Crow tribal members protested coal payment cuts outside the federal building in Billings Thursday.  They’re concerned that their per-capita checks will be reduced because of a deal offered by tribal leaders to Westmoreland Resources.  Opponents of the deal demanded federal officials intervene.  The rally took place two days before tribal elections.
At issue is a decision by the Crow Legislature to cut the tribe’s share of profits from tribal coal mined by Westmoreland.  Tribal Legislator Shawn Real Bird said the reduction will put December per-capita payments at $22.10 from about $210.  Real Bird said they kept the decision a secret.  He was one of three legislators to vote against the cut on Aug. 30.
Crow Tribal Chairman Darrin Old Coyote said while Westmoreland did receive a tax cut, per capita payments will be spared, but other government services take a hit.  He said December payments should be about $200.