Tribal Government & News

Thirty Tribal members appointed to committees, special event boards

04.06.2017 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council

Thirty Tribal members were appointed or re-appointed to the numerous Tribal committees and special event boards during the Wednesday, April 5, Tribal Council meeting.

The most controversial of those appointments occurred on the Tribal Enrollment Board, where three newcomers were selected to serve – Ann Lewis, Martina Gilbert and Debi Anderson.

Anderson was one of the Chief Tumulth descendants facing disenrollment because of an audit and Lewis was a vocal critic of the disenrollment process while it was occurring.

The Tumulth descendants’ enrollment was maintained after the Tribe’s three-member Court of Appeals ruled in 2016 that the Tribe waited too long in its attempt to disenroll them. A majority of the Enrollment Board then, under protest, dismissed its disenrollment decision against the Tumulth descendants and published a letter in Smoke Signals and Tilixam Wawa explaining its decision with only board member Margaret Provost dissenting.

Incumbent Enrollment Board members Robert Schmid, Laura Gleason and Sharon Freund were not re-appointed, but Sharon Hanson was placed back on the board.

Gleason and Freund posted letters on Facebook to complain that they were not contacted about not being re-appointed before it became public at the Tuesday, April 4, Legislative Action Committee hearing.

“I, like Laura, would have liked an explanation of why and to at least got a call before it went public no matter what side of the fence we are on,” Freund wrote. “We are still Elders and deserved that much.”

“It was disrespectful and shameful for Tribal Council to publicly disregard the board’s recommendation to re-appoint me to this position and to publicly announce the newly appointed board members without any discussion or justification,” Gleason wrote in a letter that also was submitted to Smoke Signals.

Gleason and Freund attended the Tribal Council meeting.

“What you did today was a slap in my face,” Gleason said, adding that she was upset that Tribal Council did not stand behind the Enrollment Board during the trying disenrollment process.

In July 2014, Tribal Council voted 4-3 to invest the Enrollment Board with the final say regarding involuntary loss of enrollment cases. The only Tribal Council member remaining who voted to support that amendment to the Enrollment Ordinance is Tribal Council member Jack Giffen Jr.

Leno said at the Legislative Action Committee meeting that three of the four Enrollment Board members recommended for re-appointment were not picked.

Ten people applied for the four open positions and nine of them received at least one vote, Tribal Council member Chris Mercier said.

“We’ve got some shake-up in some of the committees,” Leno said. “One of the main ones was the Enrollment Board. I’d like to acknowledge our Enrollment people who didn’t get re-appointed. They went through a lot during the whole audit process. They’ve gone through a lot over the past few years for their work on enrollment so I just want to take time to acknowledge them people. This happens once in a while. New people get appointed.”

Tribal Council members Denise Harvey and Kathleen George said that many applications to serve on committees and special event boards were submitted this year.

“I thought it was encouraging,” Harvey said.

“We were in a fortunate situation with so many folks wanting to serve,” George said, adding that Tribal members not selected or re-appointed should continue checking in for potential vacancies.

During the Tribal Council meeting, Tribal Council member Tonya Gleason-Shepek, who is Laura Gleason’s daughter, said she thought the notification process could be improved.

“It could have been done better and with some respect,” she said.

Giffen voted against the new appointees to the Enrollment Board, citing his concern that a high level of confidentiality is required and that the new board members lack historic knowledge of Tribal families.

Two other members of the Chief Tumulth descendants also received appointments. Jade Unger was appointed to the Ceremonial Hunting Board and Eric Bernando was appointed to the Culture Committee. In addition, Tumulth descendant Russell Wilkinson is now chairman of the Tribal Employment Rights Office commission.

Other appointments or re-appointments included:

  • Guy Schultz, Andrew Freeman and Sharon Wattier were re-appointed to the Ceremonial Hunting Board;

  • Francene Ambrose was re-appointed to the Culture Committee;

  • Mychal Cherry, Justine Colton and David DeHart were re-appointed to the Education Committee;

  • Victor Cureton and Dan Stroebel were appointed to the Election Board and Michael Mercier, Sharon Hanson and Janet Giddings (alternate) were re-appointed;

  • Tyson Mercier was re-appointed to the Fish & Wildlife Committee;

  • Allison Empey was appointed to the Health Committee and Alan Ham was re-appointed;

  • Misty Carl and Stacey Runningbird were appointed to the Powwow Special Event Board and Dana Ainam, Molly Leno and Kalene Contreras were re-appointed;

  • Jerry George and John Lillard were re-appointed to the Timber Committee;

  • And Molly Leno was appointed to the Veterans Special Event Board while Steve Bobb Sr., Susie Lash and Alton Butler were re-appointed.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved a first supplemental budget for 2017 that will appropriate funds to purchase the Rowell Creek property. Tribal Council also approved the purchase and sale agreement for acquiring the property;

  • Approved the Grand Ronde Police Department and Gaming Commission’s agreement with the Oregon State Police Criminal Justice Information Services for access to its law enforcement database;

  • Approved the Tribe’s Health & Wellness Center contracting to purchase Plexis software that is used by many third party administrators in Oregon and Washington Tribes to process claims payments;

  • Approved the Natural Resources Department applying for a $12,000 grant from the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps to fund the summer youth crew. The Tribe has received the grant for more than 20 years running;

  • Approved a contract with All-Ways Construction of Hubbard not to exceed $1.796 million to finish the Chachalu Phase II construction project;

  • And approved the enrollment of one minor into the Tribe because the youth meets the requirements outlined in the Enrollment Ordinance and the Tribal Constitution.

Also included in the April 5 Tribal Council packet were 11 authorizations to proceed. Some of them included:

  • Opening the Portland Area Office at 4445 S.W. Barbur Blvd. on Sunday, May 7, to allow Tribal members to watch the General Council meeting via the Internet;

  • Modifying a Bureau of Indian Affairs grant request to include the feasibility of expanding Grand Ronde Station as a small format grocery store and to review the potential for other economic development on the site;

  • Allocating the $25,000 2017 Pepsi Scholarship, with most of it going to the Veterans Powwow, $10,000, and Contest Powwow, $13,000;

  • Approving the Willamette Falls Cultural Fishing Mentorship Program as presented by General Manager David Fullerton;

  • Approving the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program and authorizing the general manager to institute the policy;

  • Approving a temporary license for Portland General Electric to use a portion of the former Multnomah Greyhound Park property in Wood Village;

  • Authorizing hiring a geotechnical engineer to analyze the river bank conditions next to the Tribal Cemetery and report on risks and provide recommendations regarding those risks;

  • And authorizing Finance Officer Chris Leno and Fullerton to proceed with researching the establishment of a Tribal member listserv.

Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George was joined by Unger and Bernando to open the meeting with cultural drumming and singing.

The meeting, in its entirety, can be viewed on the Tribal website,, by clicking on the News tab and then Video.