The following is a partial mid-quarter report from the Polson District representative: 

Charmel Gillin, Polson District Tribal Council Representative

Charmel Gillin, Polson District Tribal Council Representative

Administrative Report

Recruitment for vacant department head positions resulted in the on-boarding of Michelle Mitchell in the position of Tribal Education Department Head; Mark Couture has been selected as Tribal Lands Department Head; Velda Shelby has accepted the position of Economic Development Director; the hiring process for the Tribal Health Department head has been halted resulting in the temporary appointment of Clayton Matt, Tribal Services Director, as the acting department head. Several quality tribal member candidates were interviewed for these major management and leadership roles. We are fortunate to have such well-equipped and experienced members!

Further Council discussion regarding the Tribal Health Department Head position has centered on the selection process itself and the planned accreditation of the health department. Most recently, the Council selected a Tribal Health advisory committee who will develop board requirements and establish a board.

The former Kicking Horse Job Corps Center land and facility use committee has prepared a plan and received authority to expend funds to renovate two buildings creating approximately 40 office spaces. They will determine which programs will utilize the spaces. Other buildings have been identified for records storage. Rick Eneas, Director of Financial Management will be staffing positions to assist with records management. The remainder of the property is under management of the maintenance/security personnel. Some interest has been shown to utilize the gymnasium for short-term temporary needs. The committee is working on those plans, as well, which may include Two Eagle River School basketball program and the Tribal Health fitness center, which is now awaiting a future facility in Ronan. Long-term uses continue to be contemplated.

Policy Report

Council directed the drafting of a policy regarding the management of funds returned from Individual Indian Monies (IIM) in the case of Missing or Murdered Indigenous Person (MMIP) tribal members. Essentially, the policy must address handling of funds returned to the tribe when missing status changes to deceased and is potentially determined by the BIA to belong to the tribal government rather than individual estate. Director of Finance, Rick Eneas, reported there are 15 individuals presently missing. He and CSKT Managing Attorney Rhonda Swaney will present the initial draft.

A page-by-page review of the CSKT Ordinance 69C (Personnel) is ongoing; extensive internal reviews have already occurred. The detailed review will allow the Council to analyze each proposed modification and understand the full impacts of proposed changes before action is taken.

The Timber Use Policy Statement (TUPS) was the topic of a public meeting held September 18, 2019. The meeting was intended to bring all interested parties to the table for a recommendation for Council action. Several statements were made including (but not limited to) the impacts some restrictions impose upon generations of wood cutters, the impacts of equipment used in areas where hunting and gathering foods are conflicting, the need to give back to the land and the priority of cultural resources which are endangered, the impact of equipment use on competition for firewood, tribal member rights to participate in forest management and economic opportunities, wildlife management and snag retention, the 1 to 3 month process of NEPA reviews. The public meeting resulted in a negotiated agreement to continue waiving restrictions of skidding equipment during winter months for firewood harvesting for both personal and commercial wood cutters, and to allow “Free use without permit” personal use woodcutters use of their equipment within the 200’ zone with bonding requirements on skidding equipment. After the meeting, the Forestry Department continued to gather written statements in opposition to the agreement and later recommended retraction of the personal equipment use within the 200’ zone. The TUPS modification was approved November 26, using the latter version of the resolution, which represents a majority of the negotiated agreement.

“Enjoy your holidays!”

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