Mission, OR – Ted Wright, who has served as Executive Director of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) government for the past two years, has resigned his position, effective on November 4, 2020. Mr. Wright has accepted a position as Executive Director with the Spokane Indian Tribe. Charles F. “Chuck” Sams III was formally selected for appointment by the Board of Trustees as the Interim Executive Director today and will remain in the position until a permanent replacement can be hired.
Mr. Wright oversaw a number of initiatives during his time as Executive Director, the major of which was an organizational assessment conducted by the Moss Adams firm. Due to this assessment, the CTUIR is going through a number of efforts to improve government services and the flow of information. This work will continue for several years and improve the performance of tribal government.
In addition to this effort, Mr. Wright’s tenure will likely largely be remembered for his calm and steady demeanor in leading the CTUIR government through a number of extremely challenging events, from the questions surrounding the interpretation of the residence requirement in the CTUIR Constitution as it pertains to Board of Trustees’ members, the February 2020 Umatilla River flood, and of course the novel coronavirus.
The Board of Trustees has offered its well-wishes to Mr. Wright and has acknowledged his contributions to the CTUIR. Kat Brigham, Chair of the CTUIR Board of Trustees, stated that “we are extremely thankful to Ted for the time, effort, and professionalism that he has brought to the position of Executive Director. 2020 has been a very tough year but his ability to adapt and contribute to the protection and enhancement of CTUIR’s rights and interests has been clear. One of the things Ted did was to have an operational review of our tribal government to seek ways to improve and we are working on implementation now. He always wanted to do the best he could for us and we hope that he will come back to visit when he can.” The Board of Trustees gifted a Pendleton saddle blanket with the Tribe’s logo in a show of appreciation for his services.
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is made up of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla Tribes, formed under the Treaty of 1855 at the Walla Walla Valley, 12 Stat. 945. In 1949, the Tribes adopted a constitutional form of government to protect, preserve and enhance the treaty rights guaranteed under federal statute.