Hamilton, MT -

Ravalli County commissioners have drafted a letter of apology to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for derogatory comments made at the end of a meeting about tribal land in the Bitterroot Valley.

Last week, tribal members attended a county commission meeting to explain the importance of the tribal land known as Medicine Tree and the reasons it wants to place it in trust with the federal government. The commission opposed the move because the county would lose $808 in property taxes.

At the end of the meeting, the planning board chairman said law enforcement officers in Havre had complained to him about their jails being filled with "drunken Indians."

The letter drafted Wednesday apologizes to tribal members, saying those comments did not represent the opinion of the board or the majority of county residents.