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Tribal leaders Shannon Martell, right, and Alex Smith at the full board meeting Monday, January 9, 2023. Tribal Councilman Dana Buckles reads the motion on the left of Martell and Smith.

Large coffin’s and vaults for burial will now be included in the basic plan.

Councilman Bryce Kirk said there is the need for a larger coffin and vault prices for tribal members. But it’s currently set up to where families are left to cover the costs of the coffin if it is oversized. This should not be the case.

Minutes state the Tribes Chief Financial Officer Randy Redpath did some comparison shopping with other funeral homes. However, it’s ultimately up to the Tribes.

Chairman Floyd Azure said the average cost for a funeral is $6,000.

Tribal leaders voted to to approve revising the burial policy to pay for the basic plan oversized coffin and vault, according to the cost savings from other funeral homes.

The following highlights are from the January 9, 2023



The Tribes Language and Culture Program were authorized to apply and accept the 2023-2024 Montana Indian Language Preservation grant for $89.062.50



All Tribal Programs had bonuses factored into their budgets and they were approved over the course of a month. However not all got these payments, and the Tribes hope to remedy this.

In the motion, bonus stipulations for $2,000 for all employees not covered in the first round of bonus payments to employees. With no opposition, the vote passed full board 11-0 (one absent).


The Tribes Indian Reservation Roads program was given extra money for the excess snow removal across the reservation.

Paying workers

The council voted to approve the implementation of Premium Pay for all departments involved in removing snow.

The motion, which passed 11-0, also approves Premium Pay for all other departments required to work when administrative leave has been granted.

Clearing roads and driveways of snow has affected everyone. The Tribes Indian Reservation Roads Program have been working to keep snow clear until recently.

IRR Director Rusty Boxer said he tried to get more staff to work but they are refusing because they are not being paid for it.

The problem is having IRR’s administrative staff on leave, he said.

When they are on leave, the remaining workers get stuck working in unfamiliar job. This can make it hard to get 40 hours for their regular work, minutes state.

Redpath also mentioned a snow removal vehicle that could be paid for with money from the American Rescue Plan Act instead of travel funds.

The final motion approved $150,000 for emergency snow removal.


Mechanic Job

Tribal leaders voted to open up a mechanics position in IRR.

The resolution allows Boxer to open another mechanic position, so an individual applicant may transfer to IRR.

Tribal IRR Director Boxer met with the council to inquire on opening up the mechanic position for someone who would like to transfer from his program to IRR. Money is available in the budget, and this person would be primarily be opening up log books for various daily duties executed by the program.

Councilman Terry Rattling Thunder asked if this is a new position. Boxer said this individual will move into the mechanics position and duties will be added later so that it better fits the job position.

In a separate motion, the Tribes voted to reclassify the qualifications for the Financial Specialist position.


Veterans Affairs

Ryan Beston, Director of the Tribes Veterans Affairs, was given an employment extension.

The resolution extends Beston’s employment for 30 days.

Beston mentioned his budget change, and he just received the $25,000 he was short for his program. The TEB voted 10-0 to pay Thine Shop LLC (dba Hi-Line Services and Hydraulics) $135.12.


Policy Changes

The Human Resources Department Policies and Procedures will be amended in section five, which deals with undergoing back ground checks.

Also approved were changes regarding sick and funeral leave.

Finally, changes were made to the Tribal Personnel Policies and Procedure regarding administrative leave.

All of these changes go into effect immediately.


Health Insurance

Federal Emergency Health Benefits Medical Coverage was purchased for all tribal employees. The Tribal Chairman/Vice Chairman is authorized to sign necessary documents to Blue Cross/Blue Shield to cover insurance.

Later, the council approved the following changes: moving from FEHB to Blue Cross Blue Shield and Conover Insurance.


Honoring Retirement

The Branch of Corrections approved paying a long time employee $500 for her retirement.

Althea Chopper has been working with the Tribal Jail for the past 20 years.



Richard D. Smith and James Helmer were approved for an enrolled member lease renewal.

Cherry Colgan, and Lane Knudsen were approved for a non-enrolled member renewal.

A lease cancellation for Duane Nygaard was approved. He voluntarily cancelled his agriculture lease with the Tribes and selling his livestock.

Charles Fourbear II was approved for a 60 day lease extension from November 15, 2022

Dale and Jo Ellen Grandchamp were approved for a 90 day lease extension for all tribal leases.

A Modification for Todd McCabe requesting a change the name from Todd McCabe to McCabe Joint Venture – Todd McCabe on all tribal leases; Matt Trupe requests to add his wife Sandra Trupe to all tribal leases.



A lot of land with 49 owners looks interesting to the Tribes and they declared to declare interest and have it appraised. The land is north of Poplar.

Approving of declaring interest and requesting an appraisal for Everett Jones and Ramona Kirn.

One more motion was to declare an interest in 6203 at One Drive, Wolf Point (Jody Neutgens estate).`


Construction Manager

Tribal IRR opened up a full time Construction Manager position.



The new year brings new Fort Peck Tribal leadership to various boards and committees.

Councilwoman Marva Chapman was appointed to serve on the Bison Rail Board of Directors and the Flandreau Indian School Board.

Councilman Alex Smith was appointed to the Great Northern Development Commission and State Norther Economic Development Commission.

Councilwoman Shannon Martell was appointed to INMED (Indians In Medicine) Board at the University of North Dakota and on the board for the Thundering Buffalo Wellness Center.

Councilwoman Stacey Summers was appointed to the Northeast Montana Health Services Board and on the Fort Peck Tech board.

Councilman Wayne Martell was appointed to the Fort Peck Solutions Board.

Councilman Kirk was appointed to the P.L. 93-638 Education Board.

Councilman Justin Graw Hawk was appointed to the Circle of Nations Board and the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council.

Council members Lawrence Hamilton, Gray Hawk, and Summers were appointed to the Fort Peck Community College Board of Directors.

Councilman Terry Rattling Thunder was removed from his position on the Northeast Indian Health Board and replaced by councilman Buckles. Rattling Thunder and former TEB member Grant Stafne were taken off the BIA Budget Formulation Committee. They were replaced by council members Gray Hawk and Buckles.

Councilman Kirk and Hamilton were selected for the Tribal Representation on the Fort Peck Housing Authority.

Council members Chapman and Smith were appointed to the Integrated Solutions Board.

The appointments to the IHS Budget Committee are Summers, Buckles and Councilwoman Carolyn Brugh.

Kirk and Martell were appointed to the State Tribal Economic Development Committee.

Smith and Hamilton were appointed to the Fort Peck Inc. Board.

Hamilton and Chapman were appointed to the West Electronics Board of Directors.

Vice Chairman Charles Headdress and councilwoman Summers were appointed to the Benefis Native American Advisors Board.


Disaster Emergency

The council approved the Disaster Emergency Services Coordinator submitting the Fiscal Year 2023 Work Plan, with the Tribal Chairman authorized to sign any and all related documents.

Tribal Housing Improvement Program and DES Coordinator Jeff Berger has been working closely with HIP and will have a quarterly report done. The funding is already present for a couple of individuals.

This list is just for the HIP and not a use of ARPA funds.



Tribal Sponsored Health Insurance Program Director Rae Jean Belgrade told the council there was a need to pay employees with her program for working during the holiday break to help people who needed to submit their award letters.

TEB members voted to approve TSHIP to give $2,000 incentive for their work beyond regular operating hours and during the weekends.


Tribal Health

Fort Peck Tribal Health Director Dennis Four Bear met with the council to update them on the program as of December 2022.

Medical travel costs for 197 patients in December 2022 is $45,805.

Dental costs for 44 patients is $9,850.

Contract Health Services provide out of town transports for 11 patients. This includes five in Billings, four in Glasgow, one in Williston and one in Bismarck, ND.

Local transports includes 226 from Frazer, Wolf Point, Poplar, Riverside, Brockton, and Fort Kipp.

Seven dialysis patients are transported there three times a week.

The TEB voted to accept the Fort Peck Tribal Health contract for $100,000 from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council.

Another motion approved of a $500 incentive for 10 years or more and $1,000 for 20 years or more to staff members to recognize their years of service to the Tribal Health Department. This payment will come from Tribal Health ARPA funds.


Red Bird Woman Center

Without hesitation, tribal leaders approved of three separate motions all related to the work at the Red Bird Woman’s Center.

The first motion was to approve the RBWC’s Premium Pay Plan for all Trauma Informed advocates providing emergency services who are on-call, on a 24/7 rotating basis, during the after normal work hours, holidays, weekends, vacation days, and administrative leave time periods and to all the Trauma Informed Advocates to use their on call cell phones to record their time while on an emergency response.

The second motion approved of revising the Program Director/Financial Manager (Susan Parker), Lead Trauma Informed Advocate Fellini Adams, and Keisha Fast Horse, who works as office support and billing specialist, to reclassify the position description with updated minimum education requirements.

The third motion approved adding an Elder Advocate position from a federal grant.



The council voted to accept a construction bid with M.E.T. Automation and Controls for $223,800. This is for a project from the Water Resources Office.

The motion states funds will come from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Renewable Resources Grant for $12,500 and a BIA match of $187,800 for a total budget of $312,800 with appropriate consultation of the TEB.



Molly Redpath was hired to work with the Tribes Indian Child Welfare Act compliance office. She was given a 30 day extension in her position.

A 30 day extension was also granted for Christine Wright as ICWA Program Manager.


Tribal Jail

The council approved the Branch of Corrections job reclassification’s finalized by Human Resources. These jobs include Maintenance Technician/Safety Officer, Facilities Technician, Program Coordinator, Financial Technician, Correctional Case Manager, Correctional Officer, Lead Correctional Officer, Head Cook, and Assistant Cook.


Legal Fund

In an 11-0 vote, approved of the Tribal Operations/Secretary Accountant’s request to replenish the legal services retainer in the amount of $24,833.05 upon receipt of invoice No. 1165 “for legal services rendered.”


Dr. Contract

Tribal leaders approved of contracting with Dr. Roman Hendrickson for professional; clinical medical consultation services through October 31, 2024 for the HPDP Program.

About Post Author

Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com
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By Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com

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