Tribal Council Supports Hawaiian Cultural Exchange

From left: Danielle Vigil-Masten, Marjorie Colegrove, Shane Mitchell and Byron Nelson Jr., listen intently as Hoopa Junior Youth Council Chairperson, Kis-Dyan-Te’ Joseph speaks about the cultural exchange Trinity Valley eight grade students will participate in with a Hawaiian school./Photo by Kristan Korns, Two Rivers Tribune

Council Says ‘No’ to Drug Dog

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

The Hoopa Valley Tribal Council voted on Thursday, April 3, to support a group of Trinity Valley Elementary School eighth-graders on their educational and cultural exchange at Kamehameha School in Hawaii.

Michaela White is one of the five students preparing for the trip; four of the five are Hoopa tribal members.

“We’re going to the island of Maui. We’re going to learn about their animals and plants, learn how to make canoes, and go to the volcanoes and caves there,” White said. “It’s a cultural exchange.”

The school in Hawaii is named after King Kamehameha I, who unified all of the Hawaiian Islands into the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810.

Kis-Dyan-Te’ Joseph and Biancé Bussell, with the Junior Youth Council, advised the Council to support the students.

Joseph said, “We believe that sharing our traditions and culture not only strengthens ourselves but deepens our understanding of other cultures throughout the world.”

Trinity Valley students worked to fund raise for the trip, which is scheduled to also include a visit to a volcanic crater and to Maui Ocean Center’s aquarium.

The Council voted to provide $1000 for the exchange and Councilmember Marjorie Colegrove said, “We’d like to see a report back on the trip.”

Candidate for District Attorney Maggie Fleming spoke briefly at the meeting and asked to be placed on the agenda for the next Council session. “I’d like to ask for your endorsement.”

Fleming was in the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office for 18 years, and is currently in the County Counsel’s office. She is running against Elan Firpo, Allan Dollison, and Arnie Klein for the seat being left by Paul Gallegos.

Hoopa Tribal Police Chief Bob Kane spoke in favor of the next two motions on the agenda; the purchase of a $6,500 narcotics detection canine, and four weeks of dog-handling school for Sergeant Matt Spallino.

“This is something we’ve wanted, and previous Councils have wanted, for a long time,” Kane said.

Chairperson Danielle Vigil-Masten said, “This is really positive news for the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police.”

The money would come from a $45,000 payment from Humboldt County to the Tribe for law enforcement services rendered.

Kane said, “Our dog is actually being trained and Sergeant Spallino already met with the dog.”

Spallino said the dog is part of a specialized breed from the Netherlands called Malnois. “It looks like a short-haired, skinny Shepherd with pointier ears.”

“We’re going to get him trained for tracking, so we can use him for search and rescue,” Spallino said. “He’s got personality.”

The two police dog motions were pushed back in the Council’s closed executive session, and no announcement was made on either measure after the session ended.

There was a disruption in the Council chambers during the closed session while a different topic was reportedly being discussed, and Vice Chairman Ryan Jackson was escorted out of the room by Tribal Police after allegedly violating the Tribe’s Title 12 ordinance on disruptive behavior.

The meeting ended abruptly.

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