Some 34 other states – including neighboring Montana and Washington – have such posts or similar ones, John Miller of the Associated Press reports here.
“Tribal economies in Idaho generate at least a half billion dollars annually, provide thousands of jobs, and pay millions of dollars in Idaho tax revenues that flows into state coffers,” Coeur d’Alene Tribe Chairman Chief Allan tells Miller today. “It only seems fair for tribes to have place within Gov. Otter’s administration.”
This past decade, Idaho and its tribes have tussled over water rights, taxes on reservation gasoline, even Depression-era murals depicting an Indian’s lynching in the Boise building that housed the Legislature for two years.
Those were resolved, but other concerns remain, including cross-deputization of tribal and county authorities. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has such an agreement with Kootenai County in northern Idaho that lets tribal authorities arrest non-tribal members, but a similar pact with Benewah County collapsed in 2007. That’s contributed to law-enforcement disputes on Lake Coeur d’Alene’s southern waters.
But Marc Stewart, a Coeur d’Alene Tribe spokesman, said such issues could be handled more efficiently if Otter had a cabinet member devoted to them full time.
“This is long overdue,” Stewart says.