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Piikani Nation reclaims status over traditional U.S. territory

Piikani Nation elder Jim Swag and Coun. Barnaby Provost open the ceremony.

Piikani Nation Chief Stan Grier at the annual board meeting of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council.

The Piikani Nation was granted full membership in a U.S. tribal organization.
The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council unanimously approved Piikani Nation’s membership at its annual board meeting at Billings, Mont.
Piikani is the first Canadian First Nation given full membership in a major U.S. tribal organization.
“We are humbled by this honour,” Piikani Nation Chief Stan Grier said. “For the Piikani people, this is a momentous occasion. We have waited since 1872 to once more have a voice in our traditional territory south of the border.”
“With our relatives and allies in the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, the Piikani Nation will be able to contribute for the betterment of all tribal people in the region, an opportunity that has not fully existed for us since 1855.”
Grier emphasized sovereign authority and self-determination as keys to confronting contemporary crises.
Grier, who is president of the Blackfoot Confederacy Chiefs, headed the Piikani delegation that was comprised of elders, spiritual leaders, and council members.
“The U.S.-Canadian border continues to impede any substantial progress on the murdered and missing indigenous women tragedy,” Grier said. “A lack of effective co-operation exists not only between law enforcement agencies, but also between our tribal nations, due to the status-quo of jurisdictional paralysis.”
“We must campaign to rectify significant jurisdictional issues that undermine our ability as tribal leaders and governments to act effectively. The trust and confidence of Native communities in law enforcement must be addressed and improved.”
Grier said responsive and effective support systems for victims’ families are essential.
“The problem does not stop at or differ on each side of the U.S.-Canada border,” Grier said. “It is the same problem with the same tragic impacts on our communities.”
Grier said Billings and Minneapolis are two hubs through which Indigenous women and children are trafficked.
“The traffickers don’t stop at the border, and we cannot,” Grier urged.
The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council is composed of the tribal nations in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

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