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.