Chief Delvis Heath: “You Can’t Take” Jurisdiction Away

In this excerpt from an interview with Chief Delvis Heath, he discusses tribal jurisdiction of the Columbia.

Bio: Born in 1938, to Nathan and Lilly Heath, Chief Delvis Heath has been the Warm Springs Chief since 1984. His father died in 1969, but Delvis declined and Amos Simtustus, Sr. became chief. When Amos passed, Delvis assumed the role of chief in 1984. He is married to Shirley Stahi, who he has been married to since 1960. The two of them have four children (two deceased), eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The family ran Chief Heath stables at Kah-Nee-Ta High Desert Resort and Casino for many years, until they retired from it last year. Chief Delvis Heath is a speaker of his ancestral language, Sahaptin and is active in the Longhouse and the teachings of the Washat religion. He works on Treaty issues with the state and federal government, as well on in-lieu fishing sites. He is also involved in the Museum at Warm Springs, where he serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Transcription: And we still have jurisdiction, you can’t take that away from us. We still have jurisdiction all the way to the mouth and on the Columbia. So when you, if you’re going to battle us, you’ve got a big fight on your hands. They found out there was no way we’re going to win if we take it against the tribe because they own that. And they owned a lot the land before the coming of the pioneers.

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