Policy Basics: Land Status of Indian Country

This report is the third in an ongoing project that introduces readers to foundational topics in Indian Country. The first two covered tribal sovereignty and citizenship. Future policy basics in this series will cover jurisdiction and taxation. This report focuses on land.

The Power to Tax in Indian Country

Even though the novel coronavirus pandemic has pushed back Tax Day this year from April 15 to July 15, MBPC wanted to honor April 15, the day we all recognize as Tax Day under normal circumstances, by discussing taxation authority in Indian Country.

Every government relies on tax revenues to fund the essential programs, services, and functions that benefit us all. The power to tax is an inherent right of self-government and is one of many rights retained by tribal nations.

Policy Basics: What Is Tribal Citizenship?

This is the second in an ongoing project introducing readers to foundational topics in Indian Country. This report focuses specifically on the legal concept of tribal citizenship.

Updates from the State-Tribal Relations Interim Committee Meeting

On March 5-6, the State-Tribal Relations Committee (STRC) met in Helena to discuss a wide variety of topics.

To quickly recap the importance of STRC, the 2001 Montana Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 10, which established the STRC to:

Act as a liaison with tribal governments,
Encourage state-tribal and local government-tribal cooperation,
Conduct interim studies, and
Report its activities, findings, recommendations, and any proposed legislation.

In August 2019, the STRC adopted its work plan for the interim and outlined how it will carry out its

Federal Recognition of Tribes: Why it matters

This December, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians became the 574th federally recognized tribe after more than a hundred years of fighting for recognition. Prior to federal recognition, Little Shell was the sole Montana state-recognized tribe. If you want to learn more about the long road to recognition, the Great Falls Tribune wrote an article.

The difference between federal and state recognition of tribal nations is important, and the relationship between these governments is best understood in terms of the federal trust responsibility.

Community Health Aide Program: Frequently Asked Questions

During the 2019 legislative session, the Montana Legislature passed HB 599, which allows community health aides to provide care under the Indian Health Service Community Health Aide Program in Montana. While there is still uncertainty around what CHAP and its implementation could look like in Montana, this report answers some frequently asked questions about the program.

Native American Heritage Month: Why Voting Rights and Representation Matter

Congress has designated November as National Native American Heritage Month to celebrate American Indian culture and heritage each year since 1994. This year President Trump also proclaimed November 2019 as National American History and Founders Month, which pushes to erase American Indians and the first nations of this continent from the historical narrative. During this month and every month, it is necessary to recognize and celebrate indigenous peoples’ ongoing existence and contributions.

Honoring American Indian Veterans this Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day is a day to recognize and honor those who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Montana has one of the highest ratio of veterans to population in the country and is home to approximately 98,300 veterans. Of these veterans, 3.5 percent are American Indian. Nationwide, more than 150,000 living American Indians and Alaska Natives are veterans, and they serve in the U.S.

MBPC Hosts State-Tribal Policy Convening in Missoula

On September 10 and 11, MBPC brought together partners from Montana, the District of Columbia, and ten other states for a two-day event, “Collective Advancement: Building Partnerships and Policy in Indian Country,” hosted in partnership with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

As a member of the State Priorities Partnership (SPP), a network of more than 40 independent, nonprofit research and policy organizations situated across the United States, MBPC is currently the only state partner with a dedicated State-Tribal Policy focus.