The same day tribal members submitted a 2,600-signature petition, the Colville Business Council rejected the petitioners’ plea to pay out all of a $193 million settlement with the U.S. government.
The council will stand by an October resolution on the use of the half of the settlment that remains after already having put $96.5 million into the hands of some 9,600 members.
The Qwam Qwmpt’ Plan was adopted by unanimous resolution Oct. 5, a statement from the tribes said Monday.
It “allocates the remaining 50% of the settlement money for activities and projects within seven core areas of importance to the Tribe; forest restoration, land purchase, sustainable growth and development, language development, health and wellness, community development, and future income and growth fund development,” the statement said.
“Our people are livid,” said Yvonne Swan, a 69-year-old tribal member who delivered the petition Monday. “That says a lot about the council. … They disregarded elders.”
The council plans to “expand its outreach in 2013 to garner additional tribal member input,” the statement said.
“Our stories teach us the importance of balance and the need to plan for the future,” Chairman John Sirois stated. “We know that if we do not use our resources wisely, we, like coyote, will end up lacking. We authorized the initial distribution because we wanted to provide tribal members with much needed capital, and we adopted the Qwam Qwmpt’ plan because we wanted to ensure that future generations, and the community as a whole would benefit from the settlement money.”
Swan said she has been consulting with elders in each of the four districts of the reservation, “and they all say, ‘That money is ours.’ ”