COM has translated the Status information from the BIA CD-Rom to picture form and setup webspace for the information. We here at the LittleShellTribe.com member website applauds Indianz.com for their effort to ensure this information is available to the public at large. Megwich!

    We here at the LittleShellTribe.com member website have placed the information relating to our own Federal Recognition on our Federal Recognition page for Little Shell Tribal Members. We will be translating the TIFF files to an easily readable and searchable HTML Format in the coming days.

    To access the files, go to the Federal Recognition Page.

    INDIANZ.COM's BIA recognition decision database article

    July 16, 2004

    Festival to promote talents of Montana Native artists

    The first-annual Gathering of Artists will be held on the Flathead Reservation in Montana this weekend. The event is designed to promote Native artists in the state. Dyani Bingham, coordinator of the Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance, says Montana Natives often go unrecognized for their talents. The gathering emphasizes traditional tribal art. More than 20 artists representing Montana tribes will display their work.

    July 16, 2004 Article at INDIANZ.COM

    July 7, 2004

    Little Shell seek county's help for recognition

    The Little Shell Indian Tribe has asked Hill County for its support in an effort to have Congress pass legislation recognizing the tribe.

    Tribal Chairman Jon Sinclair and council member Ed Lavenger met with the Hill County Commission on Thursday and asked the commission to pass a resolution urging Congress to act. The commission will hold a public hearing on the matter.

    The Little Shell, a landless tribe consisting of more than 4,000 Chippewa Indians, has sought federal recognition for more than 20 years. Historically, American Indian tribes have been granted federal recognition through treaties, legislation or administrative decisions.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    July 6, 2004

    Little Shell Tribe plans summer events

    The Little Shell Tribe Council will meet Saturday in Great Falls. A work session will be held at 10 a.m., followed by a potluck at noon and general meeting at 1:30 p.m. All meetings will be held at the tribal office in Great Falls.

    The Little Shell Wellness Walk and Health Fair will be held Sept. 4, at the Central Montana Fairgrounds in Lewistown. Sign-up for the one-mile wellness walk is 9 a.m. Everyone who joins this free walk will receive a free T-shirt and a ticket for door prizes.

    The health fair is 1-5 p.m. and will include blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, health information, recipes and door prices.

    The walk/health fair will be held in conjunction with the Metis Celebration and Powwow, which runs from Sept. 2-6 in Lewistown. The Little Shell Council will hold a meeting during this time to inform people of what has been going on with the tribe. Information will also be available on the tribe's Web site, www.littleshelltribe.us.

    The tribe is also seeking information on Little Shell members serving in the military. Their names and pictures will be posted in the office.

    The tribe also has been selected as the host tribe for Lewis and Clark bicentennial activities in June 2005. The tribe will be responsible for opening and closing ceremonies. Committees will be forming, and volunteers are needed. If you are interested in being on a committee, contact the tribal office at (406) 452-2892, fax (406) 452-2982, or e-mail lstgtfalls@bresnan.net.

    Volunteers also are needed for the walk and/or health fair, as well as the upcoming election. Call the office at 452-2892 to help.

    July 6, 2004: Billings Gazette Article

    June 26, 2004

    Alliance works to keep Ojibwemowin and Dakota languages alive

    The Dakota Ojibwe Language Revitalization Alliance met last Friday to discuss ways to increase the usage of Dakota and Ojibwe.

    The group says less than 30 people in Minnesota speak Dakota. Another survey found just 418 fluent speakers of Ojibwe in three states.

    Educators say tribes are pouring money and resources into language preservation. The Mille Lacs Band, the Fond du Lac Band and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band have started language and cultural programs.

    Universities are also playing a role. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Native American Center hosts a language immersion camp on the Red Cliff Reservation.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    June 26, 2004

    When play time was serious Traditional Indian games kept tribes alive


    TRIBUNE PHOTOS BY LAILANI UPHAM O'DONNELL
    Children participate in double ball at the Sixth Annual International Traditional Games Friday. Double ball is a traditional Indian game involving goals that sometimes sit as far as a mile apart. It demands top physical condition, according to Officer of Traditional Games Ken Bruno.

    During the days of intertribal warfare, games were an important part of the upbringing of an Indian child.

    The run and scream game was crucial, yet simple. You just ran and screamed as long as you could.

    During battle when warriors would attack, they would run up to their enemy and scream at the top of their lungs. The element of surprise was key.

    Not only did this tactic surprise opponents, it confused them, creating a valuable window of time for the attacker.

    Many people don't know the cultural significance behind Native American Traditional Games, but the International Traditional Games Society is trying to change that with the annual International Traditional Games.

    For the first time in its five-year run, the games are being held in Great Falls, in conjunction with the Lewis and Clark Festival.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    June 25, 2004

    Little Shell Tribal Members Deploy this Weekend as part of the Montana Army Guard for duty in Iraq

    News from Tribal members:

    700 members of the Montana Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 163rd Infantry (Mechanized) "Grizzly Battalion", are leaving the state this weekend for Fort Bliss, Texas, to prepare for duty in Iraq.


    Prominent among the deployed is Little Shell Tribe Cultural Committee Member Richard Parenteau who performs duty as a Transportation specialist in support of the Battalion.

    1st Battalion, 163d Infantry (Mechanized) website

    Montana Army National Guard website

    June 25, 2004 Article: Great Falls Tribune

    June 25, 2004

    Camp connects Chippewa-Cree kids to tribal culture

    Youth on the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana are wrapping up a week-long stay at the Chippewa Cree Tribe's Pah-Nah-To Park.

    The kids, ages 11 to 14, took part in activities designed to be educational and fun. They met with tribal elders and learned about medicinal plants in an effort to stay closer with Chippewa and Cree tribal culture.

    The park is named for Pah-Nah-To, a tribal ancestor.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    June 15, 2004

    The Montana Burial Preservation Board adopts new grave site rules

    by: Ron Selden / Indian Country Today

    HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Burial Preservation Board recently voted unanimously to adopt two rules regarding the discovery and care of human remains found outside known cemeteries in the state.

    13-member board, set up to include representatives from each of the state’s seven Indian reservations, the Little Shell Band of Chippewa Indians and various other officials and private citizens, adopted a rule stating that the place where human remains are discovered shall be deemed an official burial site under state law unless contrary evidence proves otherwise. The rule will more easily allow protective measures to be put into place as needed.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    June 5, 2004

    Salish Kootenai College teacher, Little Shell Tribal Council Member Bob Van Gunten, puts master and student together to pass on craft of traditional Metis Red River carts


    A.J. Butler, 25, of Box Elder, a computer science student at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, stands by one of two Red River Carts he made this winter aided by a grant from the Montana Arts Council. The grant was available under a traditional crafts master-apprentice program to encourage the preservation of traditional crafts. Cart maker and native-crafts expert George White of Ronan, 92, is one of the few people left who knows how to make the traditional cart of the Metis people of the northern Great Plains. White supervised the construction of Butler's project, which is made entirely of wood and buffalo hide. Photo by JOHN STROMNES/Missoulian

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    June 1, 2004

    Great Falls anti-poverty celebration

    The food, fun are free to all at ExpoPark Wednesday

    An anti-poverty coalition will spend one of the first chunks of a huge grant on a community celebration Wednesday.The free bash includes dinner, music, pony rides and games at the Montana ExpoPark.

    It's sponsored by NorthCentral Montana Communities Ventures Coalition, which includes 11 counties in northcentral Montana, as well as the Blackfeet, Chippewa-Cree, Gros Ventre-Assiniboine and Little Shell tribes.

    The theme of the celebration is "A Partnership of NorthCentral Montanans Working Together for a Better Tomorrow."

    Karl Stauber, president of the foundation, is expected to be on hand and will make brief introductory remarks.

    WHAT: The public is invited to dinner, music, pony rides and games.

    WHERE: Montana ExpoPark, Great Falls.

    WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

    COST: It's free to all.

    June 1, 2004: Great Falls Tribune Article



    May 24, 2004

    Eldest elder of the Little Shell Chippewa dances her way to 100

    Sara LaRocque celebrated her 100th birthday last Saturday doing what she loves most – dancing and visiting with family and guests.

    Dressed in a beaded, buckskin dress and long gray braids, the half-French, half-Chippewa beauty said she felt like a princess.

    “Sara danced eight dances from beginning to end,” said her friend Gloria Wells. “That’s pretty good for being 100.”

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    May 20, 2004

    Hill 57 Pictures and information linked

    Angela Williams, Native American Artist, has provided us with the new website of her Hill 57 webpage. The Site includes Pictures and some historical information on Hill 57. You can view it on the Resource Page.

    May 20, 2004

    Congress Debates bill that to acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the United States Government regarding Indian Tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States.

    Senate Joint Resolution 37 is sponsered by Senator Brownback (R) Kansas
    CoSponsered by Sen Akaka, Daniel K. - 5/18/2004 [HI]
    Sen Campbell, Ben Nighthorse - 5/6/2004 [CO]
    Sen Inouye, Daniel K. - 5/6/2004 [HI]

    To Read the Full Bill, go to the News Page.

    May 19, 2004

    Group to plan Indian Heritage event

    The ad hoc steering committee to plan events for Montana's American Indian Heritage Day on Sept. 24 and the National American Indian Heritage month in November has reconvened.

    The committee's mission "is to foster the understanding of American Indian people through education, cultural awareness and positive dialogue."

    The committee meets at 4:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month in the conference rooms on the lower level of the Deaconess Billings Clinic. Individuals interested in becoming involved are invited. The next meeting is June 3.

    For information, call Virginia Bryan at 406-248-9366 or e-mail to redbird@bresnan.net.

    Billings Gazette Article: May 19, 2004

    May 10, 2004

    Let YOUR Voice be heard on Indian Education

    The Bureau of Indian Affairs is in the Process of creating rules in accordance with President Bush's Executive order to extend the benefits and requirements under the "No Child Left Behind" Act to include Indian Children.

    The Bureau is accepting Public comments till June 24, 2004 on how this may be implemented. You can either mail in your comments or you can use the technology provided by the Internet to place your comments into the public record online. The Rule contemplated by the US Department of the Interior/Bureau of Indian Affairs is as follows:

    "As required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Secretary of the Interior has developed proposed regulations using negotiated rulemaking that address the following issues: Defining adequate yearly progress, which is the measurement for determining that schools are providing quality education; establishing separate geographic attendance areas for Bureau- funded schools; establishing a formula for determining the minimum amount necessary to fund Bureau-funded schools; establishing a system of direct funding and support of all Bureau-funded schools under the formula established in the Act; establishing guidelines to ensure the Constitutional and civil rights of Indian students; and establishing a method for administering grants to tribally controlled schools."

    To Place your Public Comments on this regulations, click here:

    Dept of the Interior Online Public Comment System: Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

    April 30, 2004

    President Bush Signs Indian Education Executive Order

    An executive order designed to apply the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act to the education of Indian children was signed by President Bush on Friday.

    Tribal leaders, educators, members of Congress and a group of Indian students attended the afternoon ceremony at the White House. The event was accompanied by the naming of a new 15-member National Advisory Council on Indian Education earlier in the day.

    "It's going to improve the lives of our American Indian children and Alaska Native children," Bush said of the effort. "It is an important part of making sure we have a hopeful future."

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    April 16, 2004

    Training on tap for American Indian games

    Training camp for this summer's 6th Annual International Traditional Games begins this weekend in Loma for both American Indian and non-Indian people interested in teaching youth Indian games during a summer camp later this year.

    "Traditional games were an important part of our society," said Wakina Sky's Pearle McGillis, who is planning to attend Saturday's training and the six-day summer camp in June.

    McGillis is Wakina Sky's cultural outreach events coordinator.

    Beginning on Friday, June 22, participants will participate for six-days in games including shinney, lacrosse, doubleball, hoop and long arrow, arrow casting to hoop, horse races and games and a popular horse-foot-canoe race.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    March 30, 2004

    American Indian Chippewa writer to speak

    The Rocky Mountain College Native American Studies program is hosts poet and novelist Gordon Henry tonight for a reading from his works.

    The reading will be at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall of Prescott Hall on RMC's campus. The reading is free and the public is welcome. A reception will follow.

    Henry first drew attention as an American Indian writer in 1983, when his poetry was anthologized in "Songs From This Earth on Turtle's Back: An Anthology of Contemporary American Indian Poetry."

    Henry's fiction has appeared in the anthology "Earth Song, Sky Spirit" and his novel, "The Light People" (1994), appeared to critical acclaim.

    Henry, an enrolled member of the White Earth Chippewa Tribe, is an associate professor of English in Michigan State University's English/Creative Writing program.

    The Great Hall of Prescott Hall on Rocky Mountain College Campus is in Billings Montana.

    March 30, 2004

    Indian teachers, parents to gather in Missoula. Indian Game and other workshops scheduled.

    More than 300 parents, classroom teachers, school administrators and high school students are expected at the 22nd annual Montana Indian Education Association Conference that starts Thursday in Missoula.

    This year's theme is "Nurturing American Indian Leadership into the Future."

    "It is important American Indians be active participants in the educational system, creating policies and strategies that will improve educational achievement and create new opportunities for success for Indian students," said Thomas Brown, this year's conference chairman.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    March 25, 2004

    Four candidates for MT Governor try to woo Indian Tribes, Including Little Shell Tribe.

    Four candidates for Montana governor Wednesday offered several promises to the state's Indian tribes.

    One promised a cabinet post for a Native American, along with a new tribal representatives council. Another candidate promised administrative positions and a third said any qualified person would be considered for a place in the executive branch. A fourth candidate said he was opposed philosophically to granting requests to any special interest.

    Attendees at the Montana Wyoming Tribal Economic Development Summit got a spectrum of specifics from Republican Tom Keating, Libertarian Stan Jones and Democrats Brian Schweitzer and John Vincent during the summit at the Billings Sheraton Hotel.

    Vincent, a Gallatin County commissioner, said he would create a council made up of members from each of Montana's seven Indian reservations and from the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa, which has no reservation but has sought official recognition from the federal government for years.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.

    March 17, 2004

    Native American artists gather for show in Great Falls

    A group of Native Americans have organized a four-day art show to coincide with the annual Charlie Russell Auction in Great Falls this week and are hoping to attract visitors interesting in learning more about native art.

    "It's just so exciting," Gloria Wells, an artist from Lewistown and former owner of the Indian Uprising gallery in Bozeman, said in a phone interview. "It's a high quality, five-star native art show."

    The show, "Honoring Our Traditions," is independent of the Russell auction and is being held in the Rainbow Retirement Community, formerly the Rainbow Hotel, in Great Falls.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.



    March 10, 2004

    Indian culture training in works

    By next month, the state Parole Board may approve new rules for training its members about Native American issues, the board's executive director said Friday.

    The rules stem from a bill passed by the 2003 Legislature, which expanded the Board of Pardons and Parole membership and said all members must "have knowledge of American Indian culture" because of the high proportion of Native American inmates in the state prison system.

    Craig Thomas, executive director of the board, told the State-Tribal Relations Committee that the rules could be in place by the end of April.

    However, he said the board wants to maintain some flexibility in the rules and not necessarily require all of its members to undergo training.

    For example, board members who are Native Americans probably don't need to undergo training about Indian culture, he said.

    The board also hasn't decided the exact training curriculum yet, Thomas added.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.
    March 10, 2004

    Montana Historical society seeks ancestors

    The Montana Historical Society is working on a project with the National Park Service to collect and preserve historical information on the state's homestead experience. Descendants of Montana homesteaders can share family stories with historians by filling out a one-page questionnaire.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.
    Febuary 16, 2004

    Stone Child College instructors will locate historical info on Cree and possibly Chippewa history in Montana

    Robert Murie, an instructor of Native American history at Stone Child Collage, and Matt Herman, an Instructor in the college's liberal arts program may make a two-week road trip in June to collect materials relating to Historical information about the Cree people and, hopefully, about the Chippewa.

    Aided by two $25,000 grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the two instructors plan to visit Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, The Glenbow Museum in Calgary, as well as a museum in Edmonton, Alberta, the Montana Historical Society in Helena, and the Newberry Library in Chicago. They hope to make copies of pictures and documents the museums have, and then archive them on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. The two Instructors also plan to conduct oral history interviews with elders living on the reservation as well as those living in Canada along the path the Southern Cree once took to come to Montana.

    For the Full Story, go to the News Page.
    Febuary 13, 2004

    Little Shell Tribe holding open house Saturday, Feb 14th

    Montana's Little Shell Tribe plans an open house Saturday, Feb 14th. Members and the public are welcome to stop by the main office and say hello to the Tribal Council, Tribal Members.

    "We want our members to see our new offices and feel comfortable here," said Secretary-Treasurer Caroline Fleury.

    The Tribal office moved a couple of months ago from the 2J's Mini Mall to the Offices at the Westgate mall. To find the office in the mall, Enter through the front entrance, walk straight ahead to the entrance doors on the South side and then enter the glass door on the left just outside the south entrance to the mall. The Office is on the left hand side and has our sign on the front.

    13 Feb, 2004 Great Falls Tribune Article

    Febuary 8, 2004

    Little Shell Federal Recognition Petition to be submitted May 11, 2004

    NARF, The Little Shell Tribal Council, and Dr. Pamela Bunte have announced that the Final Petition for Recognition will be submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs May 11, 2004. Originally announced for Jan 15th, the current delay is so we can add information relating to the work of Joseph Dussome and his efforts, since the death of Chief Thomas Little Shell, in the Legislative and Executive branch's of the Federal Government to gain recognition of the Little Shell tribe.
    January 29, 2004

    Historic Hudson Bay Fort restored

    For full story, go to the Little Shell News page
    January 27, 2004

    Little Shell gauging health of its elders

    The Little Shell Tribe will assess the health of its elders over five days beginning Saturday.

    Tribal members who are 55 years or older and who live in Cascade County are asked to report to the Seminar Room on the third floor of the Ursuline Centre, 2300 Central Ave., in Great Falls to participate in the health survey.

    Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday, with the exception of Sunday, when the hours are noon to 4 p.m.

    Those who need transportation should call the tribal office at 406-452-2892.

    Great Falls Tribune 1-27-04: Across the Big Sky

    January 23, 2004

    Little Shell Tribe loses one of it's own

    Notice from Little Shell Tribal Council:

    On Wednesday evening Larry and Darrel Koke received word that Larry's son was missing. Search and rescue found him a short distance from Kings hill ski area in a very remote and hard to get at place. His body was recovered by helicopter and other means Thursday afternoon. He had been snow boarding alone in the area. Funeral services are set for Tuesday PM.

    Their address is 201 18th Ave NW, Great Falls, 59404. His obituary will be in the Sunday Great Falls tribune for further info.

    Our prayers and heartfelt sympathy goes to their family. Darrel will not be in the office until she feels she can come in. Larry is having a very hard time. Carol Winchell, also a member of our tribe is Lance's mother. Her address is 709 6th Ave NW, Great Falls, 59404.

    ***Webmaster Note: We here at the Little Shell Tribe Website also offer our prayers and our condolances to the Koke family for their terrible loss.***

    News Articles:
    Great Falls Tribune Article 1-23-04: Great Falls snowboarder found dead near Showdown
    Billings Gazette Article 1-23-04: Montana digest
    Great Falls Tribune Article 1-24-04: Snowboarder's autopsy shows no injuries
    Billings Gazette Article 1-25-04: No sign of injury to snowboarder
    Great Falls Tribune Obituary: 1-25-04: Lance Alan Koke
    Great Falls Tribune Obituary: 1-26-04: Correction to Lance Alan Koke Obituary

    January 19, 2004

    "Metis" officially defined in Canada

    For the full story, Click Here.

    January 16, 2004

    Council Announces an Open house!



    There will be an open house of the new office on Feb 14, 2004.
    WHERE: 1807 3 Steet NW, Suite #35A - Great Falls, MT (Westgate mall)
    WHEN: Starting at 1:00 P.M.

    There will be additional information in the near future. We hope to have the Cultural Committee have some displays and children playing traditional games, drinks and goodies. Questions? Participation? Donations? Ideas?

    Contact: Little Shell Tribal Office @ (406) 452-2892 Fax - (406) 452-2982
    Email - lstgtfalls@bresnan.net

    Also, don't forget that the Little Shell Tribal Council has Monthly Council Meetings the 2nd Saturday of each month that are also open to the public!



    January 16, 2004

    Genealogist's Beware!



    There is a Scam going on the Internet that targets Genealogist's, For the full story, Click Here.

    January 1, 2004

    Happy "Kissing Day"



    Kissing Day: In the early 1800's, Minnesota Indians, particularly the Chippewa of the North, celebrated the New Year by exchanging kisses (it's suspected the custom was learned from French-Canadian traders). Even if the custom died many years ago, it certainly wouldn't hurt to give your significant other a "peck" on Kissing Day!

    December 30, 2003

    AaBita Biboon!


    Happy New Year!



    December 21, 2003:

    Niibaa' anami'egiizhigad


    Merry Christmas!



    An Indian Christmas Prayer (Not Chippewa, but I thought appropriate for the holiday)

    Ojibwa Night Before Christmas (for fun)

    November 17, 2003:

    Little Shell Cultural committee hosts a Cultural Resources protection Panel

    On November 21, 2003, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, at the City Commission Chambers at the Civic Center, The Little shell Tribe Cultural Committee will be hosting the Cultural Resources Protection Panel.

    The Culture Committee STRONGLY encourages ALL Tribal members and Tribal Leaders to attend and participate in the Cultural Resource Protection Panel this Friday.

    The panel will consist of noted speakers to discuss each topic area, and there will be an opportunity for the audience to participate in a lively "give and take" question and answer period following remarks by each panelist. In addition to encouraging a strong turn0out of Little Shell People, the Committee is inviting local schools and college classes, law enforcement and human services organizations from Great Falls to attend.

    The Culture Resource Protection Panel will also be videotaped and aired on the Great Falls Area Public Access television channel.

    More Information is on the Little Shell News Page.

    November 11, 2003:

    Montana Supreme Court Defines "Indian Child", Mont. court won't apply ICWA in child custody case

    Webmaster Note in full on the Little Shell News Page.
    November 5, 2003:

    Forum set on Indian education

    GREAT FALLS -- American Indian leaders will be in Great Falls next week to discuss long-running legal issues with Indian education.

    "After 31 years, we are still trying to integrate the promise made in Montana's Constitution into our state's education curriculum, professional development and programs," said Carol Juneau, a state representative from Browning who is chairwoman of the Montana Indian Education Association.

    The Montana Constitution says that the state "is committed in its educational goals to the preservation" of cultural integrity of American Indians.

    The forum, designed to discuss how to better fulfill the requirement, is set for Sunday, Nov. 9 and Monday, Nov. 10 at the Great Falls Heritage Inn.

    Rep. Norma Bixby, D-Busby, said the forum will generate discussion and legal options to improve things.

    Melody McCoy of the Native American Rights Fund in Denver will be keynote speaker Sunday evening. She will discuss Indian education from a national perspective.

    Article in Billings Gazette

    October 31, 2003: Little Shell Tribe Job Opening:

    Tobacco Prevention Specialist

    Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana-Contract Position-$2000.00 per month. The Little Shell Tribe has an immediate opening for a Tobacco Prevention Specialist in it's Gt. Falls Tribal office. Associate degree in health or education related field or two years of experience in health or health educator position, working knowledge of computer and systems. Extensive travel required and must have a current MT driver's license.

    For additional information, contact:

    Dr. Russell Boham at (406) 531-1525. Closing date is 11/12/03.

    Send Resume to:
    Dr. Russell Boham
    P.O. Box 1384
    Great Falls, MT 59403
    October 31, 2003:

    Little Shell Tribal Office Has Moved to new Location

    Our new address for the office is now 1807 3rd St NW Great Falls, Mt 59404. We moved the office on October 12th. We now have more room and are finally getting settled in. We paid all the back rent which was owed and were offered this office space at an amount that we are able to afford.

    Click Here For Map of new Office Location

    Our Mailing Address is:

    Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
    Box 1384
    1807 3rd St NW
    Great Falls, MT 59404

    Phone: (406) 452-2892
    Fax: (406) 452-2982


    October 31, 2003:

    American Indian month activities set at RMC

    A variety of activities are on tap at Rocky Mountain College for American Indian Month, marked throughout the United States in November.

    RMC's American Indian Cultural Association and American Indian Affairs Division will sponsor an American Indian Youth Art Show for area American Indian high school students Nov. 3-22 in the college's Tech Art Gallery.

    The association is comprised of American Indian students at RMC, and Janine Pease is RMC's vice president of American Indian Affairs. The art show will be curated by art professors Mark Moak and Jim Baken.

    The show is a prelude to American Indian Day activities set for Nov. 18 and sponsored by the American Indian Affairs Division and Institute for Peace Studies at RMC.

    For More Information, Read the full article at the Billings Gazette.
    October 12, 2003:
    The Little Shell Tribal Council announces a Little Shell Benefit for Saturday October 25th at the Helena Community Center at York Road and Tizer Road in Helena Montana.

    This is an Auction and Dance Benefit and in addition, a Raffel will be held for a Remingtion 257 and a Roberts Model 722 Rifle

    For full details and driving directions, check our Little Shell Community page.
    Sept 27, 2003:

    Little Shell Socials and Celebrations posted

    Mark your Calenders and get ready for two October Little Shell Tribe get-togethers.

    On Oct 4, we are having a Basket Social at the H.R.D.C. Fireside room in Havre Montana. Put your best baskets together and put them up for auction.

    On Oct. 11th we are celebrating Fall Fest 2003 in Great Falls Montana hosted by the Little Shell Tribe, Indian Health Clinic, and the Great Falls Indian Education Department.

    Check out our Community Page for full details on both of these celebrations.

    If you have any questions or want to help out, call the Little Shell Main office at (406) 452-2892.

    All Proceeds are Tax deductable and will go to support the Little Shell Tribe Main Office.

    Come one, Come all and the Public is welcome along with Little Shell Tribal members.

    Put down on your Calendars November 8, 2003 for Joe Dussome Days... Details will be posted soon on this Celebration of one of our great Leaders of the Little Shell tribe.
    Sept 24, 2003:
    Tribal Council Meeting Minutes now online
    The Little Shell Tribal Council has released for public view the Minutes of the Monthly Tribal Council Meetings. To read the latest, go to the Tribal Council page.

    The August 2003 Minutes currently online, the September 2003 minutes should be posted soon.

    Sept 22, 2003:
    Metis win Historic Supreme Court Ruling
    In an historic decision, Canada's highest court on Friday ruled that mixed-blood Indians have the same rights as other federally-recognized Indians.

    Go to the Little Shell News Page for the full story.

    Sept 20, 2003:
    Little Shell Tribal Member returns to Montana to open Main Headquarters in Billings
    Michael Gray, Owner of G&G Advertising is moving his headquarters from Albuquerque NM to Billings Montana. In March 2003, G&G Advertising, purchased the Historic Masonic Lodge in Billings and plans to renovate the building at a cost of around $1 million dollars. Located at 2806 3rd Avenue North, the Masonic Lodge Building was built in 1910. The fraternal order of Masonry was established in Billings in 1884 as Ashlar Lodge No. 29. Some of Billings most prominent businessmen and public officials were members including P.B. Moss, owner of the first National Bank, Charles Spear, another leading banker, and Albert Babcock. The building was designed by the architectural firm of John Link and Charles Haire, one of the most significant architectural firms in Montana during the early-to-mid 20th century.

    For more on G&G Advertising and Michael Gray, go to the Little Shell News Page

    Sept 13, 2003:
    Online Ancestor Tree updated
    Brenda Snider has updated the online Ancestor Tree on our Genealogy page with over 8251 names, 1078 Surnames and 3059 Family Groups. Check it out!
    Sept 7, 2003:
    Little Shell Tribal Committee's now more streamlined

    The Tribal Committee structure has changed to become more streamlined and efficient. The following are the new committee's and their responsibilities as designated by the Little Shell Tribal Council.

    The Designated committees are:

    Tribal Administration committee:
    Areas of Responsibility: Accounting, enrollment, public relations, and tribal elections.

    Human Resource committee:
    Areas of Responsibility: Health, Education, Welfare and Culture

    Resource Development committee:
    Areas of Responsibility: Grants, Property Acquisition, Housing, Economic Development, and Natural Resources.

    Committee Chair's and members will be posted as soon as the appointments have been made.

    The Tribal Council is encouraging members who are interested in serving the Little Shell Community by becoming a committee member to contact the Office or a Council member of your interest in serving.
    Please provide your name, address, phone number, e-mail address (if you have one), your area of interest, a short letter of your background, and the committee you would like to serve on.

    Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
    Box 1384
    105 Smelter Ave N.E.
    Great Falls, MT 59403

    Phone: (406) 452-2892
    Fax: (406) 452-2982
    For future developments on the Committee's, go to the Little Shell Committee page.
    Sept 7, 2003:
    September Little Shell Tribal Council Meeting Scheduled


    Please join the Little Shell Tribal Council for their Monthly public meeting on Saturday, Sept 13, 2003 (This Weekend). The meeting will be held in the Heritage Hall room (Room G66) of the University of Great Falls "Vo-Tech Center" located in the College of Technology building at 2100 16th Ave South.

    This Public Tribal Council meeting is one of 4 scheduled for the remainder of 2003. Future meetings will be held on the 2nd Saturday of each month. The Press is also invited to attend these meetings.

    Future Meetings Schedule:
    October 11, 2003
    November 8, 2003
    December 13, 2003

    Directions to the Meeting can be found at these links (If you start from the Little Shell Tribe Main Office.)

    (Fastest)Mapquest directions from Main Little Shell Tribe Office.

    (Shortest)Mapquest directions from Main Little Shell Tribe Office.

    The College of technology is at the far (south) end of the campus according to the Information desk. Go into the Main entrance on the North side of the building and turn right past the Information Desk and follow the signs to "Heritage Hall". There will be signs with "Little Shell Tribal Meeting" posted. If you get lost or need help, call the University of Great Falls Information Desk at 406-771-4300 or stop by the information desk if you are already in the building.

    A map of the building with an "X" on Heritage hall can be found here:

    Heritage Hall Directions

    Sept 7, 2003:
    Little Shell Tribal Newsletter online


    The August 2003 version of the Little Shell Tribal Newsletter is now online. Go to the Little Shell Community Page to read the latest version.
    Sept 3, 2003:
    Little Shell Tribal Office in danger of losing current main office

    Donations desperately needed!!


    The Council regrets to inform the members that the rent on the tribal office is three months past due. Unless we pay part of the past due $2,500 plus the $700 monthly rent for Sept. we will have until September 10 to vacate the premises. We are hoping to come up with enough money to stay where we are but we are also checking other options.

    The funds taken in at the election meeting will take care of the telephone, internet account, the copier maintenance, liability insurance and some of the monthly needs of operating an Office.

    If you or your family can afford to send any amount of money to the office it will help us keep the office open and in the same place until we can find some place acceptable. We appreciate all of you that have donated money, time, raffle items, sent money in for the newsletter and paid for ID cards.

    All Donations made to the Little Shell Tribe are Tax Deductible

    To Send Donations to help keep our office open, send a check or money order to:

    Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
    Box 1384
    105 Smelter Ave N.E.
    Great Falls, MT 59403
    Phone: (406) 452-2892
    Fax: (406) 452-2982

    If you are in Great Falls, you can also stop by the office Monday through Friday 10am to 4pm to drop off your donations.
    August 28, 2003:

    New Little Shell Newsletter Published

    The Little Shell Tribal Council has announced that the Newsletter has been published Yesterday and sent out for mailing. Members who have subscribed should be receiving them in the next few days. While the Tribal Council is participating in the Metis Celebration in Lewistown Mt. They will be handing out copies of the newsletter for Donations, any left over will be given out for free. You can also sign up for future Newsletters while you visit at the celebration and meet with Little Shell Tribal Members and the Little Shell Tribal Council.

    If you would like to Subscribe to a year's subscription of the Little Shell Tribe newsletter or renew your current subscription, Send a check or money order for $10.00 along with your name and Address to:

    Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
    Attn: Newsletter Subscription
    Box 1384
    105 Smelter Ave N.E.
    Great Falls, MT 59403
    August 28, 2003:
    The Tribal Council has announced that the Main Office will be open Monday through Friday, 10AM to 4PM.


    Council Members Darrell Koke and Caroline Fleury will be staffing the Main Office and will be the voices on the telephone when you call. John Sinclair, Chairman, will also be in the Main Office about once a week as will other Tribal Council Members.

    Friday, August 29 and Monday, Sept 1st the office will be closed while the Tribal Council attends the Metis Celebration in Lewistown Mt.

    August 24, 2003:
    The Little Shell Warrior Webpages are now online.


    The First listing is Cpl Paul M. Houle. He is in the US Army 3rd Infantry Division currently stationed at Ft. Steward Georgia. He was stationed in Kuwait at the Beginning of the War in Iraq and was in one of the first units to enter into battle with the Iraqi Regime. We are proud of Little Shell Tribe Warrior Paul M. Houle and we are happy that he has returned from the field of battle safely.

    To see the Little Shell Warriors, go to the Little Shell Tribe Community Page.

    August 24, 2003:
    Full Results from the Special August 9, 2003 Elections

    To see the Full Election Results of the Special Tribal Council Election and Pictures of the proceedings, Go to the Election 2003 Page.
    August 19, 2003:
    Little Shell Tribal Council announces General "State of the Union" Meeting Schedule and Metis Celebration Participation


    The Tribal Council has announced a meeting this Saturday the 23d of August at 1:00PM at the Great Falls office (105 Smelter Ave N.E. Great Falls, MT 59403). There is be limited space so attendance will be on a first come first served basis. This will be be the first Public meeting of the Little Shell Tribal Council since the Special Election on August 9th, 2003. Members of the Little Shell Tribe are welcome to attend.

    The Tribal Council has also announced that they will also meet in Lewistown Montana durning the Metis Celebration starting at 9:30AM on Saturday the 30th of August. The Metis Celebration and Conference 2003 is located at the Central Montana Fairgrounds - Lewistown, Montana. There will be Fiddlers, Singers, Dancers, & Indian Pow-Wow. The Celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, August 27th through Sunday, August 31st - 2003. Admission is free and much fun will be had by all. For More Information, Check out the Metis Celebration and Conference 2003 Website

    August 11, 2003:

    New Little Shell Tribal Council Elected

    On August 9, 2003, Enrolled Members of the Little Shell Tribe elected a new Tribal Council in a special Election to serve till November 6, 2004 at which time a Normal Tribal Constitutional Election will be held for the Tribal Council Seats. The Special Election was held to settle an election disupute that arrised durning the 2000 Tribal Constitutional Election. The Dispute was taken outside the Tribe to the Montana State Courts that Culminated in a Montana Supreme Court Decision that declined to intervene in the internal dispute and affirmed the Little Shell's Tribe Sovereignty. With Pressure from NARF, Enrolled Members of the Tribe, and other groups representing the Tribe in Federal Recognition, an agreement was signed that provided for a Special Election to "Legitimize" our Tribal Council.

    The special election took place at the vo-tech center at the MSU-College of Technology. Tribal members each voted for seven candidates. The top seven vote-getters then joined the tribe's election committee in closed session to choose executive officers.

    Officers elected Saturday are:

    Tribal chairman -- John Sinclair, 87 votes.

    Vice chairman -- Darrell Koke, 71 votes.

    Second vice chairman - Larry Salois, 72 votes.

    Secretary treasurer - Caroline Fleury, 79 votes.

    The three council members are: Bob Van Guten, with 91 votes; Ed Lavenger, with 77 votes; and Alvina Allen with 71 votes.

    All new members were elected to finish out the two-year term ending Nov. 6, 2004.



    Great Falls Tribune Article: Little Shell elect new tribal council

    July 12, 2003:

    Little Shell Tribe Election Press Release


    The Little Shell Tribal Council has issued the Press Release concerning the August 9, 2003 Elections, To read the Release, go to the Little Shell News Page

    July 12, 2003:

    Little Shell Tribe Elections Will be held August 9, 2003

    In the general membership meeting held today, The Little Shell Tribe discussed current and upcoming options and progress with our Federal Recognition. Dr. Pamela Bunte and Federal Recognition Committee Chairman John Gilbert answered questions pertaining to Legislative and Executive Branch options on our federal recognition petition. It was stressed that the Special Interim Election held August 9, 2003 was important in unifying the Little Shell Tribe and forwarding our progress towards regaining our sovereignty in the eyes of the United States Federal Government. This election will provide closure to the Contested Election of 2000 and was agreed to by the Sitting Tribal Council and the "LST-7" in the signed agreement of June 22, 2003.

    For more details and Directions to the Election hall, go to the Little Shell News Page




    May 25, 2003

    Little Shell Tribe of Montana no longer "Technically" Landless.



    For Full Story, go to the Little Shell News Page


    May 1, 2003

    Montana Supreme Court AFFIRMS SOVEREIGNTY of The Little Shell Tribe!!

    In a Opinion Released Yesterday, the Montana Supreme Court states that the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians as a SOVEREIGN Entity with a cohesive Community that has been sustained over the past Century, that State Courts have no place in interfering in our Internal affairs.

    "...We agree with the District Court that the Little Shell satisfies each element of the Montoya test and therefore is a tribe entitled to sovereignty..."

    "...this Court is unwilling to interfere with the longstanding right of tribal sovereignty to resolve the underlying matter in this case...."

    Justice Terry N. Trieweiler Concurring Opinion states in part:
    "I concur with all that is said in the majority Opinion regarding the sovereign immunity of Indian tribes, whether or not they have been recognized by the federal government; and, I concur with the majority's conclusion that the Little Shell Band meets all the common law criteria for recognition as a tribe. Finally, I concur that to the extent that the Appellants' District Court complaint relates to tribal self-government, the District Court was without jurisdiction to entertain it...."


    More Info to come....


    April 30, 2003

    The Montana Legislature has passed a Bill to Honor American Indian Vetrans from Montana.

    To be located at the state capitol, the monument includes a tribal flag circle. The bill requires it to be funded privately.

    "An Act honoring the Sacrifice, Patriotism, and long tradition of Military Participation by Montana's American Indian citizens by requiring specific recognition of Montana's past, Present, and Future American Indian war veterans in the construction of the American Indian monument and Tribal Flag Circle"

    Go to the Little Shell News Page for more Information and Links to the Bill


    April 29, 2003

    Little Shell Tribe Federal Recognition Update

    NARF Attorney Kim Gottschalk has requested a meeting with NARF, LST's anthropoligist Pam Bunte and LST Recognition Committee person in Washington, DC in May to discuss the issues that are being addressed in our petition to be federally recognized. Information has come forth that BAR has questions about our community for their criteria for recognition. A report will be issued by NARF about the results of the meeting.

    For more Information, Please contact the Little Shell Tribe Main Office.


    April 29, 2003

    The Montana Legislature passed a bill to formalize the state-tribal relationship.

    The bill sets out procedures for consultation with tribes and with the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council. It is meant as a follow-up to proclamations issued by state governors.

    Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy (D), a member of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe, sponsored the bill.

    There are seven federally recognized tribes in Montana. The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe is in the final stages of recognition.

    Go to the Little Shell News Page for more Information and Links to the Bill

    April 25, 2003

    Little Shell to meet Saturday in Billings

    Members and friends of the Little Shell Tribe will meet Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Friendship House in Billings, 3123 Eighth Ave. S. For more information, call (406)860-6362.


    March 4, 2003

    Gloria Wells-Norlin's Lewis and Clark Exibition opens up more opportunities for Little Shell Tribal Member

    Read the full story on the Little Shell News Page

    February 20, 2003
    Little Shell Tribal Council Notice:

    Read Original Letter
    2-18-03

    To Whom it May Concern,
    Please be aware this group calling themselves Little Shell. Head person Ron Brakke and his manager Randy Peterson are not representatives of the Little Shell Tribe of Montana, we have no affiliation with this group what so ever. And will post this on our web site.

    Sincerely,
    --Signed--
    Roger D. Salois
    Secretary/Treasurer

    For more information please contact the Main Office of the Little Shell Tribe at:

    Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
    105 Smelter Ave.
    P.O. Box 1384
    Great Falls, Mt. 59403
    Telephone: (406)452-2892

    February 6, 2003
    Tribal Council Announcement:
    LOOKING FOR PEOPLE

    If you are interested in doing something with and for the Tribe in the International Indian Games in Great Falls Mt. and to participate in the Lewis and Cleark Bicentennial, Send your Name and what you can offer, whatever it is to the Main Office.

    **Webmaster Note: We of the Little Shell Tribe have many talents we can share with everyone durning the Lewis and Clark Celebration and our own Celebration at the Sleeping Buffalo Resort, please do not hesitate to show off your skills and talents..

    ---------------------------------

    February 6, 2003
    Tribal Council Announcement:
    ATTENTION!!!
    EXTREMELY IMPORTANT PROJECT FOR THE TRIBE!!!
    The Little Shell Tribe are putting together a fire fighting groups. We need to know your Name, Address, Birth Date, and what you are qualified to do. We are also starting a new firefighting unit that will be like none other in the world. We need to know if you are willing and able to be trained in any area. Please send a WRITTEN Letter ASAP so we can get started as this year's fire season is fast coming upon us.

    Send Letter to :

    Little Shell Tribe
    Attn: Fire Fighting
    P.O. Box 1384
    Great Falls, Mt. 59403

    ---------------------------------

    February 6, 2003
    Tribal Council Announcement:
    VETERANS!!

    Check in on your benefits here or the nearest V.A. office. If near a Tribal Office, check with that Indian V.A. person on your rights and benefits. There has been changes toward better support for Indian Veterans. We have booklet's at the Main Office if you are interested in them. Write to the office for information and we will try to help.. Out of State Members, contact your State VA office as each state is different. There are housing, business, hospital, and Perscription benefits that are effected. Click here for info on how to contact the Main Office.

    ---------------------------------

    February 6, 2003
    Today, there are quite a few updates from the Little Shell Tribal Council. Read all about them on the Little Shell News Page.

    February 1, 2003
    Today, at around 7am MST, The Space Shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry to the earth's atmosphere, 16 minutes before it was scheduled to land at Cape Canaveral in Orlando Florida. It was destroyed at 203,000 feet while travelling at 12,500 miles per hour. All 7 Crew Members are assumed dead. The crew of the Columbia included 6 Americans and 1 Israeli Astronaut.

    Colonel Rick Husband; Lt. Colonel Michael Anderson; Commander Laurel Clark; Captain David Brown; Commander William McCool; Dr. Kalpana Chawla; and Ilan Ramon, a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force.

    The Little Shell Website wishes to express our deep and sincere condolences to the Families of the Crew of Columbia.. As President Bush said in his Adrress to the nation:


    "In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
    The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.
    May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America."

    ---------------------------------

    December 30, 2002

    The Montana Supreme Court has set a Schedule for Hearing Oral Arguments in the case 01-888, LST-7 vs. Little Shell Tribe for January 21, 2003. If you would like to attend the MT Supreme Court Hearing, Contact the Clerk's office at Phone: (406) 444-3858. If you do attend, please take notes and send me an email at WebMaster@LittleShellTribe.com and I will post your observations here on the website. See the LST Legal Page for more info.

    December 30, 2002

    AaBita Biboon!


    Happy New Year!



    January 31, 2003

    The Little Shell Ancestor Tree is now online!! Visit the Genealogy page to view it.

    January 22, 2003

    Two new articles are posted on the History Page, Both articles are from "Montana The Magazine of Western History". The 1st, is about how Sister Providencia helped Little Shell Tribal Members on Hill 57 in the 1950's through the 1970's, it is called "From Hill 57 to Capitol Hill: 'Making the Sparks Fly'. The other Article, is called "Waiting for a day that never comes" and is a summary history of the Struggle of the Little Shell Tribe for Federal Recognition since the 1800's.

    January 14, 2003

    Gloria Wells-Norlin says her fingers look like "Vienna sausages." But she considers herself blessed as this Little Shell Tribal Member prepares a tepee for thousands to admire in Charlottesville, Va., at the first of 15 national Signature Events to commemorate the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Read More about this on the Little Shell News Page.

    December 24, 2002

    Niibaa' anami'egiizhigad


    Merry Christmas!



    An Indian Christmas Prayer (Not Chippewa, but I thought appropriate for the holiday)

    Ojibwa Night Before Christmas (for fun)

    December 15, 2002

    The Little Shell Tribal Office is looking for Volunteers to sit on some Montana state boards and to attend meetings that may appear in your area. If you would like to participate and help our tribe out contact the Main Office for more Information.

    I have lots of news this week from my meetings with the Tribal Council Members, you can read them all on the Little Shell Tribe News Page.

    There are a lot of happenings with our Little Shell Tribe community. I would like to begin posting achievments and news of our Tribal members. An example would be something that is significant to you that you would like to share with our Tribal Community. For Example, you or your child has graduated High School, or joined the Military, or won an award and you would like to share this news with the rest of the Tribe and the World, or you would like to announce the birth of your child or loss of a Little Shell Tribal Member, etc.. etc.. please e-mail me at WebMaster@LittleShellTribe.com or post the information on the Bulletin Board and I will post it here on the Website on our Little Shell Community Webpage.

    December 4, 2002

    PEMBINA DIARY FOUND!

    A Diary from the 1870's has been found by a researcher for the University of Calgary. It may contain information on the Pembina People. It is titled "Buffalo Hunters of the Pembinah". You can read more about this find on the News Page

    November 29, 2002

    Lots of Updates to the Little Shell Tribe website. We have exciting new features for our viewers, to include a Bulletin Board, Search Engine and more History. Read about all the updates in the News Page

    November 25, 2002

    The Little Shell Culture Page has been updated with Legends of the Little Shell Tribe. Learn about the Monster of Devil's Lake, the Ladder to the Sky, why Porcupine have quills and other legends of our people.

    November 21, 2002

    The Little Shell News Page has been updated with News of the Montana Supreme court case between the Little Shell Tribe and the LST-7.

    November 11, 2002

    The Little Shell Tribe Constitution and By-Laws is Now Online. It will reside on the Little Shell Tribe Legal Page

    Pictures of Chief Little Shell and Joseph Dussome are now on-line in the Picture Archive Page.

    November 9, 2002

    Federal Register Documents Page is now online. It will live on the Federal Recognition page. This page will supply links and documents to official United States Federal Actions that refer to the Little Shell Tribe that are recorded in the Federal Register.

    Montana State legislature page is now online. It will live on the Federal Recognition page. This page will supply links and documents to official Montana House, Senate, and Executive Actions that refer to the Little Shell Tribe.

    November 1, 2002

    Montana Supreme Court Filings from the Little Shell Tribe and the LST 7 on the Little Shell Tribe Legal Page



    If you have any questions, ideas, information, please send them to
    WebMaster@LittleShellTribe.com

    NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER:
    This Website is my attempt to give the Little Shell Tribe community an on-line source they can go to for News and Information relating to our tribe. There is very little information and History "On The Net" about the Little Shell Tribe, our History and our Federal Recognition. I hope to provide some of this information.

    A Little Shell Website By Little Shell Members for Little Shell Members

    Coming soon:
    I have Placed a Javascript menu on the Left side of the page, simply wave your Mouse on top of the Menu Bar to "Pop" it out and access the links to other parts of the website.. If anyone has any problems using this Menu Bar.. Please Contact me a WebMaster@LittleShellTribe.com and let me know.. I will change it to a more "Standard" menu if this causes anyone any problems.

    Bulletin board and Guest Book.

    Validated Pictures of our Ancestors from my own family's archives and from other Little Shell members.

    History and Stories of our Ancestors and how they came to Montana and where they came from. I Hope Other Little Shell members (that means YOU) will also contribute their stories, Pictures, and history to the website.

    I plan on in the next few days/weeks, send a Letter to the Little Shell Tribal Council announcing that I am donating this webpage and it's domain name to the Tribe. I hope they will also let me keep administrating it as I really enjoy doing this. Also, I plan on offering the Tribal Council Chairpeople e-mail address free of charge that also come with the Web Hosting domain this website currently resides upon.

    Geneology Information. Including family trees that Members of the Little Shell tribe have compiled and validated. There are bits and pieces of it all over the place.. I hope to be able to put together a complete tree here on the website so we can see who our family and relatives are.

    Tribal News and Tribal Council News and Tribal Committee information. Including Contact Information.

    News around the internet relating to The Little Shell Tribe and it's Federal Recogonition Process.

    Resources that Little Shell Tribe members can use to contact other members and research our own history.

    A Cultural page showing the Little Shell Culture, Sounds, Music, and other media.

    a Federal Recognition page giving Links to Official Documents and letters pertaining to our Federal Recognition process. More as Little Shell members contribute their Ideas and resources.
    Bulletin Board
     
    Web www.littleshelltribe.com
    Little Shell Tribe Contacts
    Home News Council Committee Recognition Legal History Genealogy Pictures Resources Culture Our Community

    NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION:
    The Little Shell Tribe Newsletter is FREE to all Enrolled Tribal Members. It is published 12 months a year and is supported by particle funding by the Little Shell Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program. To place your name on the list for the newsletter, Click Here to get the Address/phone number to request your name and address be placed on the newsletter subscription list. The Contact is Toni Jo Atchison, Tobacco Abuse Prevention Specialist

    Toni Jo Atchison, Little Shell Tobacco Abuse Prevention Specialist Announces Tribal Newsletter is FREE to Tribal Members

    By the LittleShellTribe.com Webmaster:

    Toni Jo Atchison, Little Shell Tribal Tobacco Abuse Prevention Specialist has announced that the Tribal newsletter is FREE to all Enrolled Tribal Members. Previously, a subscription of $10 was required for the newsletter and was published quartely. The subscription cost covered monies that funded the creation, mailing of the newsletter, along with helping with office expenses. Now, with funding provided in part under a contract with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, and the Little Shell Tobacco Abuse Prevention Program, the Newsletter will be published 12 months a year. To place your name on the List for the newsletter (if you do not currently receive it), contact Toni Jo at the main office or write a letter requesting your name to be placed on it. Tribal and Non-Tribal members are still welcome and are encourgaged to send donations to the Office to help with tribal expenses.

    To view the Little Shell Tribal Tobacco Prevention Program, Click Here

    ===============================================================
    REQUEST FOR DONATIONS FOR OPERATION FUNDS TO
    KEEP OUR OFFICES OPEN


    In order for the tribal government to operate and represent the members of the Little Shell Tribe through the Federal Recoginition process and enrollment, there is an immediate need for operating funds for office rent, clerical supplies, mailing, telephone services, and copier payments. Any size donation will help our tribe keep the doors open. Many thanks to the people who have contributed to the LST

    Webmaster Note: This website and domain is not paid for by any funds sent to the LST. I pay for this out of my own pocket and have donated it's pages to the cause of the Little Shell Tribal members.

    ================================================================



    This Website and Domain is owned and operated by Little Shell Tribal members, It is not operated or controlled by the Government of the Little Shell Tribe. All Rights Reserved. This website is updated and operated by me, Robert Dean Rudeseal. I am an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Montana and a direct descendant of Pierre Berger and Judith Wilkie who brought the Little Shell Tribe permanently to Montana.

    All items on this website are posted in accordance to the Fair Use Laws of the United States of America. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works