I’m guessing the “Art of Negotiation” involves having some idea of what you want and what your adversary will accept and whether negotiation is even required to acquire or keep it.  Entering a negotiation convinced that your opponent is an 800 lb Gorilla who can sit anywhere he wants and is in charge of the process does not really constitute a situation for a potentially winning solution; much less a win-win ending.  It pretty much guarantees failure.

Exactly how does the FJBC (for the FIP) believe they will achieve any worthwhile results with the CSKT Stipulation Agreement Proposal when they bring nothing to the table except subjugation?  The FJBC has ~100 years worth of irrigation knowledge and data but brought none of it to any part of this process; accepting the pseudo-study (done for and paid for by the tribe) presented to them by the CSKT and their stooge Hydrology outfit – touted as independent and unbiased…while they completely ignore and discount the 1946 Walker Hydrology Report, ordered by the Federal government and used by this valley ever since.  Computer modeling is more reliable….sure, wink, wink.

How can you call clawing back one grain of sand at a time while you accept the fallacy that your opponent “owns” the entire beach, a negotiation?  At what point do you realize that your opponent owns nothing and that you’ve capitulated before the negotiation has even begun?  When do you finally realize that you’ve been bullied into submission by your inferiors?  The illusion is amazing.

Maybe it’s time to turn on the fan and clear the smoke out of the room and start over with a “talk to the hand” offer.  What’s stopping the FJBC from opposing the entire proposal as unacceptable; with a “we’ll talk later” after we’ve discussed with our constituents response?

The first thing I’d like to see clarified is why irrigators, on private land – as in, non reservation, non trust land – would even consider negotiating water rights with a collection of people who are, by treaty, dependents of the Federal Government and are only guaranteed water to serve the purpose of “reserved land” that is still held in trust?  Agricultural land, held as private property as the result of legal Homesteading, is not part of a Reserved Water Rights compact or negotiation; so why are they negotiating with the tribe for anything?  They have no claim on your water or the adjudication thereof – it’s in the purview of the State of Montana.  Color me confused.

Let the tribes (actually, the Federal Government…) quantify their water needs, based on reserved land still held in reserve (trust) as required by the Winters Doctrine, and then the State of Montana can permit and adjudicate the rest.  Seems pretty simple to me.