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CSKT "insulted" controversial TV show wanted to show landmarks without permission

CSKT Shelly Fyant
Posted at 11:05 AM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 13:05:37-05

PABLO — Leaders of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) feel "insulted" and "exploited" to learn second hand that a controversial TV show wanted to use local landmarks without permission.

The ABC Network's show "Big Sky" is already under fire from tribal leaders across the country for its depiction of Montana and human trafficking. Many say it takes advantage of the serious issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People for entertainment.

But the objections hit even closer to home on Wednesday when CSKT leaders received two emails -- one from a producer, and one from a Canadian actress -- seeming to indicate the Flathead Reservation was going to be depicted in the show. Yet, the tribe says no one ever applied for a permit or permission…

“And we have protocols in place. And if you're going to tell a story, then you need to ask permission from the people that you're telling it about," said CSKT Council Chairwoman Shelly Fyant. "And you need to 100% consultation with us. It's not just the tribal Council, but you know we have elders. We have cultural protocols in place and they ignored all of that. It just feels like, again, an erasure of us as a tribal nation.”

During Wednesday afternoon's press conference, Fyant, and CSKT Communications Director Rob McDonald accused the producers of "sneaking around the edges". Fyant says it's "insulting and ridiculous," and the tribe has no interest in appearing in "Big Sky".

They've contacted the producers and are waiting for an explanation.