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Thursday, April 9, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Tribal Council Positions On Ballot Referendum On Inheritance Of Land Also Faces Vote

By Rich Roesler Staff Writer

On Saturday, the Coeur d’Alenes will hold their annual election.

Two of the Tribal Council’s seven members are up for re-election: Norma Peone and Marjorie Matheson Zarate. They face five challengers.

Except for the tribal chairman, who is paid a salary, council members are paid $80 per meeting. Terms last three years.

Also on the ballot is a referendum on tribal efforts to keep Indianowned land from being inherited by non-Indians. Tribal officials say their proposal is more fair than one being proposed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Voters also will decide whether to retain tribal Judge Wanda Miles. Tribal members can vote from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at tribal headquarters in Plummer.

Here are the candidates for the two council seats:

John M. Abraham Jr., 43, of DeSmet is a tribal planner. He wants a day-care program, more tribal elders serving on committees and more money for youth programs.

“We’re sending them to detention centers,” he said, “when we should be getting involved beforehand.”

Sylvia D. Baheza is running on a social service platform. In its drive for economic development, the council is ignoring social programs, she said.

“I know when people are being forgotten, and that’s going on out there,” she said.

Alfred M. Nomee, 48, of Plummer is the tribe’s director of land services. He pledged to listen, bring concerns to the council and report back.

“I’ve worked as a farmer here, I’ve walked through the timber land,” he said. “I know this reservation.”

Norma J. Peone, 43, of Plummer is the tribe’s employment rights officer. A born-again Christian, she has served on the council for 12 years.

“I’m pretty much a common-sense person,” she said. “I’m not a major in anything other than life.”

Roy L. Peone, 67, of Worley is a retired truck driver. He said the tribe should pay more attention to elders and youth.

“It (a council slot) is a full-time job, and I’m going to give it all my time,” he said.

Peter Frank SiJohn, 47, of Plummer is an assistant fire management officer. SiJohn’s main goal is increasing the number of Coeur d’Alenes in top government positions.

“This is my reservation,” he said. “That’s my commitment.”

Marjorie Matheson Zarate, 42, of Plummer is chief executive officer of the tribe’s development corporation. She was lead negotiator for the National Indian Lottery contract.

Zarate says she’s committed to saving cultural resources, boosting the economy and stressing education.

“We want our children to be able to stand toe to toe with America,” she said.

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