Among those testifying tonight in Coeur d'Alene at the public hearing on redistricting is Helo Hancock, legislative director for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. The Coeur d'Alene Reservation is now in District 2, and Hancock said, “It's our understanding that that district will change quite substantially.” As that happens, he said, “We would like to see the Coeur d'Alene Reservation stay intact, and we would like the reservation to be included in a legislative district that is joined with Kootenai County.”
Reasons include cultural, economic and historical ties, he said; the original boundaries of the reservation, established by presidential executive order in 1873, extended from the Cataldo Mission due west to the mouth of the Spokane River, and then along the river to the Washington line. “So these were our homelands,” Hancock said. Significant tribal communities are located along the Highway 95 corridor and in the Kootenai County portion of the reservation, he said. “We're the largest employer in North Idaho, and about 65 percent of our employees are not Indian,” Hancock said, noting that many, like him, commute from Coeur d'Alene.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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