Tribal affairs are governed by an elected body called the Board of Trustees. A chairman presides over the Board, which consists of eight other members. The Board sets policy, makes the final decisions on tribal affairs, and takes a lead role in determining priority projects and issues. The Board conducts business meetings weekly, in addition to numerous work sessions with staff and special board meetings with external individuals and organizations. All of the board members, except the Chair, participate in various commissions and committees established to oversee specific tribal issues, such as education, natural resources, water, health and welfare, cultural resources, fish and wildlife, law and order, and more.
The Board is elected by the General Council, which consists of all Tribal members age 18 and older. The General Council also elects its own officers. The General Council meets monthly to hear updates from its Chairman, the Board of Trustees, and various working groups. This is also an opportunity for General Council members to provide input and recommendations to the tribal officials. Special General Council meetings are occasionally held to discuss specific issues.
The day-to-day work of the Confederated Tribes government is carried out by a staff of nearly 500 employees (47% are our own tribal members, 14% are Indians from other tribes, and 38% are non-Indians). The Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director are responsible for directing the staff, which is organized into several departments and programs.
- The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is a union of three tribes: Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla.
- The CTUIR has over 3,100 tribal members. Nearly half of those tribal members live on or near the Umatilla Reservation. The Umatilla Reservation is also home to another 300 Indians who are members of other tribes. About 1,500 non-Indians also live on the Reservation. 30% of our membership is composed of children under age 18. 15% are elders over age 55.
- The Umatilla Indian Reservation is about 172,000 acres (about 273 square miles).
- CTUIR is governed by a Constitution and by-laws adopted in 1949. The Governing body is the nine-member Board of Trustees, elected every two years by the General Council (tribal members age 18 and older).
- More than 800 individuals are employed at the Tribe’s Wildhorse Casino & Resort and nearly 300 are employed Cayuse Technologies.
- In 1855 the three tribes signed a treaty with the US government, in which it ceded over 6.4 million acres to the United States. In the treaty, the tribes reserved rights to fish, hunt, and gather foods and medicines within the ceded lands, which today is northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. Tribal members still exercise and protect those rights today.
- Many tribal members still practice the traditional tribal religion called Washat. Some still speak their native languages. A language program is underway to preserve and teach the tribes’ languages.
- Monthly newspaper: Confederated Umatilla Journal, published the first Thursday of each month.
- Radio Station: KCUW 104.3 FM