A special report on race in Montana by The University of Montana School of Journalism
Northern Cheyenne
Rocky Boy's
Ft. Belknap
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  Photo by Louis Montclair

Contractor Herman Red Elk refuses to pay the TERO licensing fee. A tribal member, Red Elk owns and runs Red Elk Renovation.


Fee to Work
Should Indian contractors pay to work on their reservation?

Story by Dylan Tucker
Photos by Louis Montclair



Kevin Azure, an employee of A & E Construction, rips the siding off of a Fort Peck Housing Authority house being renovated in Poplar. The construction firm has paid the TERO fee. "Everyone has to pay, except the white guys," said Azure.

Maurice "Moose" Lambert, director of Fort Peck Housing Authority, acknowldges there are some contracts that are not sent out for Indian-preference bids.

Denver Atkinson, the only non-Indian TERO director in the country, has been accused of being racist in his position. Atkinson, who is married to a Fort Peck tribal member, said "There is no color in my life, only fairness and honesty."

Adam Colgan, an employee of Culbertson Plumbing and Heating, installs a furnace. TERO certification allows contractors to work on Fort Peck Housing Authority houses on the reservation.

Russell Shields, left, blows smoke while waiting with friends Eugene Hale Jr., Barry Red Eagle, and Art Cantrell on Main Street in Poplar after signing up for work at the TERO office. They register for work at TERO and wait for a call.


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