I was born in Lewiston, Idaho and raised in Lapwai, Idaho on the Nez Perce Reservation, where I reside today. My family lifestyle is one of tradition. I was taught to hunt and fish early on, to be a provider. I also helped pick berries, dig roots, and harvest the leaves of various shrubs for spiritual and subsistence purposes. I was given the belief that my relationship with the natural world is sacred, and I treat it as such.
My paternal grandpa and my dad sparked the love of the outdoors in me. My grandpa was a renowned fisherman and knowledge keeper, while my dad is a great hunter, statesman, and naturalist. Together they taught me what I know about the ways of the rivers and mountains. I was given the responsibility of being a warrior for Mother Earth, to speak for her and her children.
I have a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho. Further, I have a Certificate in Diversity and Stratification, also from the University of Idaho. This educational background has complimented my childhood teaching, as well as my political experience. I will strive to share my cultural wisdom and knowledge and 23 years of environmental public policy experience to strengthen the Campaign’s vision and help bring our mission to fruition.
My wife Feather, and I share a blended family with our combined children. Our children are Vic, River, Isaac, Sistina, Joseph, Quintana, James Jr., Alina, and Shanda. We love to volunteer as a family, often assisting with local food drives, public awareness events, and subsistence fishing and hunting to support tribal families. In our free time you will find us in the mountains or on a river having fun. We also travel extensively to BFC Headquarters, referred to our kids as the Buffalo Home. Our kids have been on patrol in West Yellowstone during the cold of winter, walked in honor of our late co-founder, and fostered awareness in our community regarding the plight of wild, Yellowstone buffalo. We will continue to do our part.
I have served two terms on the Nez Perce Tribe’s Fish & Wildlife Commission, and one term on the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee (NPTEC), the tribe’s governing body. This policy background has allowed me to understand the inter-governmental relationships that drive natural resources management. Further, while serving in these capacities I had the opportunity to research the history and context of the Nez Perce and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It was an honor to support the reunification of the Nez Perce Tribe and the Buffalo, retying a sacred relationship back to our Circle. In addition, my managerial and executive experience includes serving as Director of the Nez Perce Tribe’s Water Resources Division, and Executive Director of Confluence Environmental Center located in Portland, Oregon.
As the Executive Director I serve as the primary representative regarding policy communications, legal actions, and support the Board of Directors in guiding the organization. My priorities have included strengthening our relationship with Buffalo Tribes, expanding our support base, diversifying our funding sources, and developing Camp programs that bring the public to our headquarters. I strive to engage with our supporters in an open and concise fashion, facilitating transparency and dialogue. I look forward to building relationships as I continue this good work.
In addition to my work with Buffalo Field Campaign, I have served on the leadership committees of numerous nonprofit organizations that compliment my professional experience.
- Friends of the Clearwater, Board Member
- Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Chairman
- Inter-Tribal Bison Cooperative, Treasurer
- Spirit of the Salmon Foundation, President
- Wolf Education and Research Center, Board Member
- EPA Region 10, Tribal Operations Committee, Idaho Alternate Member
A motto that resonates with me, and that I want to share with the BFC community, is a quote from the great Nez Perce chief of the Wallowa Band, Chief Joseph, “The Earth and I are of one mind.” This is how I see my brief existence: I am child of the Earth, and I will respect, honor, and protect my Mother.
My involvement with BFC is rooted in my advocacy and feelings of personal responsibility to Mother Earth’s children, and to my people. As a warrior, I take my sacred relationship with all sentient beings seriously. To honor you, our supporters, I will give my all in standing with Brother Buffalo.