FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes is implementing measures to stretch funding to avoid furloughs or layoffs of tribal government employees because of the federal government shutdown.
The shutdown directly impacts the Tribes ability to provide essential governmental services to tribal members and the community according to a Tribal Public Affairs press release.
Fort Hall Business Council Chairman said, “As a sovereign nation, the Tribes are committed to providing tribal governmental services to our community. We have a little over 6,000 tribal members to provide services for and rely upon federal appropriations to ensure government services.”
The Tribes imposed travel restrictions, a hiring freeze and limited governmental spending. The week of January 6, the tribal work week has been reduced to 90 percent except for those considered essential services that include the Fort Hall Police Department, Tribal Corrections, Fort Hall Fire & EMS department, direct care Tribal Health programs and the Shoshone-Bannock Jr./Sr. High School. A four-hour governmental shutdown is scheduled the afternoon of Friday, January 11. Essential service programs and those fully funded will remain in operation.
The week of January 13, the Tribes is implementing a 20 percent reduction in work hours across the board except for essential services or fully funded programs. An eight-hour government shutdown is Friday, January 18 if the federal government shutdown continues.
According to an email Tribal Executive Director Elese Teton sent to all managers and directors January 5, Tribal boards, committee and commissions are also reduced by ten and 20 percent.
The Tribes are most concerned about limited federal maintenance funding that could be exhausted for Tribal Transportation services early because of severe weather conditions on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. The concern is for road safety for schools, individuals on the medical priority list because resources provided after two continuing resolutions will soon be depleted.
Tribal leaders said the government shutdown is wreaking economic havoc on the reservation. The closure of the Fort Hall Agency Bureau of Indian Affairs office and the Office of Special Trustee is adversely impacting the Treaty and trust resources tribal members rely upon. Twenty percent of payments to Indian allotees remain suspended. The cuts in federal services are delaying lease payments to Native landowners of more than a quarter of million dollars. “Since our Reservation is primarily agriculturally driven, closure of the BIA Fort Hall Agency directly impact our tribal and regional economy”
Tribal leaders call upon the Idaho delegation and all members of Congress to resolve partisan conflicts, craft a compromise and reopen full operations of the U.S. federal government. Chairman Small said, “We urge the Congressional leadership to end the partial government shutdown.”
RoseAnn Abrahamson gets the audience to participate in her storytelling.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — Sharing knowledge was the purpose of the Community Storytelling event hosted by the 477 Human Services Department on Thursday, January 3.
People sat in a circle and some children sat on the floor as they listened to the storytellers. Storytellers were Rose Ann Abrahamson, Wynona Charles, Taylor Thomas, Larry Murillo and Nelson Racehorse.
477 Human Services Director Larry Murillo said telling stories is important to the community for a number of reasons and the most important is it brings people together. He talked about how people need to teach their children so they can learn and grown up and be responsible and helpful towards one another.
“This is one way we can promote ourselves to our own community,” he said. “Instead of having television, radio and Internet and all these things giving messages to us. That’s where we’re getting our messages from and there’s why there’s so much confusion.”
Murillo talked about the importance of words and how elders need to talk to the younger generation. Prior to the storytelling Charles was asked to say the prayer for the event and Murillo sang a prayer song.
Abrahamson talked about how this time of the year was when people learned about Deniwappe and history. She said they were taught things to learn about life and stories taught lessons.
Charles comes from Owyhee, Nev. She told stories and taught children to count in Shoshone. She said the purpose of storytelling was to help the children understand and introduce them to the language. She also sang circle songs to get the crowd moving and in happy spirits.
Murillo shared a funny story about animals, otter, coyote and bear. He also talked about fishing and hunting and the tradition of giving away their first kill.
Thomas shared the Shoshone creation story, which was told to her by Drusilla Gould. The story makes the connection to everyone, the water, the people, the plants, to other people, to the surrounding area, to the environment. She asked people to think of themselves as a part of the story.
Murillo encouraged people to visit their elders and to learn from one another.
“We need to share our lives with each other. We need to share our thoughts and mostly our cultural traditions, stories, songs and beliefs. If we do that we will make ourselves that much richer,” he said.
Murillo believed sharing would lead to a happier way of living.