Recently, the Blackfeet Tribal Council (Montana) announced its goal of securing permanent Federal government for the Badger Two Medicine area
, sacred site to them. Specifically, they are seeking a new type of federal legislation that would authorize and establish a Cultural Heritage Area, the Badger Two Medicine, 130,000 acres within the Lewis-Clark National Forest area, to be co-managed by the Tribe and USFS.
“Badger Two Medicine is a heart and soul spiritual place to the Blackfeet people. It is where we still come together to help one another,” explained Earl Old Person. “Without it, our people will be weakened.”
Badger-Two Medicine: Protect this Sacred Place
Old Person, now 91 a nationally recognized Tribal Leader spent more than 60 years in Tribal politics, most often serving as Tribal Chairman. But more important, Cold Winds (his tribal name) has served as the hereditary and principal Chief of the Blackfeet Federation since 1978, giving him great standing among those Tribal people. The Blackfeet Confederation comprises the Pikuni in Montana; the Pikuni in Canada; Bloods and North Blackfeet of Canada.
“We are the same people and come together once a year or so, to discuss common concerns and help each other,” Old Person noted.
The Badger Two Medicine comprises sprawling and pristine 130,000 acres, one edge adjacent to the Blackfeet Reservation abuts Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and the Helena-Lewis National Forest, all nationally pristine and protected areas. Old Person explained that the area got its name for two reasons: the Badger River runs through it and was where the Blackfeet traditional convened an annual ceremony, erecting two ceremonial lodges near a large lake.
Since 1908, the area has enjoyed some protection from the 1908 Antiquities Act. At one point, Old Person recalled, the Federal Government wanted to make the Badger Two Medicine part of Glacier National Park, but buckled under the objection of the Blackfeet, who feared they would then lose and influence over the area and be severely limited in usage.
While a safeguard of sort, the Antiquities Act has been interpreted differently by various Federal administrations. Frequently, corporate America has turned its eye to Badger Two Medicine, seeking leases for oil and gas
and gold exploration and logging.
Contact Clara Caufield at email@example.com
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