The Rocky Boy Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Chippewa Cree Tribe located in the U.S. state of Montana. The smallest reservation in the state, it was established by Executive Order on September 7, 1916. The Chippewa Cree Tribe (CCT, governing body) of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation was organized in accordance with the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (34 Stat. P. 984) as amended by the Act of June 15, 1935. Thus, the Tribe gained federal recognition and is listed as the Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy's Reservation, Montana, in the Federal Register, Vol. 68, No. 234, pp. 68179–68184. The governing document is the Constitution and By-Laws of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, Montana enacted in 1935 and amended in 1973.
Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation is located in Hill County and Chouteau County in northern Montana about 40 miles (64 km) from the Canadian border. It has a total land area of 171.4 square miles (443.9 km2), which includes extensive off-reservation trust lands. The population was 2,676 at the 2000 census with, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Labor Force Report of 2005, 5,656 enrolled members. Its largest community is Box Elder, although a small part of Box Elder extends off reservation land.
Rocky Boy's unusual name came about from a mistranslation of the name of a tribal leader, whose name meant something akin to "Stone Child". The Reservation is governed by the Chippewa Cree Business Committee, which is currently chaired by Raymond "Jake" Parker, Jr. and vice-chaired by Jonathan Windy Boy who also serves as a member of the Montana State Senate representing District 16.
The Chippewa Cree Business Committee (Tribal Council) is the governing body of the Tribe. The eight (8) Council members and Chairman are elected at large; serving four years on staggered terms. The Tribe elected to 'compact' the Bureau of Indian Affairs (FY 93) and Indian Health Service (FY 94) programs under Title IV of the P.l. 93-638 Act. The historical Act allowed Tribes the opportunity to determine their priorities and to become truly self-governing and to exercise the inherent tribal sovereignty of the Chippewa Cree tribe.
The current sitting members of the Chippewa Cree Business Committee are:
According to the Tribal Chairman’s Address to the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce in January 2007, the annual tribal revenue of $52 million is infused into the local economy as a result of federal programs, private business, and tribal businesses on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation. The majority of reservation residents work for the self-governing Chippewa Cree Tribe. Compacts are maintained with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Indian Health Service. Funds originating within the BIA [note: there is only one BIA employee at Rocky Boy’s due to the self-governance compact], together with tribal government, provides work for (231, full- and part-time) employees. Other employers include: Chippewa Cree Community Development Corporation (25), Rocky Boy public schools (184), Stone Child Community College (57), Chippewa Cree Construction Company (20), Chippewa Cree Construction Corporation (14), National Tribal Development Association (9), Northern Winz Casino (70), RJS & Associates (4), and Chippewa Cree Housing Authority (25). The Tribe’s compact with Indian Health provides opportunities for 135 staff members within the Rocky Boy Health Board.
The Chippewa Cree tribe operates the Northern Winz Casino. Construction began in May 2006, with the tribal grand opening occurring in February 2007, and a public grand opening March 30, 2007. The casino is located on US Highway 87, 6 miles (10 km) east of Box Elder, Montana.
The Rocky Boy Assembly of God Church is self governing and self-supporting. Eric and Amanda Reed assumed the senior pastor position in Rocky Boy in the Spring of 2006.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has long maintained a mission at the reservation. The church is known as Our Saviour's Lutheran Church. Toward the end of 1999, Rev. Joseph W. Bailey Sr. along with Christian youth groups from around the country built a new sanctuary, outdoor chapel, and work was begun on a retreat center.
The Roman Catholic Church church serving the reservation is St. Mary's Catholic Church with the Rev. Peter Guthneck officiating. He is assisted by Sister Margaret Mary O'Doherty.
The Baptist mission church was established in late 1999. The church building was erected in June, 2002.
In addition to its Christian religion, the Chippewa Cree Tribe has maintained the traditional spiritual beliefs and cultural ceremonies/activities that have been part of the Tribal mores since time immemorial. The traditional Thirst Dance, more commonly known as the Sun Dance, is held the first week of July. The annual Pow-Wow Celebration is held the first week of August. Other cultural events are held throughout the year including the annual Christmas Dance, round dances, ceremonial feasts, revived cultural ceremonies, and cultural camps.