University of Colorado at Boulder
BMP of Oil and Gas Development

Crow Nation Laws

The Crow Nation has about 11,000 members, the majority of whom reside on the Crow reservation. The Crow Indian Reservation, located in southern Montana, is the largest of the Indian reservations in the state at roughly two million acres.

The Crow Nation’s government has three braches of government: the executive, legislative and judicial. A chairman and a vice-chairman head the executive branch. The legislature has 18 members.

Constitution of the Crow Nation

The Constitution and Bylaws of the Crow Tribal Council were established in 1948. In 2001, the original constitution was repealed and replaced with the 2001 Constitution and Bylaws of the Crow Tribe of Indians. Relevant portions of the Crow Tribe Constitution are as follows:

Art. II - Territory
The jurisdiction of the Crow Tribal General Council shall extend to all lands within the exterior boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation including those lands within the original boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation as determined by federal statutes and case law and to such other lands as may hereafter be acquired by or for the Crow Tribe of Indians.

Art. IV - Executive Branch of Government
§ 3: The Executive Branch shall exercise the following powers and responsibilities herein provided, subject to any limitations imposed upon such powers by the statutes and laws of the United States:

(c) engage in any business that will further the economic well-being of the members of the Tribe and undertake any economic development activity which does not conflict with the provisions of the Constitution;

(f) negotiate and approve or prevent any sale, disposition, lease or encumbrance of Tribal lands, interests in lands or other Tribal assets, including buffalo, minerals, gas and oil with final approval granted by the Legislative Branch;

(g) enforce all laws, ordinances, resolutions, regulations or guidelines passed by the Legislative Branch providing for the levying of taxes and licensing of members and non-members for various purposes;

Art. V - Legislative Branch of Government
§ 2: The powers and duties of the Legislative Branch shall be:

(d) to grant final approval or disapproval of items negotiated by the Executive Branch of Government pertinent to the sale, disposition, lease or encumbrance of Tribal lands, interests in lands or mineral assets provided that a process for such approval or disapproval may be established by legislation;

Additonal Information

Oil and Gas Lease Between the crow Tribe of Indians and Golden Arrow Exploration LLC.

During a legislative session in 2005, the Tribe approved a lease with Golden Arrow Exploration, an oil and gas company, which included many best management practices. For example:

  • The Company agreed to allow the Tribe and its agents or authorized representatives of the Secretary to enter into the leased premises for inspections from time to time. Further, the Company agreed to keep an account of all operations and to make reports. These records would be open at all time for audits “relating to the scope, nature, and extent of compliance with the Tribe.”
  • The Secretary can impose restrictions “as to time or times for drilling wells and as the production from any wells or wells drilled when, in his judgment, such action may be necessary or proper for the protection of the natural resources” of the land.
  • If any remedial work is required, the Company will notify the Tribe, and have the remedial work performed or reimburse the Tribe for the work performed.

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