TITLE: Supporting the Enactment of Federal Legislation to Permanently Protect the Badger-Two Medicine Area of Montana and Other Sacred Places Important to Tribal Nations
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the Badger-Two Medicine is within the traditional territory of the Blackfeet Tribe, and was set aside as part of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation by the Lame Bull Treaty of October 17, 1855; and
WHEREAS, the Badger-Two Medicine has been one of the most culturally and religiously significant areas to the Blackfeet people since time immemorial; and WHEREAS, the Badger-Two Medicine is sacred land and water, a cultural touchstone, a repository of heritage, a living cultural landscape, a hunting ground, a refuge, a wildlife sanctuary, a place of refuge for wild nature, and an important part of tribal and non-tribal community values; and
WHEREAS, the Badger-Two Medicine is a stronghold for wild nature, isolated from and unmarred by development, where natural processes continue to function, and relatively uncommon plant and animal communities continue to exist; and
WHEREAS, the Blackfeet Tribe has been vigilant in safeguarding the BadgerTwo Medicine, including its cultural, natural, and religious significance to the Blackfeet Tribe and people as well as the tribe’s treaty rights therein; and
WHEREAS, the Blackfeet Tribe has taken many steps to protect the Badger-Two Medicine including longstanding and steadfast opposition to oil and gas development, and support for the designation of the entire area as a Traditional Cultural District under the National Historic Preservation Act; and
WHEREAS, the Blackfeet Tribe believes that, if left unprotected, the Badger-Two Medicine and its life-giving waters remain threatened by industrial development and exploitation that would significantly and negatively affect the cultural and religious properties of the treaty rights of the Blackfeet Nation; and
WHEREAS, the Blackfeet Tribe continues to seek both the removal of remaining oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area as well as the establishment of permanent protections for its cultural, ecological, and other values, for the benefit of the Blackfeet Nation and the general public; and
WHEREAS, the Blackfeet Tribe remains committed to ensuring that the Blackfeet people’s interest in the Badger-Two Medicine are fully heard and represented and that the cultural, religious, and other rights of the Blackfeet Tribe are fully and permanently protected; and
WHEREAS, the Tribal Business Council of the Blackfeet Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy, which represents the Blackfeet Nation and the three Blackfoot Tribes in Canada, have passed resolutions supporting federal legislation permanently protecting the Badger-Two Medicine region.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) supports the Blackfeet Nation’s efforts to prevent industrial development of the Badger-Two Medicine; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NCAI encourages and supports the enactment of federal legislation to permanently protect the cultural, ecological, and other values of the BadgerTwo Medicine and other sacred places that are important to tribal nations; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2019 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Albuquerque Convention Center, October 20- 25, 2019, with a quorum present.