SALISH AND KOOTENAI CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS, CODIFIED
Constitution of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
of the Flathead Reservation, as Amended
Article I - Territory
Article II - Membership
Article III - The Tribal Council
Article IV - Nominations and Elections
Article V - Vacancies and Removals
Article VI - Powers and Duties of the Tribal Council
Article VII - Bill of Rights
Article VIII - Land
Article IX - Referendum
Article X - Amendments
APPENDIX - Indian Civil Rights Act, 25 U.S.C. Section 1302
Article I - The Tribal Council
Article II - Ordinances and Resolutions
Article III - Ratification of Constitution and Bylaws
CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS
of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
of the Flathead Reservation, as Amended
We, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation,
Montana, in order to establish a more responsible organization, promote our
general welfare, conserve and develop our lands and resources, and secure to
ourselves and our posterity the power to exercise certain rights of
self-government not inconsistent with Federal, State, and local laws, do ordain
and establish this Constitution for the Confederated Tribes of the Flathead
The jurisdiction of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Indians
shall extend to the territory within the original confines of the Flathead
Reservation as defined in the Treaty of July 16, 1855, and to such other lands
without such boundaries, as may here-after be added thereto under any law of the
United States, except as otherwise provided by law.
Section l. Confirmation of Rolls. The membership of the
Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Reservation is confirmed in accordance with
the per capita rolls as from time to time prepared.
Section 2. Present Membership. Membership in the Tribes on and
after the date of the adoption of this amendment shall consist of all living
persons whose names appear on the per capita roll of the Confederated Salish and
Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Montana, as prepared for the per
capita distribution as shown on the per capita roll paid in February 1959
together with all children of such members, born too late to be included on such
per capita roll and prior to the effective date of this section who possess
one-fourth (1/4) or more Salish or Kootenai Blood or both and are born to a
member of the Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation. subject to
review by the Secretary of the Interior, the Tribal Council shall make any
necessary corrections in this 1959 membership roll so that no one eligible for
membership under prior constitutional provisions shall be excluded therefrom.
Section 3. Future Membership. Future membership may be
regulated from time to time by ordinance of the Confederated Tribes subject to
review by the Secretary of the Interior. Until and unless an ordinance is
adopted any person shall be enrolled as a member who shall (a) apply, or have
application made on his behalf, establishing eligibility under this provision;
(b) show that he is a natural child of a member of the Confederated Tribes; (c)
that he possesses one-quarter (1/4) degree or more blood of the Salish and
Kootenai Tribes or both, of the Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana; (d) is not
enrolled on some other reservation.
Section 4. Adoption. The Tribal Council shall have the power to
enact and promulgate ordinances, subject to review by the Secretary of the
Interior, governing the adoption of persons as members of the Confederated
Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
Section 5. Loss of Membership. Membership in the Confederated
Tribes may be lost (1) by resignation in writing to the Tribal Council; (2) by
enrollment of the member with another Indian tribe; (3) by establishing a legal
residence in a foreign country; (4) upon proof of lack of eligibility for
enrollment, or fraud in obtaining enrollment, with due notice and opportunity to
be heard and defend before the Tribal Council, subject to appeal to the
Secretary of the Interior, whose decision shall be confined to the record made
in such proceeding which, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be
Section 6. Definitions. Wherever the term "Indian
Blood" shall have been used herein or in tribal ordinances, unless the
context shall require a different meaning, it shall be determined to mean the
blood of either or both the Kootenai or the Salish Tribes of the Flathead
Section 7. Current Membership Roll. The membership roll of the
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation shall be
kept current by striking therefrom the names of persons who have died or have
lost membership pursuant to this Constitution and adding thereto the names of
persons who shall have established eligibility or been adopted. The roll so
prepared shall be the basis for determining the right of persons whose names
appear thereon to share in annual per capita distribution of funds or in any
other tribal property, subject to Secretarial approval.
Section 8. Rules of Procedure. The Tribal Council shall have
the authority to prescribe rules to be followed in compiling a membership roll
in accordance with the provisions of this article, the completed roll to be
approved by the Tribal Council of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
In case of distribution of tribal assets, the roll shall be submitted to the
Secretary of the Interior for final approval as may be provided by law.
Section 9. Rights of Membership are Prospective. No person
shall be entitled to receive a per capita payment or share in any other tribal
assets which were distributed prior to the date of his actual enrollment.
The Tribal Council
Section 1. The governing body of the Confederated Salish and
Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation shall be the Tribal Council.
Section 2. The Council shall consist of ten councilmen to be
elected from the districts as set forth hereafter, and Chiefs Martin Charlo and
Eneas Paul Koostahtah.
Section 3. Representation from the districts hereby designated
shall be as follows: Jocko Valley and Mission Districts, two councilmen each;
Ronan, Pablo, Polson, Elmo-Dayton, Hot Springs-Camas Prairie, and Dixon, one
Section 4. The Tribal Council shall have the power to change
the districts and the representation from each district, based on community
organization or otherwise, as deemed advisable, such change to be made by
ordinance, but the total number of delegates shall not be changed as provided
for in section 2 of article III of this Constitution.
Section 5. The Tribal Council so organized shall elect from
within its own number a chairman, and a vice-chairman, and from within or
without its own membership, a secretary, treasurer, sergeant-at-arms, and such
other officers and committees as may be deemed necessary.
Section 6. No person shall be a candidate for membership in the
Tribal Council unless he shall be a member of the Confederated Tribes of the
Flathead Reservation and shall have resided in the district of his candidacy for
a period of one year next preceding the election.
Section 7. The Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Reservation shall be the sole judge of the qualifications of its members.
Nominations and Elections
Section 1. The first election of a Tribal Council under this
Constitution shall be called and supervised by the present Tribal Council within
30 days after the ratification and approval of this Constitution, and thereafter
elections shall be held every two years on the third Saturday prior to the
expiration of the terms of office of the members of the Tribal Council. At the
first election, five councilmen shall be elected for a period of two years and
five for a period of four years. The term of office of a councilman shall be for
a period of four years unless otherwise provided herein.
Section 2. The Tribal Council or an election board appointed by
the Council shall determine rules and regulations governing all elections.
Section 3. Any qualified member of the Confederated Tribes may
announce his candidacy for the Council, within the district of his residence,
notifying the Secretary of the Tribal Council in writing of his candidacy at
least 15 days prior to the Election. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of
the Tribal Council to post in each district at least 10 days before the
election, the names of all candidates for the Council who have met those
requirements. Where more than two members have filed for an office a Primary
Election shall be held at least 30 days prior to the General Election. Only the
two candidates for each office receiving the most votes at such Primary Election
shall be eligible to run for office in the General Election. Where no more than
two members have filed for an office, a Primary Election will be unnecessary.
Section 4. The Tribal Council, or a board appointed by the
Council, shall certify to the election of the members of the Council within 5
days after the election returns.
Section 5. The Tribal Council, or a board appointed by the Tribal Council, shall designate the polling places and appoint all election officials.
Vacancies and Removals
Section 1. If a councilman or official shall die, resign,
permanently leave the reservation, or be removed from office, the Council shall
declare the position vacant and appoint a successor to fill the unexpired term,
provided that the person chosen to fill such vacancy shall be from the district
in which such vacancy occurs.
Section 2. Any councilman who is proven guilty of improper
conduct or gross neglect of duty may be expelled from the Council by a
two-thirds vote of the membership of the Council voting in favor of such
expulsion, and provided further, that the accused member shall be given full and
fair opportunity to reply to any and all charges at a designated Council
meeting. It is further stipulated that any such member shall be given a written
statement of the charges against him at least five days before the meeting at
which he is to appear.
Powers and Duties of the Tribal Council
Section 1. The Tribal Council shall have the power, subject to
any limitations imposed by the Statutes or the constitution of the United States
and subject to all express restrictions upon such powers contained in this
Constitution and attached Bylaws;
(a) To regulate the uses and disposition of tribal property, to protect and
preserve the tribal property, wildlife and natural resources of the Confederated
Tribes, to cultivate Indian arts, crafts, and culture, to administer charity; to
protect the health, security, and general welfare of the Confederated Tribes.
(b) To employ legal counsel for the protection and advancement of the rights of the Flathead confederated Tribes and their members, the choice of counsel and fixing of fees to be subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.
(c) To negotiate with the Federal, State, and local governments on behalf of
the confederated Tribes, and to advise and consult with the representatives of
the Departments of the Government of the United States on all matters affecting
the affairs of the Confederated Tribes.
(d) To approve or veto any sale, disposition, lease, or encumbrance of tribal
lands and tribal assets which may be authorized or executed by the Secretary of
the Interior, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, or any other agency of the
Government, provided that no tribal lands shall be sold or encumbered or
leased for a period in excess of five years, except for Governmental purposes.
(e) To advise with the Secretary of the Interior with regard to all
appropriation estimates or Federal projects for the benefit of the Confederated
Tribes, prior to the submission of such estimates to the Congress.
(f) To manage all economic affairs and enterprises of the Confederated Tribes
in accordance with the terms of a charter to be issued by the Secretary of the
(g) To make assignments of tribal lands to members of the Confederated Tribes
in conformity with article VIII of this Constitution.
(h) To appropriate for tribal use of the reservation any available applicable
tribal funds, provided that any such appropriation in excess of $25,000 shall be
subject to review by the Secretary of the Interior.
(i) To promulgate and enforce ordinances, subject to review by the Secretary
of the Interior, which would provide for assessments or license fees upon
nonmembers doing business within the reservation, or obtaining special rights or
privileges, and the same may also be applied to members of the Confederated
Tribes, provided such ordinances have been approved by a referendum of the
(j) To exclude from the restricted lands of the reservation persons not
legally entitled to reside thereon, under ordinances which may be subject to
review by the Secretary of the Interior.
(k) To enact resolutions or ordinances not inconsistent with article II of
this Constitution governing adoptions and abandonment of membership.
(l) To promulgate and enforce ordinances which shall be subject to review by
the Secretary of the Interior, governing the conduct of members of the
Confederated Tribes, and providing for the maintenance of law and order and the
administration of justice by the establishment of an Indian Court, and defining
its powers and duties.
(m) To purchase land of members of the Confederated Tribes for public
purposes under condemnation proceedings in courts of competent jurisdiction.
(n) To promulgate and enforce ordinances which are intended to safeguard and
promote the peace, safety, morals, and general welfare of the Confederated
Tribes by regulating the conduct of trade and the use and disposition of
property upon the reservation, providing that any ordinance directly affecting
nonmembers shall be subject to review by the Secretary of the Interior.
(o) To charter subordinate organizations for economic purposes and to
regulate the activities of all cooperative and other associations which may be
organized under any charter issued under this Constitution.
(p) To regulate the inheritance of real and personal property, other than
allotted lands, within the Flathead Reservation, subject to review by the
Secretary of the Interior.
(q) To regulate the domestic relations of members of the Confederated Tribes.
(r) To recommend and provide for the appointment of guardians for orphans,
minor members of the Confederated Tribes, and incompetents subject to the
approval of the Secretary of the Interior, and to administer tribal and other
funds or property which may be transferred or entrusted to the Confederated
Tribes or Tribal Council for this purpose.
(s) To create and maintain a tribal fund by accepting grants or donations
from any person, State, or the United States.
(t) To delegate to subordinate boards or to cooperative associations which
are open to all members of the Confederated Tribes, any of the foregoing powers,
reserving the right to review any action taken by virtue of such delegated
(u) To adopt resolutions or ordinances to effectuate any of the foregoing
Section 2. Any resolution or ordinance which by the terms of
this constitution is subject to review by the Secretary of the Interior, shall
be presented to the Superintendent of the Reservation who shall, within ten days
thereafter, approve or disapprove the same, and if such ordinance or resolution
is approved, it shall thereupon become effective, but the superintendent shall
transmit of copy of the same, bearing his endorsement, to the Secretary of the
Interior who may, within 90 days from the date of enactment, rescind said
ordinance or resolution for any cause, by notifying the council of such action: Provided.
That if the Superintendent shall refuse to approve any resolution or ordinance
submitted to him, within ten days after its enactment, he shall advise the
Council of his reasons therefor, and the Council, if such reasons appear to be
insufficient, may refer it to the Secretary of the Interior, who may pass upon
same and either approve or disapprove it within 90 days from its enactment.
Section 3. The council of the Confederated Tribes may exercise
such further powers as may in the future be delegated to it by the Federal
Government, either through order of the Secretary of the Interior or by
Congress, or by the State Government or by members of the Confederated Tribes.
Section 4. Any rights and powers heretofore vested in the
confederated Tribes but not expressly referred to in this Constitution shall not
be abridged by this article, but may be exercised by the members of the
Confederated Tribes through the adoption of appropriate bylaws and
Bill of Rights
Section 1. All members of the Confederated Tribes over the age
of 18 years shall have the right to vote in all tribal elections, subject to any
restricts as to residence as set forth in Article IV.
Section 2. All members of the Confederated Tribes shall be
accorded equal opportunities to participate in the economic resources and
activities of the reservation.
Section 3. All members of the Confederated Tribes may enjoy
without hindrance freedom of worship, speech, press, and assembly.
Section 4. Any member of the confederated Tribes accused of any
offense, shall have the right to a prompt, open, and public hearing, with due
notice of the offense charged, and shall be permitted to summon witnesses in his
own behalf and trial be jury shall be accorded, when duly requested, by any
member accused of any offense punishable by more than 30 days' imprisonment, and
excessive bail or cruel or unusual punishment shall not be imposed.
Section 1. Land Transactions. subject to any limitations
imposed by the Constitution and Bylaws, to any applicable Federal statute and to
the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, the Tribal Council may:
(l) Purchase or receive by gift or relinquishment land or any interest
therein, and may lease, exchange (with or without the giving or receipt of other
consideration), encumber, and assign tribal lands or any interest therein; and
(2) Adopt ordinances or resolutions governing any or all such transactions.
Section 2. Saving Clause. Nothing herein shall be held
to impair rights heretofore acquired in any allotment or assignment held by any
Section 1. Upon a petition of at least one-third (1/3) of the
eligible voters of the Confederated Tribes, or upon the request of a majority of
the members of the Tribal Council, any enacted or proposed ordinance or
resolution of the council shall be submitted to a popular referendum, and the
vote of a majority of the qualified voters voting in such referendum shall be
conclusive and binding on the Tribal Council, provided that at least thirty
percent (30%) of the eligible voters shall vote in such election.
Section 1. This Constitution and Bylaws may be amended by a
majority vote of the qualified voters of the Confederated Tribes voting at an
election called for that purpose by the Secretary of the Interior, provided that
at least thirty percent (30%) of those entitled to vote shall vote in such
election; but no amendment shall become effective until it shall have been
approved by the Secretary of the Interior. It shall be the duty of the Secretary
of the Interior to call an election on any proposed amendment, at the request of
two-thirds of the Council, or upon presentation of a petition signed by
one-third (1/3) of the qualified voters, members of the Confederated Tribes.
Indian Civil Rights Act, 25 U.S.C. Section 1302
No Indian tribe in exercising powers of self-government shall--
(1) make or enforce any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble and to petition for a redress of grievances;
(2) violate the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and effects against unreasonable search and seizures, nor issue
warrants, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and
particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be
(3) subject any person for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy;
(4) compel any person in any criminal case to be a witness against himself;
(5) take any private property for a public use without just compensation;
(6) deny to any person in a criminal proceeding the right to a speedy and
public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be
confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for
obtaining witnesses in his favor, and at his own expense to have the assistance
of counsel for his defense;
(7) require excessive bail, impose excessive fines, inflict cruel and unusual
punishments, and in no event impose for conviction of any one offense any
penalty or punishment greater than imprisonment for a term of (one year) or a
fine of ($5000) or both;
(8) deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its
laws or deprive any person of liberty or property without due process of law;
(9) pass any bill of attainder or ex post facto law; or
(10) deny to any person accused of an offense punishable by imprisonment the
right, upon request, to a trial by jury of not less than six persons.
The Tribal Council
Section 1. The Chairman of the Council shall preside over all
meetings of the Council, perform all duties of chairman, and exercise any
authority detailed to him, and he shall be entitled to vote on all questions.
Section 2. The vice chairman shall assist the chairman when
called on so to do, in the absence of the chairman shall preside, and when so
presiding shall have all the privileges, duties, and responsibilities of the
Section 3. The Council secretary shall forward a copy of the
minutes of all meetings to the Superintendent of the Reservation and to the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
Section 4. The duties of all appointed boards or officers of
the organization shall be clearly defined by resolutions of the Council at the
time of their creation or appointment. Such boards and officers shall report
from time to time as required to the Council and their activities and decisions
shall be subject to review by the Council upon petition of any person aggrieved.
Section 5. Newly elected members who have been duly certified
shall be installed at the first regular meeting of the Tribal Council.
Section 6. Each member of the Tribal Council and each officer
or subordinate officer, elected or appointed hereunder, shall take an oath of
office prior to assuming the duties thereof, by which oath, he shall pledge
himself to support and defend the constitution of the United States and this
Constitution and Bylaws. The following form of oath of office shall be given:
"I, __________________________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all
enemies, to carry out faithfully and impartially, the duties of my office to the
best of my ability; to cooperate, promote, and protect the best interests of my
Tribe, in accordance with this Constitution and Bylaws."
Section 7. Regular meetings of the Tribal Council shall be held
on the first Friday of January, April, July, and October, at 9:00 a.m., at the
Section 8. Special meetings may be called by a written notice
signed by the chairman or a majority of the Tribal Council and when so called
the Tribal council shall have power to transact business as in regular meetings.
Section 9. No business shall be transacted unless a quorum is
present which shall consist of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire membership.
Section 10. Order of business:
(a) Call to order by chairman.
(b) Roll call.
(c) Reading of minutes of last meeting.
(d) Unfinished business.
(f) New business.
Section 11. It shall be the duty of each member of the Tribal
Council to make reports to the district from which he is elected, concerning the
proceedings of the Tribal Council.
Section 12. The Tribal council may prescribe such salaries for officers or members of the council as it deems advisable, from such funds as may be available.
Ordinances and Resolutions
Section 1. All final decisions of the Council on matters of
general and permanent interest to the members of the Confederated Tribes shall
be embodied in ordinances. Such ordinances shall be published from time to time
for the information and education of the members of the Confederated Tribes.
Section 2. All final decisions of the Council on matters of
temporary interest (such as action on the reservation budget for a single year,
or petitions to Congress or the Secretary of the Interior) or relating
especially to particular individuals or officials (such as adoption of members,
instructions for tribal employees or rules of order for the Council) shall be
embodied in resolutions. Such resolutions shall be recorded in a special book
which shall be open to inspection by members of the Confederated Tribes.
Section 3. All questions of procedure (such as acceptance of
Committee reports or invitations to outsiders to speak) shall be decided by
action of the Council or by ruling of the Chairman, if no objection is heard. In
all ordinances, resolutions or motions the Council may act by majority vote, but
all matters of importance shall be fully discussed and a reasonable attempt
shall be made to secure unanimous agreement.
Section 4. Legislative forms. Every ordinance shall begin with
the words: "Be it enacted by the Council of the Confederated Salish and
Section 5. Every resolution shall begin with the words:
"Be it resolved by the Council of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai
Section 6. Every ordinance or resolution shall contain a
recital of the laws of the United States and the provisions of this Constitution
under which authority for the said ordinance or resolution is found.
Ratification of Constitution and Bylaws
This Constitution and the attached Bylaws, when adopted by a majority vote of
the voters of the Confederated Tribes voting at a special election called by the
Secretary of the Interior, in which at least thirty (30) percent of those
entitled to vote shall vote, shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Interior
for his approval, and shall be in force from the date of such approval.