The three-day meeting of the General Council of the Nez Perce Tribe, held at the tribe's Wa A Yas Commuity Center in Kamiah, considered multiple issues including natural resources and health care, but the ongoing feud about mega-loads garnered the most ire.
"Everything here is ours—it's never been for sale," said Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee Chairman Silas Whitman, pounding a fist on a podium.
The Lewiston Tribune reports that almost the entirety of the September 29 session of the twice-yearly general council meeting centered on strategies to halt future mega-load shipments from rolling across U.S. Highway 12 in north central Idaho, which includes the Wild and Scenic River Corridor. A number of tribal members were arrested in a series of protests in early August as a giant load of equipment crawled through native land.
"We cannot repeat that again," told the general council. "Make them take us all on."
The Tribune reports that "countless tribal members" gave impassioned testimony about the August protests.
Meanwhile the U.S. Forest Service has issued a formal order to block future mega-load shipments across U.S. 12 until the agency can complete an analysis of the impact of the massive shipments on the corridor. The order requires a hauler to either seek another route to gets its equipment to the tar sands oil fields in Alberta, Canada, or to hold tight until its study can be completed.