Way Xastilxalt- Hello,  good day!

(December 22) - As many of you all know by now, our Council has distributed our Tribes’ second round of COVID-19 Emergency Relief Payments. We have also approved our annual Tribal budget, including our yearly Elder stipends and per-capita payments. Our Council knows and hears the hardships everyone has had to deal with since COVID-19 hit our country.

Meetings dealing with COVID-19 continue and will probably take a lot more time. Our best proof of beating COVID is to be vaccinated. Our people get hit harder than any other race because our diets have weakened our immune systems. Take out all the Sugars! They are not traditional to what our Elders used to eat. We need to start getting back to eating our roots, berries, salmon, and wild game.

I have been helping Jarred work on fish passage over Chief Joe and Grand Coulee Dam with the BPA. I have also met with Governor Jay Inslee on salmon passage and our State’s Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz at a meeting about Timber, Fish, and Wildlife.  At these meetings, I stressed the need for resources to put out wildfires as quickly as possible; to save our lands, cultural resources, and critical habitat.  Salmon need clean, cold water, and when our forests burn, it causes floods and water temperatures to rise too high for the salmon to spawn.

9,243 acres of our North half was returned to the Colville Tribes by the Figlenski Family,  Conservation Northwest, and the incredible people who contributed all the funding to purchase this property for our Tribe. Since then, we have reintroduced Lynx back to our reservation!

In Law & Justice, we are looking at our Tribal Codes to make sentencing and fines more severe for those who break the Law. Crime is at an all-time high, and we recognize that.

We had a meeting with the IHS Area Office where patients could express their hardships, such as being sent to collections and lack of service. We expect to receive a response from the Area Office soon.

We approved a salary survey that will prioritize our lowest-paid employees.  Council is not a part of this survey.

I pray and wish you all a very Happy Christmas and that our New Year brings in healing, good health, and happiness! For some, our New Year is the Winter Solstice on December 21st when our new foods get ready, and the salmon make that big turn out in the ocean to come home.

Some of our people will gather at a longhouse ceremony. It’s the time of year when the spirits come out at Winter dances. Now is the time that we pray for our new foods, berries, our salmon, and wild game, in addition to the medicines and water.

The Teachings are passed down to our youth. So, I ask all our Spiritual and Prayer Warriors to pray hard and bring on the teachings. I ask that you remember our people who are mourning their loved ones. Make this time special for our youth! Let us pray for those who are lost; we all know who they are. 

Way Leeem lemt! Cutsee Yaw yaw!

Yəx̌ʷyəx̌ʷu̓txn (Badger)

Andrew C. Joseph Jr.

Colville Tribal Council Chairman

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