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Heating help came from Citgo

Some of the people on American Indian reservations in Montana got help with home heating this winter as Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned petroleum company, expanded a U.S. assistance program active on the East Coast.The company provided about $1.5 million for heating in Montana.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes coordinated the assistance, which tribal policy analyst Teresa Wall-McDonald described as apolitical even though President Bush and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez have been harshly critical of each other.

The assistance "concentrated on the needs of the communities," Wall-McDonald said. "There were no political discussions." Judi Houle, energy assistance director at the Rocky Boy's Reservation, said Chavez "relates to us as an indigenous people."

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