Submitted by OFFICE OF TRIBAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS
BOISE — On December 5, Idaho State legislators met with the tribal leadership of the five Tribes of Idaho for the annual Council on Indian Affairs meeting at the state capitol in Boise.
Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Nathan Small, along with tribal staff, attended the meeting. The intent of the meetings is to ensure tribal representation and comment is provided on various policy issues, at the state level, that included Indian Child Welfare Act, Gaming and Tribal health issues.
Chairman Small stated, “the meetings were productive discussions between the state legislators and tribal leaders.” The Idaho Council on Indian Affairs consists of state legislators and tribal leaders including Sen. Jim Guthrie, Rep. Neil Anderson, Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, Rep. Paulette Jordan (only Native American legislator from Coeur d’Alene), Pete Katsilometes from the Office of the Governor and tribal leaders, including Chairman Gary Aitken of Kootenai, Chairman Chief Allan of Coeur d’Alene, Council member Shannon Wheeler of Nez Perce, Chairman Nathan Small of Shoshone-Bannock and Chairman Ted Howard of Shoshone-Paiute.
The first presentation was on the Dental Health Aide Therapy program by Pam Johnson of the NW Portland Area Indian Health Board and Tyrel Stevenson, Legislative Director of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Johnson mentioned that the dental therapy program was started in Alaska and has been proven successful in improving dental health key areas in Alaska and address the shortage of dentists in Indian Country. An affordable college training program is being developed in the state of Washington. Johnson encouraged the Idaho legislation to lift the restrictions of the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act that was permanent under the Affordable Care Act. States can authorize specific healthcare provisions that would allow the program to be implemented on tribal lands. The Coeur d’Alene Tribes indicated they may introduce legislation in 2018 to facilitate the dental health therapy program. Johnson further asked the Tribal leaders to support lifting the restriction and encouraged supporting the bill that will be presented in this coming legislature.
Other presentations included Social Services funding for mental health and substance abuse from officials from the State of Montana and State of Oregon via conference call. Director Jason Smith, Zoe Barnard and Anna Whiting-Sorrell from Montana and Emily Hawkins, ICWA Consultant of Oregon Office of Tribal Affairs explained their mental health and substance abuse issues and their efforts to overcome the challenges of state regulations.
Next agenda item included a discussion on the placement of the five Tribes flags in the Idaho Capitol building led by Pete Katsilmetes of the Idaho Governor’s Office. Pete identified four areas within the capitol building including the garden level in the rotunda area, the fourth floor of the capitol, the Governor’s office area or any other place the Tribes suggests. Pete will continue working with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes lobbyist and public relations offices to identify a final location and move forward.
An update on the Idaho State Museum Tribal Exhibitions was presented by Janet Gallimore, Executive Director of the Idaho State Historical Society included a short animation video on each of the Five Tribes Creation Story that will be shown in the new museum theater in English and the tribe’s native language. Each Tribe has two point of contacts that are designated on the museum committee. Randy’L Teton and Velda Racehorse of the Language & Cultural department represent the Tribe. The state historical society contracted with a company that will be provide videography to record the creation stories. Our Tribal recording day is on January 11, 2018 in Fort Hall.
Jon Barrett, Executive Director of the Idaho Rural Partnership, provided an update on the organization and that they are seeking Tribal board members to be added to their non-profit board. The Council recommended Barrett send a written request to all five Tribal leaders.
The last agenda item was committee discussion and any other topics the Tribal leaders wanted to bring forth to discuss. Shoshone-Paiute Tribe brought up the concern of increased truck traffic his people are seeing on Highway 51.
Lastly, was the discussion of the next meeting. The committee believes if there was any legislation support needed, they would meet in early to late February to early March 2018 in Boise.
For more information on this meeting or to request copies of handouts from the meeting please email email@example.com. The Council on Indian Affairs is also available on live audio stream by Idaho Public Television at www.legislature.idaho.gov
Idaho Five Tribes Summit meeting in Boise
The Idaho Five Tribes Summit was held on December 5, at the U.S. Bank building in downtown Boise, with the Chairman of the Fort Hall Business Council, Nathan Small attending, along with Tribal staff. The Summit meetings are for Tribal Leadership of the Shoshone-Bannock, the Shoshone-Paiute, the Nez Perce, the Kootenai and the Coeur d’Alene tribes to gather and discuss upcoming policy issues of concern for the State of Idaho. It is an opportunity for tribes to solicit support from other tribes if there are proposed bills for the 2018 Idaho Legislature. Council representatives from each of the five tribes attended.
Topics discussed were the PL 280 Retrocession Process bill that will be introduced by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the Dental Health Aide therapist program that may be introduced by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Also discussed was the Idaho Native Transitional Home, the Idaho State Tribal History Curriculum, and introduced to the tribes was the Cherokee Nation’s suit against opioid distributors and retailers. No date was identified for the next meeting, but it will likely be scheduled at the beginning of Idaho Legislature’s 2018 Session, which will be hosted by the Kootenai Tribe.