BROWNING, MONTANA — The Blackfeet Nation held a special presentation Friday to show the tribe’s appreciation to Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam and U.S. Senator Jon Tester for their continued support of the tribe, including the protection of the Badger-Two Medicine from oil and gas development.
“Jeff Ament and Senator Tester have always been friends to the Blackfeet and we’re grateful for their support of efforts to protect our people and culture,” said Tyson Running Wolf, secretary of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.
The tribe presented Ament and Senator Tester with flags of the Blackfeet Nation. Longtime Blackfeet Chief Earl Old Person also gave Ament, who helped build a state-of-the-art skate park in Browning, an honorary Blackfeet Name: Holds Water.
“We still respect those laws that those people tell us about, such as Badger-Two Medicine,” Old Person said. “We’re still trying to obey. But we still stand, and we stand tough—that place is our place. And it’s going to continue being ours because our ancestors told us.”
“In this world, there’s places where we should probably drill for oil and gas,” Tester said during the ceremony. “It is not the Badger-Two Medicine. The Badger-Two Medicine has historical and cultural and religious values—it’s not just a marvelously beautiful place—that we have to make sure that this land is protected, not only for the Blackfeet, but for everybody.”
The Blackfeet Nation has asked the U.S. Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture to cancel all remaining oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine, which were illegally granted by the federal government.
On April 22, the tribe announced a national campaign with the support of Pearl Jam, Senator Tester, the National Congress of American Indians, various conservations groups, including The Wilderness Society, and 18 Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Canadian tribes and nations. The announcement led to more than 4,500 signatures on a Change.org petition page, as well as national awareness through social media.
For more information: www.badger-twomedicine.org