Alternative Title

Northern Cheyenne-MT Compact


Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation


Northern Cheyenne Indian Reserved Water Rights Settlement


Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation




Missouri River Basin

Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC)

Missouri River Basin

Document Type

Settlement Agreement and State Legislation



Publication Date



Settlement Agreement and State Legislation: Water Rights Compact State among Montana, Northern Cheyenne Tribe and US. MCA 85-20-301 (1991). The statute ratifies Compact between Northern Cheyenne, MT and US. This Compact resolves all water claims by the Northern Cheyenne within MT so long as the Tongue River Reservoir is repaired and expanded. Pre-existing stock water, domestic and municipal water uses are recognized. Tribe has right to 32,500 a/f/y of direct flow and storage from the Tongue River Basin (and first rights to excess) with a priority date of Oct. 1, 1881 provided that actual depletion does not exceed 9,375 a/f/y. Tribe retains an additional 7,500 a/f/y via Water Purchase contract No. 232 dated March 15, 1938. Tribe may divert 1,300 a/f/y from Rosebud Creek for irrigation purposes. An additional 19,530 a/f/y may be diverted from Creek for any purpose, but Tribe may not construct any dams upon it. In lieu of standard surface water diversions from the Tongue River and Rosebud Creek, Tribe may opt for alluvial groundwater.

The Tribe shall administer the Tribal Water Right through a Tribal Water Code. . Tribe shall provide the State with not less than 180-days written notice prior to the start of construction of any project to divert any portion of the Tribal Water Right from the Big Horn River or the Big Horn Reservoir for use on the Reservation, or from the Tongue River or the Tongue River Reservoir for use on the Reservation in the Rosebud Creek basin. Tribal Water Right may be used off-reservation. MT shall administer all rights to the use of surface water and groundwater within the Reservation which are not a part of the Tribal Water Right. There shall be established a Northern Cheyenne – MT Compact Board to resolve disputes.

The US shall provide $31.5 million and MT shall provide $16.5 million to repair the Tongue River Dam. The US will pay $10 million for a Tribal Development Fund. [Source:]


19-page excerpt from the MT Code ratifying Northern Cheyenne-MT Comp.

Permanent URL

2017-01-24_Northern Cheyenne Fact Sheet_updated_JH.pdf (27 kB)
Northern Cheyenne Fact Sheet from MT Reserved Rights Commission

NorthCheyenne_Compact_Map.pdf (8543 kB)

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