Friday, March 24, 2023

Everyone loses with compact

| February 2, 2023 12:00 AM

On Oct. 15, 2022, a meeting was held in the pavilion at the Sanders County Fairgrounds in Plains (that drew) a 350 standing-room-only crowd. We were trying to inform all water users they are about to lose their water rights to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Water Compact. If the preliminary decree is finalized all water users on and off the reservation will lose all their water rights.

The compact is already being implemented in advance even though the result of the compact and preliminary decree has not been finalized. The results of the compact will be disastrous when if fully goes into effect because everyone will lose.

We are accused of being racist since this compact matter only benefits the tribe. No on else has been mentioned in the benefits. Who else has been discussed? The racist label should not be used exclusively for white people.

At least the CSKT compact does not discriminate. It has the means to take the livelihood and water rights not only from nontribal people on and off the reservation, but also bona-fide tribal farmers, ranchers and irrigators. Tribal members who have lived on the reservation for generations have also lost their water rights in Lake County. Their children and grandchildren cannot inherit the property or the water rights. It reverts back to the tribe. The tribe should not be given sovereignty, immunity or co-ownership of everything.

It is impossible to get a full copy of the compact. This includes all the appendixes, all their ordinances and subsections, and the subsections’ subsections.

All water right owners need to go to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Regional Office and make sure the water right abstracts are accurate. The abstract number, point of diversion, priority date, location, what the water is used for, water amount to be used, acreage, and the owner’s name need to be checked. If there is any discrepancy in any of these things, your water right claim will be void or made to look like the claim never existed in the first place.

Take a stand and protect yourself and your water rights.

Pam Little


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