I am a Colville Tribal Member from Omak. We the first people had the opportunity to have a protest as we picketed the Colville Confederated Tribes’ headquarters in Nespelem on Sept 27 in hopes of receiving an expected December per-capita check. The protest was made up of a political group of Indian students from the Northwest Indian Club which organized the event and several groups of other supporters to the communities of the Okanogan Valley.
Like most tribal members that live on the Colville Indian Reservation we use the money we receive in the per-capita check at this time of year to pay for Christmas celebrations and higher heating costs during the winter. We the first citizens heard a rumor that the payments are being held back when traditionally the tribe distributes to all members a quarterly per-capita payment.
The Colville Business Council will decide the tribes’ budget soon and this will be prioritized and the per-capita checks have become a major issue. We’ve always had a December per-capita. I suggest the tribal council should cut wages instead of cutting the per-capita payment. As a tribal member I’m very angry. I understand the Colville Tribal Enterprise Corporation and Colville Business Council got their cuts of tribal funds. We the Indian people don’t think that’s fair. Why the council would need to hold back funds and why it can’t pay the bills is because they’ve made mistakes. Why should the people on the Reservation pay for them? We’re not anti-council or ant-CTEC but we’re pro-survival.
If the council chooses to withhold the per-capita payments the protesters will be back for another protest, grass-roots activism. It is on. If that’s the way it goes then war! I suggest that tribal members contact their representatives about the issue. The Indian people need to get in touch with their representatives to make their sentiments known we need the non-Indians to write or call.’