Prominent Chippewa Cree tribal member allegedly connected to double homicide faces drug charges

Two women who are suspected of being connected to a double homicide in Box Elder have been arrested on drug charges. 

The women are not facing any formal charges in connection to the double homicide. 

Melody Bernard, 51, and Ashley Cortez, 23, were indicted in federal court on May 22. Both women are facing drug charges, including possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine and conspiracy with intent to distribute both drugs. The Havre Weekly Chronicle first reported the story.

Ziahs, a new restaurant in Box Elder, opened in 2023. The restaurant’s owner, Melody Bernard, is facing felony drug charges.


Charges against Bernard came as a surprise to some, given her prominent role in the close-knit tribal community. Located in north-central Montana, the Rocky Boy Reservation is home to 3,613 people. 

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Bernard, who is Chippewa Cree, recently founded a restaurant on the reservation called Ziahs. In 2020, she organized a Black Lives Matter protest in Havre that received national attention. Her LinkedIn profile states she was at one

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