Badger Creek in the Badger-Two Medicine Area in Montana. Photo: Blackfeet Nation
Environment | Law | National

President Trump urged to declare sacred Blackfeet Nation lands as monument

Even as he suggests reducing the boundaries of one national monument held sacred by tribes, Secretary Ryan Zinke of the Department of the Interior is urging stronger protections for lands in his home state of Montana.

According to an internal memo seen by The Associated Press and The Missoulian, Zinke recommends establishing a national monument at Badger-Two Medicine. The lands are considered sacred by the Blackfeet Nation, whose leaders still claim ownership of the area adjacent to the reservation.

The Obama administration canceled all of the oil and gas leases in Badger-Two Medicine due to concerns raised by the tribe. If President Donald Trump declares the land a monument, it could prevent future development but it may not resolve outstanding litigation over one particular lease.

Indianz.Com on YouTube: Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfeet Nation presents the Badger-Two Medicine Song

"This area of the Rocky Mountain Front was designated a Traditional Cultural District in May 2014, and is considered sacred by the Blackfeet Nation. It is candidate for co-management with the Blackfeet tribe,” Zinke wrote in the draft memo, The Missoulian reported.

Zinke's memo was leaked to the media after The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal obtained a previously-secret report he sent to Trump regarding previously-designated monuments. In that document, he called a a reduction in the boundaries at Bears Ears in Utah even though tribes called on him to leave protections in place.

Read More on the Story:
A look at 3 sites proposed as new national monuments (The Associated Press September 27, 2017)
Zinke memo suggests monument status for Badger-Two Medicine (The Missoulian September 19, 2017)
Relationship between Trump admin, some Montana tribes not yet defined (KPAX September 18, 2017)

An Opinion:
Jonathan Wood Yes, Trump can revoke national monuments (The Washington Post September 27, 2017)

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Secretary Zinke embraces view that some areas are 'too precious' for development (August 29, 2017)
Interior Department cancels final leases on sacred Blackfeet Nation land (January 10, 2017)
Republican lawmaker with a better tribal record tapped for Interior Secretary (December 15, 2016)
Michael Dax: Blackfeet Nation scores victory in sacred land fight (December 12, 2016)
Editorial: Keep oil and gas drillers away from sacred Blackfeet Nation lands (November 22, 2016)
Sacred land protection efforts face questions with Donald Trump (November 18, 2016)
Blackfeet Nation scores victories on sacred sites and water rights (November 17, 2016)