Left: Manuel Diaz in Class A uniform; right: Manuel Diaz will be honored during
the Veteran's Breakfast Monday, November 9.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — Manuel Diaz will be honored during the Annual Veteran’s Breakfast on Saturday, November 9 for his years of service to the U.S. Army.
Diaz decided to join because he was expelled from school. He didn’t want to tell his mom, so he went with his friend to enlist. His friend didn’t make the test and he did, so he enlisted on October 22, 1959 and served three years.
He had several members of his family who were also in the military and were stationed and fought all over the world.
He did his basic training at Fort Ord, did basic armor at Fort Knox, and was at Fort Dix until a ship was loaded and he was sent to west Germany, near Frankfurt.
He was in the A Troop 3rd Squadron of the 12th Calvary, 3rd Armored Division of the 7th Army. His tour was supposed to be for 18 months, but the Berlin Crisis started up and President Kennedy declared all unmarried men to stay there 20 days prior to separation from the Army. He ended up staying for 30 months.
Diaz was ranked an E-3 Private First Class. He was a tank crewman and did maintenance on the tanks.
He had the experience of visiting countries he thought he’d never see besides in books and shows.
“To learn those people’s culture was kind of fascinating,” he said.
He went to England, a place that was a little harder to get used to than he thought. He also went to Holland, Amsterdam, place he enjoyed for their scenery with the canals running through the cities, it reminded him of San Antonio, Texas. He then went to Belgium where he visited old castles. He recalled while in Germany he saw the death camps the Jewish people were forced to, as well as mass graves.
Once he was finished he came home and hung around for a bit. He made plans to join the Marine Corps in 1964 but was celebrating his last days home and got into a fight and broke his hand. He never went back.
When he got back he went to work for the railroad and the union. He said his experience in the military helped him with his work after, especially since he got his GED, while he was on leave.
Diaz said the Army was a good experience for him when he was young, even though he got a little homesick when his mom and brother would write.
He’s surprised to be selected as an honoree but said he felt good about it. He’s glad he still has his health and enjoys to spend time with family.
Montana Treaty Rights workshop on October 23.
By YVETTE TUELL
Tribal Public Affairs
BILLINGS, Mont. — The Montana/Dakotas State Office for Bureau of Land Management presented a Treaty Rights Seminar for BLM and Forest Service employees in Billings, Montana on Wednesday, October 23.
The Seminar was intended to assist the federal employees when addressing tribal treaty rights on public lands in Montana and east into North and South Dakota. Four treaties were discussed, including the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868, the Blackfeet Treaty of 1855, the Hellgate Treaty of 1855 and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.
Tribal speakers included Attorney Joe McKay, Blackfeet, who spoke on the Blackfeet treaties of 1855 and 1895, John Harrison, staff attorney for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, who presented on the Treaty rights of the Hellgate Treaty and their recent water agreement. Yvette Tuell focused on treaty rights and tribal consultation requirements, and Professor Joseph McGeshick provided a historical lecture on the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and how it impacted the Sioux and the later conflicts over the Black Hills lands.
Over 60 federal employees attended from throughout Montana and parts of the Dakotas, and also included two Department of Interior solicitors.
New Transportation building on Sheepskin.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — The Transportation Department Administration Office is now located in their new permanent building on Sheepskin Road.
They should officially be moved in by end of the month and they plan to host an open house once that happens.
They purchased a modular structure from the Tribes that was formerly used during the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel construction. Their old office was a house located on Reservation Road, which was rented from the Shoshone-Bannock Enterprises since 2004. The new space will allow for them to save money since they will no longer be paying rent.
The building was purchased with funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Federal Highway Agency. Everything done at the new site was all done in house, including the waterline, sewer line and electrical. Planning for the new site was done by Brooks Davis and Kendall Edmo, along with Cultural Resource Department Larae Bill and Carolyn Smith.
“I think it’s in a better location than being out there,” said Anthony Pete Broncho, Transportation manager. “We’re closer to our Transit office as well.”
Technical Service Manager Richard Thompson explained they have had the new location, which is approximately five acres, since 2007, which was given by the Fort Hall Business Council. The area was to be used for gravel and to build a new shop that will eventually house all of Roads and Transit, essentially making it so everything can be done in house.
The new building has four offices and also includes space for a conference room, kitchen area, and two restrooms. The building is well built and was initially built to be used in Alaska, it cost about $100,000.
Broncho said they’re always looking for a conference room and have often had to go looking for space to utilize.
Another benefit is their new office is ADA compliant, which was a problem at the other location. When elders would come over it was hard for them to get in.
The Transportation Department will soon be looking at buying their own painter, which will be utilized to paint the roads instead of having an outside source do it.
They’re already started preparing for winter road maintenance and are ready to go.