NPTEC Candidate – Seat 1: James R. Spencer

Parent’s – Russ and Juanita Spencer

Grandparents– Maternal: Sam and Lucy Hayes   Paternal: Hershel and Cecelia Spencer

Education: Graduated from Lapwai High School in 1991. Then attended Lewis Clark State Collage Vocational technical school for autobody.

Work experience: Most of my work experience has been in Manufacturing and public speaking. First in the jet boat industry, then in the aviation industry, and finally in the ammunition industry. For the last 27 years I’ve been sharing our history and culture with people from all over the world aboard cruise boats on Columbia and Snake rivers, as well as travelling around the country presenting to schools. I’ve also worked at the airport. Working my way up from janitor to maintenance and operations, and finally to airport security coordinator.

I’m a member of the Chief Joseph and Warriors Memorial Pow wow committee. I have served a president several time and I’m currently serving as whipman.

Both my parents worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, my father served in Law Enforcement and my mother as the secretary for the superintendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. So I grew up listening to conversations about federal regulations and how the government works. I’ve also observed that our culture and traditions have much to offer in guiding us.

I am a descendant of a line of medicine people and horsemen. I was given my Great great Grandfathers name “Whitebull” as a Horseman. In both healing and working with livestock, there are teachings that are directly relatable to governance.  There is a wealth of knowledge that can be gleaned from Horsemanship and implemented in government.  True Horsemanship is not about exercising dominance over another. It’s about building a relationship and convincing a greater force to follow you.  Horsemanship is a give and take relationship.  In training and riding terms, it’s all about pressure and release.  Only use as much pressure as needed to get the desired result.  Lawmakers would do well to remember that. There is no need to go straight to the spurs every time.

When making decisions that will affect people’s lives, you must consider whether the cure does more harm than good.  Even today in western medicine as well as traditional healing practice, practitioners are taught to do what you can but do no harm.  Just like the healing arts; government should do what it can but do no harm.

As far as personal work experience I’ve worked as a cook, janitor, herdsman, manufacturing, and in an airport environment as both operations and maintenance as well as airport security coordinator.  For the past 27 years I’ve been a teacher, sharing native stories and traditional teachings.

 As a cook I learned to work under pressure in what can be at times a very chaotic environment.  In manufacturing I worked in three different sectors and learned to how to analyze current manufacturing practices and make changes to optimize output.  In the airport environment, I had the opportunity to work with government agencies and develop a knowledge of several sections of the Code of Federal Regulations ( C.F.R.).