Zinke Signs Historic Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement

The money is part of a compact that quantifies the tribe's water rights and confirms its jurisdiction over those rights on the reservation

By Justin Franz

BROWNING — U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has transferred the first $800,000 of what is expected to be $470 million agreement for water-related projects on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

The money is part of a compact that quantifies the tribe’s water rights and confirms its jurisdiction over those rights on the reservation.

The Missoulian reports that it’s been called one of the most important developments in the past 100 years for the Blackfeet Nation.

Blackfeet Tribal Business Council Chairman Harry Barnes told Zinke that the compact will have a tremendous impact on the Blackfeet people for years to come.

The signing ceremony in the tribe’s council chambers on Friday was filled with Blackfeet members, as well as a handful of people from other tribes.

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