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 Protection for Badger Two Medicine

 Part II


The Blackfeet Nation has launched an effective public relations campaign to gain support for its proposal to designate the Badger Two Medicine as a Cultural Heritage Area, 130,000 acres within the Helena Lewis-Clark National Forest.  In that effort the Tribe has provided detailed information about the idea of creating permanent protection for the area, sacred to the Blackfeet.  The following summarized information is from a widely disseminated Concept Paper issued by the Tribe. Key points include:

Findings: The Badger Two Medicine is a sacred land, living cultural landscape, hunting ground, refuge, wildlife sanctuary, source of abundant clean water and an important part of both tribal and non-tribal values.

The Badger Two Medicine has been the home of the Blackfeet since time immemorial who used plant, animal, mineral and landforms for sustenance and cultural, medicinal and ceremonial activities, continued today.

The Badger Two Medicine is an important part of Montana’s outdoor heritage, used for a variety of purposes by non-tribal members

Purposes of Legislation:  To preserve, conserve and enhance the resources therein for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

To preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the area, including fish and wildlife

To affirm the ability of the Blackfeet Nation to exercise reserved rights, cultural and ceremonial

To provide public access for outdoors activity, hiking, hunting, camping etc.

To establish a Management system that honors Blackfeet rights, the USFS and other stakeholders

Management: Cooperative between Blackfeet Nation and USFS

A Management Plan to be completed within 3 years, including the Blackfeet Nation, USFS, State of Montana, local governments, Citizens Advisory council and general public.

Prohibitions on new construction, including roads, motorized vehicles, commercial timber harvest, construction of new structures or development of water resources.

Cattle grazing shall continue under applicable law; wildfire suppression and vegetation management shall continue

Access for current activities shall continue

Citizen’s Advisory Council: 9 members to be appointed by USFS to assist in development of the Management Plan

Cooperation of Blackfeet Tribe in Management:

The USFS to formally consult with the Tribe twice per year, regarding the management plan, new uses, tribal management proposals, new uses and public involvement.

Cooperative Management Contracts: The USFS would be authorized to “638” contract with the Tribe for any function related to management of the Cultural Heritage Area.

Legal Effect: No existing federal laws would be changed as a result of the Management Plan

Non-disclosure of Tribal Cultural Sites:  The USFS would be prohibited from disclosing to the general public the location or purpose of any tribal cultural site within the Cultural Heritage area.

For more information about the proposal, John Murray, Blackfeet Tribal Historic Preservation officer can be reached at jmflydown@gmail.com.

 

(Clara Caufield can be reached at acheyennevoice@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

 

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