In the 2019 Legislature elected representatives brought forward legislation that would recognize the multiple tribes in front of the Montana Capitol Building.
HB524 is a law that was passed in the 2019 Legislative session called the “Tribal Flag Circle”. That legislation revised existing laws providing for the installation of an American Indian Monument. This project will place tribal flags in front of the Montana Capitol.
An advisory committee was established as part of the legislation that was signed by Governor Bullock. The addition of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe was also part of the legislation.
“The state of Montana shall erect on the grounds of the capitol complex, in recognition of American Indians’ contributions to this state and nation, either or both of the following: (1) a monument, including specific recognition of the contributions and sacrifices made by Montana’s past, present, and future American Indian war veterans, in consultation with the advisory committee established in 22-2-602;b(2) the flags of the tribes in Montana as authorized by the governor.”
The new law changed Montana statute that provided for “Temporary” display of the Circle of Flags. The proposed project design has not been seen but the Montana department of engineering under the department of administration has approved the project to move forward.
The project manager we spoke with today known as “KC” stated that the project will begin breaking ground on 7-14-2020. The removal of concrete and infrastructure will use care to preserve the granite steps that lead up to the main entrance to the Capitol building. The project will also be faced with the relocation of electrical and plumbing.
KC noted that there are water lines that run close to the Meagher Statute that will be a challenge. The need to preserve the Meagher Statute will be a high priority.
The project was approved with an initial price tag of $644,000.00 that Montana taxpayers will fund expecting completion by mid October 2020.
The top Montana official for the project is Administrator Russ Katherman. His position is Administrator for the Architecture and Engineering division of the Montana Department of Administration. Mr. Katherman was not available for comment at press time.
Diamond Construction of Helena is the primary contractor that was awarded the contract to demo and prepare the site for the new monument.
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