What Does Sovereignty Mean to You? Patsy Whitefoot, Yakama Nation

In this video, Patsy Whitefoot describes her background in education. Whitefoot describes sovereignty by remembering how her parents and elders from Medicine Valley embodied sovereignty by enacting traditional daily practices and upholding values that are a part of Yakama culture. She expands this definition by highlighting the importance of being self-sufficient and building capacity to increase the Yakama Nation's ability to move forward in addressing their challenges on their own terms. Whitefoot expresses a preference for the term sovereignty as it describes inherent rights that existed prior to the colonization of North America. Whitefoot's primary concern regarding sovereignty is that various levels of United States government might not understand or respect the rights of the Northwest tribes impacted by the Treaty of 1855.

What Does Sovereignty Mean to You? Josiah Pinkham, Nez Perce Tribe

In this video, Josiah Pinkham discusses his upbringing on the Nez Perce reservation and the importance of remaining close to his community in terms of keeping up with cultural developments and advances in language education. Pinkham describes self-determination as a layer of sovereignty and how the ability of a tribe to enact its sovereignty is dependent on their financial resources and organizational capacity. Pinkham also discusses his preference for the term sovereignty. One example that he provides is the ability to try people in tribal courts. Pinkham expresses concern over the survival of tribal sovereignty and the passing on of culture to younger generations. Pinkham also presents pieces of Tribal art and discusses their connection to the idea and history of sovereignty in the Northwest. He discusses briefly how a treaty between the United States and several Northwest tribes provided the United States access to land controlled by the tribes involved in the treaty in exchange for the right to control reservation land and maintain access to resources important to the tribes.

What Does Sovereignty Mean to You? John Sirois, Confederated Tribes, Colville Reservation

In this video, John Sirois, Chair of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation at the time of the interview, describes his upbringing and life on the Colville Reservation and his diverse lineage. Sirois describes sovereignty as the right of a tribe to self-governance and to determine their future. He sees self-determination as an act within the framework of sovereignty. He expresses a preference for sovereignty because it encompasses more ideas. Sirois illustrates the meaning of sovereignty by discussing the restoration of the Omak Creek watershed. For Sirois, this example incorporates a sacred connection to water and the land. Sirois describes the responsible development of natural resources as a primary challenge to sovereignty. Sirois also expresses hope that new generations of educated Colville members will be able to affect positive change on the Reservation in a manner grounded in the values of the tribes living on the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

What Does Sovereignty Mean to You? Leta Campbell, Coeur d'Alene Tribe

In this video, Leta Campbell, Director of Managed Care of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, describes her background as the daughter of one of the last full blood Coeur d'Alene and a third generation boarding school student. Campbell describes her preference for the word sovereignty, which she defines as self-determination and right to govern. She illustrates the importance of sovereignty by discussing the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's work to gain the right to make decisions about the use of Lake Coeur d'Alene. She also expresses concern that future generations might not realize the struggle of previous generations to carve out the sovereign rights and privileges they have come to expect.