Re: “Many tribal members approve of keeping settlement money for programs” (Letters from our Readers Dec. 26, 2012)


I completely disagree with my cousin, Yvette Joseph’s evaluation concerning the state of the Colville tribe. She has been away too long chasing her dreams in Washington D.C. and does not see how useless our CBC have become.

There was a time when our leaders were honorable and trustworthy. Those days have gone away. We now have 14 tribal council who do not care at all about their tribal membership. They do not answer phone calls, texts, e-mails. The CBC have God Complexes and ignore the tribal people. We wish to be acknowledged!

The tribal membership first became disenchanted with our CBC when we were first awarded the $193 million dollar claims monies. Our esteemed CBC TOLD our tribal membership they were going to release only 20 percent of the claims because the U.S. Government was going to tax any monies above 20 percent. This was later determined to be misinformation (lies).

Then our esteemed CBC used other fallacies to try to keep the monies away from its tribal membership. The CBC told our elders that if they accepted more than the 20 percent that was being offered; the Social Security Administration would cut these elders and families off of Social Security altogether. The Social Security Administration quickly denied this. Again our CBC had misinformed us.

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Another claim CBC made was that any family of Colville people who were receiving state TANF funds would be cut off if they were to seek more than the offered 20 percent. The Department of Social Service also came forward to correct this claim of the CBC. Things that make you go Hmmmm!

The tribal membership had been lied to time and time again by those 14 CBC. Shame on our CBC for trying to use scare tactics and lies to bamboozle their own tribal membership out of their claims settlement monies.

On the Colville reservation only family and friends of the 14 CBC are afforded jobs or can be helped from tribal monies. There are other tribal members who have jobs, but they were grandfathered in by past CBC. It is a corrupt and pitiful way to run a tribal government. And at least half of those jobs are filled by non-Indians; ignoring our Indian preference rules. So therefore our CCT members live in poverty by the acts of those who abuse the hiring practices of our few and far between jobs.

Recently we had a rally at the Nespelem Colville Indian Agency. I counted 71 tribal members who stood out in the blizzard elements for four hours. Many stayed in the warmth of heated cars on the fringes of the rally. The CBC watched from the warmth of the Agency Building. The rally was peaceful and fun; people spoke, drummed, sang, and danced. I had my prayer group invite the Lord Jesus to watch over the [gathering].

Best Ice Cream in Town!

We prayed for a covering of the blood of Jesus on all attendees, we prayed that God would encamp His angels around the entire Agency complex, and we prayed that we would all be like-minded so that we as a Colville tribe would come to an agreement that satisfied all 9,400 of the Colville members.

To date 2,704 tribal members signed a petition to release the remaining 50 percent of claims monies. The “many” who Yvette says are against receiving those monies only numbered 300 tribal members. The remaining tribal members were non-committal due to scare tactics or lack of understanding the issues.

True, the tribal membership did initially receive the 20 percent of claims monies without a hitch. With so many tribal members out of work (not by their own choosing, lack of jobs) the tribal membership used those monies to try to catch up on long unpaid bills. Yes, they probably went out and binged with the family taking in a movie, eating a meal out, taking a road trip to the city to shop or just enjoy a nice day out.

The second release of 30 percent was met by our CBC placing holds on the tribal membership from eight or more tribal programs. Colville Tribal Credit received the largest amounts of those HOLDS. To my knowledge the CBC took $15 million from their constituents in holds. Some tribal members, mostly elders, had their entire $6,000 claims held. Shameful act from our CBC who took an oath to protect and serve their tribal members. This act was entirely vindictive on the part of our CBC; they were angry that the tribal membership chose not to believe the CBC’s every word any longer and wanted their claims monies to spend themselves.

Our CBC has been high-jacking 100 percent of our Wells Dam claims monies since we first began to receive it more than five years ago. These millions are placed into our tribal coffers to be used SUPPOSEDLY by the tribal membership programs. Instead, those monies disappear with no accountability. We saw that our previous CBC chair and vice-chair took a $30,000 trip to China. No one knows why, no one has ever been told what good those CBC did for the Colville tribe while in China. If it was to make contacts, China was already on a list I found online two years ago as buyers of our timber.

Our tribal programs and leadership are very dysfunctional. The embezzlement and mismanagement of all program monies is apparent all around. I am an accountant by trade and I have audited many tribal programs for other tribes. What was found was embezzlement and mismanagement of funds in 100 percent of their programs. So by this evidence I surmise the same is true with my own CCT. In past instances the tribal councils have always opted to COVER IT UP!

And don’t get me started on the CBC and Colville Tribe’s treatment of off-reservation tribal members. More than half of the CCT live off the reservation. We are in the head count for all monies; but we are denied use of any benefits. We vote in the elections, so what gives? Is that even legal to withhold benefits from enrolled tribal members?

Our CBC act like zombies with no brains. They can converse with you on a one-to-one basis if you corner them, but when they are back in their offices or council chambers they are a united front of 14 against the 9,400 Colville members.

I believe someone has bewitched them with Plaugh (bad medicine, powers of darkness), because these are not thinking human beings. Having grown up in a family of old time Indian doctors, these NOW DAYS Indian medicine men are playing with fire. Slewfoot does not play around, and Slewfoot is not able to be controlled.

So we have 14 uyuyush (not intelligent) CBC representing us. Not a one of them knows anything about finance, so why are we being asked to trust them to handle $93 million? They have nothing to show for all of the Wells Dam Monies the CBC “took” without our permission.

These are teachers, social workers, accountants, English major, an Entertainer, and uneducated CBC who know nothing about finance or investment. That’s why all of our tribal enterprises go belly up. And by the way, our esteemed CBC are still paying for those dead horses (CTEC/CTFC). How’s that for their management skills?

Yvette loves her CBC brother. I love him too, he’s a great man, but not a great councilman.

In short, our Colville Tribe needs to recall our sitting CBC for breaking their Oaths of Office. We need to revise our Constitution to address the duties of our CBC. Lastly, we need to reduce our CBC to maybe five CBC and eliminate the existing districts. Our budget for CBC is top heavy.

The districts have been very detrimental to the CCT when voting on issues. It is time for positive change. We need to eliminate the districts and cut our CBC to five members. The CBC would be more controllable. The CCT needs to step into the 21st Century. I am not living in Russia; I do not want dictatorship rule! Oh, wait, didn’t the Russians overthrow their government?

Tanya Tomeo


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