Governor Steve Bullock Speaks at Chief Dull College Commencement Contribured by Kathy Beartusk
Dr. Richard Littlebear, CDKC Presi-dent appreciated Governor Bullock remarks a the 2014 CDKC Commencement. “He spoke about how failure and adversity can be a good learning experience to teach you about lif and how to perservere,” Littlebear said. “That is something many Native people have to learn.” Governor Steve Bullock received a well-deserved standing ovation for his speech to the 2014 graduates of Chief Dull Knife College on Friday, May 9, 2014. Twenty-seven graduates sat in chairs, each adorned with a richly colored satin star quilt, including the logo of Chief Dull in the center. It was a beautiful sight to see how many graduates integrated beadwork or plumes into their caps and gowns. Lane Clown, CDKC Prin-cess wore her full traditional regalia as did graduate Debby Big Back. ` CDKC also granted Honorary Associate Degrees to Northern Chey-enne elders (70 years and older), recognizing their distinguished wis-dom and knowledge and the essential part they play in teaching our youth. Nellie Speelman was noted for proudly wearing her traditional regalia.
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The Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation is located in present-day southeastern Montana, and is approximately 444,000 acres in size with 99% tribal ownership. We have approximately 9,882 enrolled tribal members with about 4,838 residing on the reservation.
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Governor Steve Bullock Speaks at Chief Dull College Commencement Contribured by Kathy Beartusk
TRECO Capital Credits Decision “Heats Up” at Northern Cheyenne
Earlier in April, cooperative members at Northern Cheyenne received a startling and some-what confusing form letter from the Tongue River Electric Cooperative (TRECO). The correspond-ence advised that from 3-5 years of capital credit dividends for shareholders will be used to offset a 2013 net loss from an investment in the Southern Montana Electric (SME). TRECO provides electrical power to a large area in southeastern Montana including much of the Northern Cheyenne reservation and several coun-ties: Powder River, Rosebud, Custer, parts of Big Horn and Prairie serving over 3,700 members. Many tribal members are hotly questioning the capital credits decision and other matters related to electrical rates on the Reservation. On April 28th, more than twenty out spoken tribal members attended a Lame Deer District meeting requesting that the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council inter-vene. Teresa Small reported a unanimous vote, requesting that this matter be placed on the agenda of the May 5th Tribal Council session. TRECO manager Alan See acknowledged that the Capital Credits matter is complicated and was a difficult call for the Board of Directors, the approving body. He explained that electrical coop-eratives, authorized by Rural Electrification Act of 1936, established that all members are owners. Capital Credits, he clarified are the allocation which members share of the net margins (profit or loss) each year. Each year, the Coop determines the cap-ital credits for each member, based upon what they paid for electrical service. Capital credits are issued for the oldest credits on the books when TRECO can afford to pay, usually many years after they have been awarded. They are also payable in full, but at a reduced rate when a TRECO member pass-es away.
NATIONAL BIA LAW ENFORCEMENT TEAM AUDITS NORTHERN CHEYENNE
From April 7th – 18th, the two top national BIA Law Enforcement officials personally came to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The National B.I.A. Law Enforcement Director, Darren Cruzan and Jason Thompson, Assistant National Director were accompanied by Doug NoSeep, Special Agent in Charge (Billings Area.) They and about 20 other B.I.A. officers were “on the ground” in Lame Deer, MT to conduct a compliance review, CAST (Corrective Action Support Team). Local law enforcement officials such as Donovan Wind, Northern Cheyenne Chief of Police welcomed the opportunity to identify and imple-ment improvements to the local force. Other reser-vations to undergo such evaluation have included Spirit Lake, ND; Southern Pueblo, NM; Hopi, Az and Andarko, OK. Northern Cheyenne is only the latest to undergo the new compliance review, but other direct-service B.I.A. law enforcement provid-ers will follow. Director Cruzan and staff consented to an interview with A Cheyenne Voice but said he could not discuss the Hannah Harris case, currently under Federal prosecution. He also clarified that it is too soon to identify “correctional” matters required at Northern Cheyenne. When the final report is sub-mitted to the Tribal Government, such details will be provided at the discretion of Tribe. Cont pg. 16
TRIBAL TRANSIT PROGRAM ―the REZ Runners‖ FACE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS
The Northern Cheyenne Transit Program is facing financial problems. As a result, all riders, including the elderly and handicapped may now have to pay full fares, according to Acting Director Janis Spear.
The program, established in 2008 under the Leroy Spang Administration was funded by a federal grant from the Federal Transit Administration (about $500,000). That funding enabled the Tribe to purchase two buses and begin providing public transit services on the Reservation, one of the poorest in MT. That grant paid for all the costs of the program (salaries, gas etc.)
Until now, the elders and the handicapped were able to use the Transit system for free. According to Mickey Burns, former Transit Liaison Specialist, who helped worked for the transit program when it first started, the program waived fees for the elderly.
Then TERO Director, Eugene Limpy hoped that transit services would always be free for the elders and handicapped, Burns said . Spear, who is serving in an acting capacity pending reor-ganization of the Tribal Transpor-tation programs, said that the Tribal Transit Program no longer receives federal funding pending another grant cycle and that they are looking for alternative funding with some good prospects.
In order to continue providing the service, everyone may have to pay to keep the it going,‖ Spear said. The program needs to produce revenue.‖ The fares (taken from the tribal website) are: one-way $2.00 (more than 10 miles) ; round trip—$3.00 and in the Lame Deer area—.50 cents. Therefore, we assume it would cost an elder from the Lame Deer area $1.00 to use the Transit system to go and eat lunch at the Elderly Program and then return home. This is the case when the elderly van often breaks down, or the program does not have gas cards or a driver.
I worry about that,‖ said Pauline Eaglefeathers, elderly program employee. Especially towards the end of the month when budgets run low‖.
In addition to the funding challenges, both of the Transit buses are in need of major repairs. Spear also said that the Saturday Billings run will be temporarily suspended. We looking at all possibilities to keep the Transit going,‖ Spear emphasized.
500 NEW JACKETS DONATED TO LAME DEER SCHOOLS—500 PAIRS OF NEW SHOES ARE ON THE WAY.
There were lots of smiling faces at the Lame Deer Elementary and High School on Thursday, March 20th as students and staff received brand-new Lands End jackets. (522 in all). This gift was provided by the Original Americans Foundation, a new philanthropic organization founded by the Washington Redskins, other major sports teams and corporations. Kendra Brown, Eastern Band of Cherokees and Dewy Webb, Cherokee- Choctaw, staff for the foundation were on hand to help distribute the gifts. In the near future, an additional 500 pairs of new Merrill sports shoes will be coming to the Reservation. More information about the new Foundation will be publicized in major media next week. The Foundation will be with many Tribes across the Nation. Merlin Sioux, Lame Deer Council member coordinated the event which has been in the planning stages for several months. “We look forward to a long term relationship with the Foundation,” he said. Sioux said he got involved by responding to an inquiry last November. “It took a lot of coordination to get all the sizes of the children, order the coats etc. And”, he added “the elders in Birney will also receive coats from the donation.” Sherry Foote, Lame Deer Elementary School Principal said “When someone donates to our students it is an act of kindness that should happen more often. It is a good example to our children.” Foote also noted that many of the students aren’t dressed appropriately for winter. Some of them come to school in hoodies. Finally, she commended Sioux’s efforts. “When our community gets involved with the school, it boosts morale. Merlin has shown that he is here for the community. We need more of that.” she said. On Thursday, Sioux was originally scheduled to attend a function in Billings “Breakfast with the Boss” including the Governor and other state representatives. But, he canceled that in favor of the jacket distribution. “The kids are more important,” he smiled.
WOLF MOUNTAIN SEARCH & RESCUE GENERATES $7,500 FOR HANNAH HARRIS REWARD FUND
Temperatures were many degrees below zero on the first Saturday in March , but that did not stop dedicated snowmobilers from the Wolf Mountain Search and Res-cue and supporters from turning out to support the Hanna Harris Murder Reward Fund. More than $7,500 has now been raised for this reward fund. “Please let people know that the fund is still open at the 1st Interstate Bank, Lame Deer and Colstrip branch-es.” said Mitsy Arnio, primary organizer for the Wolf Mountain Search and Rescue group of reservation volun-teers. T-shirts for the cause are currently on sale at the Flower Grinder in Lame Deer; a variety of colors and sizes are available for $20.00 per shirt. All proceeds will go to the Hanna Harris Reward Fund. The reward will go to a tip resulting in the arrest and conviction of the culprits.
SENATORS TESTER AND WALSCH VISIT NORTHERN CHEYENNE
On Wednesday, Feb. 19th, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe welcomed Senator Tester and newly appointed Senator Walsh with a luncheon at the Tribal Chambers. Tester and Walsh were on a state-wide ―listening tour‖ meet-ing with each MT of the Tribes. ―Come up with your vision and we‘ll support you,‖ Tester urged. Tester, a good friend to the Montana Tribes and Native people reported that he is now the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Senate
Indian Affairs, a key position for all Tribes. All legislation related to tribal and native issues must first pass through this Committee. Tester is the first Montana Senator to chair this Committee since 1988 when former Senator John Melcher held this important post. The Senators and their staff members were welcomed in traditional Cheyenne fashion including a prayer by Otto Braided Hair, Sr. and two honor songs, one specifically for a Veteran, to recognize Senator Walsh, a military officer. Both President Llevando ―Cowboy‖ Fisher and Vice-President Winfield Russell provided opening remarks. Fisher noted several key concerns: legislation needed by the Tribe to authorize an exchange of land and minerals between the Tribe and Great Northern Properties; the high crime rate and unsolved murders on the Reservation; highway safety on Highway 212; unemployment etc. ―We need your help to succeed,‖ President Fisher reminded the Senators. Tester told the Council members in attendance (Small Lafranier, Snow, Sioux, Robinson and Red Neck) and the small audience of community members that he will continue efforts to assist the Tribe. ―We’ve got some opportunities. But it‘s never been easy and it will not be easy.‖ He also encouraged tribal members to sign up for Obamacare which supports the I.H.S. and provides better health care. Walsh, new to his post announced that he will sponsor the Tribe‘s land and minerals exchange legislation as one of his first bills. ―I will work very hard to get that passed,‖ he promised. Continued on page 10
TRIBAL EDUCATION RECRUITING APPLICANTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING SCHOLARSHIPS
For the first time many years, the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Educa-tion Department is short on applicants for Higher Education and Job Training scholarships. ―We normally fund about 80 students per year, ― explained Norma Bixby, Director ―but so far we have far fewer completed applications.‖ The deadline is March 1, 2014 (see ad and requirements on page 5). The tribal education staff urges tribal members interested in college or voca-tional training to apply. ―Even if you are older and want training, come and see us.‖ Norma also reminds applicants that forms for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) must also be completed in the month of February. The Tribal Education Department is only able to assist students who have a demonstrated fi-nancial need. ―Those applications are submitted on-line,‖ she explained. Students can use the computer at the Tribal Education Department to complete the FAFSA and staff are available to help. Tribal education staff include: Norma Bixby (Director); Darlene Hamilton (in-state higher education counselor); Jason Whiteman (Job Placement and Training and out-of-state Higher Education Counselor); Angela Spotted Elk (Higher Education/Johnson O‘Malley assis-tant) and Liz Bahe (State of MT Talent Search Coordinator) Tribal Education is under the direction of the Scholarship Committee which approves or disapproves scholarships, approves budgets, hears appeals etc. Continued on pg 5
URLINGTON NORTHERN SANTA FE RAILWAY FOUNDATION MAKES GRANTS TO ASSIST NORTHERN CHEYENNE YOUTH
On Tuesday, January 21, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railrway (BNSF) Foundation donated $28,000 to programs that serve Northern Cheyenne youth. Matt Jones, Regional Di-rector of Public Affairs, BNSF personally made the check presen-tations to President Llevando ―Cowboy‖ Fisher at the Tribal Council meeting. ―BNSF has about 2,200 employees in Montana, including several important hubs in southeastern Montana. We are happy to partner with our neighboring communities,‖ Jones explained. ―These two projects fit within our mission.‖ Fisher, in turn presented the donations: Geri Small, ac-cepted $18,000 for the Boy‘s and Girl‘s Club that will support various youth programs and Curtis Yarlott, Executive Director was on hand to receive $10,000 for a St. Labre Water project. ―We truly appreciate these donations, because the Tribe can no longer afford to fund the Boy‘s and Girl‘s Club, ―Fisher noted. Small explained that the funding will support youth pro-grams such as ―Smart Moves‖, after school tutoring, computer literacy etc.
CONGRESSMAN DAINES MEETS WITH NORTHERN CHEYENNE
Saturday, January 4th, Congressman Steve Daines met with Northern Cheyenne officials at Lame Deer. He was accompanied by key staffers Charles Robinson, State Director and Jessica Flint, Eastern Regional Director. Daines was on a brief visit to Eastern Montana, meeting with five different Tribes to develop a working re-lationship. “We are on a journey together,” he assured the Tribal members. “My door is wide open. I look forward to a peer-to-peer relationship.” A member of the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaskan Native Affairs, Daines is in a key position to influence legislation and appropriations for Tribes. The tribal delegation included Vice-President Winfield Russell, Chief Executive Officer, William Walksa-long, Council members Marlene Redneck, Jenny Small La-franier, Merlin Sioux, Oly McMakin and Eloise Snow, sev-eral program directors and community members. They unanimously reminded the Congressman about the Tribal need for continued Federal funding to provide services. Topics ranged from health care, transportation, Highway 212, infrastructure, Northern Cheyenne Tribal Schools, edu-cation, law enforcement and justice. A key topic was the Land and Minerals Exchange Act, legislation which will soon be introduced to provide for an exchange of land and mineral rights between the North-ern Cheyenne Tribe and Great Northern Properties (GNP). continued on pg 8