Chairman Floyd Azure proposed something else entirely too. He said the tribe needs a drug treatment center to help protect its youngest and most vulnerable. “We have 107 kids in foster care right now, and the majority of that is because of drug problems and meth mainly. We had, last count, nine infants born addicted to meth," Azure told the secretary, The Gazette reported. "It’s tough to swallow when you see babies in that situation and they didn’t ask to be in that situation and they’re suffering.” Zinke visited Riverside in January so it's probably still on his mind. The facility -- the oldest largest and oldest off-reservation boarding school in the U.S. -- educates about 500 students, representing 80 tribes from across the nation. "Native youth embody the hopes and dreams of Indian Country. They are our budding public servants, entrepreneurs, military soldiers, academics, and community leaders," John Tahsuda, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at Interior, wrote in a blog post. He toured Riverside with Zinke in January. There aren't any BIE dormitories or boarding schools in Montana, though. But there are some a lot closer than Riverside -- a handful in North Dakota and South Dakota.
Visited Mike Bell and his family. I put him through training. Incredible warrior with a big heart. Honored to have been adopted into the Assiniboine-Sioux tribe by his father, Ted. RIP brother. pic.twitter.com/EzRgo2thbX— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) May 20, 2018
Zinke, a former Navy SEAL commander, has been adopted at Fort Peck. While on the reservation this month, he visited the grave of Mike Bell, a tribal citizen and fellow SEAL who was murdered in 2006. Bell's father is the one who adopted Zinke. " I put him through training. Incredible warrior with a big heart," Zinke said of Bell in a May 20 post on Twitter. Read More on the Story:
On Fort Peck Reservation, where 107 kids are in foster care, tribes ask feds for help with drug problems (The Billings Gazette May 27, 2018)
Zinke Talks DOI Restructure and Infrastructure with Locals (The Glasgow Courier May 23, 2018)
Zinke says Interior reorganization still on track in speech at Fort Peck (The Billings Gazette May 21, 2018)