National | Politics

Blackfeet Nation swears in leaders and looks to a new future






Harry Barnes will continue to serves as chairman of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana. Photo from Facebook

The Blackfeet Nation of Montana held an inauguration ceremony on July 14.

Newcomers to the council are Timothy F. “Kink” Davis, Terry J. Tatsey and Carl D. Kipp. They won their seats in an election last month that also saw incumbent Roland F. Kennerly Jr. retain his seat.

Following the swearing in, the council selected its leadership. Chairman Harry Barnes retained his position while Tatsey was chosen as the new vice chair. Secretary Tyson Running Wolf retained his post.

The council in its current form would no longer exist under a new constitution that's being considered on the reservation. If adopted, the Blackfeet government would be separated into executive, legislative and judicial branches.

“It is a drastic change from what we have right now,” Barnes told The Flathead Beacon. “It would be an historic change.”

The tribe has submitted the document to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for input. Supporters of the reform effort hope to put it to a vote of the people in January 2017, The Great Falls Tribune reported.

"I can’t promise that if the Blackfeet people adopt this that everything is going to change,” council member Joe McKay told the paper. “What I can promise is that they will have a chance to change."

The current constitution was first adopted in December 1935, the paper reported. It's been amended over the years but the governing structure has not seen any major changes.

Get the Story:
New Blackfeet Tribal Councilmen sworn in (The Glacier Reporter 7/20)
Blackfeet Council Welcomes New Members, Re-elects Chairman (The Flathead Beacon 7/15)
A chance for change on the Blackfeet Reservation (The Great Falls Tribune 6/30)
Blackfeet Tribe’s general election results (The Great Falls Tribune 6/30)
Blackfeet council votes for sweeping constitutional reform (The Great Falls Tribune 6/21)
Blackfeet Council Backs Reform, New Constitution Goes to BIA For Approval (The Flathead Beacon 6/16)