Jerrika Dee Capps was found at 9:21 a.m. on August 4.
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — Two-year-old Jerrika Dee Capps was found at 9:21 a.m. August 4 about a half a mile northeast of the Capps residence in a wheat field said Fort Hall Police Investigator Joe Roberts.
She was being checked by EMS, was dirty but otherwise okay said FHPD Captain Mark Massey.
The girl was reported missing the evening before and an eight-hour search was suspended around 4:30 a.m. and resumed at 8 a.m. She reportedly wandered off from her home.
Jerrika Dee Capps
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Public Safety office activated an Emergency Operations Center and a unified command was established between law enforcement and Fort Hall Fire Department.
Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Nathan Small extended appreciation to the 192 volunteers who assisted through the night, along with Tribal Resources who participated in the search efforts.
Tribal resources that assisted included: Fish and Game, Corrections, Transportation, Facilities, FHBC Chairman Small, Executive Director and Public Safety.
Portneuf Air Rescue did overflights of the impacted area.
Audience at the July 26 gaming hiring meeting at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center.
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — Fort Hall Casino Chief Executive Officer Pamela Gallegos is asking Shoshone-Bannock tribal members to urge the Fort Hall Business Council to open up hiring preferences to everyone including non-Indians.
She said at a July 26 community meeting, which later was said to be a public hearing, opening hiring to everyone is necessary to fill the current 50 job openings and 150 more jobs for the new casino.
Delilah George asked why the meeting ad in the July 19 Sho-Ban News had per capita listed and it was removed for the July 26 ad?
Gallegos said they want to expand the per capita not reduce it and said it was a marketing tool to get people to attend the meeting, “We wanted to get as many bodies out here as we could.” She said if they’re not successful, they would not have enough money to keep sending down to the Tribes.
Delilah asked why the per capita isn’t more noting tribal members don’t spend it foolishly. Gallegos said the gaming operation takes quite a bit to operate plus flow money to tribal government. She encouraged people to attend district meetings. Delilah said district meetings don’t tell the tribal members anything.
Delilah also asked why Gaming gives to outside entities when the Tribes could use it? Gallegos said they give to the tribal community first and said elders, youth and tribal programs first. But they do have to support the community because they have a lot of guests that spend money at the casino.
Arlinda Jones questioned why the executive office was getting a raise yet the per capita stays the same. Wages are higher and they get raises continuously. Gallegos said she’s not aware of any raises as she gets paid a salary and doesn’t make money off cutting positions.
A tribal member said he has degree in business but hasn’t gotten hired at the casino despite applying.
Gaming Commission Executive Director Marvin Osborne said a lot of people are saying things that are not true. He said this tribe was the first to file for employment rights in the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) case with FMC. He served on the council at the time and it went forward noting they wanted tribal members to be hired. The Tribes didn’t do it themselves, they went to the National Congress of American Indians for support, did lobbying and it took a lot of work. “We did it and we won,” he said.
Concerning the hiring issue, Osborne said all they did was ask the FHBC why can’t gaming be like the rest of the tribal organizations. He said they see vast amount of churning of people over and over. They can’t fill positions.
With the development of TERO it gave opportunity to a variety of people but the key word is qualified – one has to be qualified to do work. He questioned why not hire a tribal member’s spouse if the person is another Indian. Everybody else can do that but gaming and said they have a rough time.
Osborne said in an email the community meeting was to help build a positive image of why preference is important and to demonstrate a reason. They’ve taken the hiring issue out to all five reservation districts starting in May. Most of the tribal members seem to be okay with the preference uses of TERO with the exception of a few.
And yes there are a lot of questions about licensing and how it fits the preference issue. The graphs and the amount of people seem to show gaming employees coming and going, over and over. Osborne did a presentation at the meeting that showed employment numbers for gaming, the Tribes, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Irrigation, Indian Heath Service, Tribal Enterprises, elders, those in higher education and those incarcerated. There are a total of 1,544 employees.
He said the graphs show the importance of keeping a stable workforce and future plans to take over on vendors that the Tribes can manage themselves with our own tribal people with proper training and education it can be done. As it stands there is a social network for hires that places the burdens on the employees that have been there for four years or more. The graphs show one half the workforces comes and goes that impacts existing employment. Calling in someone to take another person’s place because they wont come to work or quit their jobs is a habit and has stop.
Osborne said the FHBC could adopt TERO preference in hiring and inform the tribal membership of their actions but they hesitated and asked it be taken out to the tribal members to get their reactions to move forward or continue to state at level one and two of hiring. In April, the Gaming Commission attempted find out the number of employees in each gaming department asking if you were to fill every position, how many employees would that be? They wanted the response because there is a potential of 100 to 150 more employees coming aboard but it is important to know the number of total employees to determine the needs.
Based upon their records, they found 261 gaming employees have either been dismissed, suspended or termination since 2015, 2016 and 2017. In the same years they’ve approved the transfers of 230 employees to the requested departments. He said it appears they have more people leaving and very little growth or none at all (recycle bin).
Tribal members in attendance at the meeting were either for or against opening up employment at the casino.
Lee Ann Dixey Avila said the tribal members should come first, “This is who we are, where we live, it doesn’t matter who comes and goes, we will still be here.” The Tribes need to think about the future. She said the stats show our tribal members can do the job.
Patricia Christy said she’s worked at the casino for a year and a half and the turnover rate lies within ourselves. A lot of the younger generation – early 20s, are going out to have a good time, they want to party and get fired. In order to do a job, one has to sacrifice family time and person has to want to do that. She sees the turnover and in order to have a successful hotel, they need people who want to work and not just work for a couple of months then leave.
Gaylen Edmo said he attends law school at the University of Idaho and studies federal Indian law. Indian preference is an implement of tribal sovereignty and its what Congress refers to as our inherent right to create. A lot of people don’t’ have that right and tribes are protected because we are a political group and not just another minority group. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act created and established: number one economic development on reservations and number two creation of jobs on reservations for Indian people. Under the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Gaming Code Section 1.02 Purposes b. to promote revenue for economic development for the tribal government and its members and in turn promote self-sufficiency and a strong tribal government. c. to provide an economic enterprise and increase employment for tribal members and businesses. He said it’s the people’s law and we voted on it but he was too young. This meeting isn’t the place to be discussing it and he asked where the tribal attorneys were and the FHBC. He said a formal meeting is needed. Gaylen said the law doesn’t need to be touched because we’re abrogating Indian preference. He said it wasn’t right when the tribal member said he had a college degree and couldn’t get a job at gaming. He heard people laughing in the back and it’s not funny. “There need to be a push to retain Indian sovereignty and keep our Indian people working. Why would you abrogate your own laws? “It’s not about per cap, people being laid off, it having Indian preference in place,” he said. “The state of Idaho does want Indian gaming and we’re fighting ourselves.”
Osborne said they’re trying to get the council to recognize the situation and they don’t want to abrogate tribal things. Gaming is the only ones living up the resolution the tribal membership passed.
Louise E. Dixey thanked Osborne for the statistics and the interpretation at the general council meeting provides preference to hire tribal members and first line descendants. We empower ourselves when we hire our own tribal members. She asked how many tribal members apply, are not hired or screened out. She asked if exit interviews were done of employees when they left. “I believe our tribal embers can do the job – they have good common sense, have it in their heart and have respect for people.” She said the resolution should become an ordinance that means law.
Tina Batt Silviera said the problem with the younger people are they too busy doing drugs, getting drunk and having fun and that’s what ruins our employees. She said they cry around like little babies and are never going to grow up. She said Pam is trying to change the reservation for good and need someone to lead us. We need to bring other people in that can work for us, supervisors are too young and managers are not trained.
Lila Perdomo said tribal elders are needed to work at the hotel – they should be respected and they do work hard.
Zach Kutch said there is opportunity for tribal members for those who want it. He said a security manager gave him a chance, he’s worked in housekeeping and is now overseeing the laundry and facilities at the hotel. He said Pam does care.
Thomas Mendez said he’s an elder and just started working at the casino. He said there should be a business plan in place, people shouldn’t have been worried about getting per capita's as the Tribes should have paid down the debt. “If you don’t have a 25 to 50 year plan, you’re always going to be playing catch up,” he said. “We need you as young people to step up and do the job.”
Gaming commissioner Larry Bagley said the intent of the meeting is that it’s supposed to be a public hearing and it’s good to hear the issues. He read the resolutions the tribal membership voted on regarding hiring at the casino. In 2003, the FHBC approved a resolution to go to the third level because of a shortage of workers. The numbers are out there, some agree, some don’t – there’s a lot of tribal members married to non members. The bottom line is there needs to be bodies at the gaming operation – tonight is a hearing not a Called meeting.
Tribal elder Emaline George said many of our parents were marched to this reservation from their homelands. We are all descendants from other tribes but the government gave the name Shoshone and Bannock although she believes it should be Pahnahqwat. She said English is her foreign language and we need to teach our young people to respect who we are when you think of our people marched from Boise and the Agai Deka or Lemhi Shoshone marched here from Salmon in 1905. We are descendants of these people. She said the last ten years things have changed and there’s lots of jealousy. She believes the Tribes should include other Indians in hiring but not non-Indians. She advised the council to stand up. “All we want is for our people to work here, nothing more.”
Taryn Shoyo said it’s good to see the numbers and despite the stress the casino employees go through they’re still making it work. For those who attend district meetings there isn’t full financial disclosure – that’s misinformation. As a tribal member she’s concerned with the “Willy nilly” opening of employment. She asked when the information will be brought to the general council to make a decision as it shouldn’t just be the FHBC or the gaming commission. She liked what Gaylen Edmo said – the gaming compact, what tribal sovereignty means, purposes or encouraging tribal employing – shouldn’t that be a concern for all our people here? “Let’s not jump to hiring wide open and show some respect for our tribal members,” Taryn said. She’s not in favor of opening of hiring, do tribal members first, descendants and level three – tribal member from another tribe.
Osborne said he was on the council 11 years ago and said we are an IRA (Indian Reorganization Act) tribe and still under the government so any action has to be approved by the government. When gaming was formed a lot of things go with it – per capita has to have an allocation plan. There has to be an audit that determines the net revenue made. If you don’t have the numbers, there could be a loss of revenue. They’re struggling to hire people.
Alene Menta said what she got out of the presentation is the hotel and casino need to have more money to operate to keep the budget flowing. With the enrollment, the tribal members continue to increase and the per capita decreases. She explained different employment situations that happened with her grandchildren.
Casino CEO Gallegos said the numbers show how short employees they are and the continued drop in employees. She’s Hispanic and her parents taught her to respect her elders. They went to district meetings to explain what they’re doing – there’s lots of positives going on. She said 149 tribal members have signed u for education to get hospitality management degrees and 80 signed up for internships. She’s gone through every department and wants the employees to be successful. She’s also setting up an ambassador program for elders to greet people at the casino. Many talked about family members having issues in life and she also had a brother who succumbed to a drug addiction so she’s aware of it. Many have been screen out because of their past but now they’re able to approve tribal members for positions and she’s hired two already and will work with them to get GED’s. She has a five year contract and sincerely wants to help tribal members. Another goal is get a daycare going at the casino as she did one at another casino that is still operating. There’s 50 positions to fill right now and 150 coming up so she encouraged tribal members to come talk to her. She asked those in attendance to go to the council to support the hiring effort. “I want to see the casino open and successful.” She would like the same hiring preference as all of the other entities.
Destiney Tinno said she’s been employed at the casino for 25 years – been here through every general manager, worked in many departments and most recently worked in marketing for 11 years. She has a passion for working there and enjoys seeing employees come and go. She’s on the internship program and going to school online at her own cost. She feels positive about the new casino and people are talking about the great things we have. She wants to see the Tribes more successful and supports getting more people here to work.
Bill Brower read the resolution the general membership approved in 2002 and the hiring preferences are one and two – enrolled members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and non enrolled members of descendants of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. If the council overrides the resolution, they are overstepping their authority brought by the general membership. “This should have been brought forth in May,” and are behind now. He asked what are they doing to retain people and there are people that can come back to work – it has to rest with management.
Claudia Washakie thanked all of the enterprise, hotel and casino employees for their service as they’re making money 24/7. They’re contributing most to our tribal per capita and she commended them for their dedication. She’s in favor of opening employment to other tribes but not to non-Indians. She encouraged people to talk with their kids to encourage them to have a good work ethic and clean background. She commended the employees for their work ethic and ability to work extra shifts when others don’t show up for work.
Ray Barlow said he’s been working at the casino for a couple of years and he has a business degree. “As we grow, progress, we face challenges we didn’t think about 20 years ago.” He said the benefits are great, it’s a family atmosphere and he enjoys coming to work. He said the Tribes need to think progressively where they will be about in the future and the children’s future. “We are a business and not tribal government and should be incentivizing people to take to next level. I do appreciate working at the casino.”
Anna Broncho said the gaming employment ordinance was passed in 2007 and in order to get more people employed it would be helpful to rescind it and the casino have their own written policy on background checks.
Gina Reeves said she’s worked for 11 years at the casino – when she first started they had a staff of 15 in housekeeping and three supervisors. Now they’re down to five workers and one supervisor. She would like to see more Native brothers and sisters come on board.
Gallegos said they want to see things progress, some of the positions they have to post for the new casino they will have to train employees for new jobs and it has to be done in the next few months. She believes they need to get tribal members employees but if they don’t have bodies to fill the jobs there would be no expansion going on. She encouraged people to express their concern to the tribal council.
In contacting FHBC Chairman Nathan Small, he said the council hasn’t made a decision and will probably need a general membership vote.