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Public Safety Through Partnership

Friday, 13 October 2017 by

Please join us for the signing and recognition of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation for the establishment and operation of the Reserve Deputy Program for the Smith River area.

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation and Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office share a goal of maintaining a safe and secure community for the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Reservation and surrounding Smith River area, and share the belief that a community-involved approach to law enforcement is the best avenue to achieve this goal.

For more information contact the Tribal Office at 707-487-9255

The Natural Resources Department would like to sincerely thank all of the volunteers that assisted at the shelter for Chetco Bar Fire evacuees at Xaa-wan’-k’wvt Village and Resort. We would like to express our gratitude by recognizing those frequent volunteers that gave their time to help at the front desk, prepare meals, and keep the place tidy during the four weeks of operation. We would also like to recognize those individuals and organizations that provided the necessary donations to maintain operations. Please excuse us if we may have forgotten anyone or have misspelled anyone’s name.


Annette Whelan, Armando Lopez, Arturo Salazar, Billy Fender, Bret Wells, Cari Nelson, Caudia and Boyle, Chairman Scott Sullivan, Charlotte Kortum, Councilmember Leann McCallum, Council Member Marvin and Marla Richards, Dale and Terri Donnelly, Denise Brigham, Devonie Elmore, Don and Teela James, Erika Partee, Faith Campbell, Frank Ault, Greg Blodgett, Jamie Kissinger, Jar Caldwell, Jennie Joy, Jennifer Jacobs, Jimmy Richards, Jorden from Smith River Volunteer Fire Dept., Julie McHenry, JR Richards, Karen Jones, Kim Bommelyn, Marli Peterson, Mattie Lopez, Megan Van Pelt, Naomi Wells, Natasha Tippetts, Nieca Wright, Paulie Boynton, Peggy Biskupski, Peggy McCormak, Pyuwa Bommelyn, Rob Froser, Robin Hardley, Rosa Laucci, Ruby Tuttle, Sherry and Dave Mindel, Tayshu Bommelyn, Tessa LaFazio, Theresa Lemons, Tom and Pam Rogers, Tom Dubay, Tyler Travis, Veronica Dandeleria, Vice Chair Denise Padgette, Virginia Young, and XVR Security (Brandon and Robert)


Alvina “Tiny” Fairchild, Alexandre Dairy, Alissa Northrup, American Red Cross, Andre Bay with Team Curry, Andromeda Lopez, April Bettelloni, Autumn and Jakob Buchert, Bonnie Kathy, Bonnie Roger, Bonnie Shift, Bret Wells, Cari Nelson, Carolyn Dikes, Cindy Wilson, Connie Brooks, Councilmember Leann and John McCallum, Councilmember Marvin and Marla Richards, Curry County Probation Juvenile Department, Daryl Hoffman, Don and Gina, Donna and Eugene Ross, Dorothy Wait, Dustin Ledford, Emily, Food Bank in Brookings, Frank Richards, Fred Meyers, Ginger Doherty, Israel Mactherson, Jamie Kissinger, Janin, Janis Payne, Java Hut, Jen Faulkner, Jennie Joy, Jeremy Creed, Jimmy Richards, Joe and Tammy Swiderski, John and Violette Roberts, Joni Forsht, Judy Powell, Judy Santos, Julie McHenry, Karen and Joe, Kenna Gavin, Kerry Fenix, Kim St. Clair, Kristina Jofstedt, Launel Brown, Lina Peacock, Logan and Natasha Tippetts, Luana Pennington, Mabel and Debbie Boardman, Marian and Anna, Marilyn Pricer, Marla and Steve Lavelle, Mary Ford, Mary Hough, Monica Rojas, Patte Lambert, Pelican Harbor Food Bank, Roger Gitlin, Ron and Lorena Joy, Roxie Hazzard, Ruby Tuttle, Rumiano Cheese, Sharon Ricci, Sharyne Harper, Sheila, Sherry Reynolds, Shirley and Jeff Magiera, Smith River Neighborhood Watch, Smith River United Methodist Church, St. Vincent De Paul, Stephanie Peters, Summer Matteson with Team Curry, Tammy, TDN Community and Family Services Department, TDN Culture Department, TDN Natural Resources Department, Terri and Dale Donnelly, Theresa Lemons, TR Thompson, Tracie Celayeta, Tracy Whipple, United Indian Health Service, Vern Lesh, Vice Chair Denise Padgette, Victoria Attuna, and William Roberts

For nearly four weeks, the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation operated an evacuation shelter for the Chetco Bar Fire at the Xaa-wan’-k’wvt Village and Resort (old Ship Ashore). Accepting any persons evacuated from the nearly 190,000-acre fire, the Tribal Nation provided services to over 140 evacuees. Services of indoor shelter, RV sites with water and sewer hook-ups, tent sites, prepared meals and snacks, laundry facilities, and restrooms with showers. Essentials like clothing, toiletries, blankets, towels, fuel, and animal food were also available, as well as games, books and toys for the children. Community member Tami Bishop, commented, “The Tolowa [Dee-ni’] Nation at Ship Ashore has been the only consistent shelter opened for evacuees since day one…They have been wonderful to all of our community’s needs during this fire. And when this is all over, I do hope…you will all let them know just how much their generosity has meant to us.”

With no more Level 3 mandated evacuation areas, the Tribal Nation closed the doors on September 14th. “We are fortunate to be able to provide a safe space where Chetco Bar evacuees could find support, comfort, and have more than their basic needs met. To see our community come together and help one another in this great time of need shows our resiliency. We at the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation are happy to play a part,” said Chairman Scott Sullivan.

All services have been provided at no cost to evacuees through the generous support of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation and their Citizen vol- unteers, as well as many other volunteers from the broader community. Food, water and goods have been generously donated by various organizations and individuals across the local region. The American Red Cross provided 11 days of meal support while generous volun- teers prepared the remaining meals from the abundance of donated goods. “We really couldn’t have pulled this off without the help of so many wonderful people and such great support from the Tribal leadership. They didn’t hesitate to act.” remarked Tessa LaFazio, Emer- gency Services Coordinator for the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation.

Connected to the land burned by the Chetco Bar, Eclipse Complex, and Miller Complex wildfires in southern Oregon and northern Califor- nia, the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation is also trying to protect cultural resources and places significant to them. This is by advocating to fire management resources personnel constructing fire lines to avoid cultural sites as able. “Our people come from this area and it is our in- herent responsibility as Tolowa Dee-ni’ to manage these places, stay connected to the land, and preserve our cultural heritage,” said Sun- tayea Steinruck, Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer. Given the rate of the spread of the fires and the urgency to protect peoples’ lives and homes, some sites have already been damaged. The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation will continue to work with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to mitigate and repair those places once the fires cease.


Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation

Contact Chairman Scott D. Sullivan

(707) 487-9255

Increasing Public Safety through Partnerships 

For Immediate Release

September 21, 2017

Smith River, CA – On Thursday September 21, 2017 the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation (Tribe/TDN) approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office (DNSO) and the Tribe, that the Sheriff will then present to the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors for execution on Tuesday September 26, 2017.

Tribal Chairperson Scott Sullivan stated, “The Tribe has always been generous to the community, but this agreement exemplifies our commitment to increasing public safety and formally demonstrates the Tribe’s contributions to the community.”

The Tribe and the DNSO share a mutual goal of maintaining a safe and secure community for the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Reservation and surrounding Smith River area, and share the belief that a community-involved approach to law enforcement is the best avenue to achieve this goal.

Both Parties recognize that due to a lack of County resources, the TDN Reservation and Smith River area receive inadequate sheriff response and coverage, and the Parties wish to bring equitable law enforcement to the Smith River area. The Parties further recognize that Public Law 83-280 (Public Law 280), adopted in 1953, significantly impacts the law enforcement responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office and that Public Law 280 continues to have a substantial effect on the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation.

In January of this year, the Tribe sent Tribal Citizen Wade Owen to the College of the Redwoods to complete the necessary Police Academy training to become a reserve deputy. Owen was raised in Smith River before serving in the Air Force and ultimately returning to Del Norte County. Owen stated, “I am excited to serve the Tribe and the greater community in this role with the Sheriff’s Office. As a Tribal Citizen, I am in a unique position to provide a law enforcement presence for this area and community.”

In an email from Sheriff Apperson he wrote to the County Counsel The Tolowa Dee-n[i]’ Nation has stepped up [to] the plate and provided a quality individual to help augment our currently strained law enforcement team by paying his way through a police academy and all of the related expenses that came with that. He has proven himself to pass all of our internal and externally governed hiring qualifications. He is ready to serve and we are ready to have him serve.”

This MOU is the beginning of a working relationship between the Tribe, the County, and the Sheriff. This partnership is seen as a positive step in bringing awareness to the Smith River area’s needs, and speaks to the Tribe’s commitment to its people and the community.

About the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation 

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation is a federally recognized, self-governing Indian Nation governed by the Tribal Council, which is comprised of seven (7) elected members. The Mission of the Nation is, [t]o exert and protect the inherent sovereignty endowed upon the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation to promote our tribal identity, and the wellbeing of our people, community, and environment by building a strong foundation, managing resources, and perpetuating our cultural lifeways and legacy.

With over 1,700 tribal citizens, and an aboriginal territory that spans from Sixes River in Oregon to Wilson Creek in California, the Nation has a Bureau of Indian Affairs five county near reservation service area that includes Humboldt and Del Norte in California and Curry, Coos and Josephine in Oregon. 54% of our population lives within the service area, with the highest resident population being Del Norte County with 489 residents at 30%, and the second being Curry County with 208 residents at 12%.


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