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Gibson follows in footsteps of his late father
By Morgan Winsor
OWYHEE — Terry Gibson is following in the political footprints of his father.
The 41-year-old was recently elected as chairman of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribal Council. His father, Benson Gibson, who is now deceased, served as a tribal council member for over 30 years, including many terms as chairman.
Gibson said he beat candidate Nancy Egan "not because I went out and did a lot of campaigning, but because I won the popularity contest.
"People know me," he said. "And elections here – unlike state municipalities – are more likely based on popularity."
Gibson served on the tribal council since 1997 and has replaced former incumbent Marvin Cota, who opted to step down as chairman after a three-year bout in politics.
"My father kept the tribe intact," said Gibson, who returned to live on the reservation to ranch after injuring his back while attending University if Nevada in Reno. "I want to do the same."
Gibson, who has worked as the tribe’s health director, compliance officer and natural resource director, said three issues pushed him to run for chair.
"One important issue is to encourage our youth to experience their own religion and spirituality instead of being pushed into different religions," Gibson said.
Gibson said as tribal chairman he will focus on establishing more hunting and fishing agreements with the federal and state governments.
"I will try not to pay a lot of attention to national issues and rather focus on tribal issues," Gibson said. "I’ve educated myself with all the issues and one thing that’s important is getting enough water to the ranchers."
He also plans on improving the tribe’s health care facility.
"People are really banking on me to fix this thing," he said.
Another issue Gibson will attempt to resolve is reducing the number of Natives who ditch college and return to the reservation because of being burdened with prejudice and stereotypes.
"Kids go to college and other students refer to them as ‘wagon burners’ or ‘chief,’ and many of them can’t take it," Gibson said. "It’s hard for them to blend and because of that many come back to the reservation where they slip into alcoholism, depression and eventually…suicide."
Gibson said he is concerned about the alarming number of suicides on the reservation.
Kaden Gibson  
Terry Gibson

"My largest concern is the high amount of unemployment, which leads to violence, domestic disputes and drug and alcohol abuse," he said.
Gibson said since in the early 1970’s that high suicide rates could be blamed on "extreme poverty" and "the isolation factor."
"People just didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
Although Gibson’s braided long dark hair and brazen tanned facial features resemble a Shoshone-Paiute tribal member, his gene pool is a combination of French and Native American. His father, Benson Gibson, was Shoshone-Paiute. His mother, Antoinette Gibson, is from a northern region in France. The two met in 1957 when Benson – stationed at a French U.S. Air Force base – met Antoinette in a hospital.
Antoinette (front) and Angela Gibson

"My father was a champion boxer and my mother was a nurse," Gibson said. "My dad had busted his fist during a fight and my mother was the one who took care of him."
After serving in the service the couple returned to the reservation to set up home.
Gibson recently married Debbie Gibson, his mate of over 20 years. The two have five children, including an eight-month-old boy Kaden they recently adopted.
"I love kids," Gibson said. "There’s usually always around eight-to-ten kids at my house at one particular time. I think children may be enough."
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