Protecting the Badger-Two Medicine Region: The Blackfeet Nation Saves Sacred Site from DrillingTweet
“For thousands of years Badger-Two Medicine has shaped the identity of our people. I have always been told by our elders that our responsibility was to save those lands for our children and all future generations of Pikuni People.” – Chief Earl Old Person
Government attorneys announced on Monday that the Obama administration will be canceling a controversial energy lease on sacred Blackfeet Nation land in Montana.
For more than 30-years, the Blackfeet Nation has opposed efforts to open up the Badger-Two Medicine region to oil and gas drilling. The Reagan administration approved leases without consulting them.
The 165,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine region lies adjacent to the Blackfeet reservation and Tribal leaders state their 1885 treaty and an 1895 agreement protect their rights to use the land for ceremonies, hunting, fishing and other activities.
“Badger-Two Medicine is too sacred to develop. We’re grateful this administration has taken a critical step toward permanent protection of this site that is like a church, a divine sanctuary, to our people.” ~Harry Barnes Chairman of the Blackfeet Nation
In a letter to President Obama sent in March 2015 Chief Earl Old Person wrote, “The Badger Two Medicine for thousands of years has helped shape the identity of the Blackfeet people. This area has been utilized as a sanctuary for not only the wildlife, but also for our people to come together and realize their spirituality and to be in touch with their creator.”
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said in support of the Blackfeet Nation “There are certain places in this world where we just shouldn’t drill. The Badger-Two Medicine has historical, cultural, and recreational significance that you simply can’t put a price tag on.”
Once the lease cancellation is finalized, the Blackfeet Nation will be seeking to secure permanent protections for the area from future efforts by the energy industry and corporate interest to open up their sacred lands to oil and gas drilling.
by Matt Remle