‘Drilling the Badger-Two Medicine will never be an option’
We're standing with the Blackfeet to protect this sacred area
On April 22 leaders from the Blackfeet Nation officially launched a national campaign to protect one of their most sacred places from industrial development. The Badger-Two Medicine area, which has a documented history of continuous use by native peoples going back almost 10,000 years, is the home of the Blackfeet creation story and the source of plants and animals that are vital to cultural and ceremonial practices.
Nearly all of the Badger-Two Medicine was leased to oil and gas interests in the early 1980s. Thanks to cultural and ecological concerns, lawsuits, administrative actions, and proposed legislation, not a single lease has ever been developed.
Now, with a rising tide of support that includes the National Congress of American Indians, neighboring tribes, Senator Jon Tester, conservation and sportsmen groups, and most recently the rock band Pearl Jam, the Blackfeet aim to put an end to this decades’ old struggle – by ridding the Badger of the remaining leases once and for all.
“Drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine will never be an option,” said Tyson Running Wolf, secretary for the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.
The Blackfeet intend to continue building support for their official request that the US Government cancel the leases through a Change.org petition, a community event in June, and increased outreach to the faith and business communities. You can sign the petition here.
“The Blackfeet Nation has been able to successfully contest the legitimacy of these leases and drilling proposals for over three decades,” writes Chief Earl Old Person in a recent letter to President Obama. “Many responsible oil companies have recognized the sanctity of these cultural headwaters, voluntarily changing their holdings for opportunities on federal lands elsewhere—yet a handful of these leases remain.”
The Blackfeet contend that the remaining leases in the Badger-Two Medicine should be cancelled based upon insufficient environmental analysis and lack of tribal consultation. The campaign is grounded in legal arguments that have successfully withdrawn leases from both the Flathead and the Deep Creek areas.
Industrial development in such a culturally and ecologically sensitive area is an affront to the Blackfeet. It’s also out of sync with many public and private land efforts to protect the majestic Crown of the Continent.
- Casey Perkins, MWA's Rocky Mountain Front field director