Jacqueline Tai Simpson
Dear Nimiipuu Family & Friends:
After several months of deliberation I’ve made the decision to run for a seat on the Nez Perce Tribe
Executive Committee. “Why now” is usually my family’s first response while I respond with “why not
now?” My aspirations to attend law school have not diminished though I am anxious to serve my people
especially in light of the national and state level political dynamic. I can’t be all things for all people but
I’m confident I have what it takes to keep our state and local legislators engaged and on the side of
Nimiipuu sovereignty. Further, my life goals have always revolved around how best I can serve my
people. Am I a better advocate at the state and national level? Are my skills and abilities best leveraged
at the grassroots level? I don’t know and I won’t know until l I serve here at home. This position is about
community service for me. Being a NPTEC member is about how best I can offer a voice to my
community, especially to young tribal members and their great grandchildren to come.
In full disclosure I have never held a tribal employment position. Albeit out of the ordinary this does not
mean I don’t possess plenty of life and employment experiences that will benefit the tribe. I have years
of social activism and community organizing experience. I have worked as a student leader at Boise
State University and a community leader in the Treasure Valley for nearly ten years. I managed and
operated an $8 million dollar restaurant whilst winning awards, changing lives, and generatin revenue.
I’ve worked for a corporate retail technology giant at which I was responsible for a $500,000 book of
business. The position taught me everything I know about customer service and management. I’ve
been waitstaff and a bartender, instilling in me knowledge of work ethic, multitasking, urgency, and a
positive attitude. I’ve sat on conference and seminar panels offering experiential insight to social and
racial justice issues in our country, state, and region. I contributed to the largest student sponsored
powwow at Boise State University while simultaneously organizing Native American Awareness Week
events. While I have never been a Nez Perce Tribe employee I am not without experience and
preparation to serve the people with enthusiasm and fervor. A mentor of mine described my tribal
inexperience as a good thing. I am a blank slate, a sponge fresh out of the package ready to absorb new
knowledge, engage, and learn. This is my commitment to the Nimiipuu.
I am not here with an agenda. I don't have any want or willingness to shower you with political
buzzwords like transparency, accountability, or change. You've heard those time and
time again. I know
that I can’t be all things for all people, but I assert that I’ll speak my mind with Nimiipuu best interests at
heart. We have a large population of our community who feel ostracized or alienated. Our young people
don't want to be involved nor do they feel as if their voices are heard either. I want you to know that I
see you and I hear you.
Over the years I have been a vocal advocate for decolonization, Indigenism, and sovereignty. I believe
wholeheartedly that we are a strong sovereign nation with or without our treaty. Our nation existed
before it was put on paper. We had an economy and political structure before the BIA imposed their
standards on us. I believe in language and traditional storytelling to pass on our culture outside of
Western standards for education. I am a student of political philosophy & sociology to wit I can offer the
people an academic perspective on policy making, development, and execution. I am an evangelist for
social, political, and economic empowerment. In my experience, making decisions wholly focused on
the best interests of the tribe generally fare the best outcomes.
To offer you an introduction, I am the granddaughter of the late Lucille Redheart who worked nearly 40
years in the ER of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center as an LPN and the late Simon Wilson, a Veteran of
the Korean War. My parents are Bart Simpson, a Cat, Inc. retiree currently living in Singapore and
Merrell “Beck” Simpson of Lapwai, currently the Diabetes Coordinator at Nimiipuu Health. My paternal
grandparents are the late William & Juanita Simpson, renowned civil rights activists and scholars of the
Chicago area. Like many young Indigenous children I had strong influences from several aunties,
grandparents, and cousins. I do my best to learn what I can from my family and earn their respect
through hard work and support.
I consider myself to be a well-educated and strong minded woman. I am a warrior for truth, justice, and
love. I have spent the better part of my adult life learning how to be a better woman, sister, daughter,
friend, and leader. My election to NPTEC through your support and guidance will be a small step on my
journey and an opportunity for me to both learn from you and serve you well.
Please visit my candidate site on Facebook (@TaiforNPTEC), utilize my email & phone number, and offer
feedback and insight as you see fit. Qeci ‘yew ‘yew for the opportunity to be heard and for the
opportunity to win your vote for the Nez Perce Tribe Executive CommiEee. Yox kalo.