Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country - Third Edition

395 Nez Perce Kootenai COMMUNITY FACILITIESAND SERVICES The tribe maintains a community center at tribal headquarters, three miles west of Bonners Ferry. Education. Tribal elders often volunteer to lead classes in the Kootenai language. Students K-12 attend the local public school system. Health Care. The tribe owns and operates the Kootenai Tribal Clinic, located at tribal headquarters. The facility has a physician, a nurse practitioner, a community health representative, a mental health counselor, and two contract administrative health employees that are direct tribal hires. A public health nurse provides services once a month. Community health services include a child program, diabetes, women’s health, an immunization program, mental health counseling and The clinic transportation. For health care services not provided by the clinic, tribal members are referred to outside providers. ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS The tribal environmental department addresses issues of air and water quality to help restore the local ecosystem. The tribe operates an air quality monitoring station near tribal headquarters. This station gathers information about weather and particulate matter. The goal is to provide solutions for air quality issues that impact the entire region. ECONOMY Tribal government, agriculture, gaming, and tourism are major components of the Kootenai economy. The tribe actively pursues additional economic development projects and tax incentive programs to attract new industries to the reservation. Government as Employer. The fish and wildlife department is the largest overall tribal employer. Economic Development.Administration and finance offices oversee economic development, financial services, and housing, and also serve as liaison to the gaming commission. One focus is working with the local community to develop new jobs in an environmentally responsible environment, another is creating a fair profit. Gaming. The Kootenai River Inn originally opened in 1986 on tribal lands overlooking the Kootenai River. The 47-room hotel included a restaurant, recreation center, and tribal gift shop, and was the beginning of an economic resurgence for the tribe. In 1996 the tribe signed a gaming compact with the State of Idaho and opened Kootenai Casino. In 2005 tribal members held a special ceremony to unveil the renovation that transformed the facility and added a luxury spa. The new interior offers tribute to the history of the Kootenai people, using river rock and flowing water to tell the story. The Best Western Kootenai River Inn, Casino, and Spa features 65 riverfront rooms, four casinos, a full-service spa, dining, meeting rooms, and recreational facilities. The casino offers both U.S. and Canadian currencies. Fisheries. The tribal hatchery is co-managing a project with the Idaho Fish and Game Department designed to repopulate the Kootenai River with sturgeon, a fish of spiritual significance to the tribe. Other divisions of the tribe’s fish and wildlife program include improving the Kootenai River ecosystem, the wildlife mitigation project, wetland conservation, and Trout Creek biological assessment. Tourism and Recreation. The Twin Rivers Canyon Resort, located nine miles northeast of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, is in one of the most scenic areas of the Idaho Panhandle. This 40-acre RV park and campground sits in a forested meadow at the confluence of the Moyie and Kootenai rivers. The park area features a boat launch, children’s playgrounds, volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, sports lawn, ball field, and picnic area. There are private RV and tent sites, picnic tables, fire rings, full hook-ups, restrooms, showers, a laundry room, a dump station, and a mini-store. INFRASTRUCTURE Electricity. The Northern Lights Power Company provides electricity to the area. Water Supply. The Bonners Ferry municipal system supplies water. The reservation’s lagoon and individual septic tanks provide wastewater service. Telecommunications. Frontier provides local telephone service. Nez Perce Nez Perce Reservation Federal reservation Nez Perce Nez Perce, Lewis, Clearwater, and Idaho counties, Idaho; Wallowa County, Oregon Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho P.O. Box 305 Lapwai, ID 83540-0305 208-843-2253 208-843-7354 Fax www.nezperce.org [See Map for Location] Total area (Tribal source, 2004) 770,453 acres Tribally owned (BIA realty, 2004) 42,767.84 acres Individually owned (BIA realty, 2004) 46,268.49 acres Federal trust (BIA realty, 2004) 19,489.45 acres CLIMATE The reservation experiences an average year-round temperature of 43ºF. The annual rainfall averages 21.6 inches and approximately 61 inches of snow falls each winter. CULTURE AND HISTORY The Nimi’ipuus originated in the northwest region of the United States; their ancestral homelands encompassed present-day north central Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and southeastern Washington. Carbon dating of village sites along the Snake River and its tributaries indicates that the Nimi’ipuus occupied these regions as long as 11,000 years ago, and there are indications of even older settlements. The Nimi’ipuus encountered the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805. Translators from that group identified the people as Nez Perce, or “pierced nose” (French). The assignment of this term to the Nimi’ipuus is not clear, as the tribe did not practice nose piercing, however, the name was accepted and the tribe became known as the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho. In the early nineteenth century, the tribe participated in the fur trade with both Great Britain and America. As more and more settlers encroached upon the region, tensions escalated into violent conflicts. In June 1855 the Nez Perce agreed to cede several million acres to the United States in return for an approximate 7.5 million acre reservation. In 1863 a new treaty was signed mandating a reduction in the tribe’s lands to just 750,000 acres. Often called the “steal treaty,” it stripped the Nez Perce of the Wallowa and Imnaha valleys and the land LOCATION AND LAND STATUS The Nez Perce Reservation is located in north central Idaho and encompasses four counties. They own additional acreage inWallowa County, Oregon. Several small towns are located within the boundaries of the reservation. Lapwai, on the reservation’s western edge, serves as the tribal headquarters and is home to the largest populationof tribalmembers.Kamiah,on thereservation’s eastern boundary, contains the second-highest concentration of tribal members and provides social services at the Wa-A’Yas Community Building. Other towns within the reservation are predominantly non-Indian. The Treaty of June 11, 1855, established a reservation of some 7.5 million acres; however, the federal government reduced the size of the reservation to 750,000 acres in 1863 after the discovery of gold in the region. An additional 542,000 acres were lost to individual and non-Native ownership as a direct result of theAllotment Act of 1877. Today about 12 percent of the land within the reservation is owned by the tribe or tribal members. The tribe acquired 60 acres of land in Wallowa County, Oregon, purchased to prevent a proposed housing development adjacent to Old Chief Joseph Cemetery. The area is known to contain at least two archeological finds and is of great cultural and historical importance to the tribe. In 2012 approximately 15% of the land within the original 1863 reservation boundaries has either been purchased by the tribe, is held in trust by the federal government, or is allotted to individual tribal members or groups of members.