Ravalli County and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Clash Over Sacred Site
HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — Ravalli County opposes a plan by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to put 58 acres of tribally owned land into federal trust, saying it will lose $808 in annual property taxes.
Tribal officials met with commissioners Wednesday in Hamilton to explain the value of the sacred site known as the Medicine Tree.
The Ravalli Republic reports county officials questioned the benefit of putting the land in trust and expressed concerns the tribe might build a casino or a racetrack that could impact county services.
The meeting ended on a contentious note when the county's planning board chairman said he'd recently visited with law enforcement officials in Havre who complained about their jails being filled with "drunken Indians."
Tribal council member Steve Lozar says he was deeply offended.