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Rebecca Miles

Rebecca Miles

Lapwai, Idaho


Miles was raised on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation and attended Lapwai Schools and later went on and attended and graduated Washington State University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Criminal Justice.  Upon graduation, she served as an intern at the Nez Perce Tribe’s Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Program (ERWM).  This Program provides oversight and planning for the cleanup efforts at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation based on the historical land stewardship principles of the Nez Perce Tribe.  Miles credits the director at the time, Donna Olsen, for giving her the opportunity to take on leadership positions and get the work experience at a young age to help the tribe in the future.   

During her time at ERWM, Rebecca began her work on a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University.  She received her Master’s degree in 2002. At this time, Miles moved from the ERWM and into the position as the Multicultural Coordinator for the Lapwai School District.  In this position, she worked on helping ensure that the education curricula and programs offered in the Idaho Public Schools was responsive to the needs of the Nez Perce Children attending those schools.

In May 2004, Miles was elected to the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee (NPTEC), the governing body of the Nez Perce Tribe.  In her first year on the NPTEC, she chaired the Human Resources Subcommittee and served as an Education Liaison.  She was appointed NPTEC Secretary during this year as well.  During her first year on the NPTEC, Miles worked extensively on the Snake River Basin Adjudication, including providing testimony before the Idaho Legislature and began to cultivate her reputation as a problem solver. 

In May 2005 Miles was elected by her peers as the first woman Chairman of the NPTEC.  She was re-elected as Chairman in May 2006 and is currently the youngest to ever be elected to that position. Miles was elected to her second three-year term in May 2007 and presently serves as Vice Chairman.

In her role as Chairman, she has represented the Tribe, locally and nationally, on many critical issues.  She has provided testimony on behalf of the Nez Perce Tribe before Congress and the Idaho Legislature on a myriad of issues, including tribal gaming, tribal taxing authority, endangered species recovery and habitat restoration, and treaty reserved rights.  Miles has also been a keynote speaker at conferences on issues such as education and leadership.  In addition, based on her leadership in the cutting edge issues of tribal water rights and treaty fishery rights and species preservation, she has been asked to speak at national conferences and to governmental agencies, private organizations and colleges and universities.

Her work and leadership in areas of note in Indian Country and beyond has been featured by many national news organizations including the New York Times.  In March 2006, Miles was selected the Woman of the Year by Washington State University Alumni Association.  She also received the National River Hero Award in 2007 for her work on ESA listed species in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.  That same year she was selected as a fellow for the German Marshall Memorial Fund and travelled throughout Europe learning government and economic strategies of other countries and exchanging her knowledge with leaders of those countries. 

Miles resigned from the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee to accept the position of the Executive Director for the Nez Perce Tribe, a position which she currently holds.  She shares her life with her two sons, Tre and Ivory.  She also spends her time assisting as a coach for LadyCats Basketball.