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Executive Director

Closing Date: Aug 31, 2021

Founded in 1977, the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission is the technical support and coordinating agency for fishery management policies of the Columbia River basin’s four treaty fishing tribes: the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, and the Nez Perce Tribe. With a team of more than 120 employees in four locations in Oregon and Idaho, we work to put fish back in the rivers, protect treaty fishing rights, share salmon culture, and provide direct services to tribal fishers along the Columbia River. Our goal is to ensure healthy Columbia Basin salmon runs that support a sustainable harvest today and for future generations.

CRITFC is looking for an inspiring, creative, and resourceful individual to serve as Executive Director of the organization. S/he will be responsible for the leadership, administration, and management of the organization and will lead a team of department managers in accomplishing CRITFC’s goals and priorities as set by leadership from its member tribes.

CRITFC offers competitive compensation, 401k for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies, and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities, promote from within, and have a Native hiring preference as part of our commitment to building tribal expertise, workforce development, and education. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires fulfilling achievement in the protection of the natural world and the tribal cultural connection to it.

*Please note: the term “Commission” as used in this description refers to CRITFC’s governing body. CRITFC is a tribal organization that is wholly owned and governed by the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. As a tribal organization, CRITFC is subject to a unique blend of policies and laws.

Position Details

  • Department: Office of the Executive Director
  • Classification: Full Time, Regular, Exempt
  • Salary/Wage: $152,319 – $172,805
  • Location: Portland, Oregon

Essential Job Functions

The Executive Director should be a dynamic, high-level strategic thinker, a great spokesperson, and an effective manager of people. S/he must be very familiar with tribal culture and tribal leaders and governance. S/he should be comfortable working at the executive level, preferably bringing previous experience working with a board. Past experience working in fisheries, natural resources, or tribal governance is helpful; a commitment to restoring salmon and protecting tribal treaty fishing rights is a must.

The Executive Director will plan CRITFC mission objectives with guidance from its Commissioners and lead a professional team to implement them. S/he will work collaboratively with internal and external partners to accomplish the broad goals and mission of the organization.

The Executive Director will have a key assignment to continue the development of scientific knowledge, policy advocacy, and legal research necessary to support the implementation of Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi Wa-Kish-Wit (Tribal Salmon Restoration Plan) with its goal to put fish back in the rivers and protect the watersheds where fish live.

Responsibilities and Scope

  1. Recruits, retains, and manages high quality and effective staff.
  2. Assumes overall responsibility for activities, projects, programs, and goals of CRITFC.
  3. Ensures that organizational commitments, financial standards, and legal requirements are met.


  1. The Executive Director oversees the financial planning and expenditures of CRITFC and seeks and secures public and private funding sources in collaboration with staff. S/he should be an individual with high ethical standards and a track record for inspiring collective action to achieve tangible, lasting results.
  2. The Executive Director advances legislative goals and priorities with Congress and the Administration.
  3. The Executive Director directs the organization’s law enforcement responsibility. S/he will oversee the law enforcement service delivery in a complex matrix of tribal, federal, and state jurisdictions.
  4. The Executive Director will guide public education efforts that emphasize tribal treaty rights and the importance of restoring the Columbia Basin ecosystem to protect and enhance traditional foods.

Communications/Interpersonal Contacts

  1. The Executive Director is the Commission’s representative and voice. S/he is expected to persuasively convey the mission and priorities of CRITFC and its member tribes to diverse groups including tribal councils, federal representatives and agents, media, partners, and the general public. S/he will be able to communicate professionally with a wide variety of people of diverse cultural professional and economic backgrounds for the purpose of developing, negotiating and/or implementing programs and projects.
  2. Commands attention, can change tactics midstream, and manage group processes during presentations or discussions.
  3. Delivers effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to employee groups, managers at all levels, board members, and outside organizations.
  4. Knows how to communicate effectively with tribal leaders and exercises sensitivity to working in an advisory role with partner organizations.
  5. Directs, prepares, presents and/or participates in negotiations with governmental or contracting agents or agencies. Works well under pressure.
  6. The Executive Director will plan and implement human resource and public relations policies that maintain and improve CRITFC’s reputation, image, and relationships with its member tribes, tribal members, employees, grantors and funding agencies, and the public at large.

Job Requirements/Qualifications

  1. A Master’s Degree or equivalent; appropriate work experience may be substituted for formal education.
  2. At least five years’ experience as a proven leader in the tribal arena, natural resources sector, or related field with demonstrated experience directing management of large programs and staff, including strategic planning, budgeting, meeting organizational goals and objectives, developing and implementing policies, and personnel supervision.
  3. Broad knowledge and experience with business and organizational principles, systems of business development, contract and grant management including P.L. 93-638 and other federal contracts, auditing requirements, applicable federal statutes and regulations. Must be bondable.
  4. Knowledge and experience with natural resources management, federal Indian law, applicable case law, related tribal treaty rights and obligations and a considerable knowledge of the Columbia Basin tribes’ histories and cultures.
  5. High personal ethical standards and professional integrity are necessary to publicly represent tribal customs, practices, and traditions, and to give credibility to the tribes and CRITFC. A personal alignment with the values and priorities of the tribal effort to protect treaty-reserved resources.
  6. Proven ability to understand and function in a highly political environment.
  7. Excellent communication skills and success as an inspirational leader who has successfully motivated staff to achieve and sustain excellence.
  8. Must pass a federal and tribal criminal background check. Must possess a valid driver’s license and satisfy CRITFC’s Motor Vehicle Policy requirement. May need a passport for international travel.

Additionally, the preferred candidate will:

  1. Be an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe, preferably a member of one of the four CRITFC member tribes.
  2. Have experience gained from working in both tribal and non-tribal settings.
  3. Possess acceptable computer literacy.


  • Supervision Received: The Executive Director is evaluated by and works at the direction of the CRITFC Commission and receives financial, policy, and program directives/approvals from them. The Commission conducts an in-depth performance assessment every five years to determine their confidence in the continued service of the Executive Director.
  • Supervision Given: The Executive Director oversees the entirety of CRITFC through eight department managers and directly supervises staff in the Office of the Executive Director department.

Working Conditions

Must be able to work long hours and to travel extensively and frequently to national and international locations.

CRITFC Motor Vehicle Policy

The driver operating a CRITFC vehicle or their own private vehicle for business related purposes shall be in possession of a valid, unrestricted current driver’s license, or other operator’s license, as required by law; and be eligible for coverage under CRITFC’s Motor Vehicle insurance policy. Upon request, CRITFC’s Motor Vehicle policy is available to applicants to review the required criteria.

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