2023 Fall General Council Recap

The 2023 Fall General Council was held in Kamiah, ID on September 28, 29, 30. Many accomplishments have taken place since the previous General Council meeting, held in the spring. The following report is a recap of the development, deployment, growth presented to the Nez Perce people at the Fall 2023 General Council. 

Climate-related changes to weather patterns, seasonal patterns, and plants and animals threaten the health and socio-economic well-being of tribal members, the infrastructure investments of the Tribe, and the Tribe’s treaty-reserved right to hunt, fish, gather, and practice traditional religious and cultural ceremonies.

There are many positive ways that individual and local actions can reduce the carbon footprint. Remember to reduce, recycle, and reuse. 

The Day Labor Program is a holistic approach to improving community welfare and morale by meeting the needs of elders, tribal programs and those who have barriers to traditional employment. 

Several contractors report how the program has significantly helped improve their circumstances, many of which have gone on to gain full-time employment.

During the last 12 months, the Day Labor Program has dispatched contractors to 185 projects. A total of 143 of these were yardwork jobs for Tribal elders throughout the Tribal Communities.

An additional 82 new and renewed day laborers with active contracts have been recently added in the various communities throughout the Reservation.

The Aht’Wy Interchange Project construction activity began on May 15, 2023, and the anticipated completion date is November 2024. 

Knife River is moving through the project as planned. A minor issue has been reported that is not expected to delay progress in any way.

Traffic flow changed in September that provides one entry way into Aht’Wy at the temporary entry between the Clearwater River Casino’s Hotel and RV park. This entry will also be used for outgoing traffic that wish to travel north or south on Hwy 95/12. The west entry near the Fuel Station is now an exit for northbound lanes only.

The Cherry Lane Bridge construction on Highway 12 began in April 2021. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on June 21, 2023 to signify the completion of the project.

The State Small Business Credit Initiative proposal, if awarded, will provide $970,000 for the Nimilpuu Community Development Fund to lend to various tribal projects over a ten year period. If all funds are deployed, the Tribe will be allowed to keep 100% of these funds to relend. Notification is expected later this Fall.

A $750,000 three year grant award, in partnership with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the University of Idaho, for “Advancing Tribal Food Systems-Based Economic Development in Northern Idaho Research” will examine the potential of growing, processing, and marketing food, plant or protein. The Regional Food Summit is set for March 6-9, 2024, at the Coeur d’Alene Casino & Resort. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Wisteqn’eemit approved two awards in September through the Heidi Gudgell higher education scholarship in the amount of $500. Another Wisteqn’eemit scholarship opportunity will be offered in the spring of 2024.

Political efforts on Snake River salmon restoration have picked up momentum by having Presidential Advisor John Podesta and Council on Environmental Quality Director Brenda Mallory, participate in several meetings. This provides focus and attention by the regional and national federal agencies.

Issues for regional change have gained traction, including a pathway to breaching the four Lower Snake River dams, improved fish operations at the dams until that time, a significant increase in funding for fish programs and consideration of more fish and wildlife manager direction for the funding, rather than solely with BPA, in addition to incentives for tribal energy development that would go towards replacement of that provided by the 4 dams. A short-term extension to further work on details appears to be agreeable to the parties involved in the hydro system litigation.

Conservation enforcement cases that were reported are as follows: A total of 53 cases were generated over the last six months. 14 fishing cases, 12 citizen assists, 11 outside agency assists, 5 trespass cases,4 animal assists, 3 littering cases, 1 hunting case, 1 wastage case, 1 animal complaint, and 1 other case.

Some future goals of the Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises (NPTE) include developing business plans for meat processing and storage, value-added agriculture, irrigation development, future acquisitions, RV grant proposal, Cannabis and Hemp, and non-gaming marketing strategies. 

The grant proposal, if successful, will require the NPTE to have input in program operation of meat processing and storage. There are also additional grant requests that can be made to expand meat storage and processing capacity. Value added agriculture research includes viticulture, berries, restaurant vegetables, poultry farming, flour milling and hemp. Irrigation development includes efforts to utilize our water code to develop an irrigation district to allow for higher value irrigated crops. The RV grant is to develop a state-of-the-art RV park at Zims Hot Springs and further modernize the site.

It is also the goal to develop comprehensive project mapping, to ensure the department routinely documents and outlines development plans. Development concepts and business plans are also a big focus for future department function. NPTE are also focused on performing comprehensive market research for each development concept they work towards. NPTE plans to evaluate the value proposition for current business throughout the year, improve reporting and communicating, focus on continuous improvement, and better utilize technology in operations. 

The Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises combined had great financial performances in the first ten months of FY23 achieving 127% of the annual budget with two months remaining in the year. Both gaming operations have performed well in 2023.

The Clearwater River Casino is currently at 110% of the annual net income budget through 10 months.

The It’se Ye-Ye Casino has had one of its best years of performance on the gaming floor and is currently at 189% of the annual net income budget through July.

The Nez Perce Express has had an extremely good year with fuel sale profits and has exceeded the entire year’s net income budget, earning 221% of the annual budget. The Camas Express also experienced the same positive fuel sale profits as Nez Perce Express, attaining only 7% of the budgeted loss for the year, with the benchmark being 83% for the 10 months.

The Red Wolf Golf Club revenues were slightly ahead of budget for the first 10 months, achieving 85% of annual revenues. The Red Wolf Golf Club is also slightly ahead of the budget benchmark for July in net income, earning 84% of the annual budget.

Year to date the revenue at Zims totaled 74% of the annual revenue budget, 10% below the budgeted amount for 10 months. Total expenses year to date at Zims totaled 89% of the annual budget, primarily due to the disposal expense of removing the three trailer homes on the property.

Nimiipuu Heath (NMPH) strives to provide quality healthcare in a culturally sensitive and confidential environment, with the Nimiipuu people in mind. 

 NMPH continues the development of their Comprehensive Memory Program. Stay up to date with updated clinical guidelines, such as the new asthma guidelines that recommend anyone with asthma, of any severity, utilize an inhaled steroid.

NMPH Continues the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) work. Developing a Comprehensive Weight Loss Program for diabetes prevention, improved weight equipment at the Fitness Center at NMPH, Lapwai HS weight room and future facility in Kamiah, community program development for cultural activities such as hunting, powwow and root digging fitness programs to help the people get ready for cultural activities.

Assisted Living Facility project has begun, water issues are delaying progress, but solutions are being explored.

Planned activities and future projects for NMPH include: Expanding services and service population for 2024, exploration of a Treatment/Sober Living facility for Tribal members, begin discussions for possible Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) services at NMPH, exploration to digitalize the patient check in process with insurance verification and other front desk duties.

NMPH Accomplishments: New staff hired to assist with major projects, numerous upgraded in office medical equipment for improved patient care. 

The General Council is an important opportunity for Nez Perce Tribal members and Tribal employees to come together to hear department and program updates, discuss ideas, express concerns, and develop solutions together. 

Major strides in the growth of the Nez Perce reservation have begun through infrastructure development, renewable energy deployment, job devolvement and economic growth. The Nez Perce Tribal entities along with their services and programs will continue to ensure a sustainable future for the Nez Perce people in the years to come.

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