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Jonny elected to the Assiniboine Council

Posted by Jonny Bearcub Stiffarm on Apr 13, 2011
Tags: announcements, montana

Two years ago, I moved the NativeEnergy Central office from Denver to the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Indian Reservation in northeastern Montana. After living in a city for over 20 years, moving back home was challenging and exciting. It was also a journey in discovering how much my home and community has changed—and yet in many ways remained the same—over the years.

The rugged beauty of the Great Plains has stayed the same: the wonderful terribly strong storms of wind, rain, and snow; the palette of colors in the sunrises and sunsets; the call of wild animals in the night; the smell of perfumed breezes from the alfalfa and sweet clover fields. But more commercial buildings are vacant and boarded up now— small businesses are unable to compete with large competitors. And drug addiction has grown, replacing alcohol as the substance of choice.    

I saw all of this upon my return. I renewed ties with relatives and friends and met the younger generation, who were but babies or not yet born when I moved to the city. This created a foundation upon which I built an understanding of the strengths and needs of my community. My experiences of being born and raised on the reservation, living in urban areas for my education and professional career, and then being blessed to return home provide me with a perspective that is rare. Recognition of this by the people resulted in my election to the position of Executive Committee member of the Assiniboine Council for a three-year term.

The Assiniboine Nation is composed of several clans and located in both the USA and Canada. My clans are the Hudesana (RedBottom) and Wadopana (Canoe Paddler). These two clans, along with several others, retained portions of their ancestral homelands throughout Canada and the USA. My clans’ portion is located on the reservation.

The Assiniboine Council acts as the voice of the Assiniboine People. It promotes and protects Assiniboine culture, public health, education, security, and economic development projects. The council also makes recommendations to the Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board and works to preserve a peaceful and cooperative relationship between the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes.

Currently, the council is searching for business opportunities to be based on the reservation, which would provide meaningful employment for our members. We are also investigating the creation of a non-profit to bring in resources to complement existing programs and create a sustainable community. One idea is to rebuild community gardens, which we had when I was a child. Because we live so far north and are remote, it’s hard to get high-quality fresh produce at a reasonable cost. Finally, we are working to nurture the revitalization of the language and culture.

To learn more, visit the Assiniboine Council’s website or email Jonny at jonny.bearcub@nativeenergy.com.

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