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Montana Has Lost Its Water Rights

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This article covers the appropriation of Montanans’ water rights by the federal government in the name of the CKST (Confederated Kootenai and Salish Tribes). Superficially, the federal government is upholding the rights of the Indian Tribes to claim all surface and subsurface waters of the western one-third of the state of Montana. In reality, the federal government is taking a 170-year-old treaty, expanding its meaning, and using it as a tool to commandeer everyone’s water.

Whether you live in California or New York, the reason this is important should be obvious to you.

Government overreach has become a way of life. The paradigm has shifted, and now, people barely bat an eye when the government steadily removes the rights enumerated under the Constitution. Today, it may not matter to you because this is happening in Montana. Perhaps it will matter when the federal government comes to commandeer your drinking supply, crops, arable farmland, etc. 

The Hellgate Treaty of 1855 was the document used to create the Flathead Indian Reservation. The treaty (under Article III) stipulates that the tribes have the “right of taking fish,” and this right refers to waters, not on the reservation.

The expansion of this document has been used as “justification” to confiscate the water rights from 11 counties in the state of Montana. Interestingly, Article I of the treaty includes a ceding, relinquishment, and conveyance by the tribes all rights of ownership over any waters or property, except what is on the reservation.

In order to “ensure the quality” of where the tribes fish, the water rights in those 11 counties must be placed under tribal government to be administered by the federal government.

The state of Montana enabled it.

Back in 2015, when this first surfaced, the Montana State Legislature (the Senate) voted to push the Compact forward and “re-interpret” it.

The cast of characters in this charade includes the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the DOJ (the Department of Justice), the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs), the IRS, and the Treasury Department. The Water Compact Commission was formed in Montana with deep ties to and directives from the EPA. The Department of the Interior (the “umbrella” organization holding the BIA) will collect the revenues and “manage” them for the tribes. DHS (the Department of Homeland Security) will enforce compliance.

All water sources, private and public, standing or running, wells and aquifers, will be metered, and taxes will be collected.

A recent prime example was the John Warner Defense Act of 2006, adding its weight to the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). They declared the U.S. a part of the worldwide “battlefield” in the “global war on terror.” In essence, they negated posse comitatus, the provision that disallows the deployment of federal troops on U.S. soil. It also negated the National Guard as a “check and balance” of the states against a tyrannical federal government.

By appointing a senior member of the National Guard to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, essentially, the federal government “federalized” the use of National Guard troops. As you can see, it went a lot further: APCs (armored personnel carriers) and military weaponry filtering down to cities and even small towns. Gone are the days of Norman Rockwell paintings of cops playing stickball with neighborhood kids in the streets. Gone are the days of “Officer Friendly,” whose job it was to protect and serve the citizens.

The police departments weren’t meant to serve as protectors of corporate interests or as the “strong-arm” enforcers for politicians. In the past few decades, we’ve seen the complete militarization of the police departments, as well as agencies that were never designed as such…the US Postal Service and the IRS, to name a few. 

I’ve included the notification sent by the U.S. Department of Justice for your perusal. You can see it for yourself and research it further. It covers all of the land and the counties affected. Although there are scheduled hearings on this to take place in December, it’s pretty much a done deal.

You can read it here: Water Compact Information

The overarching issue here is that the federal government can use any pretext they wish to seize whatever they wish. We do not live under the rule of law. If that were the case, then the laws would be applicable to the rulers, as well as we, the subjects.

We live under the color of law, and whether we wish to admit it or not, we’re nothing more than serfs. Barely above the level of slaves, we have to eke out meager existences and be taxed on every single cent, from birth to death…and beyond. Feudalism has been reborn, with the monarchy now supplanted by elected officials and oligarchs. They also play the part of the land barons, shrinking the cages of the populace by the day.

They already “manage” most of the United States.

More public land is “held in trust” by the federal government than ever before. Held hostage is a better description. Liberty and justice for all? No. A better slogan: What’s in your wallet?

This is all a part of a larger agenda: the complete takeover and subsequent destruction of the United States of America. Economically, culturally, and morally, we are long past our peak as a nation. The rulers of this country are making it that way, both directly and indirectly. 

So, this sad drama is almost played out here in Montana, and it bears relevance to the rest of the nation.

It’s just a matter of time before we’re all under the same yoke of tyranny, no matter what state we live in. Solzhenitsyn warned of such times, as did Orwell and others. The federal government has usurped control over Montana’s water supply. It won’t stop there. It’s just a matter of time before we find out what state is next on their list.

Let’s close with an old Montana saying: “Whiskey’s for drinking and water’s for fighting.” 

What are your thoughts on the water rights situation in Montana? Do you think this will spread? We welcome your comments and input.  

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About Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson is the nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the U.S. Army Special Forces.  Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith and a Master Herbalist.  He graduated from the Special Forces course at SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) School, and is an expert in small unit tactics, survival, and disaster-preparedness.  He lives in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana.


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