Tribal Government & News

Auger named 2020-21 Hatfield Fellow

10.27.2020 Dean Rhodes Spirit Mountain Community Fund
Simone Auger


By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

Grand Ronde Tribal member Simone Auger has been selected as the 2020-21 Hatfield Fellow by the Tribe’s philanthropic arm, Spirit Mountain Community Fund.

Auger, who lives in Vancouver, Wash., received a bachelor of fine arts degree in interior design from Marylhurst University and a master’s of interior architecture from the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Environment. She also holds a professional certificate in Tribal Relations from Portland State University’s Institute for Tribal Government and a course certificate from Northwest Energy Policy and the Columbia River-Portland State University Mark O. Hatfield School of Government.

The Grand Ronde Tribe established the Mark O. Hatfield Fellowship in 1998 as a tribute to his accomplishments as Oregon governor and representing Oregon in the U.S. Senate. The Community Fund annually sponsors a Native American to serve as an intern in an Oregon congressional office, enhancing the mutual understanding between leadership in Washington, D.C., and Indian Country.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Auger will attend a virtual orientation with the American Political Science Association in Washington, D.C., and then concurrently begin working remotely with U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader’s office in November.

“I look forward to gaining insight to the inner workings of Congress and the political process, especially where it concerns Tribal affairs,” Auger said. “I have a background in utility energy programs where my role included helping Tribes and businesses navigate program resources so they could take control of their energy destiny. With Rep. Schrader serving on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, I am hoping to utilize my expertise in this area and work on energy policy that serves to enhance Tribal sovereignty through energy independence.”

Auger said that attending the spring National Congress of American Indians’ Tribal Nations Policy Summit and hearing influential Native women leaders speak affected her.

“This was a pivotal moment and a big inspiration for me,” she said. “I feel so fortunate for the opportunity to serve as a Hatfield Fellow, and I greatly admire the accomplishments of past Fellows who have made incredible contributions to their chosen careers. I am committed to using this time to further my education and hone my leadership skills so I can give back and serve as an example for future Fellows.”

“Despite the challenging circumstances due to COVID-19 and the current remote work environment, we are grateful to Simone for her enthusiasm and flexibility, and the foundation’s desire to make this a valuable experience,” Schrader said.

Auger becomes the ninth Grand Ronde Tribal member to be named a Hatfield Fellow, joining the likes of Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez, Grand Ronde Food Bank Coordinator Francene Ambrose and Bureau of Indian Affairs Pacific Northwest Regional Director Bryan Mercier.