At a special Committee of the Whole on Monday, the Missoula City Council held a joint meeting with leadership from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to proclaim May 13, 2013 as Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Day.

City Councilman Dave Strohmaier said the meeting with the tribes was a long time coming.

"Finally, after all these years, with Missoula being in existence, we recognize the sovereignty of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and also  to put us on a path to finding ways to collaborate on issues where we have joint interests," Strohmaier said.

Strohmaier was asked to clarify his view of the tribes' sovereignty.

"We live directly south of a sovereign tribal nation," Strohmaier said. "I think out of a gesture of respect, we need to recognize that the land on which we live here in this community were once occupied by folks long before we showed up on the scene. Its an opportunity to finally say, we both occupy these lands in western Montana, so how can we work together."

Strohmaier hoped to discuss several issues at the meeting, one being pursuing joint economic development with the tribes, and also to begin a dialogue on how to serve the needs of Missoula large Indian population.

Missoula City Councilor Dave Strohmaier

photo by Peter Christian

After an opening prayer by Tribal Elder Louis Adams, Strohmaier read a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Jon Engen declaring May 13, 2013 Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Day in Missoula

Dave Strohmaier Reads Proclamation