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Tribal leadership leave to meet with Governor Gianforte

After barely reaching a quorum, tribal leaders were forced to recess the full board meeting before finishing all tribal business.

When the meeting started there were at least four Tribal Executive Board members (council member Justin Gray Hawk, Wayne Martell, Terry Rattling Thunder, Shannon Martell) absent, including Sergeant At Large Bruce Damon.

During the Chairman’s Report, councilman Alex Smith left the meeting.

After the travel reports, councilman Bryce Kirk was reminded about a nine hour drive to Helena, which was set for noon. Council members Lawrence Hamilton, Marva Chapman and Patt Iron Cloud were also scheduled to leave for a meeting with Montana Governor Greg Gianforte. The meeting will cover the negotiations for the gaming compact between the Tribes and the state and the marijuana sale tax on the reservation.

Councilman Kirk motioned to extend the Tribes gaming compact with the state for the next four years and to start negotiations on the marijuana tax.

Councilwoman Iron Cloud said the Tribes need to negotiate the gaming compact because there are a number of things that could be worked on, such as betting/winning tickets.

Chairman Azure said the Tribes need to clarify betting pools and sports bar betting. These are being done on the reservation anyway, and the Tribes should get involved.

Councilwoman Chapman asked if these negotiations could result in the gaming machines being taken away from the Tribes. In House Attorney Cher Stewart said it was against the law to have the machines taken from the Tribes.

Iron Cloud said the council needs to form a team and make money from the marijuana dispensaries.

They voted to recess until Thursday, August 17, 2023 at 9 a.m.

While the meeting was short, there were some business the council did attend to before recess.


Indian Health Service Unit Director Marjorie Spotted Bird presented a brief report to the council on this and to address rumors mentioned by the Tribal Council.

In the past month 426 patients were seen at the service unit, she said. Vice Chairman Charles Headdress asked if the doctors are turning people away.

Iron Cloud said she was informed by an elder in Wolf Point that they were turned away. Spotted Bird said the service unit would never turn away a patient,

Councilwoman Stacey Summers asked if the service unit entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Tribal Jail. Spotted Bird said it was part of the Public Health Outreach.

What about patients being given their medical charts and told to take them to another doctor, Iron Cloud asked. What is going to happen if someone leaves their chart in their car and it gets stolen,

Headdress asked, and why are these charts being given to patients anyway because it’s IHS property.

Spotted Bird said it wasn’t true and if it happen again to report it to IHS.

The service unit is still looking for a Director of Mental Health. Three different doctors are on the way, though none of them specialize in mental health, Spotted Bird said.


The council approved administrative leave for Sgt.-At-Arms Bruce Damon and other council members going to Helena to meet with the Governor.


Tribal leaders defeated a motion to approve the Fort Peck Cemetery Policies and Procedures and add $200 to the burial package. The vote was councilman Buckles, Hamilton and Iron Cloud for the change and Carolyn Brugh, Chapman, Summers and Kirk.

Day Laborer

Tribal board members rejected a request to reclassify two coordinator positions for the Day Labor Program.

When the motion was brought up, Kirk said this kind of thing keeps happening while the program has not commenced.

Under the Tribal Employment Rights Office, the Day Laborer Program is supposed to provide work for individuals needing income. But this was announced earlier this year, and to date nothing has been done to start this yet, Kirk said.

The Tribes went along with their requests and even purchased a vehicle for the program. He asked what are they doing if they haven’t started the program yet.

TEB members Buckles, Hamilton, and Brugh voted to approve the request. Iron Cloud, Chapman, Summers, and Kirk voted no, and the motion died.

477 Program

The council approved the 477 Program to give a $2,000 bonus in December 2023, based on the terms met. The bonus will be from FY2023 carry over funds.

Social Services card

A motion to approve a debit in the amount of $31,500 from an account for 235 opened accounts for enrolled children that are in the care of social services.

According to committee minutes, Tribal Enrollment Clerk Twyla Red Eagle told the council of 235 saving accounts for children in the system. The debit is being requested for the annual per-cap payment.

All for, none opposed, the motion carried.

In Memory

The council approved giving a $500 check and star quilt to Kenny Whitehead in memory of former Tribal Councilman Bill Whitehead, who passed away from an illness recently.

Sonosky Law Firm

The council approved paying the Sonosky Law Firm in Washington DC for legal work done on behalf of the Fort Peck Tribes.

According to the motion, the Secretary Accountant is authorized to pay the Sonosky and Chambers Law Firm. The bill is $26,824.97 for general counsel work and $18,739.60 for work done setting up a Health Program, particularly getting the dental contract from the government.

Tribal Credit

A loan waiver was approved for a tribal credit employee.

MOU/Child Trafficking

With child trafficking an ever present danger, the Tribes entered into a MOU with the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs to protect reservation children from trafficking.

(A recess was called. The meeting will resume Thursday, August 17, 2023 at 9:00 A.M.)

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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