"We have to be the voice and the warriors for the next seven generations; our fish, water, land…our many endangered natural resources need protection. Our people need to be educated and we need to unite."
Nimiipuu is the English translation for “the people” which is one amongst many names the Nez Perce call ourselves. And- protecting the environment of our traditional lands was the common committment that brought us together.
We began organizing a number of years ago as a volunteer group concerned about protecting our traditional rights and lands. Then, after the Exxon Mobil Megaloads protests by our tribal members in 2013, we began to meet on a regular basis.
By networking with some First Nations friends near the Tar Sands, we had the opportunity to meet and receive financial support from the Seventh Generation Fund. With their seed funding, we began working on ways to educate and inform our tribal membership about the Tar Sands and other areas at risk. We began meeting, organizing activities and events on the reservation, and offering public interest group activities at area colleges/universities.
Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment is committed to protect Tribal Treaty rights within our original ceded area and usual and accustomed places.
We exist to carry on time-honored sustainable environmental practices in the tradition of the Nimiipuu by facilitating and organizing tribal youth and adults in activities for the protection, enhancement, and promotion of mother earth and the Nimiipuu culture.
Our vision is that the Nimiipuu and community members live, work, play, and pray, in an environment which sustains such activities and leaves as light a foot-print for the protection of the environment and future generations.
To protect our Treaty areas and
To educate the tribal members and youth on current environmental issues.
To develop leaders in the environmental area for the next generation.
To promote activism within our tribes and To empower tribal members on effecting change.
Our Current Board Members and Staff
JULIAN F. MATTHEWS
Board Member and Coordinator
Julian Matthews Enrolled Nez Perce has been actively involved in Environmental issues for the last 20 years primarily in response to threats made on or near the Treaty of 1855 and usual and accustomed areas. These areas are guaranteed to the Nimiipuu with the signing of the 1855 Treaty and in many instances, the federal, state or local governments or private interests interpret these rights quite differently than do the Nez Perce people.
Julian is committed to ensuring that the Treaty Rights to hunt, fish and gather are kept and protected for those who come after us as the Treaty of 1855 signers protected these rights for us to this day. His main goal is to ensure that Tribal youth and adults are educated and have good knowledge of issues affecting our people and also making sure that we (the Nimiipuu) take an active role in protecting our Treaty rights.
President of the Board of Directors
Dorothy is a member of the Nez Perce Tribe. She has been managing the Tribal owned Nez Perce Express C-Stores for the Nez Perce Tribe since 2017. Prior to the Nez Perce Express, she worked for her family Wheeler Bros. and was the General Manager of C-store operations for 13 years.
Through her work, Dorothy supports and sponsors many youth activities baseball, basketball, dance, soccer. They are a proud supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of the Nez Perce Tribe and fundraise annually for the club.
Dorothy is a participating memebr in the Tribal Convenience Store Association. She sits on the Nez Perce Tribe Sewer Water Utility Board as Secretary.
REBECCA WITINOK-HUBER (Becky), PhD
Beckygrew up on a farm in rural Iowa, where she was raised to respect and honor the natural world, and developed a deep sense of adventure, and a fighting spirit. As the daughter of a hydrogeologist, she saw her mother dedicate her life to bringing the processes and stories of the natural world into the classroom to her students. Her father, an Iowa native, grew up farming the land, and carries a deep reverence and understanding of the connection between humans, natural resources and animals.
Becky, has always loved the outdoors, and studied Wildlife Biology at the University of Vermont, before finding the West was calling to her spirit. She first moved to Colorado as a professional triathlete in 2008, and competed for six years around the world. Despite falling just short of her goal to qualify for the Olympics, the challenges and obstacles she faced and overcame as an athlete, still serve her well. From 2013-2015 Becky studied Social-ecological systems at Colorado State University, where she becoming fascinated with community based water management, and women's rights. She lived in rural Kenya for six months, working with women and listening to their stories about the barriers and opportunities to be involved in water management and health. This includes human health and well being, water rights and ecosystem functions, the ability of communities to adaptively manage their resources and live in communion, and the vital ecological knowledge of those who have lived as part of and worked with the land and water for generations.
Becky comes to us as a partner, advocate, and supporter of people and water. She has finished her PhD in Water Resources at the University of Idaho, and would like to see more integration of ecological knowledge and science when natural resource policies are formulated so that management is holistic, adaptive, sustainable, and meaningful to people on the ground.
KASSANDRA TOWNSEND, B.S. Ecology and Conservation Biology Student, Ph.D. Natural Resources, University of Idaho
“I am an enrolled member of the Acoma Pueblo tribe but have grown up in southern Idaho. I am currently a PhD student in natural resources studying forest owls in Southeastern Arizona. I hope to become a wildlife biologist and lead research while also including environmental education. I hope to work with Tribal agencies and NGOs in the future.
I have been volunteering with the Nimiipuu Youth program and enjoy working with the Tribal and Non-Tribal youth."
EMMA CARSCALLEN, B.A. International Relations, Spanish
Having grown up on the beautiful Palouse and traditional Nimiipuu lands, Emma is a recent graduate from the University of Idaho with Bachelors of Arts degrees in Spanish and International Relations, completing coursework relating to Indian law and tribal sovereignty. She is currently employed at The Pew Charitable Trusts, working in Government Relations with the environment and international programs.
In the future, she hopes to pursue either a masters degree in international policy and human rights or a law degree in similar fields.