"Oil Exploration Plans Suspended at Blackfeet Sacred Site"

"An energy company with oil and gas leases across much of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation’s western edge has suspended plans to drill a well near a culturally sacred ridge, halting the operation after tribal members voiced concern that it would spiritually denude the site."

"The ridge, called Red Blanket Butte, is located northwest of Browning and about six miles from Glacier National Park’s eastern edge. It has long been honored as a spiritual reservoir and burial ground by Blackfeet traditionalists who still visit the site on vision quests, for fasting and to observe other cultural ceremonies.

The Denver-based Anschutz Exploration Corp. proposed drilling an exploratory oil and gas well on a 640-acre lease unit near the ridge, called Red Blanket 1-13, and recently conducted an environmental assessment of the project. As the public comment period drew to a close last week, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Blackfeet Agency’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office received strong opposition from tribal members who argued that the drilling would infringe on the religious site."

Tristan Scott reports for the Missoulian March 18, 2012.

Monday, March 19, 2012