Native American Tribes Bordering Glacier Seek Protection For Sacred Lands

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A section of the Glacier National Park wilderness area may be protected from energy development thanks to a recent proclamation signed by representatives from several Native American tribes.

Signed by tribal chiefs and leaders representing the Blackfoot Confederacy, the proclamation seeks protection for the Badger-Two Medicine area from energy development.

The proclamation aligns the Confederacy with an alliance of American Indian tribal nations advocating for the federal government to protect sacred lands from private industrialization. Tribes from Montana, Wyoming and the Canadian province of Alberta have issued joint proclamations in support.

Native American Tribal History Deeply Rooted In Badger-Two Medicine Area

Native American Protected Land In Glacier National Park

The Badger-Two Medicine area is located at the intersection of Glacier National Park with the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

Known as “Miistakis” and the “Backbone of the World,” it is the area where the nation’s prairie merges with the Rocky Mountains and is a place of power for the tribes.

The land is the home of the Blackfeet tribe’s origin story with the names of the mountains on the land — Morning Star, Scarface and Spotted Eagle — derived directly from the beginnings of the Blackfeet culture.

Decades of Disputes on How to Protect Sacred Land in Glacier National Park

The Badger-Two Medicine land has been contested for more than 30 years, with American Indians fighting against development efforts by oil and gas companies.

While the area has a history of federal protections dating back to the creation of Glacier National Park in 1910, much of the land was leased by the federal government in the 1980s. These leases, tribal leaders say, violated both the National Environmental policy and the Endangered Species Act and were issued without consent from the neighboring tribes.

The proclamation signed Friday mandates that the federal government cancel all existing leases and, once again, give the American Indian tribes a voice in the protection of these sacred lands.

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