ROCKY BOY'S INDIAN RESERVATION
Rocky Boy’s Reservation was established by Executive Order on September 7, 1916. The Chippewa Cree Tribe (CCT, governing body) of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation was organized in accordance with the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (34 Stat. P. 984) as amended by the Act of June 15, 1935. Thus, the Tribe gained federal recognition and is listed as the Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy's Reservation, Montana, in the Federal Register, Vol. 68, No. 234, pp. 68179-68184. The governing document is the Constitution and By- Laws of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, Montana enacted in 1935 and amended in 1973.
The Chippewa Cree Business Committee (Tribal Council) is the governing body of the Tribe. The eight (8) Council members and Chairman are elected at large; serving four years on staggered terms. The Tribe elected to 'compact' the Bureau of Indian Affairs (FY 93) and Indian Health Service (FY 94) programs under Title IV of the P.l. 93-638 Act. The historical Act allowed Tribes the opportunity to determine their priorities and to become truly self-governing and to exercise the inherent tribal sovereignty of the Chippewa Cree Nation.
The reservation is located in north central Montana, with the nearest town of significant size (12,000 population in the year 2000) being Havre, Montana - a 70 mile round trip from Rocky Boy’s Agency. The US-Canadian border is approximately 90 miles from the reservation. Rocky Boy’s Agency is the hub of all reservation activity and serves as headquarters for the Chippewa Cree Tribe. By Congressional Act, approximately 55,000 acres of the reservation were established from the old Fort Assiniboine Military Reservation.
Along with the passage of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, the Chippewa Cree Tribe had the opportunity to acquire the remaining land base, which consisted of area farm operations that had been abandoned during the depression era, thereby bringing the reservation land base to 124,000 surface acres or a total of 193 square miles. Through recent land acquisitions, the reservation land base is approaching 130,000 acres. None of the Reservation land is allotted and all of the land, with exception of the new acquisitions, is held in trust for the full membership of the Tribe.
The Rocky Boy’s Reservation is the smallest reservation in the State of Montana and the last to be established. The reservation is split by Hill County covering the northeast and Choteau County covering the southwest portion of the tribal lands. There is no town site on the reservation and the community of Rocky Boy is truly rural in every sense of the word.
Historically, the Chippewa lived in bands on both sides of what now divides their aboriginal homelands, the Canadian border and the Great Lakes region. The Cree territory extended from eastern Canada into the Saskatchewan and Alberta provinces. The Tribes began their migrations in the 1700s and 1800s and by the early 1890s had united in a search for a permanent home - a place where children could be brought up in peace, where native religion would be uninterrupted and flourish. The reservation was established through the persistent efforts of Rocky Boy, Little Bear, Kennawash, and Pah-nah-to. The leaders and their people, numbering 450 at the time, had sought refuge in sizable Montana towns, cities, and even other Montana Indian reservations including the Blackfeet, Flathead, and Fort Belknap Reservations.
Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation was named after Ah-se-ne-win, or Chief Stone Man; “Rocky Boy” evolved from the non-Indian misinterpretation. The inherent beauty of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation lends spiritual sustenance to the people who live here. The natural landmarks and sacred sites give us a place in this world, this ever-changing fast paced world, where we can practice our native ways and bring up our children in peace. The history of the tribal people is a reflection of federal Indian policy, era specific. After living through the depression, a significant number of the first generation children born on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation were sent to boarding schools or on-reservation schools and while the intention may have been to initiate economic recovery through education, a result was the erosion of the native Cree language. Then the young men were sent to war and service in the armed forces continues to be a source of pride for native people to this day.
In the 1960’s, the Indian Relocation Program provided the means for reservation residents to move to nearby cities such as Denver, Los Angeles, and Seattle. While some of the enrolled tribal members stayed in the big cities, many returned. The stronghold on the Cree language was reinforced during the late 1960s/early 1970s. The Viet Nam War Era brought a heightened awareness to the nation and it was no different at Rocky Boy’s. Traditional values were recovering and there was a resurgence of commitment in learning the native language. The tribal elders created a written [English] version of “The Philosophy of the Chippewa Cree” and Cree language was taught in the schools. Rocky Boy’s established its own school district and the Rocky Boy Health Board was established as the first Indian health board in the nation.
In the tribe’s early years, the Lutheran Church at Rocky Boy’s provided structured activities for the reservation’s children and teenagers and this continued until the early 1970s. At that time, tribal leaders asked the youth to identify their needs for recreation and other activities. The first youth center was established in 1974 and although protecting children’s interests and tending to their needs has always been an integral part of our life, it was the first time it was formally institutionalized by the tribal government.
The Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation is known throughout the state of Montana, the nation, the world, and Indian Country. We have highly educated people in a variety of disciplines, statesmen, orators, experts, champion athletes, artists, and healers that rely on the holders of traditional knowledge to help maintain our legacy.
The Chippewa Cree Tribe has maintained the traditional spiritual beliefs and cultural ceremonies/activities that have been part of the Tribal mores' since time immemorial. The traditional Thirst Dance, more commonly known as the Sun Dance, is held the first week of July. The annual Pow-Wow Celebration is held the first week of August. Other cultural events are held throughout the year including the annual Christmas Dance, round dances, ceremonial feasts, revived cultural ceremonies, and cultural camps.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs compiles a Labor Force Report every two years to provide an indicator of the economic condition on Indian reservations. The Chippewa Cree Tribe carries out the activity for the Rocky Boy’s Reservation in part because it is a self-governance tribe having compacts with the BIA (since 1993) and the Indian Health Service (1995) and also because the information is used by the Tribe for other purposes aside from being an indicator. Among other things, the Report is used to calculate BIA program funding levels for the Tribe. The next BIA Labor Force Report will be completed in 2008 for year 2007. Along with a 68% unemployment rate, the 2005 Labor Force Report findings indicate the following.
An applicant for enrollment in the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation must demonstrate that he or she has ¼ or greater degree of Chippewa Cree blood quantum. The most recent accurate findings for enrollment were determined in 2005 as a component of the BIA Labor Force Report.
According to the Tribal Chairman’s Address to the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce in January 2007, the annual tribal revenue of $52 million is infused into the local economy as a result of federal programs, private business, and tribal businesses on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation. The majority of reservation residents work for the self-governing Chippewa Cree Tribe. Compacts are maintained with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Indian Health Service. Funds originating within the BIA [note: there is only one BIA employee at Rocky Boy’s due to the self-governance compact], together with tribal government, provides work for (231, full- and part-time) employees. Other employers include: Chippewa Cree Community Development Corporation (25), Rocky Boy public schools (184), Stone Child Community College (57), Chippewa Cree Construction Company (20), Chippewa Cree Construction Corporation (14), National Tribal Development Association (9), Northern Winz Casino (70), RJS & Associates (4), and Chippewa Cree Housing Authority (25). The Tribe’s compact with Indian Health provides opportunities for 135 staff members within the Rocky Boy Health Board.
Students residing on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation attend one of the three schools accessible to the community: Rocky Boy Public Schools located at the Rocky Boy’s Agency, Box Elder Public Schools located adjacent to the reservation and 13 miles from the Rocky Boy’s Agency, and Havre Public Schools located off-reservation 25 miles from the Rocky Boy’s Agency. School enrollment data for the latter is not included as there are less than 25 students from Rocky Boy attending Havre Public Schools.
2007 School Enrollment
POINTS OF INTEREST
A tribally owned, fully operational 'Ski Bowl' offers one of the finest skiing experiences in Montana. Fishing (including ice fishing); hunting (both small and big game); hiking/snowmobiling; and camping are available. The majestic Bear Paw Mountains offer an incredible view of the Reservation and the surrounding plains.
(406) 395-4478 fx (406) 395-4497
(406) 395-5705 fx (406) 395-5702
Chippewa Cree Tribe
RR1 Box 544
Box Elder, Mt. 59521
Chief of Staff
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