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Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan (ARMP)

The Blackfeet Nation Agriculture Resource Management Plan team formed in November 2014, when the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council authorized the Tribe to move forward with developing and implementing an Agricultural Resource Management Plan. Through this plan, which was finalized in 2019, the Blackfeet Nation will incorporate traditional Amskapi Piikanivalues into agricultural management and plans, with the long-term goals of maximizing the Tribe’s “triple bottom line”: 1) promoting economic development through private sector investments, 2) reducing Blackfeet health disparities through access to local and traditional foods, and 3) investing in youth.

Quick Stats:

  • Prioritizes traditional Indigenous holistic perspectives of integrated management
  • Addresses logistical issues regarding agriculture management on tribal trust lands
  • The plan encompasses all natural resources management, with the exception of forestry.

Tribal Sovereignty Through Agriculture Policy

This project utilizes provisions of the American Indian Agriculture Resource Management Act(AIARMA) a federal lawpassed in 1993 that acknowledges Tribal sovereignty in agricultural and land management. AIARMA contains provisions that support the development of individual Agricultural Resource Management Plans (ARMPs) by Tribal Nations, recognizing that Tribal governments are better positioned to structure the management of their lands and use of their resources than federal agencies. ARMP development is a three-year process; Blackfeet Nation began their ARMP planning process on November 6, 2014, and released a full plan in 2019.. The Blackfeet ARMP is a long-range plan providing direction and guidance regarding tribal priorities for agriculture resource management. With abundant natural resources on over 1.5 million acresof land, Blackfeet Nation has identified opportunities and created measurable goals to develop existing operations and expand tribal agriculture assets while addressing health outcomes and youth development.

The tribe’s ARMP development aligns with the communities’ own vision for their lands, foods and resources, and ensures that Blackfeet Nation is in a position to maintain oversight on projects when working with external partners. This maintains consistency with tribal directives, as opposed to precast funding parameters driving the process. As part of this work, BlackfeetNation seeks to prioritize youth opportunities within agriculture through tribally or grant funded programs that excite youth to engage in natural resources, science and the interdisciplinary interface between the two.

…[planning requires high quality data, which sometimes means the development of new data to fill gaps left by outsiders, external research (such as census takers and researchers whose work is not aligned with local priorities), and a dependable digital repository to facilitate data sharing and management… Loren BirdRattler

Building Capacity Through Specialized Partnerships

Blackfeet Nation continues to make strides in addressing environmentally sustainable and nutritious food products for the Blackfeet people and others. As the Blackfeet ARMP Director, Loren Birdrattler, notes in the introduction to the Blackfeet ARMP, “[P]lanning is facilitated by necessary partnerships which help us build capacity through applied research while protecting our intellectual property and Indigenous rights, expanding Blackfeet opportunities in higher education, nongovernment organizations, and other government entities at the local, county, state, and federal levels.” By successfully partnering with federal and non-governmental entities, the tribe furthers its mission in creating local markets for producers, engaging young people and providing healthy and culturally appropriate food for tribal members in North Central Montana.

For more information, please contact the Blackfeet Nation ARMP team.

FN: Blackfeet ARMP website. January 29, 2020.

Interview, Sarah Ballew, Headwater People, Loren Bird Rattler and Will Seeley, August 2, 2019.