SPCC Elders hear news and updates at monthly meeting
By Adriana Fehrs
ST.IGNATIUS — It was a light agenda for the monthly Salish Pend d’ Oreille Cultural Committee Elder’s meeting on March 13. The meeting was pushed back a week due to the 2014 Salish Conference, and a sub subsequently a smaller crowd was present.
Gloria Whitworth, a cook for the Long House in St.Ignatius, brings out some delicious cake and ice cream for Thompson Smith’s birthday. He is the only SPCC member that is celebrating a birthday in March. (Adriana Fehrs photo)
The only person in the SPCC meeting celebrating a birthday for March is Thompson Smith, the History and Geography Projects Head. He turns 54 this month. SPCC celebrated with vanilla ice cream and white cake with peaches. Stephen Smallsalmon and several Nkwusm students sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Smith in Salish.
CSKT Preservation Department
Several individuals from the CSKT Preservation Department talked with the elders on updates and their yearly list of projects. Kevin Askan, the Cultural Resource Field Crew Supervisor, informed the SPCC on monitoring and trail work being done at the Hungry Horse Reservoir. Next on their list is the Koocanusa Reservoir; the department plans on clearing trails and monitoring for erosion, along with doing some bank stabilization.
Ira Matt, pictured center, Field Crew Supervisor for the CSKT Preservation Department, speaks about the department’s yearly to-do list at the Salish Pend d’ Oreille Culture Committee Elder’s meeting on March12. (Adriana Fehrs Photo)
Askan says for their immediate tasks are surveying the North West Energy power lines that run from Hot Springs to the Ferry Jocko, and monitoring the Kerr-Kalispell power line.
David Matt is the new Field Technician for the Preservation Department. The Preservation Department plans on hiring an additional two interns from SKC to be recovery technicians.
Lastly, the department is working on mitigation with AT&T for the damages that will incur for the expansion of the cell tower in Hot Springs. Money paid from AT&T will go to CSKT, for the greater benefit of the tribe. Matt and Askan ask the elders to help them identify locations that hold cultural significance.
Pablo Espinoza, Chief of the CSKT Fish and Wildlife Conservation Program, talks with Salish elders at the SPCC meeting on the upcoming bison-hunting season. (Adriana Fehrs photo)
CSKT Fish and Wildlife Conservation Program
Pablo “Chib” Espinoza Jr., chief of the CSKT FWCP, talked with the committee about the upcoming orientation class for bison hunting outside Yellowstone National Park, and last season’s hunting turnout.
September 1 starts the hunting season for bison outside of Yellowstone. The first is also begins the ‘hunter safety class’ that individuals need to attend in order to get permits.
Last year, there were six classes in Pablo and Polson, 233 people attended and 442 permits were issued – two permits per person. 70 bison were harvested from CSKT tribal members. A total of 286 bison were harvested in the State of Montana. The season closed at the end of January. Espinosa was happy to report that no violations for CSKT tribal members occurred last season.
The SPCC elders were informed about the upcoming river honoring on Monday May 12 at six p.m.
Elders are encouraged to attend the May 12 date for the river honoring. The honoring will be held at the lower Flathead River. A BBQ will be hosted for them.
May 13 and 14 River Honoring will host students from all over the reservation.
Goozer Thomas, an adult learner at Nkwusm, tells a story in Salish to demonstrate his speaking abilities while at the SPCC elders meeting. (Adriana Fehrs photo)
Stephen Smallsalmon conducted a demonstration for the SPCC elders to show the progress of their adult learners at Nkwusm.
Steve Arca, Goozer Thomas, John Matt, and Jesse Nenemay each took individual turns speaking to the elders in Salish.
Smallsalmon says one of their grants for the school is ending in August, and because of that, they will have to cut teachers. “It’s sad that we have to get rid of some of the teachers. As a language program, we should be a priority.”
Field Trip to Traveler’s Rest in Lolo
CSKT elders were invited down to Lolo by Loren Flynn, Park Manager, to the Travelers’ Rest State Park. The park is hosting the elders to obtain more information on the area’s history.
They agree to go on Tuesday April 15, leaving St.Ignatius at nine a.m. on the DHRD bus.
Water Compact Redraft
Pat Pierre brought up the issue of a redrafting of the water compact. He read out-loud, tribal council meeting minutes, where the council proceeded to agree to redraft the water compact.
Pat Pierre says, “I don’t want that, I’ve read the whole compact and I’ve been to almost every meeting, there is nothing in there that is against anyone. If we open the door to redrafting the compact, it will be another 15 to 20 years before we reach an agreement.” Louie Adams agreed with Pat Pierre saying, “This shouldn’t happen.”
Brian Lipscomb, CEO of Energy Keepers Inc., answers questions regarding the acquisition of the Kerr Dam, and seeks the Salish elder’s input on what to rename the dam. (Adriana Fehrs photo)
Energy Keepers Inc.
Brian Lipscomb, the CEO of Energy Keepers Inc., met with the elders to address any questions.
Lipscomb started by informing the committee on the acquisition of the dam. The Tribe’s acquisition of the Kerr Project is priced at $18,289,798. The highest, Lipscomb says, that the Tribe would have paid for the dam is 31 million. The hearing took place back in January. Full ownership of the dam will occur in 18 months, while in the meantime employment and policies need to be put in place.
Lipscomb says the commemoration will take place on September 5, and a new name will be given. The dam was originally named after Frank Kerr, the president of the Montana Power Company in 1938. He asks the elders for help naming the dam. Shirley Trahan suggested that they call the dam ‘White Beaver Dam’.
The elders asked about changes in the price of power. Lipscomb responded by saying, “The state regulates the market prices for power. All of the mega watts created at Kerr Dam are sold to the market.”
Dr. Jeffrey Bendremer, Director of Tribal Historic Preservation at SKC, shows a slideshow of a six-week intensive summer archeologist field program that eight SKC completed last summer. The eight students are studying for a Tribal Historic Preservation Major at SKC, and a part of the program includes a summer field study. (Adriana Fehrs photo)
Tribal Historic Preservation Major at SKC
Dr. Jeffrey Bendremer, Director of Tribal Historic Preservation at SKC, talked with the SPCC elders on the new Tribal Historic Preservation major at SKC.
Bendremer says there have been four students graduate with an associate’s in Tribal Historic Preservation from SKC, all of whom are continuing on to obtain their bachelor degree.
All students are required to do a summer archeology field trip, which is a six-week intensive project that starts out at Fort Connah outside of St.Ignatius. The eight students that went through the summer program represented six different tribes.
The next three weeks were spent at the Grant Kohrs Ranch in Deer Lodge. The students use a remote sensing, non-intrusive technic to find artifacts.
While at the Perma bridge area, the students constructed eight fire pits to help preserve the campsite.
During the fall and spring quarters at SKC, the students cataloged the artifacts found during the summer. Most were categorized as ‘waist from stone tools’.
KwaTuqNuk and Grey Wolf Casino Expansion
Charles Tellier of St.Ignatius, asked the SPCC elders for ideas on possible designs to add to the upcoming expansion to the Best Western KwaTuqNuk Resort and Casino and the Grey Wolf Peak Casino. The Elders talked about how the KwaTuqNuk already uses a red handprint for their logo. Tellier asked if they had any particular design for a boarder. “Something that would distinguish us.”
Pictured left to right: Patricia McClure-Buffalo, Sam Buffalo, and Charles Tellier speak with the elders at the SPCC elders meeting on ideas for culturally centered treatment programs or activities. Tribal Health will be receiving extra funding for treatment programs, and will have until September to implement their plans. (Adriana Fehrs photo)
Tribal Behavioral Health
Sam Buffalo and wife Patricia McClure-Buffalo, of the Tribal Behavioral Health Program, approached the SPCC elders on their input for culturally relevant activities they could implement for their treatment program.
Sam Buffalo says the Indian Health Center in St.Ignatius is receiving funding for drug prevention and “we want to bring back a cultural aspect.”
They say they have until September to start implementing treatment programs.
Equine therapy is one possibility, and they welcome the elders to come and observe.
Patricia says, “One thing that really helped me in my youth is having my family and elders speak for me. If we could incorporate that in our program – having elders play an active role in our treatment programs – that would be really great.”
For more information on the Salish Pend d’ Oreille Culture Committee meetings, contact them at (406) 745-4572. They meet every first Wednesday of the month at the Long House in St.Ignatius, 81 Blind Barnaby Street at nine a.m.