Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho


The BIA will continue to pursue individual cases of alleged trespass on tribal trust lands within the Nez Perce Reservation, but officials said there is no large scale re-survey of the reservation underway. Nor is there a sweeping attempt to remove non-Indians from legally purchased property within the reservation, said Karole Overberg, a deputy regional director for the BIA in Portland. "It would be real difficult and expensive to re-survey the whole reservation," Overberg said. "That's not to say that there are not one or two surveys that are erroneous that will be dealt with." Speculation resurfaced a few weeks ago in Kamiah when a handful of residents received renewed trespass notices and orders from the BIA to leave property that has long been disputed. The property was held in trust by the federal government for tribal members, then sold several times, only to have a dispute arise because of a survey error. The Bureau of Land Management was called in to re-survey the property and it was determined a number of non-Indians living on land south of Kamiah actually were trespassing on property belonging to the heirs of original tribal owners.

Officials quickly cleaned off graffiti condemning the North Central Idaho Jurisdictional Alliance that was spray-painted on the Kamiah High School gymnasium and on several Idaho County political signs. The alliance is a group of 23 governmental entities that have combined their efforts to oppose the Nez Perce Tribe's claims to legal authority over non-Indian residents and property within an area designated by an 1863 treaty. City Marshal David Hasz praised school officials for helping to prevent a potentially explosive reaction to the graffiti, which was discovered May 8. "I think it prevented a lot of animosity that may have occurred," Hasz said. The school may have been the target since the jurisdictional alliance purportedly was formed to fight Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance fees on construction of a new middle school in Kamiah. The fees eventually were waived. Hasz said there were no suspects in the vandalism.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined a request from conservation groups to enact a moratorium on shooting wolves that kill livestock. The demise of three central Idaho wolf packs has members of the Boulder-White Clouds Council and 10 other conservation groups calling for a halt to lethal methods of control. Efforts to control wolves that kill livestock brought the number of known packs in Idaho to eight, down from 13 last spring, said Curt Mack, a biologist for the Nez Perce Tribe in charge of Idaho's wolf recovery. Managers believe even with the losses, Idaho's wolf population could hit 200 or more counting this year's pups. Since January, Fish and Wildlife has authorized the destruction of wolves in the Twin Peaks and White Cloud packs. The alpha pairs of both packs were relocated 175 miles to the north in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Unbeknownst to authorities, the White Cloud pack's alpha male returned within a week to his home territory, and was later shot while authorities were eliminating other wolves in the pack. Under conditions set by recovery rules, the wolves will not be removed from the endangered species list until Idaho, northwestern Montana and the Yellowstone recovery areas each have 10 breeding pairs for three consecutive years.