Senator John Walsh welcomed Carole Lankford, Vice Chair of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, to his Washington office to discuss tribal self-determination and Walsh's legislation to strengthen tribal economies.
"It is essential that tribes have the authority to enter into self-determination contracts so that they can implement programs on behalf of their own people and manage their own land without federal interference," Walsh said. "My bill to resolve the issues of the Cobell Settlement is about making sure Elousie Cobell's decades-long fight truly rights a century-old wrong instead of just getting caught in bureaucratic red tape."
Lankford is testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee in support of H.R. 4546, the "Department of the Interior Tribal Self-Governance Act of 2014." Walsh sponsored the Senate version of the bill. Lankford is also testifying before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs regarding the Land Buy Back Program created as result of the Cobell Settlement. Walsh introduced legislation that fixes problems with the Settlement, including a provision that allows tribes to enter into self-governance contracts to implement the Land Buy Back Program.
Since taking office, Walsh has visited each Indian nation in Montana, holding roundtable discussions and community meetings. Walsh is a strong advocate for Montana's tribes, working towards passage of the Indian Coal Production Tax Credit and introducing his American Indian Teacher Loan Forgiveness Act to recruit and retain American Indian teachers.