October 23, 2020
Due to the extended STAY AT HOME ORDER issued by the BTBC, LIHEAP will continue to be closed to the public. You may pick up an application at the following places:
- Browning – Glacier Electric
- Cut Bank – Glacier Electric
- East Glacier – Post Office
- Babb – Fire Hall
- Heart Butte-Mini Store
Applications have already been mailed to clients who are 60+ and applied last year. If you are 60+ and/or handicapped, and you did not apply last year, call 338-7977. Leave your name and mailing address and an application will be mailed to you.
Blackfeet Housing tenants should check with your OT for an application to be mailed to you.
Documents you will need:
- Current heating bill with applicant’s name or household member’s name and account number
- Income for the past 12 months
- Social Security Card copies of all household members and 1 Indian ID. If you applied last year you do not have to submit these documents. We will use what’s on file, HOWEVER, if you are adding an additional household member you must submit a copy of their social security card and income for the past 12 months.
When filling out the application please have a working phone number so we can contact you if we need additional information. All persons who are 18 and older must sign a Confidential Release of Information form so take additional forms if needed. This is page 7 of the application. Also, all household members who are 18 and older must sign the application. This is on page 5.
The application process will take longer than in the past. Please be patient as we are trying to keep everyone safe. If you have any questions, please call us at 338-7977 and someone will assist you.
PLEASE MAIL YOUR COMPLETED APPLICATION TO:
PO BOX 880
BROWNING, MT 59417
Press Release Credit: Native American Rights Fund
Three days after the Blackfeet Nation brought a federal lawsuit against Pondera County arguing that the county was violating the voting rights of tribal members, Pondera County has agreed to make changes to make voting more accessible.
As part of the settlement, Pondera County agreed to open a satellite voting office in Heart Butte:
- Satellite Election Office, Heart Butte High School, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 (9am-3pm)
- Satellite Election Office, Heart Butte High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020 (9am-3pm)
- Drop Box, Heart Butte High School, Tuesday, Nov. 3 (9am-5pm)
Blackfeet Nation—represented by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and the ACLU of Montana—claimed that Pondera County violated the U.S. Constitution, the Montana Constitution, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by failing to establish a satellite election office on the Blackfeet Reservation. The satellite office would provide in-person voter registration, in-person early voting, and Election Day voting.
Days after the lawsuit was filed, Pondera County agreed to establish a satellite election office in Heart Butte.
“Pondera County’s refusal to establish a satellite office was in clear violation of the rights that Blackfeet tribal members have to participate in the political process and exercise their political power,” said NARF Staff Attorney Jacqueline De León. “While it’s shameful that it took a lawsuit for Pondera County to do the right thing, we are glad that tribal members will now have a way to register and vote.”
According to the complaint, the failure to establish a satellite office discriminated against Blackfeet tribal members because there would have been less opportunities for tribal members than white citizens to vote and elect candidates for federal, state, and county offices. The county did not have a compelling reason to deny a satellite office on the Blackfeet Reservation in Heart Butte, which is 93.7% Native American. In fact, the county already had established an in-person satellite office in Conrad, which is 95.1% white, off the reservation, and nearly 80 miles from some Blackfeet tribal members.
There are multiple barriers to voting for those living on reservations, including lack of local mail service, distance to the polls, and poverty. Voting by mail is not a reasonable alternative for tribal members because houses on Blackfeet do not receive mail delivery, post offices are often located far away, and roads are sometimes impassable during the winter months.
“Forcing Blackfeet voters to travel to Conrad for the only in-person voting option was not reasonable, was an assault on tribal members’ right to vote, and would have disenfranchised an entire tribal community,” said Alex Rate, legal director, ACLU of Montana.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Billings.
EXPIRES AT 11:59 P.M. ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2020
1. BLACKFEET TRIBAL OFFICES CLOSURE. The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council hereby closes all tribal programs as directed under the attached List and memos issued by the Blackfeet Personnel Department. (Amended to remain closed until October 25, 2020 per Resolution 08-2021 Tribal Offices Only)
2. STAY AT HOME ORDER FOR RESIDENTS OF THE BLACKFEET RESERVATION. All persons are ordered to Stay Home. Persons found to be engaged in the following illegal activities shall be fined a minimum of $500.00 per occurrence: House Parties, Loitering, Soliciting, or engaged in unapproved gatherings. Employment travel to and from the Reservation is exempt from this order for purposes of employment. The Blackfeet Revenue Department shall issue tags for such travel.
3. APPROVED ACTIVITIES. All residents on the Blackfeet Reservation are required to Stay at Home unless engaged in essential activities as follows:
—obtain medical services;
—obtain food or medicine;
—to engage in spiritual, mental, physical and emotional well-being;
—only residents of the Blackfeet Reservation are permitted to engage in outdoor activities with members from within the same household or established cohorts as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “Cohort” is defined as: smaller groups formed out of a larger organization of persons for the purpose of engaging in legal activity for the same period of time, with the goal of reducing risk of infection from the Coronavirus; and, in the event one cohort is exposed to the virus, remainder cohort groups can continue to participate in the activity; and
—Residents are encouraged to engage in walks, hiking, fishing, etc. Such activity should not amount to large groups or extended family groups where risk of infection increases.
4. SOCIAL DISTANCING ORDER. All persons are mandated to distance at six (6) feet from each other while wearing a mask, with the exception of those persons who are members of the same household. “Household” is defined as those members of a household who were living in the same dwelling unit during the past fourteen (14) days. Persons knowingly in violation of this Order shall be fined $500.00 per occurrence.
5. PROHIBITION ON INDOOR GATHERINGS. Indoor gatherings shall be limited to household members or approved cohorts and businesses under the current business regulation order. Spiritual gatherings engaged in closed contact between persons shall be limited to virtual or remote attendance. Persons knowingly in violation of this Order shall result in a $500 fine per occurrence.
6. MASKS REQUIRED IN ALL AREAS OF THE BLACKFEET RESERVATION. All persons on the Blackfeet Reservation are required to wear masks at all times while in public (where social distancing cannot be maintained), with the exception for children under two (2) years of age. Masks are available through the Blackfeet Tribal Office Main Lobby. Persons not wearing a mask after warning shall be fined $500.00.
7. CURFEW AMENDMENT FROM 9 PM to 6 AM. Curfew shall be from 9 PM to 6 AM each day. Violations of Curfew shall result in a minimum of $500.00 Fine per occurrence.
8. COURT ENFORCEMENT FOR ISOLATION/QUARANTINE PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS. Amendment #3 to Ordinance #121 requires enforcement of all public health isolation/quarantine orders by the Blackfeet Tribal Court. Persons not following the public health orders will be subject to further legal action requiring violators to be legally detained and face further criminal action not to exceed 3 years in jail and/or $5,000.00 fine per occurrence.
9. WEEKLY BRIEFING TO THE PUBLIC. The Blackfeet Incident Command shall issue a daily briefing to the public on current COVID-19 issues.
10. EXPIRATION OF THIS ORDER. Expires on October 25th to which the Blackfeet Tribe will implement its Phased Plan by October 20th.