© 2013 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
We’ve been receiving calls that the CSKT has taken up residence at the Capitol building and are passing out packets of information concerning the Water Compact and Water Use Agreement. So we picked one up, and would like to share its contents.
If this compact goes through as written, the tribe’s wildest dreams will come true. They know it. We know it. So it’s not surprising that the groundswell of opposition, the large number of people awakening to this federal water grab, has become more than a minor inconvenience to someone’s vision of restoring the reservation back to its former glory.
Hence, lobbyists are being paid, and huge amounts of money are being spent to print and mail out postcards, prepare “informational” packets, and perhaps even to hire private, non-tribal citizens to travel the area in support of this twelve year masterpiece, the MAGNUM OPUS of water compacts.
First up in the packets are three postcards that use the VOTE4FARMERS veneer to give the impression that a grassroots group, supporting agriculture and farmers, is trying to let the public to know the FIP agreement will be good for them. Too bad that facade was shattered last week: https://westernmtwaterrights.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/of-postcards-farmers-and-sovereignty/
Additional materials include a few glowing business endorsements of the compact as well as some very nice printed pieces espousing its virtues, using half-truths and you guessed it, more threats of litigation. The real icing on the cake is a Department of Interior letter dated February 19, 2013 threatening to take even more water than is in the compact, designed specifically to instill fear in the hearts of farmers and ranchers throughout the region. If the Compact is so good, why does the federal government feel the need to threaten people?
We are not surprised. For far too many months we’ve observed these so called “negotiations”. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize these meetings are not what you and I think negotiations are supposed to be. Instead the tribe has used its “sovereign” people status to elevate themselves to super citizen status, and have become nothing more than bullies at the table. They are inflexible and demanding, and have made no major concessions. Remember, as it is written, this compact will give them ultimate control over the people and the economies of western Montana. After all, no one can survive without water.
For decades now the tribe has taken advantage of our liberal and activist judicial system. It’s flexed its legal muscle with the state of Montana to stop the water rights adjudication process on the reservation, and were successful with a series of court decisions known as the Ciotti cases. They’ve also flexed their legal muscle with the Flathead Irrigation project, by bringing and winning multiple lawsuits.
After much time, money and energy is spent, people become discouraged, demoralized and come to think they can’t possibly win against the tribes. This opportunity is then used to threaten even more lawsuits. Did you know the CSKT website says if this compact does not go through, they will not only file lawsuits throughout western Montana, but will also expand their reach into the Missouri River Basin as well? The coup de grace is when the state compact commission also participates in the threat of litigation rather than explaining the adjudication process to citizens.
Have you ever been in a negotiation session where you were told by a tribal elder that if you don’t like it, they will be happy to walk you to the border of the reservation? We have.
There’s been a change in the political winds, and the tribe has every right to be afraid that this compact will not go through. People are tired of VICTIMS, and they are tired of BULLIES.
The federal government, the Compact Commission, and the tribes have overreached and the people of western Montana know it. What is it they say about the sleeping giant being awakened?
Here are the scanned documents for your reference: https://westernmtwaterrights.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/cskt-helena-packet.pdf