Why do I want to be a councilmember?
I’m running for tribal council because we as a tribe are facing difficult times. One of the biggest problems we have is drug and alcohol abuse on our reservation. We need a drug treatment center for adolescents and adults. We also need to clamp down on drug dealers and hold them accountable. Another issue is we have too many tribal members living in substandard housing and homeless tribal members. We need to make housing for our members a priority this would include a shelter for the homeless. We also need to look at an assisted living center for our elders when there is no longer any family to care for them. It will take strong leadership, teamwork, and open communication from the tribal council and membership involvement to make these a reality. That is why I’m running and asking for your vote!
What is your view for the future of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes for example the Mountain Home Project?
We need to diversify and find new revenue to help the tribe move in the right direction. We have gaming, tribal land leasing, federal contracts/grants that fund our government and programs. How can we look at ways to improve and enhance the future? One way is to look at developing other for-profit businesses. I believe public meetings are a must to give our membership an opportunity to review, make comment on any new business planned. This provides transparency and gives everyone an opportunity to buy in.
Tsaande Davaiye (Good Day in Shoshone) Membership, my name is Claudia J. Washakie, I am seeking a seat on the Fort Hall Business Council. I have lived in the Gibson District for the majority of my life. I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Idaho State University. I am currently the Early Intervention Manager for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
I think we need a change in our leadership; our current leadership seems to have forgotten their responsibility of keeping the membership informed of their current decisions, especially those decisions that require tribal membership input.
On April 9, 2022, we had a called meeting on a number of items; each and every one of those items could’ve and should’ve been their own called meeting. The majority of the items were the FHBC presenting information to the membership after-the-fact.
With the Hemp Project, we are putting the hemp cart before the horse; and by that, I mean the membership has never been the afforded the opportunity to provide input on this business venture. It’s still uncertain if it’s a tribal venture or tribal member venture; who is the manufacturer; there’s no compliance officer hired, there’s no hemp office in the Land Use Department, there’s no budget for the program/business. Most importantly, there was an ordinance passed by the FHBC this year with no public comment provided by the membership. Because there was no public comment provided by the membership, I think that this ordinance should be rescinded and not looked at until it’s had its proper vetting process.
As far as the Mountain Home Casino project, this too was done without the consent of the membership, this project was kept under wraps for a long time by the FHBC (since 2016) and not once did they ever think to bring this to the membership for direction. While I agree that we need some new economic development projects to generate revenue for the tribe, I would prefer that we invest money into our own reservation. Whatever happened to the casino expansion phases that were suppose to follow, such as the water park, kids center, and golf course? The Mountain Home project is estimated at $418 million; that a lot of debt… I don’t feel comfortable putting our children and grandchildren into that much debt, we still haven’t paid off our current debit (hotel/casino). I would rather find other ways to invest in our own community here.
I think I can bring forth new ideas to help our tribe grow and flourish and still keep the membership informed. The Tribes’ should continue with their casino phases here and add in an amphitheater for the concerts. The Tribes’ should develop the area behind Trading Post and TP Gas to include brick-and-mortar stores for tribal members to operate; it’s a shame that we have tribal members who have to open their businesses off the reservation because we have no where to house them. These are just some of my ideas but in order to provide for future financial growth to our reservation, we need to invest in our dilapidated infrastructure. I would appreciate your vote during the General Election on May 27, 2022. Ussen daga.
Q1- I have worked for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Government with over 20 years of experience. I have an extensive background in many fields with planning, creative thinking, technical writing, customer service, accuracy, administrative and organization.
I have the necessary qualifications from my education in Geomatics and field experience. I have worked as a Land Survey Technician for many years with the Tribes and Bureau of Land Management Cadastral Survey. I have worked with many supervisors/mentors that are licensed Professional Land Surveyors for the State of Idaho and BLM Cadastral Surveyors.
I assisted the Land Surveyor in many facets of land surveying. I have created Records of Surveys and Rights-Of-Ways for numerous Homesites (Allotted and Tribal) on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. I am familiar with Townships and Ranges, Sections, and the history of original Allotments. I operated Leica and Trimble GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and Theodolite to make measurements of the lands and to mark boundaries. I am also familiar with Range units and CRP lands as I have worked in or around these areas. I would like the people to know that I am able to help interpret their legal descriptions.
My background would be a great contribution to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Land Use Policy Commission.
Q2- If I am elected for Land Use Policy Commission, I would propose to seek climate-smart methods such as Sunn Hemp as a Cover Crop to manage Range lands. It is inevitable that climate change is here. Sunn hemp improves soil diversity. Sunn hemp is not related to industrial hemp. It is a legume and is in the same family as peas and beans.
Hemp Cover Crops are efficient and effective management strategies and provide multiple benefits such as:
• Conserver water
• Soil health
• Produces Nitrogen
• Reduce soil erosion
• Drought tolerant
• Can be grazed by cattle, sheep and wildlife
• Control pests
• Control weeds
• Reduce synthetic herbicides
Sunn Hemp has many uses. It can provide forage, building material, fiber, textiles and can be used as insulation. It is imperative to utilize climate-smart methods to protect our lands.
Q2a- Mother Earth and all elements of life are most sacred. I care about our land and our Newe. Protecting our boundaries, exterior and interior on our Fort Hall Indian Reservation are very important. I see the surrounding counties building homes left and right and they are moving North from Chubbuck. Our Reservation boundary lines are where it all stops. The boundary lines are surveyed and the Records of Surveys are on file.
Within our Reservation, encroachment can be resolved. Once your land is surveyed, you must do your part in putting up a fence post up next to the boundary markers around your property. If there is a problem with your neighbor and his/her adjoining property, make a request for survey. The boundary will be determined by the licensed land surveyor. This will get the resolution of your encroachment matter taken care of.
Qualities. All tribally elected people need qualities of honesty, being ethical, fair and reasonable, compassionate to the needs of people. Land Use Commissioners especially need to be fair in dispensing services that they are entrusted with. Permits and Homesites for members need to be expedited fairly and quickly. I know how to be transparent, inclusive, accountable, ethical and truthful in public service and will report to districts and tribal membership on LU activities.
Climate Change. The Comp Plan of 2010 contains a Natural Resources Framework Plan establishing the ground rules for the protection, preservation, improvement and restoration of Tribal natural resources and ecosystems and calls for establishment of a Integrated Resource Management Plan which could be used. A major component of the Land Use Ordinance deals with economic development using the natural resources of the tribe, but outdated farming practices has polluted surface waters, groundwater, soil and air. All projects would have to be scrutinized with that in mind and be environmentally friendly. If elected, I would not be in favor of exploiting our natural resources for environmentally harmful projects in an ever-changing climate. If elected, I would re-institute the LU Ordinance planning provisions.
Encroachment. Encroachment by both Bannock and Power Counties is currently taking place. The Tribe entered into an MOU with Bingham County regarding planning and zoning issues which has worked. Similar MOUs or Cooperative Agreements could be entered into with Bannock and Power Counties to address zoning and development differences in light of negative court decisions. A pro-active LUPC could promulgate these actions with the goal of preserving tribal regulatory jurisdiction. If elected, that would be my focus.
Response to Question #1:
Candidates for the LUPC must demonstrate STRONG LEADERSHIP, possess HIGH STANDARDS, maintain a POSITIVE CHARACTER and GENUINE DESIRE AND INTEREST to protect the political and economic security of the Fort Hall Reservation; it’s land base, health, safety, morals and general welfare for all members of the Sho-Ban Tribes and future generations. It is with these qualities one can preserve, protect and maintain to increase the land base, in addition, to preserving our way of life and to promote economic growth for the Tribes.
Absolutely these qualities define strong attributes for a LUPC member; and YES, these are definitely my strong attributes that will be of asset to bring forth as a Land Use Commission member.
Response to Questions #2 (a):
As a result of climate change it will bring forth dramatic and impeding long-term affects that will affect the Fort Hall Reservation; we will all feel and face increment heat, drought and insect invasion to name a few. Our rangeland units will face severe loss of growth of vegetation, water, to include the trees, shrubs and wildlife as exhibited during last year’s drought. To remedy the situation there must be strong measures put in place to preserve the natural resources for those animals utilizing the range units; possible reduction of term-limits and cattle pasturing and commitment to engage with preserving the natural creeks and watering holes by enhancing and building up safety factors. Additional remedies would include planting vegetation and trees in these units and other dried out areas or wildfire burnt areas so nature can remedy its own course.
From my perspective as a former Realty Specialist and landowner, we’ve always spoken about our kinship to the land (Mother Earth), many of us grew up knowing we’d have to preserve our land for future generations; it is with this thought that’s magnitude the purchase of land from within the exterior and interior boundaries of Fort Hall. With this being said, its deeply saddens me that so much land went out-out-trust in the past, consequently this opened up the doors to fee lands; these fee status lands should have been immediately bought or returned to trust status – plans to implement this should have occurred. Tribal members should have also been afforded the opportunity to purchase or acquire these lands through a buy-back program; and it can still be initiated at this time. Adjoining lands off the reservation should have also been a priority, we do have federal programs out there with BLM, US Forest Service to name a few where wetlands and other lands have been returned and restored into trust status without any costs involved. At this point-in-time the Tribes needs to initiate a “buy-back program” immediately for the interior lands or assist tribal members with low-interest loans to help bring these lands back into trust status….this will slow down and imped the encroachment of the surrounding municipalities.