​​Secretary Zinke Authorizes first funds transfer for Blackfeet Water Settlement

Approves Tribe’s Expenditure Plan


Date: March 9, 2018
Contacts: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

BROWNING, Mont. – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke visited the Blackfeet Nation where he signed the first authorization of funds for the Tribe under the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act under the Tribe's Expenditure Plan (Plan). The authorization transfers $800,000 to the Blackfeet Settlement Trust Fund. Secretary Zinke has worked with the Blackfeet on the water compact for almost a ten years stretching the Montana State Senate, Congress, and now the Interior Department, however the compact took decades to come to fruition. 

“The Blackfeet are one of Montana's great warrior Nations, and​ like true warriors, they fought every step of the way for their people to get this settlement over the finish line.​ I was proud to stand by them as a State Senator, Congressman and now Secretary of the Interior,” said Secretary Zinke. “The Blackfeet have given up so much during this long process. Water is more than a drinking source to the Blackfeet, it’s their life source and we must respect and honor their culture and rights."

The funds will be used for the following​ purposes​:

  • Budget Item 1 - $230,000: Establish Water Compact Implementation Oversight Committee
  • Budget Item 2 - $250,000: Hire Staff
  • Budget Item 3 - $120,000: Hire an Engineering Consultant
  • Budget Item 4 - $200,000: Contract for Legal Services