If irrigation represents ~80% of the water used on the Flathead reservation and ~80% of the irrigation is performed by non-tribal farmers and ranchers on non-tribal/non-trust land, why is the tribal negotiating committee offering these same irrigators a “Stipulation Agreement” that requires them to forfeit their claims and suits for water rights in Western Montana in exchange for a hollow “commitment” to provide them a limited quantity of water for their purpose? The land is not tribal which puts it under Montana state control for water rights and adjudication under the state constitution: Article IX., Sec 3. Water Rights.
Why would these irrigators surrender their claims for water rights and constitutional protections for an empty promise? Why would they agree to be effectively put out of business? Why are they allowing a small group of schemers to bully them into anything? Don’t they realize they have strength in numbers? Don’t they realize they represent a significant portion of the state economy and therefore have economic power? Have they lost their will to live and work and produce, not only viable food sources, but a heritage of basic American values that need to be handed down to those around them?
What is it going to take to get the message out to those irrigators who don’t read the papers, or get their news digitally, that they are on the verge of extinction? If it’s word-of-mouth, then ya’ll need to find a fence to talk over and get to it! Contrary to popular opinion and politically correct liberal thinking, standing up for your God-given and hard fought for rights is an obligation as a citizen and resident in this country; thinking somebody else is going to do it for you is a huge mistake. Leaving it to the FJBC or the FIP or the CME is insane and a recipe for disaster.