>> While they may be neighboring tribes, the Crow Nation and Northern Cheyenne in Montana have two very different approaches to how they treat their natural resources. And those differences are yielding not just economic disparities but political ones as well. Reuters correspondent Valerie Volcovici visited the tribes to see how they're faring during uncertain economic times.
>> I'm here on the Crow Reservation in southeastern Montana. Over the couple of days that I've been here, they are celebrating their Native Days. This is a celebration that's meant to promote unity in the tribe. This is something that the tribal chairman, AJ Not Afraid, has said is very important to the future of the Crow Nation.
Here, the future of the tribe is very dependent on the future of coal. The tribe sits on one of the most productive coal mines in the country, and it is something that has sustained the tribe since the 1970s. The problem is, is that with the decline in coal prices and with an uncertain future of the coal market, this puts the tribe at a lot of risk.
Right now, the tribe is beginning to really weigh different options to diversify its economy, so it's not completely vulnerable to the ups and downs of coal. Just a couple of miles from here on the border of the Crow Reservation is the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. And the Northern Cheyenne, even though they sit geologically on the same coal resource, they've made a very active decision not to develop coal.
And they want to keep it in the ground and keep the environment pristine. Regardless of the wealth that coal can sometimes bring, that's not the development route they wanna take.>> As the new White House puts a huge emphasis on boosting coal production, the Crow see the Trump administration as a potential ally.
And their access to the administration has been good. Crow Nation Chairman AJ Not Afraid has already attended two meetings at the White House to discuss deregulation. But the Northern Cheyenne, bucking coal, has sued the administration for ending a ban on new coal leasing on federal and tribal lands.
The kind of deregulation that could make it open season on how the tribes can benefit off their own land, potentially creating a division greater than any invisible border.