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Historic Milestone Marked by Celebration of 80 Years of Sovereignty

On January 15, 1931 the United States Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes,
approved a constitution and by-laws which recognized the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony as a sovereign nation.  Eighty years later on that same date, over 300 people associated with the Colony recognized that significant historic milestone.

“It was really a great day,” said Trisha Calabaza, the RSIC’s Archives Photograph Manager who spearheaded the day-long event.  “We had a good turnout with a lot of positive feedback.”

The celebration took place in the multipurpose room at the RSIC Administration building.
It included before and after photos and maps of the tribal lands, a pictorial timeline of the Colony’s history, a photo display of the RSIC’s leadership through the last 80-years, a video created in the early 70’s which highlighted youth and focused on the day-to-day life at the reservation.

Chelsea O’Daye, a member and an employee of the Reno-Sparks Indian carefully reviews the pictorial timeline for the Colony’s last 80-years. Over 300 people participated in the RSIC’s 80-Years of Sovereignty on Jan. 15, 2016.
Chelsea O’Daye, a member and an employee of the Reno-Sparks Indian carefully reviews the pictorial timeline for the Colony’s last 80 years. Over 300 people participated in the RSIC’s 80-Years of Sovereignty on Jan. 15, 2016.

RSIC Chairman Arlan D. Melendez addressed a crowd and read an official proclamation for Celebrating 80 Years of Sovereignty before Janice Gardipe, tribal elder, educator and activist, provided a blessing and a traditional song.

Besides enjoying refreshments, attendees had an opportunity to leave his or her mark on the day.

With the United States Civil Rights Commission’s definition of sovereignty prominently
displayed, participants were invited to share what sovereignty means to him or her.

According to the civil rights commission, sovereignty refers to “…tribes’ right
to govern themselves, define their own membership, manage tribal property, and regulate tribal business and domestic relations; it further recognizes the existence of a government-to-government relationship between such tribes and the federal government.”

With that definition as a starting point, participants wrote their interpretation of sovereignty on decorative paper and  displayed their ideas.

Most of the contributions, mirrored the formal definition.  For example one person wrote, “To me sovereignty means the right to govern yourself and right to choose the direction of your people,” and another wrote: “We are a Nation within a Nation (U.S.) with our own government: court, police for our people.

Still other contributions were much simpler and much more sentimental, like “To me
sovereignty means a celebration of our choosing,” and another wrote: “Love
for our people.”

So, while the celebration included looking back at admired leaders and
remembering struggles of the past, the day proved to be a time to look ahead, too.

“This is just the beginning,” remarked one community member.

Another participant said that every day we make decisions which decide the direction
of our people.

“We have to plan for future generations,” she added.

And as any effective learning environment does, the celebration included
constructive feedback as well.

“Even though we are a sovereign nation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) supersedes us,” remarked one community member.  “So in a way, we are still under someone’s law.”

Another tribal member lamented that being part of a sovereign nation while also
being a United States citizen can limit his civil rights.

“Our declaration of a sovereign nation cuts out my right as a U.S. citizen,” he felt.
Esnala Kaye, a member of the planning committee who oversaw this interactive portion of the program said that she was surprised by the discussion the exercise of defining sovereignty generated.

“A lot of people were very emotional when I asked them what sovereignty meant to them,” Kaye said.  “I wasn’t expecting that, but really it was good because we saw a different point of view.”

Kaye explained for some Native Americans who don’t have essential services and are not federally recognized, thinking about others exercising sovereignty might be painful.

“After I talked to one lady and even discussed the subject with my family, it hit me how fortunate the RSIC people really are,” Kaye said.

That same sentiment was conveyed when Chairman Melendez read his proclamation.
“Though much has change in these past 80-years, the resolve of the Numa, the Newe and the Washeshu has not,” Chairman Melendez said. “From our early origins of government, to our 80th anniversary, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony continues to evolve while preserving its unique, rich and sacred past. We thrive by the sacrifice of our elders, the vision of our youth, and the spirit of our ancestors.”

On Jan. 15, 1931, the United State federal government approved the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony's constitution and by-laws making the RSIC a sovereign nation.
On Jan. 15, 1931, the United State federal government approved the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s constitution and by-laws making the RSIC a sovereign nation.


After-School Program Uses Technology to Learn Math Facts

Jayden Peters does not ever want to leave after school tutoring.

“It is time to go and everyone is waiting,” says Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tutor Lynette Sam.

Peters, a fourth grader at Hidden Valley Elementary will tell you that he is good in math, but doing his math facts on an e-carrot tablet, is making him late to get home.

“No, no, I don’t want to go,” Peters says. “I want to play more.”

This handheld, colorful electronic device has added a new dimension to the RSIC’s Education Program.

Thanks to a concerned parent-turned entrepreneur, Peters along with all the youth attending the RSIC after-school program are learning.

According to the founder and chief executive officer of e-Carrot, Patrick Grimes, his goal was to create a fun learning method to motivate students that when successfully completed, ends with a reward.

After-school students learn math facts using e-Carrot tablets.
The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s After-School Program has been using e-Carrot tablets to teach math facts to its students.

“Basically, we are using technology to build knowledge,” Grimes said.

Interestingly, e-Carrot was born out of a family problem.

As a junior in high school, one of the Grimes children abruptly encountered difficulty in math.  After several parent teacher conferences and involving the school counselor, it was
discovered that the student was spending her class time, text messaging her friends.

In fact, the teacher allowed students to use any type of electronic device in class, as long as they did not disrupt the teacher or other classmates.

So, understandably, Grime’s 16-year-old picked texting rather than listening to math lectures.

Thanks to their parental control, the Grimes modified their teenager’s phone, so that before she could send a text message, she had to successfully complete a
digital math flash card.

Thus, e-Carrot was born.

The name of the company, e-Carrot signifies the process of chasing a goal and getting the reward, e.g., running after a carrot, plus, carrots are good for your vision.  Good vision, physically and literally, is good for a healthy, happy life.

So, with help from another member of the family, Cody, the Grimes successfully created a program or an app which motivates younger students–kindergarten through sixth grade, to work on math facts.

Once the student learns all the facts and eventually commits them to memory and can recall the information in a timely manner, the students are allowed to play video games.

For Peters that is plenty of incentive.

“Jelly Fish is my favorite game,” Peters said.”

Currently, both the downtown Colony and the Hungry Valley students in the after-school
program have access to the e-Carrot tablets.

And though the verdict on exactly how much learning is happening on the reservation,
is still out, e-Carrot has some significant results with other learners.

At a Title I elementary school in Sun Valley, fifth graders have had double digit improvement in 30 days.  As a class, the group improved 9 percent when doing 100 math problems in three minutes.

In a way, we are kind of tricking our students,” said Tanya Hernandez, an RSIC Education Advisor said.  “They do not realize yet, but they are learning.”

In order to convince educators that the e-Carrot system works, Grimes adopted the state of Nevada’s standards, so he has a handle on the students’ knowledge before they start working with the e-Carrot system.

All students take a pre-test before students are allowed to begin working on their
e-tablets. This gauges exactly how much they already know, and then, how much they learn.

Furthermore, results for one student or even a small sub-group, e.g., the Native American students, can be detailed, so that future work on the e-tablet can be customized to better prepare that student.

Grimes said that research confirms that several aspects of a person’s long-term
wellbeing — including socioeconomic status and overall physical health are linked to his/her grasp of basic math facts.

He has worked with experts from Stanford University to understand how children learn and how the brain operates when memorizing math facts.

“We are very interested in helping an underserved population, like Native Americans,” Grimes said.

Besides the school in Sun Valley, e-Carrot has been launched in area Blue Ribbon Schools — public and private, an orphanage in India, three Truckee Meadows Boys and Girls Clubs, a STEM academy and even a Christian middle school in Carson City, Nev.

Grimes said that ultimately, he would like to build the program at the RSIC so that students can be assigned an e-tablet which can be taken home.

“You don’t need the internet to study your math facts or to take advantage of your reward,” Grimes explained.

Two New Council Members, Three Incumbents Sworn-In

Highlighted by the pending 80th anniversary of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, two new Tribal Council members, two returning Tribal Council members, and the returning Tribal Council Chairman were sworn in on Dec. 9.

“Tonight, even before we continue forward, we must look back to the past to see if we are still fulfilling the mandate and vision of our past leaders,” said Chairman Arlan D. Melendez, who took an oath of office for his 29th consecutive year serving on the Colony Council.

“Our first Tribal Council—Cleveland Cypher Sr., Thomas Ochio, George Houten, Willie Tondy, Jack Mahone, George McGinnis, and Chairman Harry Sampson, gave us a vision and a continuing mandate.”

As per that mandate and the RSIC’s nearly 80-year-old constitution, Daryl “Doug” Gardipe and Shawna Kirsten took an oath of office and joined the tribal council, while Jacqueline Quoetone and Ruth Sampson Guerrero were re-sworn in for another four-year term.  Melendez began his 9th term and 25th year as Tribal Chairman of the Colony.

RSIC Tribal Chief Judge, Joseph J. Van Walraven administered the oath of office to the group.

Jacqueline Quoetone, Ruth Sampson Guerrero, Arlan D. Melendez, Daryl “Doug” Gardipe, and Shawna Kirsten recently took an oath of office as leaders of the 41st Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Council. RSIC Tribal Judge Joseph J. Van Walraven swore the leadership into office.
Jacqueline Quoetone, Ruth Sampson Guerrero, Arlan D. Melendez, Daryl “Doug” Gardipe, and Shawna Kirsten recently took an oath of office as leaders of the 41st Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Council. RSIC Tribal Judge Joseph J. Van Walraven swore the leadership into office.


In 1935, Colony residents voted to accept the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA)
of 1934 by a vote of 53-5.  The IRA gave the RSIC the right and the authority to organize for a common welfare, to adopt a constitution and by-laws, to form businesses and other sub-organizations and granted the Tribe certain rights of home rule.

“The major goal of the Indian Reorganization Act was to reverse the goal of assimilation of Indians into American society and encourage tribes to continue their traditions and culture,” Chairman Melendez said. “The act also restored to Indians, the management
of their assets, primarily land and mineral rights and included provisions intended to create economic development on reservations.”

According to Chairman Melendez, the IRA also authorized the United States  Secretary of the Interior to acquire land and water rights, and to create new reservations.

Furthermore, the act encouraged tribes to implement written constitutions and
charters for the purpose of giving tribes the freedom to self-govern.

It also authorized funds in a revolving credit account for tribal land purchases,   educational assistance and aiding the organization of tribal governments.

The RSIC submitted a draft constitution to the Carson City Indian Agency in September
of 1935.

The constitution and by-laws were ratified by eligible Colony voters on Dec. 16 of that same year.

It was approved by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes on Jan. 15, 1936.

The evening marked the conclusion of the service for council members Darrell Bill and Judith Miller.  Both Bill and Miller gave heart-felt farewell speeches thanking their family and acknowledging the privilege of serving as a council member.

About 80 people attended the ceremony.

“As we embark on our 81st year as a federally recognized tribal government, we must protect our sovereignty and not ever forget the vision and mandate that has been set before us,” Chairman Melendez said. “We must work together in unity and
respect for one another.”

41st RSIC Tribal Council Photo


Daughters of the American Revolution Aim to Fulfill Theme Working With RSIC

Though the holidays have concluded, the Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR) are still giving and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony is on the receiving end.

“We want to do more than just donate,” said Janet Copeland Gould, the Nevada Sagebrush Chapter Regent and the State Recording Secretary for the DAR. “What we are doing honors our heritage, focuses on our future and celebrates America.”

The DAR which just turned 125-years-old, is putting those founding principles into action this Thursday, when about a half dozen of its members stocked and organized a storage room within the Colony’s Human Services office space at 405 Golden Lane.

This area or resource room will include emergency supplies from diapers, to hygiene kits, essential clothing, to school supplies and more.

“This partnership is about building a relationship outside our community to help within our community,” said Adriana Botello, the manager of the RSIC’s Human Services Department. “Because of the DAR’s generosity and hard work, we will be able to help our community members immediately—in the moment with discretion and dignity.”

This unlikely partnership started last March when the DAR felt their efforts to positively impact the Native American community would be better served locally. This national, non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization had supported its national leadership’s commitment to education, but the closest school the DAR Nevada Sagebrush Chapter could assist was in Salem, Oregon.

This despite the fact, that most of the DAR’s volunteer work is accomplished by the grassroots efforts of local level chapters.

“We drove 10 hours, hauling a trailer to Oregon, and unloaded all the items from the (Chemawa Indian) School’s request list and when we finished, one of our members suggested we consider finding a local Indian group to assist,” Copeland Gould said. “Our group is breaking protocol by partnering with Native Americans locally rather than participating in the routine donations for schools approved by our national leaders.”

In addition to emergency supplies, Botello explained that the DAR is helping to provide gently used professional clothing in case a member of the RSIC community has a job interview, but not the needed attire.

“First, we sat down and determined what the needs of the RSIC are, and we learned that finding employment for their people is a priority,” Copeland Gould said. “After that, we said, ‘here is what the DAR can do to help.’”

Copeland Gould explained that she has volunteers who will help RSIC community members with job interview skills, creating resumes and completing job applications. She has even made arrangements for free haircuts at Salon 215 South for those RSIC community members who seek out help with their job search.

“This partnership meets our organization’s goals on several levels,” Copeland Gould said. “We are celebrating America by helping our country’s first Americans.”

According to the National Endowment of the Humanities, during the American Revolutionary War, Native Americans had to survive among competing European powers. In the 1780s, Native Americans faced a “New World” and had to choose between staying neutral, siding with the British, or joining the revolutionary cause.

Furthermore, American Indians were trying to hold on to their aboriginal homelands; however some tribes joined the British, while others fought with the American Colonists.

“Despite our respective complex histories, this isn’t about dependence and it is not an entitlement program,” Botello said. “Everyone needs a boost at some time and thanks to the DAR, our community will benefit.”



Melendez Re-elected Colony Tribal Chairman

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Election Voting Totals

Two incumbents, two newcomers voted onto eight person council

Reno, Nev. – Arlan D. Melendez, who has served the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony for 28- uninterrupted years, 24 as the tribe’s highest elected position, has been re-elected as chairman.

“I am humbled and honored to be able to continue to work together and address the issues facing our community,” Melendez said. “We have made great strides over the years and I am proud of what we have accomplished.”

Melendez is a well-known tribal leader and key spokesperson on local and national issues. Currently, he is the chairman of the taxation sub-committee for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and a member of the United States Health and Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee which addresses Native American health issues.

On three occasions, Melendez has served as the Western Region Vice President for NCAI, representing tribes from Nevada, Utah and Arizona.  He has been a past president of the Inter- Tribal Council of Nevada and he served six years on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights being appointed by U.S. Senator Harry Reid. He is only the second Native American to be named to this post.

In 2013, he was named the American Indian Community Leader of the Year by the Nevada Indian Commission.

The other incumbent winners of the night were Ruth Sampson Guerrero and Jacqueline Quoetone. The other council seats will be filled by Daryl Gardipe and Shawna Kirsten. They will be serving four year terms.

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony is a sovereign nation. Its tribal government includes an elected chairman and an eight-member council which serves as the governing body per the RSIC Constitution.

The constitution gives the Tribal Council the authority and responsibility to raise revenues, incur expenses, enter into contracts, borrow money, administer funds, purchase land, and provide services for the general welfare and benefit of the Colony tribal and community members.

As a sovereign Indian nation, the RSIC Tribal Council carries the same unique powers and duties as any city council, county commission or legislative government across the United States.

Four of the tribal council seats are up for election every two years and the tribal council is organized to include a chairman, vice-chairman, a secretary, and a treasurer. The chairman shall be elected by the voters, and the vice-chairman, secretary, and treasurer shall be selected by the tribal council from within its own membership.

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RSIC Celebrates Nevada Day

About 40 people from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony wore traditional dress, performed choreographed pow wow dances and gave away treats to young audience members during the annual Nevada Day Parade on Oct. 31 in Carson City, Nev.

As the State of Nevada celebrated its 151th birthday, RSIC Native Americans showed their pride with an extensive entry into the annual parade.

“You could feel everyone’s enthusiasm,” said Adrianna Gutierrez one of the event organizers.  “We had a lot of help and everyone really represented our community very well.”


For the first time in parade history, a Native American women, Sherry Rupert, served as a co-Grand Marshal.  Rupert, the executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission, is of Paiute and Shoshone descent.

Hank Johnson and Lorenzo Katenay led the RSIC procession and carried a banner identifying our group.

Wearing a traditional headdress gifted to him from a Plains Indian Tribe, RSIC Tribal Chairman Arlan D. Melendez followed, riding in a convertible Mercedes Benz.


Numaga Princesses Jade Furst and Annabelle Lee sporting pow wow attire and beaded crowns were next in the procession, riding in their own convertible.

Three traditionally danced participants walked next.  Mike Kane, who remembers walking the parade route back in 1964, walked the 2015 parade route in a sagebrush outfit he made himself.

Carrying the very youngest participants along with a sound system, the RSIC Public Works Department provided a vehicle which was hand-decorated with maps indicating the aboriginal territories of all the Great Basin Tribes.  Janice Stump designed the decorations.

Next, the RSIC parade finale was a dozen pow wow dancers.  Besides wishing parade goers “Happy Nevada Day,” these dances performed a routine several times along the route.  The crowded streets of on-lookers cheered exuberantly for all the RSIC participants.

Staff  from the RSIC Recreation Department drove the parade vehicles, provided rides for the participants, and handed out candy and treats to people watching the parade.  With temperatures reaching nearly 75 degrees, the rec staff also kept all the dancers hydrated with bottled water and other refreshments.

RSIC Inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame Class Inducted

Twenty-one outstanding athletes were recently inducted into the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame. However, there is more than meets the eye to this collective group.

IMG_8702 hall of fame group
Last month, twenty-one member of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony were inducted into the inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame. Family members spoke on behalf of inductees who joined their loved ones on stage. Those members who were inducted posthumously, were also honored by family members’ reflections of their athlete’s life. To be considered, the inductees had to have either competed in a sport on a professional level, played in college at a division I school, or have been recognized by another hall of fame. Next year, applications for induction will be accepted. Photo by Bucky Harjo

Beyond the varsity letters, college trophies and individual titles, the RSIC Class of 2015 Hall of Famers are extremely diverse in their interests outside the proverbial athletic arena–an accomplished violinist, a Purple Heart recipient, several elected officials, teachers, coaches, tribal advocates, and even a law student and a degreed engineer.

According to Randy Melendez, a life-long educator and now an assistant in the RSIC Recreation Department, creating the Hall of Fame was not just to honor past athletes and to celebrate the role sports holds in Indian Country, but the mission of the Hall of Fame is to inspire our current generation of athletes.

“We want to honor our past because these athletes were really remarkable, plus sports like running and basketball, are still a big part of the culture of our community,” said Melendez, one of the Hall of Fame inductees. “Plus, we want to send a message to our youth that these are role models, and if today’s athletes work hard, they too, can be anything they want to be.”

Randy Melendez, a member of the inaugural RSIC Athletics Hall of Fame and a life-long educator, explained to the media that the Hall of Fame serves three purposes: to honor our remarkable athletes from the past, to celebrate the role of sports in Native culture and to inspire our youth. The first class of 21 inductees was honored on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.


Melendez, a retired principal from Pyramid Lake High, who was inducted into the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association in 2013 for his coaching achievements, said as a youth, sports help him find his way.

In addition to his decorated coaching career, Melendez lettered in cross country and track at Utah State University and at the University of Nevada. Melendez graduated from Wooster High in 1971, where his dream of a coaching career started.

“Sports guided me to my place in the world,” Melendez said. “From an early age, with support from my family and some very influential coaches, I saw the value and opportunities that athletics could provide me not just to stay close to sports, but ultimately to build a career.”

Among the United States’ 562 federal recognized American Indian tribes, Native Americans are the most under-represented ethnicity on NCAA teams.

The cause of this dismal participation is complex. First, for most Native Americans, standing out individually is at odds with their culture.

“Our culture promotes the principle of functioning as a group,” said Ron Trosper, a Harvard-educated member of the Flathead tribe in Montana who is associate professor at the University of British Columbia. “This hinders the advancement of Native American athletes, starting at the college level, where individual achievement is rewarded.”

Even more dismal than the Native American participation rates in college athletics are the high school graduation rates for American Indians throughout the United States.

In 2015, the high school graduation rates for Native American students in Washoe County was just 43 percent.

“You have to finish high school to attend college,” Melendez said.

But despite the difficulties finding their way onto a collegiate team, let alone becoming a high profile athlete, history is littered with famous Native Americans athletes and their noteworthy accomplishments.

A handsome tribute to the 21 members of the RSIC’s inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame was unveiled at the conclusion of the ceremony. Two banners with the names of the inductees will hang permanently in the rafters of the Reno Gym.

In the 20th century, Jim Thorpe, a Sac & Fox Indian, won two Olympic gold medals, played professional baseball and football and became the first president of the league that would become the NFL.

Billy Mills, a Sioux who came off the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history when he won the 10,000 meters in 1964.

In fact, Native Americans, in partnership with their First Nations cousins in Canada, claim to have originally played in some form of what are now 10 Olympic sports, including canoeing, kayaking, sledding and field hockey. Lacrosse is another sport that originated in Indian Country.

“We believe that by honoring our past athletes, our youth will be inspired to strive for their own excellence,” Melendez said. “My dream came true and I got to be teacher and coach, so I am proof that athletics can lead to a healthy, happy, quality existence.”

Some modern-day, high-profile Native American athletics include: Notah Begay III (golf), Sam Bradford    football), Jacoby Elsberry (baseball), Joba Chamberlain (baseball), Kyle Losh (baseball), Shoni Schmillel (basketball), and T. J. Oshie (hockey).

Tahnee Robinson, a former standout women’s basketball star at the University of Nevada served as the mistress of ceremonies and keynote speaker for the inauguration.

Currently on the coaching staff for the Wolf Pack, Robinson was Nevada’s first WNBA selection. From the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, Robinson is of Pawnee, Eastern Shoshone, Northern Cheyenne and Sioux decent.

The selection of the 2015 class was based on the inductees having already been honored through a hall of fame selection by another association or based on his professional or college athletic accomplishments.

In the future, the RSIC Hall of Fame will open the induction process to nominees. In addition, organizers are hoping that this Hall of Fame will serve as a model for the other 32 Nevada Native communities to establish their own system of honoring past athletes which might lead to a state-wide Native Hall of Fame.

In addition, organizers are hoping that this Hall of Fame will serve as a model for the other 32 Nevada Native communities to establish their own system of honoring past athletes which might lead to a state-wide Native Hall of Fame.

Name                           Graduation Year         High School
Willis Moose               1932                                   Stewart Indian School
John Dressler Sr.      1932                                  Stewart Indian School
Stressler O’Daye      1939                                   Stewart Indian School
Tellivan Eben            1938                                   Stewart Indian School
Leslie Eben Sr.          1946                                   Stewart Indian School
Jack Ridley                1950                                   Stewart Indian School
Joseph J Rivers       1957                                   Stewart Indian School
Brady Johnson Jr. 1957                                    Stewart Indian School
Phelan Sampson    1948                                    Reno High
Floyd Sampson       1950                                    Reno High
Robert Hunter         1958                                     Reno High
Harold Wyatt            1960                                    Douglas High
Arlan Melendez        1965                                   Wooster High
Michael O’Daye        1969                                  Wooster High
Randy Melendez      1971                                  Wooster High
Tony Abbie                1985                                   Wooster High
Shawn Shaw             1986                                   Wooster High
Cecil Wyatt                 1991                                  Wooster High




Tribal Election Information

As per Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Ordinances, below is information regarding the upcoming November election.

Click on the “continue reading” link to see the names of those who have filed to run, the election date, polling locations, the times polls will be open and which seats are open for election.

Please note, all candidates will be vetted, and official list of candidates will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

2015 RSIC Tribal Elections Unofficial Candidate List

Candidates for the Chairman Seat
Arlan D. Melendez
Jody McCloud

Candidates for Tribal Council Seat
1)   Daryl Gardipe
2)   Felicitas Guevara
3)   Ruth Sampson Guerrero
4)   Angel Jackson
5)   Catherine Phoenix
6)   Francis Dressler
7)   Shawna Kirsten
8)   Jacqueline Quoetone
9)   Carol Pinto
10) Crystal Harjo

Again, an official candidates list will be posted by Oct. 28.

In addition, important forms including: a Declaration of Candidacy, an Absentee Ballot Request form, the RSIC election ordinance and an informative election brochure can be found below.

Election Date:
Saturday, Nov. 7

Polling Locations:
Multipurpose Room
34 Reservation Rd.
Reno, NV 8902
Hungry Valley Community Center
9050 Eagle Canyon Rd.
Sparks, NV 89441

Poll Times:
7 a.m-7 p.m.

Open Seats:
1 Tribal Chairman Seat
4 Tribal Council Seats

2015 Tribal Elections

Preliminary Eligible Voters List Posted at least 90 days prior to election 8/9/2015
Election announced by Special Notice At least 45 days before Election 9/23/2015
Absentee Ballot Request Form Sent out at least 45 days before Election 9/23/2015
Mail Election material to all eligible voters At least 45 days before Election 9/23/2015
Candidates’ names filed with Election Board At least 30 days prior to Election 10/8/2015
Post list of Candidates that have filed with Election Board At least 25 days prior to Election 10/13/2015
Challenges to names on Eligible Voters List At least 25 days prior to Election 10/13/2015
Challenges to Candidates List Within 5 days of the posting of Eligible Voters List 10/18/2015
Resolve challenges to Eligible Voters List Within 10 days of the challenges being filed 10/23/2015
Voters must request an absentee Ballot in writing No more than 2 weeks before Election date 10/26/2015
Candidates Night Meet & Mingle 34 Multipurpose Room, 6 p.m. 10/27/2015
Candidates Night Meet & Mingle Hungry Valley Recreation Center, 6 p.m. 10/27/2015
Resolve challenges to Candidates List Within 10 days of filing any challenges 10/28/2015
Final List of Eligible Voters posted No less than 10 days before the Election date 10/28/2015
Absentee ballots received on or before the day of the Election Date 11/7/2015
ELECTION DAY Polls open at 7:00 a.m.
Polls close 7:00 p.m.
Certify Election Results 5 Days after Election (If No Challenges) 11/12/2015
Challenges to the Election No more than 10 days after the Election 11/17/2015
Resolve Challenges to the Election
Certify Election Results Within 5 days of ruling on Election results


All correspondence, candidate material, and all challenges need to be mailed to:
RSIC Election Board
P.O. Box 20848
Reno, Nevada 89510

All Absentee Requests Ballots and Returned Ballots need to be mailed to:
RSIC Election Board
P.O. Box 20146
Reno, Nevada 89510

Hover over the links below and double click to see this information.

Election Ordinance

Declaration of Candidacy

Absentee Ballot Request Form

RSIC Election Committee
Tanya Hernandez-Election Committee Chairman
Lydia Shaw-Vice Chairman
Trisha Calabaza-Election Committee Secretary
Penny Sampson-Election Committee Treasure
Ramona Darrough-Member
Jessica O’Daye-Alternate Member
Antoinette Thayer-Alternate Member





Number of Dancers Double for 29th Numaga Pow Wow

Over 2,000 spectators with more than 200 dancers attended the 29th Annual Numaga Indian Days Pow Wow over Labor Day weekend.

This free, family event featured some of the best Native American dancers, singers and drummers in the country.

Besides the memorable pow wow entertainment, over 25 vendors sold traditional native foods and stunning handcrafted silverwork, beadwork, baskets and other American Indian art.

The two-and-a-half day celebration, which included ancillary events such as the princesses pageant, hand games, a fun walk/run, and a difficult, uphill warrior run, was held in Hungry Valley.

This year, the host drum was award winning Iron Boy from Minneapolis. The group was named the 2015 World Class Drum Champions.

Aries Rattlingleaf, Dae First, and Annabelle Lee were crowned the Numaga Indian Days Princess, the Junior Miss Numaga , and the Tiny Tot Miss Numaga, respectively.

The first-ever, Warrior Mountain Run was won by Tyrus Johnson in a time of 35:20.

The run, was a 4.5 mile mountain climb. The 30-plus participants raced to the top of a mountain to secure a flag and then raced downhill.

Sponsored by the Three Nations Wellness Center, a marked 4-mile path up the mountain directed runners, however, once competitors passed that check point, everyone had to find his/her own way up to the flag.

However, getting the flag was only half the battle. The runners also had to make their way down the mountain and pass the finish line. Plus, the 4.5 mile course included a 2,000-foot elevation change.

The entire weekend celebration is named after Chief Numaga, the famous Paiute leader, known for peace. Chief Numaga was a great 19th century trailblazer who had the courage and the vision to counsel against war. Facing severe threats to his people by invading settlers and military, Numaga repeatedly chose peace. His successful peace negotiations, helped set a precedent for future disputes.

Numaga also has a documented history of trying to prevent the destruction of our aboriginal lands.

Numaga called the pine nut groves, the Indian’s orchards and asked non-Indians to collect fallen timber instead of cutting down healthy trees, an issue still impacting Indian Country today.

Unfortunately, Numaga’s early advocacy for Mother Earth was not successful. Translated from the English language, Numaga means “Give Food.” He passed away in 1871 -and is buried in the hills near Wadsworth.

2015 Grand Entry



Educators Recognized by RSIC Leadership

Educators from four schools of which children who reside at the Reno Colony or in Hungry Valley attend, were recently recognized by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony leadership.

“We have worked so well in collaborative efforts,” San San Tin, the RSIC Education Manager, told the Tribal Council, “I am honored and pleased to present to you, these school administrators from the Washoe County School District.”

WCSD Administrators
Washoe County School District Administrators were honored by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Education Department and the Colony’s leadership for their dedication and collaborative efforts for the academic success of Native children. Back row, left to right: Ruth Sampson-Guerrero, Jody McCloud, Theresa Coffman, Chairman Arlan D. Melendez, Principal Dave Keller and Darrell Bill. Front row, left to right: Robin Eagle, Principal Gina Leonhard, Dr. Ginny Knowles, Kristen Gilkensen, Venra Nuno, Jacqueline Quoetone and Judith Miller.


Tin introduced Jesse Hall Elementary Dean of Students Kristen Gilkeson.  Tin noted Gilkeson’s efforts with the vertical meetings in which the faculty from three schools, Jesse Hall, Shaw Middle School and Spanish Springs High, solicit input from parents regarding school engagement.

“I just enjoy working with your community and getting to know your children,” Gilkeson said. “They are beautiful children and they are full of radiant joy.”

Gilkeson is transferring to Bud Beasley Elementary School following the 2014 academic year.

Tin told the Tribal Council that the principal at Jesse Hall, Dave Keller, would be transferring to another school in the fall.

“I’m sad to say that Mr. Keller, the Principal at Jesse Hall, will be moving on,” Tin announced. “Mr. Keller was the first one to engage with our department staff and he was always very open and very helpful to us.”

Keller said the relationship he had with the RSIC was mutually beneficial.
“I definitely have grown as principal,” Keller said. “Although I’m moving, I want everyone
to know how sad I am and I think if the opportunity hadn’t arisen, I would have stayed
at Jesse Hall another 10 years.

After completing 20 years as the principal at Vaughn Middle School, Dr. Ginny Knowles was recognized.

“Dr. Knowles has seen many tribal members come through her offices,” Tin said. “We want to acknowledge her and all her contributions.”

Knowles said that over the last two decades, Vaugh Middle School has absolutely been her passion and her joy.

“I’ve seen so many families come through; in fact, Randy Melendez was at my school just the other day and we were looking at pictures and reminiscing,” Knowles said. “I am truly going to miss everyone and thank you so much for the honor.”

According to Tin, Gina Leonard, who was recently selected as a Principle of the Year for her success at Shaw Middle School, also worked well with the RSIC personnel.

“We know who to go to when we have issues,” Tin said. Leonard described her job as a wonderful pleasure.

“Thank you so much; this is an honor because it is absolutely a privilege to work with this community, all the people in the education department and everyone through the
Colony,” Leonard said. “Getting our kids through is really the bottom line and that is what it is all about.

Finally, Spanish Springs Vice Principal Jay Salter was acknowledged by the Tribal Council.
Salter, who has served as an educator at SSHS for eight year, is leaving his post to become the site administrator for Washoe Inspire.

“Mr. Salter touched base with many of parents and is a much respected person,” said Tanya Hernandez one of the RSIC Education Advisors.

Tin agreed.

“Mr. Salter has been an instrumental individual in mentoring our Native youth, collaborating with the RSIC Education Department staff in finding resources, funding and avenues for our students succeed.

Each of the educators was presented with a certificate of appreciation signed by RSIC Chairman Arlan D. Melendez along with beaded ink pens designed in the respective school’s colors.  Out going principals Keller, Dr. Knowles, Leonard, and Salter were gifted Pendleton blankets.