Protecting sacred lands from oil drilling

Building a public campaign with the Blackfeet Nation

The Blackfeet people have utilized the Badger-Two Medicine region for more than 10,000 years. Adjacent to Glacier National Park, this sacred area is threatened by oil and gas leases that were granted illegally in the 1980s.

For the past 30 years, the Blackfeet Nation has called for the cancellation of these leases. In 2015 the tribe renewed its effort by launching a public campaign, and we were honored to help.

Building the campaign

To kick off the campaign, we developed visually compelling materials to build partnerships with tribes and tribal organizations, unlikely allies, and elected officials. The materials, including a billboard, web page, and brochure, described Blackfeet’s cultural and spiritual connections to the land and what would be lost were drilling allowed.

Materials created to educate elected officials and reporters.

Then, we helped bring together an alliance of tribes, Native organizations (e.g., the National Congress of American Indians), local business owners, and faith leaders. We also engaged conservation groups and some unexpected allies (hello, Pearl Jam!), and brought the issue to Montana’s congressional leadership, which led to the eventual support of Senator Jon Tester.

Taking the story public, we organized a teleconference with media reporters, which led to more than 50 media stories and 50 million media impressions. As a result of this work, the tribe’s petition attracted more than 7,000 supporters.

Save Badger-Two Medicine microsite and campaign.
Billboard in Montana.

Leveraging national partnerships

The work to create partnerships paid off. Tribal allies rallied their own communities and followers to garner national attention, off and online. Pearl Jam alone spread the word to its 13 million Facebook and Twitter followers. Meanwhile, Senator Tester’s support led to meetings with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture.

Shortly after, the U.S. Department of the Interior canceled the Solenex oil and gas drilling lease.

In November 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior cancelled 15 more leases in the Badger-Two Medicine, followed by the final two being cancelled in January 2017.

Cancellation of the final oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine is a long-awaited and hard-fought victory, and it ensures the area’s protection for future generations of Blackfeet people.


Media stories to date

277 Mil

Unique readers

7,000+ supporters

Launch campaign website


Who was involved

See more of our clients in Indian Country

Alaska Federation of Natives
Blackfeet Nation
Colorado Plateau Foundation
Colorado River Indian Tribes
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Lummi Nation
National Congress of American Indians
Sealaska Corporation
Snoqualmie Tribe
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
Tulalip Tribes
Yakama Nation
Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

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