The Treaty of Hellgate, July 16, 1855, 12 Stat. 975, ratified March 8, 1859, Article I. reads, “ The said confederated tribes of Indians hereby cede, relinquish, and convey to the United States all their right, title and interest in and to the country occupied or claimed by them, bounded and described as follows, to wit:”….

I don’t know about you, but I have no problem understanding the terms “cede”, “relinquish” and “convey to”.  I’m pretty sure it means it isn’t yours anymore; EVER – you know, time immemorial.  Of course, unless you buy it back or have it ceded back or receive it back through an inheritance or some other common, legally established, acceptable practice; it’s gone and you are no longer in control of said, defined property.

So, to just ‘claim’ back control seems to fall in the category of ‘bullying’ and we all know that THAT is not an acceptable practice in today’s liberal world.  To continue ‘saying’ it’s yours does not make it so.  To claim it was ‘taken’, although you were recompensed for it – time and time again – does not change the simple fact that it was ceded, relinquished or conveyed and you were compensated and thereby hold no claim to or control over it.

If you are allowed, by contract, to set foot on the land after ceding, relinquishing or conveying it, it does not establish or infer any rights to the land, back to you.  Remember, you ceded, relinquished or conveyed all of your rights to it to the party of the second part.

How does (from Article III. of said Treaty of Hellgate) “; as also the right of taking fish at all usual and accustomed places (on this ceded, relinquished or conveyed land), in common with citizens of the (newly acquired – bought and paid for) Territory”, somehow automatically give you time immemorial fishing rights and therefore the right to control (as in, “have complete, unchallenged say so” over) “instream flows for fisheries” on these ceded, relinquished or conveyed properties that you no longer own but get to fish “in common”?  I think I’ll be waiting for ‘time immemorial’ for an acceptable answer to that question.  What about the “in common” folks who now OWN the property, the water and the fish?  What say or control do they get to exercise over their property that you are allowed to access in common?!  Nobody’s talking about this massive collection of legal ‘landowners’ of this ceded, relinquished or conveyed land which includes the water and fishes.  Funny how that’s been overlooked.  Guess we have no say, equal, in-common or otherwise.

There’s a term for the illegal taking of control over that which you ceded, relinquished or conveyed control of and it’s spelled “S t e a l i n g”, in the American version of the English language; how’s it spelled in yours?

To my, arguably limited, knowledge, there has been no legal action that ceded, relinquished or conveyed any Off Reservation land back to the CSKT, since 1855; that’s why it is referred to as “Off-Rez”.  Any questions?  No?  Make sense?  I hope so because I feel that all of these concepts need review.  To operate by any other premise would be a travesty of justice.

Nice try.  Time to return to the drawing board and work out the original charter as mandated by the Montana State Legislature: “Conclude compacts for the equitable division and apportionment of waters between the State and its people and the several Indian Tribes claiming reserved water rights within the state.”  Of course, since the current commission is so completely tainted by their methods of capitulation, misguided legal advice and unethical negotiating concepts, we’re going to need a new team to represent the State of Montana (and ALL of its citizens), so, the Legislature has its work cut out for it during this upcoming bi-annual session.  The good news is that the current commission is due to “sunset” in July of 2013, so it shouldn’t be too difficult of a task to disassemble them and begin anew with a more dedicated team of folks.

Yes, we’re out for “Truth, Justice and the American Way”……which, is hopefully, a little more sane and palatable than what we’ve received so far.

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