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In Montana, A MMIW Task Force And The Keystone XL Pipeline Collide

Members of Montana's Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force, including Jestin Dupree and Brandi King, at a meeting in August.
Tim Fox via Twitter
Members of Montana's Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force, including Jestin Dupree and Brandi King, at a meeting in August.

Tribal representatives in Montana are leaving the state’s new Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force in protest of Attorney General Tim Fox’s support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The proposed oil pipeline carrying Alberta crude would cross through Montana near the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. 

“One of the issues that we face is ‘man camps’ that follow this pipeline, and that will be just to the West of the reservation,” said Fort Peck tribal councilman Jestin Dupree.

Dupree said that could exacerbate the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, a concern backed up by studies showing that natural resource booms can lead to higher rates of sexual assault and violence in nearby communities. 

So Dupree and Fort Belknap Tribal Council member Brandi King both, as Montana Free Press reported last week, chose to withdraw from the task force created by Fox to address the issue. 

They say Fox’s support of the Keystone XL pipeline in courtis at odds with the effort to address high rates of violence against Indigenous women.

Fox’s office was unavailable for comment.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2021 KUER 90.1. To see more, visit KUER 90.1.

Nate is UM School of Journalism reporter. He reads the news on Montana Public Radio three nights a week.
Nate Hegyi
Nate Hegyi is the Utah reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, based at KUER. He covers federal land management agencies, indigenous issues, and the environment. Before arriving in Salt Lake City, Nate worked at Yellowstone Public Radio, Montana Public Radio, and was an intern with NPR's Morning Edition. He received a master's in journalism from the University of Montana.
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