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Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, Montana

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The tribes were allocated $9,000 to patrol cultural sites exposed by summer wildfires to prevent looting. "Due to the presence of known looters in the area and the propensity for them to operate within areas exposed to fire, selected historical and pre-archaeological sites and localities should be patrolled,'' said a report by Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation Plan investigators. There is evidence some looting already has occurred on at least two sites, it said. The Clear Creek Divide Complex fires covered 20,788 acres in six separate areas on the Flathead Reservation this summer. Most burned along the lower Flathead River between Paradise and Dixon. More than 18,000 acres of burned land is tribally controlled. Archaeologists and tribal cultural experts say the lower Flathead River contains important evidence of pre-European contact tribal activity. The rehabilitation plan for the area includes work to restore forest growth as well as restoring vegetative cover to normally inaccessible cultural sites. Most of the work is done, including reseeding the area. Snowfall will cover the sites for the winter, and plant growth in the spring is expected to minimize exposure of the sites. The Clear Creek Divide fires began with lightning strikes on Aug. 3 near Dixon.