The Missoula County Commissioners met Tuesday with the Tribal Council of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation in the Tribal Council Chambers in Pablo.
The highlight of this annual meeting was the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement renewal between the county and sovereign nation, which was first signed in 1987, 30 years ago.
The Council and the Commission heard updates from staff members on several other projects the two governments have worked on together, such as reintroducing the Bitterroot plant and placing educational signage in the Fort Missoula Regional Park, an area that is part of a key, historic, native plant harvest site for Tribal members. The two governments shared stories about involvement in the Roundtable for the Crown of the Continent. Both Commissioner Jean Curtiss and Richard Janssen, Tribal Natural Resources Department head, currently serve on the leadership team, and invited the Tribal Council to designate an additional representative.
Another highlight was celebrating the successful challenge of the wastewater permit for the old Smurfit Stone site granted to M2Green by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and a pledge to continue working together to ensure the current assessment of the site is complete and results in a site that protects human and aquatic life.
Tribal Legal staff gave an update on the Tribal Water Compact and the extensive process required for it to move through the federal government’s executive and legislative branches.
Division of Fire staff from the Tribal Forestry Department presented a report about this past summer’s extensive wildfire season and the coordinated teamwork that happens when wildfires are burning in the area. The Tribal Council and Fire Control managers are pleased to be active participants in drafting Missoula County’s Wildfire Protection Plan.