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Blackfeet Troubadour Explains Badger-Two Medicine Drilling Problems

PHOTO: Blackfeet Nation Troubadour Jack Gladstone is part of a group seeking to get involved in a lawsuit over drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine region. Photo courtesy of Gladstone.
PHOTO: Blackfeet Nation Troubadour Jack Gladstone is part of a group seeking to get involved in a lawsuit over drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine region. Photo courtesy of Gladstone.
September 30, 2013

EAST GLACIER, Mont. - An oil and gas lease issued 30 years ago is the focus of a lawsuit from an oil developer in Louisiana who wants immediate approval to start drilling. The lease is in the Badger-Two Medicine area - land considered sacred to the Blackfeet Nation.

Blackfeet Troubadour Jack Gladstone is a member of a group - Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance - seeking to intervene to try to stop the development. He reached out to the developer previously to coordinate a buyout and still hopes there will not be a legal battle.

"Sometimes it's easier to just keep pulling your triggers for your preparations than it is to consider reconciliation, but I think reconciliation is the desirable approach," Gladstone said.

Solonex LLC wants to develop a 6,200-acre lease within the Lewis and Clark National Forest, which is between Glacier and the Bob Marshall. Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance and the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance have filed papers to get involved in the suit, represented by Earthjustice.

Gladstone said Blackfeet tribal members objected to the lease when it was issued 30 years ago. He has found historical connections to tribal treaties and government promises to keep native holy lands intact, and he wants them considered.

"There's a principle of consideration and respect that is not being granted to our Blackfeet Indian Nation here," he said.

Most leases issued in the area 30 years ago were voluntarily relinquished over the years.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT