Volume 45, Number 3, Autumn  2007

Reservation Revenues

Uncovering Economic Contributions of Montana's American Indian Tribes


Eleanor YellowRobe

Montana's American Indian tribes contributed over $1 billion to the state's economy in fiscal year 2003. Researcher Eleanor YellowRobe uncovered this and other never before collected data regarding the economic contributions of Montana's seven reservations and the Little Shell Tribe, with no reservation, after reviewing audited financial statements and government documents. Activities associated with the Flathead Reservation accounted for the largest share at about $317 million, or 30.9 percent of the total. The Fort Belknap Reservation was the smallest, with about $76 million, or 7.4 percent. This summary of tribal monetary contributions, presented by reservation area plus the Little Shell Tribe, is the first step toward quantifying the impact of Montana's American Indian tribes.

Wildfire Supression Costs


Krista Gebert

The cost of protecting Montana during fire season is rising. Nationwide, wildfire suppression costs continually top $1 billion annually and here in Montana lawmakers allocated $42 million to pay for fire suppression this year alone. In recent years, wildfire suppression has accounted for 40 percent of the Forests Service budget compared with 10 to 15 percent in the 1990s. Economist Krista Gebert, with the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, explains how climate change, private development, and human factors all contribute to an increase in acres burned, a direct correlation to the rising costs and what can be done about it.

Selections, Dispositions, and Acquisitions

A Brief History of Montana's Land Grants


Tom Schultz

Nearly 100 million acres of federal public lands have been granted to the states for the purposes of supporting public education, universities, veterans, public buildings, and similar expenditures. Montana, like many states, chose to sell the land grant lands and use the profits to create permanent investment funds that support school funding by distributing interest earnings. Sale of public lands is controversial and the history of land grants is complex. Tom Schultz tells the story of Montana's land grants and provides insight into what past successes and failures mean for the future.

Whitefish Entrepreneur Launches Montana Into Radio's New Age

Big Fish Broadcasts Local Music, Small Town News Over the World Wide Web


Amy Joyner

This article explores the rise of locally produced Internet "radio" stations that can broadcast over the Internet to the whole world. By examining the beginnings, operations, and future of Whitefish, MT based, we see what motivates the entrepreneurs who build these "radio stations".