Water, the elixir of life. Besides graft, greed and corruption, what makes this seventh and last Indian reservation reserved water right compact different from the previous six?
The negotiating teams decided to trash-can the Legislature mandated, tried and proven 5-point negotiation procedure – for an unknown reverse Tribal concept that has proven disastrous and failed miserably. Nice try – time for a do-over and use what works.
The starting flawed premise is beyond imagination: the United States Federal Government does not own ALL the water within the external boundaries of the ‘former’ flathead reservation in trust for the CSKT – simply because you say so. NO tribal entity in the entire United States owns ALL of the water on, under or running through or near their reservation. This is an “OPEN” reservation and diminished by the homestead and allotment acts; therefore, the water rights are also diminished; nice try but no cigar. My fee-simple 5 acres are not ‘reservation’ land or owned in any way by the tribe or the US government or I would not be paying property taxes, would I?! Chew on that for awhile.
If the compact is based on this simple, single fallacy, then everything negotiated afterwards is a bald faced lie and of no value whatsoever. At least the other six tribes and reservations understood the necessity of win-win, based their reserved water rights on truth and not lies and settled amicably. This could have followed suit and everyone would have been happy – but that is not to be. The tribal council and negotiating team have created more grief with their ‘Grand Illusion’ concerning ownership than can possibly come from an honorable place or time. Their greed will drive a stake through our hearts unless it is abolished. It is they who have pitted neighbor against neighbor and they will receive all the credit due them.