Once again bigotry has raised its ugly head in the Flathead with the filing of a last-minute lawsuit by a couple of right-wing white guys against the transfer of the Kerr Dam to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. And given their extremely specious concerns, reasonable Montanans should reject and condemn this embarrassing spectacle for the baseless fear-mongering that it is.
From this point forward, Kerr Dam on the Flathead River has a new name: Salish-Kootenai Dam. “We decided to name it after the new owners,” said Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes chairman Vernon Finley. On Saturday, CSKT held a celebration at the Joe McDonald Health and Fitness Center of Salish Kootenai College in Pablo to commemorate the tribes’ official takeover as owners of the dam, after paying nearly $18.3 million to NorthWestern Energy to acquire the facility.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ flag rose over the former Kerr dam site for the first time on Friday morning, September 4. The flag ceremony came a morning after the tribes’ corporation, Energy Keepers Inc., paid for the dam. The ceremony was intimate with a crowd of invited guests. The Mission Valley Honor Guard executed the flag raising. “It’s quite an emotional event for all of us involved,” said EKI CEO Brian Lipscomb.
Tribal corporation transfers funds to purchase Kerr Dam
Energy Keepers, Inc. (EKI), successfully paid the conveyance price of $18.2 million to purchase the Kerr Hydroelectric Project from NorthWestern Energy. EKI is the corporation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes responsible for acquiring the Kerr Project, and subsequently managing operations upon ownership of the hydro facility. Payment by the tribal entity concludes the final steps necessary for the Tribes to become the first in the nation to own and operate a major hydroelectric generating project.
Saturday, September 5, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Chairman Vernon Finley announced the new name for the tribes’ dam at the Joe McDonald Health and Fitness Center of Salish Kootenai College. “From this day forward it will be known as Salish Kootenai Dam,” he told the audience of nearly 2,500.
Two Native American tribes in Montana have taken over ownership of a dam after a late legal challenge that sought to stop the transfer failed. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes held a celebration Saturday in Pablo to commemorate the official takeover of the dam. The tribes paid nearly $18.3 million to NorthWestern Energy to acquire the dam. Tribes chairman Vernon Finley tells the Missoulian that the dam on the Flathead River will now be called Salish-Kootenai Dam. It had been named Kerr Dam.