Interior Secretary Jewell applauds CSKT help with land buyback


by Kim Briggeman

PABLO – An odd bit of history was made Wednesday on the Flathead Indian Reservation when Sally Jewell dropped by.

Jewell is in her second year on President Barack Obama’s Cabinet as head of the Department of Interior, which is charged with upholding the federal government’s unique government-to-government relationship with American Indian tribes.

That’s been the case since 1849, or before the Flathead Reservation was conceived of. So it’s hard to believe Jewell’s visit was the first to the reservation by an Interior secretary.

“I may be the first, but I certainly won’t be the last when I tell people what they’re missing,” she said. “The cat’s out of the bag.”

Jewell was accompanied to Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal headquarters by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who as chairman of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee has expressed concern with slow progress in making payments to individual Indians from the landmark Cobell settlement agreement four years ago. Tester held a hearing in Washington, D.C., last month on the topic.

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