Tribal Council appoints Appeals Court judges

Tribal Council appointed Robert Miller, Patricia Paul and Patricia Davis Gibson to serve on the three-member Grand Ronde Court of Appeals during its Wednesday, Jan. 10, meeting.

Miller and Paul have previously served on the Tribe’s highest court while Gibson is a new appointee. Their terms will run two years and start on Feb. 1.

The vote was 6-1 with Tribal Council member Jack Giffen Jr. dissenting and Tribal Council member Brenda Tuomi absent.

Grand Ronde Court of Appeals Judges

Tribal Court Administrator Angela Fasana said at the Tuesday, Jan. 9, Legislative Action Committee meeting that 14 people applied to serve on the Appeals Court.

Paul (Inupiaq) is a business and estate-planning lawyer specializing in land use law and federal Indian law. She lives on the Swinomish Reservation, where her husband serves on the Tribal Senate. She earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Antioch University in 1993 and a law degree from Seattle University in 1998.

Miller (Eastern Shawnee) graduated from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College in 1991. He has worked for a federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge and been a professor of law at Lewis & Clark in Portland, teaching about Indian law, cultural resources protection and other subjects. He currently is a professor of law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.

Gibson (Comanche) was the first Tribal liaison for the city of Portland, appointed by former Mayor Charlie Hales. She has worked as an attorney for Oregon and Washington Tribes and also graduated from Lewis & Clark College’s Northwestern School of Law.

The Tribe established the Court of Appeals in 2001 and it has seen 77 cases filed since then, Fasana said.

“Cases before the Court of Appeals varies,” she said. “Some years we do not have any cases filed. On average, the court will see one to two cases per year. The exception has been enrollment cases. In 2001, the court received filings for 31 cases as a result of the 1999 constitutional amendment. In 2015, the court received nine filings as the result of the enrollment audit and disenrollments.”

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved the enrollment of two infants into the Tribe because they met the requirements outlined in the Enrollment Ordinance and Tribal Constitution;

  • Approved the Natural Resources Department applying for two Bureau of Indian Affairs grants. The first grant, worth $120,000, would supplement current Tribal staff working to meet requirements of the Endangered Species Act on properties the Tribe has acquired through the Bonneville Power Administration’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program. The second, for $196,000, would help combat invasive species at the Rattlesnake Butte property near Junction City.

  • Approved by Coalho Timber Harvest as presented by the Natural Resources Department. The plan is to harvest approximately 5.5 million board feet of timber from 124 acres of the Coal Creek/Cole Creek/4H property, which will net the Tribe about $1.94 million after expenses and other fees.

  • Approved an amendment to the Tribe’s Native mascot memorandum of agreement with the Banks School District that adds the elementary and middle schools. The original agreement only applied to Banks High School.

Also included in the Jan. 10 Tribal Council packet were three approved authorizations to proceed and staff directives that directed staff to prepare and submit comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s request to lethally take sea lions threatening endangered salmon in the Willamette River, authorized staff to negotiate and finalize a loan agreement with the British Museum regarding historical Native American items in the Summers Collection and directed Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez to create a folder in Laserfiche for the posting of Tribal committee and special event board minutes.

Cultural Resources Department Manager David Harrelson gave the cultural presentation to open the meeting, discussing what “culture” means to each person individually.

“I encourage you to look inward and seek those answers,” Harrelson said. “Culture is who you are and where you come from.”