PABLO — A moving ceremony in Pablo Monday and the return of a flag symbolizing the ties between the State of Montana and its many tribes.
Governor Greg Gianforte came to the Mission Valley to return the flag of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the first to be displayed as part of the Tribal Flag Plaza outside the Montana Capitol in Helena.
The flag plaza was dedicated last year to honor the eight tribes in Montana, including the CSKT tribes in the Flathead.
Gov. Gianforte presented the flag to the tribal council, and then the tribal honor guard folded it and placed it in a ceremonial box that will remain on display.
"Now, after completing its service and before it becomes warm and frayed, the Confederated Salish Kootenai flag has now been retired and returned to use while a fresh replacement continues to fly in Helena," CSKT Vice-Chairwoman Anita Matt told the assembled audience.
"It's been replaced with a brand new flag. But it was appropriate that I came and presented it back to the tribal leadership," Governor Gianforte told MTN News. "It is important. We have a strong partnership with the tribes and we look to cultivate it. To come alongside them, to find ways how we can advance the interests of our shared communities."
The ceremony was held in front of the Tribal headquarters in Pablo, in front of the memorial honoring the many tribal veterans who have served over the decades.