Noted Native American author and activist Elaine Willman has published a letter that is severely critical of both the State of Montana and the CSKT Water Compact currently before the state legislature.

In her open letter, Willman likens the residents of western Montana to the American colonists who had lost faith with the British crown.

"The very feelings must be going on right now for Montana citizens who feel they have lost the ear and the trust of their state representatives," Willman said. "I'm being very specific about the tribal leadership, but certainly not the tribal members. There are hundreds, if not thousands of tribal members who oppose this compact, and who do not want their tribal government taking over Kerr Dam, however, they are hard-pressed to speak up without putting themselves at great risk."

Willman said the real adversary in this issue is state government itself.

"The tribal government is doing nothing more than what the state government is sanctioning," she said. "This is not so much of a compact, as it is a surrender document. The reason is that I have scoured that document, all 1,500 pages of it, trying to find one single benefit for the State of Montana or any of the citizens or municipalities, but there is none. There is no negotiation here. Everything is for the benefit of this small tribal government."

Willman said she wrote the letter so that everyday Montana citizens would contact their legislators and tell them not to support the compact.

"State legislators took an oath to protect the constitution and the people of Montana, and they have an obligation to do just that," she said.

The CSKT Water Compact must be passed and ratified by the Montana Legislature in order to forestall what could be years of litigation.