Jacqueline Tai Simpson

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.




Nez Perce Tribe 2006. All rights reserved.