Shoshone-Bannock tribal member Sheryl Slim talks to
KPVI news anchor at the April 11 press conference.
By ROSELYNN WAHTOMY
POCATELLO – Shoshone-Bannock tribal member Robert Dude Perry Jr. orchestrated a press conference between some tribal members and local media outlets on Tuesday, April 11 at Optimist Park to bring forth concerns about the Fort Hall Business Council (FHBC).
The group felt holding the meeting off the reservation would provide more freedom from alleged censorship.
Perry did not give a statement at the press conference and said he already gave his statement by letter to the FHBC and would forward the information to media outlets. Additionally, Perry has been active in promoting his stance across social media on Facebook.
The letter received via email to the Sho-Ban News, outlined how he wants the following problems to be looked into and addressed at the annual meeting with answers.
In the letter he states, “Each and every one of these issues is grounds for removal from office and/or punishment through the legal process. As our leaders, it is vital that each and every person involved, including attorneys, step up with honesty, integrity and accountability to rectify the issues being brought up.”
The issues brought forth by the letter include:
1. The competency of the Tribal Courts, in particular that of Associate Judge Leo Ariwite, and attached a document from the United States Attorney District of Idaho regarding an incident in 2004 in the case of United States v. Theodore Means Jr., which calls Ariwite’s integrity into question.
2. Perry cited unidentified tribal members came forward asking why they were sent to prison for bad checks at Tribal Enterprise, while current FHBC Chairman Blaine Edmo did the same thing and served no prison time for it. Confidential documentation was provided outlining the stipulation.
3. A letter dated March 22, 2010 by Alonzo Coby to the FHBC requesting for a loan in the amount of $16,500 from Tribal Farms, which was approved and would be paid back with lease income. Perry stated he confirmed with FHBC Secretary Tino Batt that Coby was paying back the money and still owes $8,000. Furthermore, Perry stressed Enterprise is not a lending institution and requests a list of everyone who borrowed funds from the Enterprise.
4. The Ellis Gaming deal, where $5 million was lost by the FHBC, and people are inquiring what happened and want to know how the council was able to invest the amount without permission from the tribal people. The letter requests removal from office for all those who were involved and they should not be able to run again for FHBC.
5. Tribal Courts was brought up again for accusations of being non-compliant. The issue of separation of power between the Judicial and political parties was brought up. However, the Sho-Ban News couldn’t independently verify it.
6. The Judicial Council credibility was brought up but the Sho-Ban News couldn’t independently verify it.
7. An allegation about FHBC council candidate Ladd Edmo involving drug tests was raised but the Sho-Ban News couldn’t independently verify the claims. There is concerns about former council members Mitzi Sabori and Glen Fisher who were knowingly arrested for DUI’s without being reprimanded. However, Fisher was reprimanded and suspended for a period of three days after an initial incident.
Sheryl Slim talked about the recall petitions she’s spearheading on FHBC Chairman Blaine Edmo and Vice-Chairman Darrell Shay for the reason of having a vote of no confidence of the leadership.
“It’s not personal, it’s just because they are the chair and the vice-chair,” she said.
Slim cited the reasons for her concerns, such as the poverty on the reservation and few jobs available, needing housing improvement and how she would like to see the tribal leadership do better. She pointed out the Tribes support the community in the surrounding area but asks why they can’t support the economy within the boundary of the reservation.
Slim said she is not speaking for all tribal members but is dissatisfied with what is happening. In the future she would like to see more voter education and for the people to understand the traits leadership should possess with honesty at the forefront. She also wants an audit done on farming, the general fund, Tax Department and would like to see a Tax Commission Board established.
She was given a 90-day deadline, which is nearing its due date on April 20 at 5 p.m., where she needs to present a total of 409 signatures and is currently at a little over 200 signatures. Since she’s only able to collect signatures from registered voters she felt people were intimidated to sign, especially those who were employed within the Tribes out of fear of retaliation.
She stressed that each recall petition was $200 each, and wanted it known she did not spend a dollar to take out the petition and it was done by a collection from different tribal members.
Once Slim collects the needed amount of signatures, the recall petition will go back before the Tribal Election Board, who will validate the voter’s signatures.
Lori Eldridge explained in 2011 she was working for the Tribal Enterprises and alleges she witnessed a lot of misappropriate things going on like loans and bad check writing. She said she had to get involved herself to show the people what was going on.
Eldridge claimed she followed the chain of command and found it difficult to file a grievance when she alleges the Human Resource Department and management were also part of the problem. When she went to the Fort Hall Business Council she said in return they turned around and investigated her. She eventually had 11 charges brought against her, including counts of fraud, libel and obstructing an officer, which were later all dismissed.
Eldridge was not a part of the original group who started this particular recall petition, but because of her past experience, she too initiated a recall on former FHBC Chairman Nathan Small. She still has concern for the future of the Tribes and came out to support. After feeling like she was dragged through the mud, she would like to see justice be served on past and current Fort Hall Business Council and public officials.
Sunshine Perry, daughter of Robert Dude Perry Jr., feels it’s important for people to be knowledgeable of what’s going on within the Tribes. She knows people are innocent until proven guilty but wants to know the truth regarding the things people are hearing. She would like for her son to be proud to be Shoshone-Bannock.
“We have to follow the rules, regardless if we’re in town or if we’re in Fort Hall that’s just how it is. We’re always taught to walk in both worlds but we have to follow the rules too,” said Sunshine.
In a statement from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Public Affairs office it reads, “The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Constitution provides opportunities for the Tribal member public to express their concerns to their Tribal leadership. In accordance with Article V, Section 3 of the Tribal Constitution, the recall process provides directions for the recall of individual Tribal council members. The Fort Hall Business Council respects that process. The Council also supports Tribal member’s Constitutionally protected right to legally express their individual opinions.”
BOISE (AP) — The governor of Idaho has vetoed a legislative measure that would have repealed the state’s 6 percent sales tax on groceries.
The Idaho Statesman reports Gov. Butch Otter rejected the tax repeal Tuesday evening.
Otter wrote in his veto message that the costs of the proposal are too high and the potential for imminent financial need too great for the small amount of tax relief it would provide.
The governor had hinted at a veto during the session based on its impact on state revenues and said the state was facing additional financial pressure with at least $30 million in infrastructure damage from winter storms.
In his veto message, he cited an $80 million drop in revenue once the repeal took full effect next year.
The measure had won broad support among lawmakers.