After a discovery of human remains were determined to be graves from over 100 years old, the Tribal Executive Board voted to stop development on sacred sites.
During the August 28, 2023 meeting, the first motion of the meeting was “to approve to stop all on and new development on known sacred sites on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.”
Councilwoman Marva Chapman asked if this was being done in response to bones found on the hill where Bluff Drive is located. If there are homes there, will they need to relocate the bones or shut down homes, she said.
Councilwoman Patt Iron Cloud said the bones are remains of our relatives and with any development on tribal land they should have stopped when they discovered the remains.
Something similar was passed earlier by the council and this is just to reaffirm it, councilman Terry Rattling Thunder said.
The human remains found were reinterned in a ceremony Thursday, August 31, 2023.
Nine for, none opposed, and three absent.
The following are highlights from the August 28, 2023 full board meeting.
Tribal Disaster Emergency Services Coordinator Jeff Berger requested the Tribal Council’s adoption of the new 10 year Hazard Mitigation Plan.
According to the resolution, adopting the new plan includes accepting a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Tribes and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for direct technical assistance.
The MOU with FEMA, presented on August 15, 2023, is for 36 months from the effective date of the MOU.
Tribal leaders approved leasing out the vacant Fort Peck Tech building in Wolf Point to Brixtel Defense.
Tribal documents state the council approved of accepting Brixtel’s Defense’s Letter of Intent dated July 20, 2023, and authorizes the leasing of the the vacant Fort Peck Tech Services facility to accommodate Brixtels on-Reservation economic activity. It also requires Tribal In-House Counsel Cher Stewart to consult with Brixtel to prepare, complete and convey the essential tribal property lease agreement associated with this transaction in a timely manner and authorizes the Tribal Chairman/Vice Chairman to endorse the noted and completed tribal property lease agreement between the Tries and Brixtel Defense.
Before the vote was taken, Economic Development Director Rodney Miller said the investor will come and check to see if it meets their specifications. If so, they are ready to move in a timely manner.
In a related motion, tribal leaders approved the development and submission of a “Phase One” Recompete Pilot Project Program grant application to the US Economic Development Administration.
The EDA Recompete Pilot Program aims to alleviate persistent economic distress. The Tribes have a well-defined understanding of local conditions and pathways to create and connect impacted.
After a brief recess, the TEB resumed and approved to classify two job descriptions: Recompete Pilot Project and a Workforce Coordinator (What is Brixtel – See Separate story).
Arnie Big Horn, Water Resources, brought in two resolutions for approval.
The first one was to approve to concur with the Tribal Council on a final modification N3420 scope of work, work plan, and budget.
The next motion approved was for the Chairman to sign the Joint Funding Agreement 24RSJFA011 with a period of performance of November 1, 2023 through October 31, 2025 for operation and maintenance of multiple stream gauges on the Poplar River and Big Muddy Creek as well as technical assistance for ground water level data collection and compilation as described in the scope of work, total cost of the JFA is $223,832 with the Tribes providing $123,544 and the US Geological Survey providing $100,288 in cooperative matching funds. These activities will be conducted under the authority of federal law, with the TEB providing appropriate consultation.
The council voted to declare interest and request appraisal of the surface only for two allotments from Lisa Mason, Christina Cardinale, and Angela Lillion.
Another vote to declare interest and request appraisal was approved for a minerals only from Travis Comeslast and Robert Campbell.
Donald Urbanik and Lowell Standing were approved for enrolled member renewals.
A non-enrolled member new lease was approved for Brandon Redding and William Reddig.
Doug and Carla Tihista was approved for a non-enrolled member lease renewal.
With fee land, the council voted to declare interest on the Pavel Michael Rice fee property, multiple parcels totaling 1,708.88 acres.
Another offer was based on six separate parcels that total 200.17 acres.
Tribal leaders voted to declare interest for an appraisal on all of the land.
Another motion approved to declare interest for an appraisal of land belonging to Richard K. Johnson.
The council approved to rent the a house out to JD Stensland, including the 40 acres around the house, the building, and everything around the building.
More motions were brought in by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approval, including declaring interests and requesting appraisals for allotments from Norman Woolfs Jr.
The TEB approved of declaring interest and requesting an appraisal of land from Jeffrey Douglas.
A purchase of land from Earl Eder for $16,064.81 was approved, as was a purchase of land from Manfred Jones for $48,000.
A possible purchase was put on hold and sent back to the land committee. The resolution was for purchasing land from Scott Mitchell for $172,000.
Tribal Enterprise was approved to pay for the repair of the 2014 John Deer 310SK Backhoe/Loader in the amount of $30,000.
A request was approved fort prioritizing the non-funded FY2024 Safety Data Sheets (SDS) Projects has received from Indian Health Service Sanitation Facility construction. The resolution states the projects in order of priorities: Poplar Sewer Main Phase two, Brockton New Sewer Lagoon, and Frazer Water Main Replacement Brockton Sewer Main improvements.
A Tribal Credit employee was approved for a loan waiver.
Wolf Point’s Head Start was given permission to use the Wolf Point Community Halls conference room, kitchen and gym to provide educational and nutritional services to Head Start from August 25, 2023 to July 2024 or until an alternative option is presented.
This is temporary until construction is finished on the new Head Start facility in Wolf Point.
The council approved a contract between Care Solace, Inc., and the Fort Peck Tribes 988 Project in the amount of $38,000.
According to documents, the 988 Project is a contract of services in order to connect callers, who call the Fort Peck Tribes Call Center, with Treatment Provides for mental health assessments and counseling services through a warm hand off for the Fort Peck Tribes 988 Project volunteer sessions.
The council rejected a request from the Tribal Security Program for night differential pay and Sunday pay for the Tribal Community Constables.
Councilman Terry Rattling Thunder said he had a problem with this motion.
When they were created, Tribal Security was given arrest power but now what do they do, he asked. They are only seen driving around but not much moerw.
Councilwoman Chapman asked if they were hired for night work only.
Councilwoman Iron Cloud asked why differential pay, because Sunday is the work day.
Rattling Thyunder said it’s a night differential, because that’s when they are required to work.
Councilman Lawrence Hamilton suggested bringing the director into the chambers for an update.
When the vote came up, it was defeated with three for, five opposed.
Later, the council voted to approve a request to hire five more community constibles. The vote was tied, with councilwoman Shannon Martell not voting and councilman Hamilton, Gray Hawk, and Krk absent.
Councilman Alex Smith, Buckles, Chapman, and Wayne Martell voted yes. Councilman Rattling Thunder, Iron Cloud, Carolyn Brugh and Stacey Summers voted no. Chairman Azure voted yes, and the motion passed.
Taylor Day was promoted to the position of Prosecutorial Specialist while retaining her current step in her new position and grade.
Brandon Martell was hired to the Tribal Police as a law enforcement officer.
Martell is the son of Tribal Police Lt. Frank Martell.
Faith Azner was approved to be on the Tribal Police Force.