Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type



Political Science & International Relations

First Advisor

Phil Wittman

Second Advisor

Murphy Fox

Third Advisor

Fr. William Greytak


The Apsaalooke people of southwestern Montana have a special relationship with their homelands. Unwilling to recognize this relationship, non-Indians have continually taken Apsaalooke lands as those lands appeared to have value. Today, white control of Apsaalooke lands continues though the competent leasing system. Though the abuses taking place within this system deserve both ethical and legal scrutiny, competent leasing as a device to wrest control of Apsaalooke lands has been undeniably successful. As with previous land-grabbing practices of the non-Indian, the success of the competent leasing system depends upon widespread social acceptance and support of dominating policies. By relying upon the exploitation of an enforced, depressed Apsaalooke economy and the Apsaalooke cultural value of reciprocity, the system of competent leasing is moving largely unnoticed into the 21st century.