CRITFC is governed by the Fish and Wildlife Committees of its four member tribes. Each tribe determines how its Fish and Wildlife Committee is elected or selected as well as the number of representatives comprising their committee. This ranges from five to fifteen representatives. However each tribe has only one vote at the Commission table.
The four committees must reach consensus in order for the Commission to act. The Commissioners meet, at a minimum, monthly. During fishing seasons, meetings are often held more frequently via conference calls or teleconferencing.
CRITFC officers are elected to a one-year term. The Chair is selected by the Commission from the Commissioners representing the tribe whose turn it is to hold the position. The Chair position is currently held by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Chair Corinne Sams (Umatilla) takes the oath of office from the outgoing CRITFC Chair Ron Suppah (Warm Springs).
Chair Corinne Sams, Umatilla
Corinne ‘Cor’ Sams (Cayuse/Walla Walla/Cocopah) is an elected Board of Trustees Member for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). She began her profession in youth advocacy working as a Title 6 Indian Education Coordinator in the Pendleton Public School System. Later went on to work for Portland State University as an Assistant Data Analyst in the Department of Social Work. This experience set the stage for Corinne to embrace her role within tribal government, social and public service in the tribal community as an advocate for the CTUIR and surrounding communities.
Corinne is currently the Vice Chair of the CTUIR Law and Order Committee and the Chair of the Fish and Wildlife Commission. In addition to her responsibilities as a Tribal Leader, Corinne is one of the advisors for the CTUIR Youth Council, Vice President of the Nixyaawii Chamber of Commerce, and Northwest Health Foundation Civic Health Board of Directors. She is a certified Tai Chi instructor for better balance which in turn she has shared on and off the reservation through gentle instruction, and also is a certified Life Coach.
Corinne is honored to serve as a CRITFC Commissioner. She is vigilant in protecting, and enhancing Treaty reserved rights. She is committed to restoring, and protecting Salmon in the Columbia Basin. Corinne has fished most of her life on the Columbia River and tributaries, mainly scaffold/hook and line. As a fisher and commissioner, Corinne wants to ensure our resources, ecosystem, habitat, and aquatic species are maintained for the next 7 generations.
Her interests include, spending time with her partner and children, coaching all sports, hunting, camping, fishing, gathering first foods, and anything and everything to do with tribal people.
Vice-chair Jeremy Takala, Yakama
Jeremy Takala, Indian name Pax’una’shut, is a Tribal Councilman of the Yakama Nation and is from the Kahmiltpah Band (Rock Creek) of the Columbia River area. Prior to becoming a member of the Yakama Nation Tribal Council (YNTC) he worked for the Yakama Nation Fisheries Project (YKFP) for 12 years at the Klickitat River Research Monitor Evaluate (RME). He currently serves on the Fish and Wildlife Committee, Legislative Committee, Law and Order Committee, and the Veterans Committee for the YNTC.
He has a commitment to remain vigilant in managing fishery resources through the inherent rights that were affirmed through treaties made by the Yakama, Warm Springs, Umatilla, and Nez Perce nations. These legal contracts with the United States government serve as guiding principles to help protect the natural foods, streams, and animals; as well as maintaining a stewardship role for future generations to understand and protect. Jeremy is honored to be a part of the CRITFC organization so that he may carry on the vision of past leaders’ work in preserving the natural law that was set in place since Time Immemorial.
Jeremy grew up in Goldendale, WA and was brought up as a drummer and provider for the Rock Creek Longhouse. He acknowledges his traditional teachers which include a long list of family members and tribal elders. Jeremy and his family remain active in the Washut ways and together with his wife Kim, they continue to hand down those teachings to their two sons, Tyler and Clint. He is known in the pow wow circle as a round bustle dancer which is a style that originates from the Yakama Nation. He is also an avid Mariners fan, enjoys being in the mountains gathering traditional foods and medicines, and making memories with his family to continue on the practices that were shown to him during his upbringing. For Jeremy and his family, it’s a team effort that involves the entire community.
Secretary Ferris Paisano, Nez Perce
Born in Albuquerque New Mexico to Ferris, Jr. and Frances Arthur Paisano February 17, 1946. I was blessed with three sisters, Marie Anne Paisano (deceased), Edna Lee Paisano (deceased) and Rachel P. Edwards. Nez Perce Maternal grandparents; Daniel E. Arthur and Rachel Penney Arthur, Laguna Pueblo Paternal grandparents; Ferris Paisano, Sr. and Bessie Sarracino Paisano from the village of Paguate, New Mexico.
I was raised on the Nez Perce Reservation enjoying all that was uplifting and naught. Life was a gift of the reservation; watching and helping taking care of a large garden, feeding chickens, gathering eggs, butchering chickens and turkeys, feeding pigs, raising cattle, fixing fence, taking care of the hay, feeding in the winter, cutting wood and hauling drinking water in large cream cans, sleeping on the floor, hunting and fishing (subsistence) watching grandmother tan and smoking the hides, waiting anxiously as the deer meat was hanging in the tipis smoke drying on racks.
I attended Lapwai Public School from 1952 thru 1964. Learning A, B, C’s and making lifelong friends. I attended Lewis Clark State College, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education; and continued my education at University of Idaho, Central Washington State College, Gonzaga University, University of Colorado, Washington State University and Kansas University.
I taught school in Wapato, Washington on the Yakama reservation from 1969 thru 1972 making many lifelong friends and memories. My next teaching position was home on the Nez Perce Reservation with the Lapwai School district from 1972 thru 2000.
I worked for the first Upward Bound staff in the summer of 1969 and worked in the first HOIST program at the University of Idaho.
I have been employed by the Nez Perce Tribe for 23 years working in the Fisheries department, Regulatory Gaming Commission and Tribal Council.
In 1975 Idaho Governor Evans appointed me to the state Magistrate Commission. I have the honor of still serving on the Commission.
I’ve been married to my wife Linda for 46 years and we have three beautiful daughters: Angela, Joni, and Stephanie (deceased); 9 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson.
I am a member of the Bahai Faith. In 1993 I was privileged to travel to Siberia Russia with thirty other tribal members from Alaska, Canada, and the United States to meet with the Tribes of Siberia and share their culture. As a member of the Bahai Faith I served as an appointed member to a position titled Auxiliary Board Member and served for fifteen years. Our goal was to build spiritual communities in the neighborhood around the world starting with children’s classes (in homes) junior youth and adult study. Every way is the right way to Worship and Pray to the LIGHT.
Treasurer Ron Suppah, Sr, Warm Springs
“The Warm Springs, Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Yakama tribes consider salmon and the other First Foods as the sacred center of our cultures. It is our duty to protect them. We will always work to protect salmon, lamprey, and tribal treaty fishing rights at all our traditional locations for today and future generations.”
Ron Suppah, Sr. is from the Tyghpum band of the Itcheeskin-speaking bands of 1855 treaty signers. He practices the Washat religion and hunts and fishes for feasts and special spiritual ceremonies. He began ceremonial hunting for the Simnasho Longhouse when he was 9 years old and still regularly fishes for salmon on his family’s scaffold at Sherar’s Falls for ceremonial harvests and family subsistence. Ron is also a keeper of the longhouse songs and a drummer of those songs.
In addition to protecting the salmon resource, he is a passionate advocate for protecting lamprey and the treaty-reserved rights the four CRITFC member tribes have to harvest them. He harvests this First Food on the Warm Springs Reservation at Sherar’s Falls as well as at the Warm Springs traditional use area of Willamette Falls.
Ron served on the Warm Springs Tribal Council from 2001 to 2019 and served as the tribal Chair from 2004 to 2010. He currently serves on the Warm Springs Fish & Wildlife Committee.
Corinne Sams (CRITFC Chair), N. Kathryn Brigham, Sandy Sampson, Ken Hall,, James R. Marsh, Brandon Treloar, Chris Williams
Jeremy Takala (CRITFC Vice-chair), Terry Heemsah Sr, Terry Goudy-Rambler, Caseymac Wallahee, Yvonne Colfax, Elaine Harvey, Bronsco Jim Jr, Wilbur Slockish Jr, William Yallup Jr
Ferris Paisano (CRITFC Secretary), Shirley Allman, Rachel Edwards, Mary Jane Miles, Ryan Oatman, Samuel N Penney, Ashton Picard, Jasmine Higheagle, Erik Holt, Michael McFarland, Mike Tuell, Jack Yearout
Ron Suppah Sr (CRITFC Treasurer), Carlos Calico, Rosa Graybael, Delvis Heath Sr, James Manion, Raymond Moody, Joseph Moses, Alvis Smith III, Jonathan W Smith Sr, Lincoln Jay Suppah, Wilson Wewa Jr, Bruce Jim Sr, Emerson G Squiemphen