Federalizing Montana’s Water

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana



In June of 2015, after the CSKT water compact was questionably ratified in the Montana legislature, the United States and CSKT made their threat of 10,000 claims a reality by filing them with the Montana Water Court.

Montana has never disputed these claims, nor have they taken any action in the courts to have them dismissed.

Instead these claims sit out there and fester, giving opportunists such as the Steves Daines and Bullock, as well as Denny Rehberg and his Mercury LLC “grassroots” created Farmers and Ranchers for Montana organization, an excuse and a weapon to wield against Montana citizens.  These claims were intended to be, and have been used as threats of future litigation in an effort to coerce Montana into the federal ratification of the Daines Water Compact S.3019 / SB262.

Even Senator Daines used this threat in his testimony in support of  his Water Compact legislation S3019 on June 24, 2020.

For as much as Montana neglected to dispute these fictitious “tribal reserved” aboriginal claims, they also have not entered them into the DNRC water rights data base.  That means that most Montanans have no visibility of them, and are not aware that these claims threaten their own water rights, claims that may have been “adjudicated” long ago.

To understand the scope and magnitude of what Montana allowed to happen, and what Montana citizens are unknowingly dealing with, we painstakingly went through each of the 10,000 claims and created a 28 page summary of them.

Let us repeat that: the federal and CSKT overreach is so massive, that it requires a  28 PAGE SUMMARY.

The claims filed were not made specifically against individuals, but instead the US and CSKT claimed time immemorial rights along all of the major rivers and waterways, for maximum control over Montana’s water.

Keep in mind, that if the CSKT or United States are able to achieve any inkling of a valid claim to these waters covering 2/3 of the state, federal or tribal jurisdiction over them via the CLEAN WATER ACT or other federal legislation will be a given, just as sure as we are sitting here typing this post.


Who will be the beneficiaries of this effort?   Certainly it is the United States in whose name all of the water will be held with a time immemorial priority date.

While the tribes like to believe they have a permanent seat at the table, they are secondary, and are little more than the Trojan Horse that was needed to restore the lands, resources and waters of Montana back to the feds.

Want to know what waterways the United States filed on in your neck of the woods?

Click on the photo below for a PDF copy of the “summary” of the federal overreach into the waters of Montana, under the guise of an Indian Water Settlement.

We’d appreciate it if you would share this document with your friends and neighbors.

NOTE:  We have also added this information as a new page to the blog, named 10,000 CLAIMS, for easier future reference of this information.  You can see a link to it on the top of this page and others.

What is REALLY Going on in Montana?

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

While it is tempting to take time off to relax and remember the greatness of our country on this fourth of July, we really don’t have that luxury.  This is because of the seriousness of the attack upon our lives and livelihoods that Senator Daines has endorsed and is waging against us through his water compact legislation S.3019.

While the rest of the country locks down with the virus, or perhaps lives close to the destruction taking place in the streets of many of our major cities, we have a different battle, a well orchestrated and state condoned assault on our water resources.  It is now left to the people to seek the means necessary to stop the federal government from stealing that which is necessary for the very essence of life itself, and the source of our local economy.

If we lose this battle, who will be the beneficiaries of that theft?  Certainly it is the United States in whose name all of the water will be held with a time immemorial priority date. While the tribes like to believe they have a permanent seat at the table, they are secondary, and are little more than the Trojan Horse that was needed to restore the lands, resources and waters of Montana back to the feds.

While in the short term the CSKT may be given enough money to finally put an end to the state and local governance they disdain, and to achieve the repatriation goals in their mission statement, in the end what really will be left standing?

The federal government with the ownership and control over Montana’s land and water resources.  And for what purpose?

Is this rollover of one of the largest states in land mass, but one of the smallest in population, part of the seizure and plundering of our country’s resources in order to benefit the political class, and perhaps even their family members?

Is what is happening here the domestic counterpart to the corrupt federal “foreign aid” programs where the federal government contracts out infrastructure projects in foreign countries, using taxpayer money, while our own infrastructure throughout the United States is in dire need of repair?

One thing we do know for certain is that this is a massive transfer of wealth away from the people, but this time the beneficiary is the federal government and the political class.

While this discussion may make you feel uncomfortable, we need to be asking these questions before the war is lost.

We must shine a bright light on what has been happening in western Montana.  Like it or not, as people were being invited to settle here in 1909, there already were forces in play to stop it.  They are patient.  It simply took the deep  state a little more than 100 years to get a Senator Daines to forever rewrite history and to erase western Montana and the people living there, as though we never existed.

Our country is in great trouble, but this is our battle to fight.

Yesterday someone wrote to express that we are fighting a spiritual battle.  We agree, however the need for God’s hand in our situation does not give us a pass.  It is still incumbent upon us to stand up, and to push back against what is happening.

Our founders expected that we would do just that:

Who will govern the governors? There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves. They alone, if well informed, are capable of preventing the corruption of power, and of restoring the nation to its rightful course if it should go astray. They alone are the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government. 

Thomas Jefferson

Let the 4th of July fireworks begin.


URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Contact Congress to Request a Field Hearing

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

We recently did a post about the Congressional Field Hearings that were held throughout the state of Montana in the Summer of 1979.  Those hearings were in response to a series of lawsuits that were filed by the United States throughout the state of Montana for federal reserved water rights related to  federal reservations of land and the several Indian tribes in the state.

Local governments, many organizations, tribal members and other citizens weighed in.  Their comments and concerns became part of the public record.  Every citizen letter written to Congress on the issue was included in the transcript of the Ronan hearing and can be found at this link.

On June 24, 2020, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a quiet, under the radar hearing on S.3019, the Daines / Tester solution to the CSKT water dispute, in Washington DC. The only person allowed to testify was an employee of the Department of the Interior.  The exchange between Senator Daines and the witness was a well-rehearsed and scripted question and answer session.

Opponents to the Daines legislation were not invited to testify at the “hearing”.

Senator Daines is controlling the narrative for his bill, and if successful, Congress and President Trump will only hear what Daines wants them to hear about his destructive and fatally flawed “CSKT water settlement.”

Just as the compact was created in a federal Indian policy vacuum with no consideration of its impacts to non-Indians, so will go Congressional testimony, if we don’t step up and demand that our voices be heard.


We reported on a statement made at the 1979 Ronan Hearing by Bill Morigeau, Vice Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.  In his testimony, Mr. Morigeau said this:

I would like to set the record straight.  The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Council has never claimed water or water rights outside of the border of the reservation. 

Also during the hearing, Senator Melcher queried Mr. Morigeau and tribal attorney Evelyn Stevenson, on the tribe’s current and future needs and based upon their testimony concluded this:

It really does not indicate any problem for a lack of water at this time or in the foreseeable future as far as the tribe is concerned.  I think I have asked all the questions I want to ask of both of you (Morigeau and Stevenson (tribal attorney).  I don’t believe that there is any use in pursuing a discussion of the Winter’s doctrine in this case because the tribe simply is not envisioning much more water than they are now using.  If I have misunderstood you on that, please correct me, because we like to understand what the tribe’s position is.

What a Difference Forty Years Makes

In 1979 tribal leadership:  The CSKT have never claimed water outside of the reservation.

In 2013: Montana agrees to give the tribe time immemorial claims to vast amounts of off reservation water throughout western Montana.

In 2015: The CSKT and United States file 10,000 time immemorial claims to water covering 2/3 of the state.

In 2020:   No one opposing the legislation is allowed to testify at congressional hearings.  The S.3019 Daines Compact awards most if not all of the water in western Montana to the CSKT, calling into question our property rights and land patents.


If this very slow and painful death of property rights ownership is not stopped decisively, we will soon  lose all of the rights and privileges that other Americans have with respect to their land patents and property rights.

Montana citizens deserve the right to a very public hearing on this issue.  We no longer have the luxury of sitting on the fence out of the fear of tribal or government retribution.

With this in mind, we would like to ask each of you to please take a few minutes of your time to contact the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator John Hoeven, and request that his committee hold field hearings in Ronan Montana on the Senator Daines legislation S3019, and the process that allowed this terrible agreement to get as far as it has.

Be sure to mention the June 24, 2020  “hearing” for S.3019 , and request that the Daines legislation be stopped until public field hearings are held in Ronan in July or August of 2021, and after the requested audits of both the IRRIGATION AND POWER DIVISIONS of the Flathead Irrigation Project are completed and made public.

Please submit your request to the committee no later than July 8, 2020.  Otherwise it may be too late to make our wishes known.

Your requests for a field hearing can be sent to Zachary Spencer, the staff assistant to the Committee on Indian Affairs.  Ask Mr. Spencer to forward your request to Senator Hoeven.  Use this email address to make your request.  If your email allows it, be sure to sent the email to request a read receipt so that you know it’s been opened.



We have word that Daines is already trying to stop this movement by the people and by state legislators, to have our voices heard at a very public field hearing.

Senators Daines and Tester must be held accountable to publicly hear the concerns of their constituents, and fully to explain their support of this legislation in light of the 1979 testimony of the tribes stating they did not want off reservation water rights, and anticipated little more water than they were using at the time.


The Gaslighting of Montana

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem. Wikipedia

How many of you believe that the CSKT have valid claims to water impacting 975,000 Montanans, and covering 2/3 of the state?

In 1979 the tribe said they have no off reservation claims, but in 2020 they do.  When the target keeps moving, how can anyone have certainty with their water and property rights?

Do you believe the United States and CSKT tribal government rightfully own most if not all of the water in western Montana?

When have you ever sold land to someone (land you didn’t really own in the first place), and were able to retain its water and the right to exert control over what can be done with the land forever into the future?

Do you agree that the Flathead Irrigation Project must be converted to a fishery, and that irrigators should be forced to give up their water rights as a condition of settlement?

If Duane Mecham of the Department of the Interior told irrigators they would not lose a drop of water in this compact, why will their water deliveries be reduced by 40-70% if the compact is ratified?

How many of you believe that you are sufficiently represented in Helena or Washington DC, or that any of these people have your best interests in mind?

How is it that Montana can arbitrarily choose to remove the Montana Water Use Act from a portion of the state, but still continue to tax people as though we are citizens that enjoy the full protection of the state?

If less than 2% of the water in western Montana is consumptively used, why should anyone have to lose a drop of water, or basins be closed to future growth and development?

How is it that the Feds and the CSKT have challenged every water right in every basin in western Montana?

When you purchased your property in western Montana, did it or did it not include water rights?

Are you a squatter on your own land?

If the tribe and our US Senator can work together to prevent the water court from examining the US / Tribe’s water claims, how can it ever be possible to get a fair adjudication of our water or property rights in Montana?

How is it that tribal sovereignty, which really doesn’t exist except to the extent we all are sovereign, has been elevated to the detriment of the rights and protections of all other citizens?   Does this mean our governments have collectively “taken a knee” to tribal government corporations?

How is it that many individual tribal members live in deplorable conditions, yet the tribe has amassed assets fit for a king?

Since when did people consent to be governed by a tribal government that through our bloodlines and ancestry, we are unable to participate in?  The Constitution does not give such consent, and neither do I.

Is the United States seeking to withdraw their 100 + year old invitation to non-Indians to settle in western Montana as though we never existed?

Are the state and federal governments craftily trying to avoid liability pertaining to the takings provisions in the Constitution? 

Why hasn’t Montana taken steps to stop this unlawful aggression and threats against its citizens?

Because Montana officials support, and do not want to stop the madness.  All of the angst and aggression is part of the manipulation or gaslighting that has been used by our state and federal governments is a means to an end.

Their goal is the ratification of their government sanctioned, sacred and holy CSKT Compact cow, with not one word in it changed from beginning to end.

That is what the tribes have demanded and it is what these government losers will bend over backwards to give them.

For years now, we have been gaslighted, told that the reality of our situation is far different than what our common sense and experience tells us it is.

We believe that the conspiracy of all branches of government, their statements, actions, and their failure to act, are all designed to demoralize us into believing we’ve been wrong all along.

They even want us to believe that we never had the water rights or the constitutional protections in the first place.

These rogue governments are in fact confident, that once the compact is ratified, we will quietly shut up and accept the new “reality” they have conspired together to create, through their threats and gaslighting strategy.

Are you buying what they’re selling?  We aren’t.  We see the lies and the threats for the gaslighting they are.

The tribes say they are owed $30 billion in damages.  Just think about the value of the water alone.  With this compact they will get all of that and more.

Who benefits most with this compact?  Keep in mind that every one of these time immemorial “tribal reserved” water rights are held in the name of the United States Department of the Interior in trust for the tribal corporation governments that were created by Congress through their 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.

It would seem that while federal government can give,. i.e. our land patents with the promise of water, and they now are proven to be just as willing to take away.   The goal in 1908 was assimilation.   In 2020 it is reparations and repatriation.

When the rules change midstream, how can anyone discern truth from lies, fact from fiction, or right from wrong?    We must hold on fiercely to what we know in our hearts and minds to be true and never let their gaslighting shake that foundation.

If the CSKT Compact is ratified, we will have crossed the rubicon, and there will be no turning back. After all there are nearly 600 other tribes in the United States that will want their bite at the apple too.





Congress: The Game

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

You have to know that something is horribly wrong with your country when you have to beg your representatives at all levels of government, to NOT establish policies or enact legislation that will destroy your God given rights to life, liberty and property.

Sadly this speaks to just how fragile our freedom really is.  While we tend to forget that governments cannot take away these rights, it sure doesn’t stop them from trying.

Steve Daines is just one of the many bad “government” actors that Montanans have placed their trust in.   We should not be surprised to have awakened to the fact that representation of the people is no more than smoke and mirrors.  It is now little more than political parties and their candidates picking and choosing winners and losers for the sole purpose of protecting the power and control that they have amassed during their tenures as “public servants.”

While the People understand all men are created equal, our failing and corrupt government does not.  Instead, these elected opportunists have elevated a chosen few above the rest.  The REPRESENTATION PARADIGM shifted long ago, and those deemed worthy of “representation,” or as we prefer to call it, government largess and favoritism, are those corporations, special interest groups and minorities that bring enough to the table to keep their government scam going.

We recently came across a reference to something on the internet called Congress:  The Game.  Admittedly we have not done a deep dive into it, but their website says this:


Congress: The Game is a fantasy sports style approach to politics. Players draft members of congress to their teams and earn points based on their legislators’ actual performance in Washington.

Players will join a league where they draft their team of 6 senators and 12 representatives. Every week players will select 2 senators and 5 representatives to represent their team.

Points will be awarded for several legislative acts. These acts include:

      • Sponsoring/Cosponsoring a bill
      • Having a sponsored/cosponsored bill pass the House of Representatives
      • Having a sponsored/cosponsored bill pass the Senate
      • Having a sponsored/cosponsored bill signed into law by the President
      • Voting for a passing bill
      • Voting for a passing bill sponsored by the opposing party

The points accumulated each week are added to the teams’ running totals and are displayed on the league leaderboard.

It’s free to play so sign up and start playing today!

While we have not signed up for the game, we did spend time envisioning many of the Congressional ELITE playing this game, placing bets upon the level of chaos and mayhem their legislation is able to create in the lives of not just the American people, but also other targeted countries around the world.

We envision that the Game is played real time by Congressionals and media figures, each placing bets on who can introduce the most destructive legislation possible and get it to the Presidentially signed finish line, while keeping the citizenry completely in the dark.

Here are just a few of the possible various destructive categories of legislation we envision Congress tracking as they enact legislation that will garner them as much real life wealth, power and control as possible:

    • Moving the country toward communism through the plundering and confiscation of land and natural resources, both domestic and foreign.  If theft and plunder won’t work, using federal agencies to restrict the use of such resources is also acceptable.
    • Ethnic cleansing through the restoration and return of territory in western states back to the United States, but “in trust for various Indian Tribes.” Note:  Although the feds already unconstitutionally control a significant amount of “public land” in these states, their policies and legislation indicates they want it all.
    • Moving people away from God and toward a government god, by doling out vast amounts of federal money in return for compliance with despicable but “politically acceptable” policies, such as abortion, fluidity of sexual orientation, mandatory vaccinations, feminism, “diversity” in the workplace, and the complete breakdown of family and religion.
    • Any legislation that contributes to the obliteration of our country’s proud heritage and history.
    • Legislation that is destructive of our country’s sovereignty and its borders.
    • Dividing and conquering the citizenry and then selectively elevating minorities as special enclaves of citizens to the detriment of the majority of citizens. For example, only some people are capable of “hate crimes,” while others are not.  Some people have so called “civil rights,” while others do not.
    • Transfers of wealth, by plundering from one segment of the population, and bestowing it upon another segment, often of the political class, without anyone being the wiser.
    • Special bonus points are awarded to those Congressionals who are able to garner Supreme Court of the United States support of their flawed and unconstitutional legislation, but only if it enhances the objectives of the Game itself.

It’s not difficult to imagine the morally bankrupt and tone deaf Congressionals patting one another on the back, and stepping all over themselves to see who is able to pass the most egregious and destructive legislation possible.

We also envision that Steve “Distaines us” is currently sitting in the cat bird seat with his Montana Water Rights “Protection” Act.  Surely if it were up to those participating in the games,  Daines is leading in many of the above categories, and is being celebrated behind closed doors in the halls of Congress.

The “R” behind Daines’ name is no different than the word PROTECTION in the name of his $3019 legislation.  Both are fake news, designed to lull Montanans into thinking that Daines has our back.

But the truth is, Montanans have been given an unfair and untenable choice:  Vote for Senator Daines in November and keep the republican senate, but lose your water rights, land, and future.

Daines made a calculated decision when he chose to introduce $3019 ahead of the 2020 election.  He was willing to bet that he could pass legislation that would destroy our agriculture community and economy by placing it under the control of the CSKT, and could still have your vote.

With that in mind, we want to ask, does Senator Daines have your number, or do you have his?

Question of the Day: Co-ownership of the Daines Senate Seat?

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

In honor of the “co-ownership” provisions of the off reservation water rights buried in the Daines legislation via SB262, and in the consideration of his S.3019 testimony pertaining to his desire to legislate out of fear, we have another question of the day for you:

Has Daines awarded co-ownership of his Senate seat to the CSKT, the Department of the Interior, and the  BIA, or did he just give it outright to the courts?  Or has he effectively given his seat to his opponent, Steve Bullock?

We kind of envision an even split between the CSKT, DOI, BIA, 33% each, with Daines retaining 1% to give people the impression they are still represented.  Because he retains 1% of his seat, he will still be able to name post offices and to provide other such nonsense legislation.

You might think that there is no legal or constitutional authority for co-ownership of a Senate seat.  But does that really matter if the Department of Interior says it complies with the “Constitutional Mandate” in the Winter’s Doctrine as articulated by Senator Daines in his $.3019 testimony?

What do you think?

For more information please see yesterday’s post that speaks to his failure to lead, because he is fearful of the courts and chooses to ignore, rather than to fix the mess he has contributed to.

Daines:  Ceding Congressional Authority to the Courts

Reasons to Vote for Daines. Or Not?

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

Note: below is a guest post written by lonesomepolecat.  We thank him for taking the time to write and submit this letter for publication on the blog.

Reasons to vote for Daines.  Or Not?

The ambivalence in the title/heading is certainly mine, but I suspect that ambivalence has a very large following, and the vacillations are probable daily.  How could they not be.

If you perchance watched the 30 minute clip provided by the Western Montana Water Rights (WMWR, aka Concerned Citizens of Western Montana) web site, for what spills out of the duplicitous mouth of Daines at the S.3019 hearings, we easily have another poster boy for dissociative cognizance.  Or just plain lies.

At either one or both, it does not garner respect.  How can you vote for someone like that?  You can’t.  Even if you were wavering.

An argument might be that we need to put every “R” in the Senate that we can, to support Trump.  Makes some sense.  But Daines has turn-coated on a significant population of Montana.  And it is a trend … if you do not know that by now, you have not been paying attention, and what I say here is not going to help.  So, go back to sleep, or check your Facebook.  Leave now.

Is Bullock worse than Daines?  Perhaps, if Trump loses the Senate because of Daines. Trump ends up as a ‘lame duck’.  But Daines has been quacking as a Lame Senator for too long, and if he is at ease turning on the citizens of Montana, The Donald  has better watch his buttock.  With Bullock as senator, at least Trump can Twitter-bait him;  and find and take pleasure in dismembering SB262 with a veto.

Also with Bullock as senator, we know where we are going, without subterfuge:  It’s clearly stated.  Not so with Daines, and clearly without transparency, as the enemy from within.  Yes, Daines is an enemy.  I knew that within the first week of his first campaign, at a basement meeting in Missoula, when in response to a questions about full representation to all Montanans, he replied: “Well, the tribes spend a lot of time in my office in Helena.”  Was that an answer?  Who has the money?  The tribes have the money.  Maybe it was the last time he was opaquely transparent.

At the end of WWII, the German women fleeing rape by the Ruskies had a saying:  “Better to have a Russian on your belly than a British Bomb on your head.”  That seems to be Trump’s predicament with the senatorial prospects of Montana.  Rape or a bomb.

If Bullock wins, and Trump loses the Senate, whose fault will it be?  Montana conservatives that voted for Trump, both times? The MTGOP (the Montana Republican Party) that supported a clear and present RINO?   No.  It will be Daines’ fault.

He can then write a book, like Hillary Clinton:  “What happened, and why I lost the election.”  It was every body else’s fault.

Right now, I am voting for Bullock.  And Trump.  And most other Republicans.  I encourage you to do the same.  We’ll see about tomorrow.

Daines: Ceding Congressional Authority to the Courts

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

Although the complete testimony at the S3019 hearing is more lengthy, and is not provided in this post, we have transcribed Senator Daines’ introduction to his “bi-partisan” legislation for your review.  It is posted below.

In his own words, Daine’s admits his legislation was developed out of his fear of the 9th Circuit Court and other unknown future decisions of the courts.

That is not leadership.  It demonstrates his failure to get to the heart of the issue and to fix the problems and issues that allowed this situation to happen in the first place. He instead chooses to empower a small tribal government in western Montana to continue to hold the citizens and governments of Montana hostage to their threats of litigation. Litigation that has no foundation in the law, or the tribe’s treaty.

If he ever knew his responsibility as a United States Senator, he seems to have forgotten the fact that it is Congress that has the authority to clean up the mess that Federal Indian Policy, activist courts, and the State of Montana Compact Commission have created.  Instead, in his testimony, Daines’ effectively surrenders Congressional authority for this issue to corrupt, activist judges in the courts, and to the CSKT tribe.

Instead of finding a workable solution, and reforming corrupted federal Indian policy, Daines capitulates by giving deference only to tribal demands.  His legislation was written by tribes and his support of it is is built upon tribal appeasement policies.

By giving in to tribal threats of  litigation:  the 10,000 claims, future court decisions, the  decommissioning the Flathead Irrigation project, and other untold threats by the attorneys of an out of control tribal government, Daines has shown himself for the despicable coward and panderer that he is.

The sharks must smell blood, or is it Senator Daines’ urine, because of his fear of them, in the water?

Daines also admits in his testimony that SB262 and his legislation were built upon a COERCED water rights settlement, not a NEGOTIATED one.

What a sorry excuse for a Senator, cowering under the fear of litigation.

Here is his introduction.  Our additional comments follow Daine’s statement below.

Note: the transcription does not do justice to Senator Daines’ flair for drama with the inflections of his voice during the actual reading of his prepared statement.

Senator Daines Introduction of S. 3019 to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs:

In Montana, we have an old saying, whiskey of for drinking and water is for fighting.  In settling the century old Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe, or the CSKT water dispute has been no different.  For years, this has  been a polarizing issue in Montana.  That’s why I’ve been working in the U.S. Senate to resolve this dispute, negotiating with the tribe, local leaders, farmers and ranchers, state legislators, county commissioners, the administration, and other key stakeholders to find a solution.  One that permanently settles the CSKT water dispute, protects the water rights of all Montanans, and avoids costly litigation. 

In November of last year, a federal circuit court found that the senior water rights of the tribes in their treaty to protect fisheries are paramount.  In fact the farmers and the ranchers in Oregon and Northern California went through eighteen years of costly litigation, and after all that time and money and uncertainty, the court sided with the tribes in a 3-0 unanimous decision. 

In fact just yesterday, the United States Supreme Court denied hearing an appeal to this case, and effectively upheld the lower courts opinion that in stream flow rights to protect fisheries are covered under the Winters Doctrine.  That decision provides additional context as to why we are here today. We have a constitutional duty to bring resolution to the CSKT water dispute, helping the tribe quantify and realize the water they are entitled to under the Hellgate Treaty.  as well as 100 years of federal court precedents. 

We must also provide a practical solution to resolve the significant liability for the United States, to protect Montana’s agricultural economy   and as I mentioned earlier, protect the water rights of ALL Montanans. 

Let me provide some perspective on this.  In 2015, the CSKT and the federal government on the tribe’s behalf filed over 10,000 claims in the Montana water court, placing over 1.85 million acres, or 70% of Montana’s irrigated land at risk for losing its water.  This past January, the Montana water court stay on thousands of these water rights claims (inaudible) was set to expire  If it expired those claims could have been enforced immediately until a water court judge completes the adjudication of the claims which would take DECADES.  And jeopardize the vast majority of irrigated land in Montana, and casting uncertainty on land owner’s property values for decades. 

As a fifth generation Montanan who cares greatly about the ag economy, and water rights of all Montanans, this is a risk that I would not let Montana families and farmers take.

With introduction of this federal legislation, the water court judge agreed to extend that stay for three more years.  Both Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, and Attorney General Bill Barr stated that legislation is the best course of action, and that they support legislation versus litigation, which is what THIS BILL does.

Importantly, this bill protects the water rights of all Montanans, permanently settles the water rights dispute, and reduces the cost to the tax payers, and IT CREATES JOBS.  A study has shown that this bill would create THOUSANDS of jobs by injecting $1.9 billion to rehabilitate the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project, and reserves $10 million dollars specifically for Lake and Sanders Counties for related road maintenance. 

In addition to resolving this long standing dispute, this is a JOB AND INFRASTRUCTURE BILL.  Without this legislation, the Flathead Irrigation Project could be decommissioned due to federal statute, water quality and endangered species act violations, which would cost taxpayers BILLIONS of dollars, and would devastate the economy of Lake and Sanders Counties. 

And finally, I also worked to ensure there is increased TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY for the federal dollars spent in this legislation.  The Montana Water Rights Protection Act protects Montana sovereignty, and reaffirms Montana’s state constitution, stating that Montana owns ALL OF THE WATER WITHIN STATE BOUNDARIES, and it prohibits the sale of water outside the state of Montana.

This legislation is a product of working for YEARS, with stakeholders from all sides and is a compromise that can move forward, and one that can be signed into law.

And with that Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing important testimony on this legislation.


In 1977, Lloyd Meeds, a congressman from the state of Washington said this in his dissent to the final report of the American Indian Policy Review Commission:

The United States is prepared to accommodate Indian interests, and to provide a substantial degree of self-determination. But there is a point beyond which it cannot go—our federal framework will not be compromised, nor will the rights of non-Indians be ignored. Where tribal aspirations collide with constitutional values, the tribe’s interests must yield. Nor can the rights of the non-Indian majority be compromised to support tribal aspirations. Doing justice by Indians does not require doing injustices to non-Indians.   ~ Lloyd Meeds, 1977

In 2020, Senator Daines has willingly crossed what we call, the Meed’s line.   In fact, the Daines’ legislation forever erases it.

Instead of standing up for what is right and showing leadership with respect to squelching such aggression from tribal governments, and the corruption of the courts, Daines has chosen to take what he sees as the path of least resistance: throwing western Montanans under the bus.

Under the Bus

We recently asked if the Daines Compact places the tribe at the top of the sovereignty food chain? His testimony confirms that to be the case.

Instead of discussing the real issues at hand:

  • That the CSKT have no legal standing on their 10,000 claims, or
  • That the compact creates tribal reserved water rights out of thin air,
  • That his legislation will expand tribal jurisdiction and control over non-Indians

….Daines’ ommissions ensure that his peers are able to ignore the disgusting details of his legislation, with the hope that they are as incompetent and unwilling to do heavy lifting as he himself is.

So in one fell swoop, one small but aggressive tribe will set the course for all future water rights settlements in the west.

But not to worry, Senator Daines believes he has spared us all the cost and heartbreak of costly litigation in Montana.  He must also subscribe to the Tim Fox theory that Montanans are poor and won’t be able to litigate to protect what Senator Daines proposes to take away from them.  If that isn’t the epitome of government corruption and cynicism, we don’t know what is.

Frankly the whole hearing itself was a ridiculous display of the kind of pandering that Congress has given to tribes for decades.

So with that, we have a couple of questions worth considering:

Will President Trump buy into the Daines’ “fear of tribal litigation” solution, or will he see through the P.R campaign and recognize Daines’ weakness and inability to lead when faced with the aggression of a corrupt and litigious tribe in western Montana?   Just how important is Montana to President Trump?

The fact that both Daines and Jon Tester support this legislation, and Steve Bullock’s gutting of the 2015 Montana legislature to get it over the finish line should tell President Trump all he needs to know about it.

For a 33 minute recording of the $3019 discussion excerpted from the full hearing, use this link:  S3019 Hearing 2020 06 04

To see the recording of the whole 1 1/2 hour hearing, including other legislation being pushed in the Indian Affairs Committee, visit this link:  Senate Indian Affairs, Full Hearing

A PDF Copy of the Daines Introduction to S3019 can be found at this link.


Video of S3019 Hearing 06/24/2020

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

For those of you who might want to watch the hearing on S3019, but don’t have time to wade through the 1 1/2 hours of video, we’ve excerpted only the Daines Water Compact legislation discussion for you.

Be forewarned, you will see Senators Daines and Tester in all their glory, as well as Steve’s extraordinary “coordination skills.”   The question and answer session  between Daines and Mr. Petty was contrived, and reflected Daines’ arrogance, ignorance, and his ego.

But it did also give us insight into just how long Daines has been working with interior to get this compact ratified.

There are many notable things from the testimony, and we will be commenting on them soon enough, but for now wanted to get the 33 minute video out to you for review.

Not only do these people flat out lie about the wonders of this legislation, many of the statements in it are truly gag worthy.

Daines even came up with a new threat designed to strike fear in the hearts of all irrigators should his water compact not be ratified:  the project is in such disrepair, it could be decommissioned due to violations of “federal” law.  In his ignorance, it is lost on Daines that it is the BIA / CSKT that have put the project in its current state of disrepair, not the irrigators.

More notable than all of the ridiculous and untruthful statements about all of the amazing things the Daines’ legislation will do, is what they completely omitted from the discussion: the creation of tribal reserved water rights with time immemorial priority dates, the volume of water, and the expansion of tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians with “unitary management”, to name a few.

Wise up people.  The lives and livelihoods of 360,000 people was worth only 33 minutes of their precious time, and the only person to testify was from the corrupt department of the interior,

Thirty three minutes for the largest Indian water settlement ever.  Imagine that.

The good news is that they are now on the public record for all to see.




Will You Consent?

© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

Today is not just like any other day in Montana.

As the farmers and ranchers of western Montana are cutting or baling their hay, or doing the backbreaking work that their jobs require, Senators Daines and Tester are holding testimony in the halls of Congress to discuss their S.3019 legislation that will destroy them.

Had farmers been invited to testify (they weren’t), they could not attend because their work necessarily keeps them close to home.  As they struggle to make ends meet,  Senator Daines is “protecting their water rights”, by rewarding them with a 40-70% reduction in water deliveries.  For anyone keeping track, that translates into reduced incomes and the devaluation of their family farms.

Did we mention that while beef prices have skyrocketed at the grocery stores, the beef prices that ranchers get for their cattle are in the tank, adding insult to the destruction Daines wants to impose on them?

Farmers receive paltry amounts of money for their hard work, in a system that allows the meat processors and packers to enrich themselves on the backs of the people who have done all of the work.  We understand that the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue supports this arrangement.  But not to worry, it isn’t personal, we are mere human chattel to these corrupt bureaucrats and politicians.

Do not be fooled into thinking that the farmers are making money off of the prices of beef at the local supermarket.  They are not.

With policies and legislation like these, what good is President Trump’s promise to put American farmers first?

In a last minute flurry, we have also heard that Senator Daines or his staff reached out to legislators in western Montana, asking for questions to ask at today’s hearing.

Had Daines read the legislation he supports, he should already have his own serious questions.  Instead he relied upon deep state attorneys and “experts”, like local wonder boy Alan Mikkelsen, to give him the plausible deniability he needed to move forward with his devastating legislation.

We hope that these state legislators can see that this request is little more than the busy work it is, intended to give the impression that Daines has “allowed” the people, and legislators to participate in the process.  Daines doesn’t reallywant questions, he already has all the answers he needs.

Senator Daines is poised to pass legislation that will destroy the fabric of western Montana through the confiscation and control of our water via an Indian tribe.

With this knowledge, will you still vote for Senator Daines in November?

Will you empower this SOB, through his unholy alliance with the tribes, to support even more destructive and debilitating legislation in the future?

That is exactly what you are doing if you give him your vote with the knowledge that he actively is working to destroy you.

It’s actually worse than that, With your vote, you will be giving him your consent for his actions.