Chief Executive Officer of the Fort Hall Casino
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — Chief Executive Officer of the Fort Hall Casino Pamela Gallegos intends to implement a training program where employees and community members can be certified and educated.
“I’m going to have my first meeting in a couple of weeks with the tribal community as well as the employees,” she said and put together a timeline – either start working with Idaho State University or another education provider to get classes certified.
She’s a former professor and was certified to teach so she believes it shouldn’t be that difficult. “As soon as we can get someone to back us up on this, then I think we will be able to kick this off in the next few months.”
Gallegos would like to see people get certified in graphic design – so they can bring advertising in house, electricians, plumbers, engineers, etc.
“The reason I took this job is because I see opportunity – I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about the tribal members – they’re anxious and hungry for more – I can help them and I know I can with an education platform in the house,” she continued.
Gallegos said she’s done it at many other properties she’s worked. “I can still go back to several tribes I worked for, call them up and say how are you doing?” She said some of them are now chief financial officers, chief operating officers, marketing directors and the like. “Probably because I am a minority myself – I understand it’s important,” she continued. “If I don’t start now, when you going to do it?”
She moved her family out here noting most CEO’s leave families behind, live in a location a couple of years then leave. She is a single mother of three kids, “I’m here to live in the community and it’s important to do what I say I’m going to do – my career depends on it and I am staying true to my work.”
Gallegos added she is renegotiating a lot of contracts the casino has had for a long time because it will help with the bottom line. “I’m a tough negotiator – you may have had this contract with us in the past but I’m going to renegotiate it – we pay a fair price and we’re staying competitive,” she said. “There’s a lot of different things I’m doing right now and I’m a big believer in education.”
She said she would love for this tribe to be known for putting together an educational platform – maybe even have outside people come in and pay a fee for classes to make revenue. There is really no university for casino training although Nevada has a lot of certification programs but not geared towards tribal casinos. “Tribal casinos are very different – we are more highly regulated than others,” she said.
She wants to make sure when people come here and get certified, they’re ready for the workforce. She intends to go talk with the high school here in the Tribes and let them know they don’t have to leave here to have a career. “This is really a great place to have a career and not just a job,” she continued, “So I’ve got to plant that seed now so they know it’s there.”
Gallegos said it will be academic courses but also technical. “I don’t know where that will go with TERO – they’ve expressed an interest in my platform.” There’s a need for apprenticeships in a variety of fields. “If we can help make this a very robust program then why not get people trained – if we don’t start now, it’s never going to start.”
“I can walk away by the time my contract is done and have something great,” Gallegos said. “If keep it going there will always be a pool of educated employees,” to take over on the property, she said.
Gallegos said their advertising agency does a great job but she would love for the employees to do it here because they have the expertise and need to just fine tune with graphic design.
“What I expressed to the council is if not now, when?” Adding she based her career and reputation on follow through. She doesn’t want to leave and not be successful. She’s previously stayed at other properties she’s worked for five to six years. Her contract with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes is for five years. The last property she worked she helped get a wellness center and a day care for adults that didn’t necessarily need a nursing home. She has a Master’s degree in health care management. She added if someone asks for help, she will help.
In addition to education, Gallegos is changing the house rules of the casino so people will feel safe. Bringing in outside beverages shouldn’t be allowed or huge, bulky backpacks. She’s getting more training for security officers and at the new casino hopes to have door greeters to greet patrons. In the past, some tribal elders would come in a few hours a night – much like Walmart greeters but different. In addition, she plans to have bathroom attendants to make sure nothing bad is going on or graffiti is taking place. “When our guest go to the bathroom they will be getting a special service but also protection,” Gallegos said. “The whole company I have to change the culture so that we are respectful of the traditions.”
She intends to share the new casino design, along with invest in culture and tribal elders.
Idaho State Museum Building rendering. (Submitted photos)
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — The Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) was awarded a $400,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant for the “Idaho: The Land and Its People” exhibit in the Idaho State Museum in Boise that was co-created with Idaho’s five federally recognized tribes.
Janet Gallimore, ISHS executive director, said all of the funds are dedicated to the museum exhibitions they’ve been planning, designing and working on with the five tribes since 2014.
The Idaho State Museum is under renovation and expansion and the ISHS anticipates the opening of the new facility later this summer. Gallimore said the grant would support their efforts to interpret the stories of Idaho’s Native people. “Indeed tribal content is core to all five new exhibits that comprise Idaho: The Land and Its People.”
She said as they met with tribal partners it became clear they wanted the new museum exhibits to incorporate tribal stories through the exhibition and not be confined to a particular exhibition devoted to tribal stories.
“Tribes have been a critical part of the development of Idaho since before Lewis and Clark arrived to the present day. We developed a "tribal path" interpretive experience that weaves stories from Idaho’s five federally recognized tribes into the exhibits from the Origins Theater—the first exhibit visitors will see—through to contemporary times. The exhibit content described within the NEH proposal reflects this important humanities content,” Gallimore continued.
She said they are especially honored by their ongoing partnership with tribal representatives and chairmen. Among the learning opportunities that include:
• A tribal theater that illuminates tribal creation stories;
• The contemporary Kootenai story will feature the tribe’s efforts in bringing the White Sturgeon back from the brink of extinction;
• The contemporary Nez Perce story will feature fishing rights within the context of the 1980 Rapid River conflict;
• The contemporary Coeur d’ Alene story will feature the tribe’s monitoring of Lake Coeur d’Alene;
• The contemporary Shoshone-Bannock story will feature the tribe’s role in helping the Sockeye salmon endangered species and recovery;
• The contemporary Shoshone-Paiute story will feature the protection of the Canyonlands and sacred and cultural sites in the southwest desert.
'Origins Theater' rendering shows how guests will see the screen.
Gallimore said they are proud of their commitment to a practice that illuminates the Idaho experience through a multi-disciplinary lens that places history at is core, but also integrates, art, science, social science, language, and other disciplines to provide information and understanding about our collective human story in Idaho.
She said the Idaho State Museum would be an exceptional resource for Idaho, because they were committed to telling compelling story of Idaho in a way that would resonate with our state and its citizens. It included a significant amount of stakeholder engagement with hundreds of Idahoans from across the state, including individuals, professionals, community leaders, educators, and tribes.