Northern Cheyenne Tribe weighs energy project
The new leader of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana is pushing to develop the reservation's coal resources.

President Leroy Spang, who was elected in November, said a coal mine will generate jobs and spur economic development. He cites an 80 percent unemployment rate and low incomes on the reservation.

But some tribal members said the project goes against Cheyenne values and would harm the environment. "This is the last war that our people are going to face," Phillip Whiteman, a founder of a group on the reservation called Yellow Bird, told USA Today.

Spang said it would take at least a decade to start up a mine. He said development can occur under strict environmental rules.

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For Indian tribes, economic needs collide with tradition (USA Today 3/4)