Months of preparation, planning and engineering are almost complete. And within a couple of weeks a local group will take over ownership of the Kerr Dam, realizing a dream that’s been decades in the making.
Tribes Invite All Former Tribal Council Members to People of Vision Events
(Pablo, Mont.) — The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) will honor past leaders at upcoming events in July.
The events called “People of Vision” will include an honoring of all former Tribal Council Members, with special regard to those Members who served during the year 1984, when the activities of the Tribes were focused on gaining ownership of the Kerr Project.
A message from Tribal Council Chairman Vernon Finley,
of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
On September 5, 2015, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will celebrate the acquisition of the Kerr Project, a major hydroelectric generation facility that lies in the heart of our homelands on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Construction of the Kerr Project in the 1930s marked a time of significant cultural and economic change for our Tribes. Today as we look to the future, we anticipate that the Project, which once exemplified destruction to our way of life, may now help restore and revitalize our Tribes as we continue the important work of protecting our reserved and aboriginal lands, caring for our people, and preserving our cultural resources.
Back in 1939, the dam was dedicated and named after Frank Kerr, then president of Montana Power. Now as CSKT prepares to acquire the project, we want to rename the facility to better reflect our Tribes and our values.
Enclosed you will find a form titled Community Submission to Rename the Kerr Project. We encourage all Tribal Members to consider submitting a name. We ask that the form be completed and sent back to Energy Keepers, Inc., no later than May 29, 2015.
A committee to assist with the process of renaming has been created. The committee includes representatives from the Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai Culture Committees; Tribal Preservation; the People’s Center; and the Tribal Council. The Project’s new name will be announced at this summer’s quarterly meeting on July 3, 2015.
Events to commemorate this historical milestone are also being planned. These will include a “People of Vision” honoring at the Esyapqeyni and Standing Arrow celebrations and a Community Celebration on September 5, 2015. In 2016, a memorial will be dedicated to those men who lost their lives during the construction of the Kerr Project.
We ask any families who lost loved ones during the construction of the dam to please contact Energy Keepers, Inc., at 406-883-1113 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to collect all available information and background about these men—and pictures, if possible—as we continue to develop the memorial.
As more plans develop for these events, we will continue to announce the details. We hope to see the Tribal Membership participate in this significant moment in our history.
Tens of thousands of days – a lifetime’s worth – will stretch between two historic moments on the Flathead Indian Reservation. It was 31,019 days ago today that the construction of Kerr Dam started on the Flathead River below Polson.
At the website for Energy Keepers, the tribal-owned corporation managing acquisition of Kerr Dam for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, a clock ticks down – to the second – the time left until ownership changes. The countdown will hit 180 days on Sunday. Had they fired the clock up when this process first started, it would have been counting down for the last 30 to 40 years.
A herd of mule deer grazed on the south-facing hill above the Flathead River near Kerr Dam Tuesday. Far below, near the dam powerhouse, Dustin Shelby walked through the ice and slush, describing the ties his family has to this land — and this dam.
Directed by Roy Bigcrane and Thompson Smith, the documentary, The Place of the Falling Waters, tells the history of the Flathead Indian Reservation from the perspective of the Indian people who live there. The story relates the complex and volatile relationship between the people of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and a major hydroelectric dam situated within the Flathead Indian Reservation. The documentary is presented in three 30-minute parts.
Please join Energy Keepers, Inc., on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at the University of Montana Payne Family Native American Center for a screening of the documentary film: The Place of the Falling Waters.
The state Public Service Commission today approved NorthWestern Energy’s $870 million purchase of 11 hydroelectric dams, paving the way for return of the Montana dams to utility ownership 15 years after they were sold off by Montana Power Co.
Commissioners who voted for the deal called it the “opportunity of a lifetime” that would provide a stable, long-term source of electricity for NorthWestern’s 340,000 electric customers in Montana.
In exactly one year, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will make history, by becoming the sole owner of the large hydroelectric facility called the Kerr Project.
It will be the culmination of many years of dedication, and sacrifice, by the Tribes. Built against the wishes of many Tribal Members, now the dam is set to become an important tool for ongoing management of important natural resources of the Flathead Reservation– in addition to playing a substantial role in a sustainable economic future for many generations to come.