Palmanteer, Eddie: chaired Colville council, walks on at 75

Disautel, Washington (AP) 8-07

Eddie Adrian Palmanteer Jr., a longtime Colville tribal leader who helped settle a 40-year dispute over land flooded by the reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam, is dead at 75.

Palmanteer, former chairman of the tribal council, passed away Aug. 17 after a long illness at his home in this hamlet on the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in northcentral Washington state. His death was confirmed Aug. 23 by the current tribal chairman, Michael E. Marchand. Palmanteer also was a former superintendent of the Colville Indian Agency under the Bureau of Indian Affairs and board president of Colville Tribal Enterprises Corp., which operates a dozen businesses from casinos and lumber mills to construction and tourist accommodations.

He was tribal chairman in the early 1990s when the Colvilles settled a long-running dispute with the federal government over loss of fishing, land and burial grounds following construction of Grand Coulee Dam. In 1994 he testified in congressional hearings in Washington, D.C., that the deal was reasonable if inadequate.

“Is it full compensation for our loss? The answer has to be no,” he said. “How much is reasonable compensation for the loss of our fishery, our way of life, our towns where our elders lived? How much must be paid for the destruction of our mothers’ and fathers’ graves?

“For some of our members no amount of money can fairly compensate the tribes for this loss.”

Palmanteer, an Army veteran, also headed the tribe’s business enterprises when a gambling pact was negotiated with the state after years of dispute.

“We’re very grateful for his lifetime of service to the tribe,” Marchand said. “He’s always been there and held every important job for the tribe.”

His daughter, Lynn Palmanteer-Holder, said Palmanteer was instrumental in separating the tribe’s business operations from tribal government. More than a decade after the enterprise corporation was established with its own board of directors, a Harvard Law School study showed tribal businesses are most successful under separate management from tribal governments, she said.

Other survivors include his wife MaryAnn; sons Dale Palmanteer of Omak, Eddie Palmanteer III of Disautel and Lewis Adolph Jr. of Okanogan; daughters Loni Seymour, Audi Huckins, Lisa Adolph and Brenda Cates; 26 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; four brothers, and four sisters.

Palmanteer was buried August 21 at Fort Okanogan Cemetery near Brewster.


Information from: The Wenatchee World,