Colville Tribal Council suspends Marchand for COVID-19 disclosure

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Virgil "Smoker" Marchand

NESPELEM — The Colville Tribal Council has suspended one of its members from his duties without pay for disclosing the COVID-19 status of an enrolled tribal member.

Virgil “Smoker” Marchand, who joined the council in July, allegedly put up a Facebook post that same month disclosing the tribal member’s diagnosis. That information had been shared confidentially with councilmembers, and disclosing it was a violation of the council’s code of professional responsibility.

The incident was investigated by the national law firm of Hobbs, Straus, Dean and Walker, which found in a Sept. 24 report that Marchand had committed “unethical conduct.” Marchand did not respond to interview requests from investigators with the law firm, the report said.

The tribal board voted 8-5 on Nov. 5 to suspend Marchand for 60 days. Marchand voted against his own suspension.

Marchand is a member of the Arrow Lakes Band of the Colville Confederated Tribes, and as a councilmember represents the Omak district of the Colville Reservation. He’s also known as a metalwork sculptor, who’s created several large public art projects around the Northwest.