Council Dispatch #202     October 17, 2023




  • Stephen Smallsalmon asked where the Tribal Elders fit into the organization and whether they are placed above or below the Tribal Council. The Tribal Elders used to be placed above the Tribal Council and now they are below. Chairman McDonald stated the Tribal Elders are placed directly under the Tribal Council and the Culture Committee Director is located under the departments and programs. Stephen commented that the Pend d’Oreille people are always left out, but they were here before the Salish and Kootenai people arrived. Chairman McDonald agreed with Stephen’s comments and let him know that Pend d’Oreille is on the tribal letterhead. Stephen wants Pend d’Oreille on everything.


  • Stephen Smallsalmon talked about the Medicine Tree. All the schools go there so it is crowded now, and he is worried someone will get run over. It is tribal land and he demanded that the Tribes fix it. Martin Charlo brought it up to the Montana Department of Transportation last week. Tony Incashola, Sr. had been working on it for many years. The Connor South project was split into three phases and the Medicine Tree location will be in the first phase. If we let MDT know when we go there, they will put out more signage and have a flashing light.


  • Stephen Smallsalmon told the council that the basement at Nkwusm still needs to be fixed. There was a contractor doing some work, but a different contractor showed up and said it was the wrong piece. The current setup makes it difficult to feed the students.


  • Stephen Smallsalmon gave a report on an event with the Buddhas. There were about 150 people there and he had a good time. The Buddhas are going to build a road on the other side of the hill and put in another camp. Linda Fitzer purchased some busses for Nkwusm. Stephen has worked at the Nkwusm School for 20 years, worked in the woods for 31 years, and acted in five movies. He would like the council members to listen to him and put their laptops away when the elders are speaking to them.


  • Daniel Sherwood met with council regarding a personal matter. Council took action to allow the Director of Tribal Member Services to assist Daniel Sherwood with the purchase of a camper with whatever funds she deems allowable to do so.


  • An individual told council that he was appointed as a native legal advisor to various places. There is a European group stating that the United States closed the doors for 13 days and want to convert back to the 13 colonies. He travels from tribe to tribe to make things happen, and he has helped a lot of people. He was called here to represent tribal member Gen Huitt in a land case involved in a will. Gen is still the holder of the land and it was not done properly. He is going through the motions to find out why things were done that way. He played an audio recording from the European Union Representative. Chairman McDonald responded that it was codified in two different court systems. There is nothing the Tribes can do about that situation and cannot get involved in a court case.


Tribal Council


  • Chairman McDonald reminded council of the meeting with the Missoula County Commissioners that is scheduled for the afternoon of November 7 and requested a head count since lunch will be served. Carole Lankford will not be available to attend the meeting.


Tribal Forestry


  • Council authorized Tribal Forestry to purchase capital equipment, consisting of 1 UTV, 2 Tara-torch tanks for UTVs, and 1 trailer for UTV. There is sufficient funding in the regular fuels budget.


  • Martin Charlo told Steve about the yard full of burnt wood for the Tribal elders. There are health concerns about that type of wood, and he would like to figure out a way to not give the elders burnt wood. Steve McDonald had the contractor deliver the wood, but he had not realized how charred the wood was. The program is still looking for some clean wood to be delivered and will be more particular on the condition of the wood in the future.


Enrollment Office


  • Council approved a resolution authorizing the December 6, 2023 per capita distribution. The distribution will be made to those members enrolled in the Tribes as of November 8, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. The deadline for claims to be withheld from individuals’ December 6, 2023 per capita for judgments, assignments, and IIM holds through the Superintendent and Director of Financial Management shall be no later than November 8, 2023, at 5:30 m.


Tribal Lands Department


  • Council granted Sareen Banna, The Beehive Permanent Cosmetics, a one-year revocable permit to operate her business on Tribal Tract No. T4513 in Polson, so long as all permitting requirements are met, including a rental payment of $400 per month, provide proof of insurance, and payment of a bond. The site has been advertised in the past, but there was not much interest in it.


  • Council asked about a parcel of land. Tara Irvine responded that she continues to work on it and is waiting for a response from Mr. Bible.


Polson Police Department/City of Polson


  • George Simpson and Ed Meece met with council to introduce Mr. Simpson, who was recently hired as the Chief of Police for the City of Polson. Chief Simpson looks forward to working with the Tribes and continuing the great relationship between the agencies. It is important to continue having community trust. Council welcome Mr. Simpson and discussed tribal issues.


Bureau of Indian Affairs


  • Bryan Mercier, Bureau of Indian Affairs; and Eric Bruguier, Superintendent of the Minnesota Agency; informed council that Mr. Bruguier was offered the Flathead Irrigation Project Manager position. Mr. Bruguier gave an overview of his background and experience. He served as the Facility Manager of the Midwest Region prior to serving as Superintendent of the Minnesota Agency. He works with six self-governance tribes in north central Minnesota. Council discussed issues of concern to the Tribes.


Federal Highway Administration


  • Andrew Rogers, Deputy Administrator, met with council for a meet-and-greet. Mr. Rogers will be touring Highway 93 and the animal crossings. He wants to meet community members and learn about the importance of the highway and roads to this community. There are millions of dollars available in grant funding to construct wildlife crossings.



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