On Wednesday, September 2, an independent federal agency called the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) traveled to Choteau, Montana to hear from the public about proposed oil and gas development in the Badger-Two Medicine. The hearing was preparation for the ACHP’s recommendation to the U.S. Forest Service concerning whether or not the impacts of drilling can be mitigated.
Three members of the North Fork Preservation Association traveled four hours each way to attend the public hearing and stand in solidarity with the Blackfeet Nation who say that the Badger-Two Medicine is sacred and central to their culture.
The large meeting room at the Stage Stop Inn was packed with both native and non-native Montanans who showed their support for cancellation of the leases. The testimony took two and a half hours with each speaker having 2 minutes to speak. The only person who spoke in favor of drilling was the attorney for the company who holds the leases.
One member of the ACHP told me afterwards that it was impressive to see the non-native support for native people and their culture. He commented that common interests can bring people together.