The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes invite the community to participate in the commemoration of the tribal acquisition of the Kerr Hydroelectric Project on Sept. 5. The CSKT is hosting the event at the Joe McDonald gymnasium at the Salish Kootenai College campus, 58138 U.S. Highway 93 in Pablo. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Traditional regalia is welcome, and dancers in regalia are welcome to participate in the opening procession of the event.
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. In just a couple of weeks, Northwestern Energy will turn over the keys to Kerr Dam, with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Energy Keepers, Inc assuming control of one of the most important structures in the Flathead Basin.
Sept. 5 is a much-anticipated day for members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes around the Mission and Jocko valleys. A billboard with “09.05.15” sits next to Highway 93 between Arlee and Evaro. Also on the billboard is a stylized graphic of a fox, the logo of Energy Keepers, Inc. A more accurate English translation from the company’s Salish and Kootenai language names is “keepers of the lightning.” It’s an appropriate title since Energy Keepers, owned by CSKT, will be responsible for selling the electricity made at Kerr Dam.
I have the good fortune of being Tribal Council chairman during the long-awaited Sept. 5 date when the Confederated Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai Tribes take possession of Kerr Dam. This day has been coming since 1985, when the option to purchase and operate the hydroelectric facility was secured by our predecessors. But the issues around the acquisition of the dam have a lot in common with many significant events throughout tribal history.
By Brian Lipscomb.
Three years ago, Energy Keepers, Inc., the federally chartered corporation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, was created to manage the conveyance of, and then subsequently operate, the Kerr Hydroelectric Project. The endeavor to acquire Kerr Dam has been over 30 years in the making. When acquisition takes place on Sept. 5, our tribes stand ready to take ownership and operate the Kerr Project.
Three years ago, the company known in English as Energy Keepers, Inc., was created to manage the conveyance, and then subsequently operate, the Kerr Hydroelectric Project. Energy Keepers, a federally chartered corporation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, has been full steam ahead ever since that fall day in 2012. The endeavor to acquire Kerr Dam has been over 30 years in the making. When acquisition takes place on Sept. 5, 2015, our tribes stand ready to take ownership and operate the Kerr Project.