Hoopa Tribe Hires New Education Director
By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune
The Hoopa Valley Tribal Council met and tackled a wide variety of issues on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, including the selection of a new education director.
Kerry Venegas, who’d served as interim education director since September, was interviewed by the Education Board. They recommended her to fill the post permanently.
The Tribal Council voted to follow the Board’s recommendation, and hired Venegas.
Venegas said, “Thank you. It’s really been an exciting time to be here and I’d like to thank the Council for always being so supportive of education.”
The Tribal Council also approved a budget for the new planning director position, and will begin the search for someone to fill the position.
Tribal Councilmember Hayley Hutt said, “The idea is that we’ll immediately start to advertise this, and once that person is hired, they’ll work on making the other job descriptions.”
Vice Chairman Byron Nelson Jr. said efforts should be made to let tribal members living off-reservation know about the position.
“There may be people in that field out there,” Nelson said.
Ken Norton, the director of Land Management, delivered a brief update on land purchases, including a residential property on Hospital Road and a trailer park property in the downtown area.
“We need clear title on the property, and we’re looking into that,” Norton said, referring to the residence on Hospital Road.
“In regards to negotiations with the trailer park property, my recommendation would be that a real estate agent be involved,” Norton said.
Later, the Council approved $31,000 to repair a Caterpillar tractor for Tribal Forestry, and $6,000 for the purchase of a water quality probe to measure water flows.
Curtis Miller said, “This is the final phase of continuous monitoring of water flow for hydropower development on Beaver Creek.”
The Council then approved a grant submission by Deborah Giraud, the farm and community development advisor for the University of California (UC) Cooperative Extension.
“Cooperative Extension helps provide services for agriculture, 4H, and youth development. We’ve been getting input from the community on what they’d like to do,” Giraud said.
Giraud said that she’d continue to work with high school students in natural resource classes, and hoped to develop summer programs to support local 4H clubs.
The Council authorized Silis Chi Tawn Jackson, from the Hoopa Tribal Museum, to travel to the 3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation in Hawai’i.
Jackson said topics at the conference would include ethno-physio geography, and sharing words of knowledge.
“Linguists and scientists are looking at different ways of looking at topics,” Jackson said. “For example, in Hupa there’s no word for alive, but there are words for spirits in things.”
Council members also discussed efforts to install home access ramps for disabled seniors, and problems with alternate heating units installed by the Housing Improvement Program (HIP).
Twenty homes had heating units put in that weren’t able to heat an entire house, and one of the heating units burned out the electrical sockets in a Hoopa home.
It was also reported that the average cost of installing ramps was around $15,000, and sometimes weren’t installed until months after a person became disabled, making access difficult for them.
Hutt said, “We’d like to get ahead of the game in some organized way. We need to do a better job of taking care of our seniors.”