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About Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) 19??-current | View Entire Issue (June 15, 2021)
JUNE 15, 2021
Hatfield Fellow accepts full-time position as legislative assistant
By Danielle Harrison
Smoke Signals staff writer
Current Hatfield Fellow Sim-
one Auger will become the second
Grand Ronde Tribal member to
work for a congressional office in
Washington, D.C., in a permanent
capacity after her fellowship is
complete in July.
The first Tribal Fellow to work
for a legislator was Tribal Council
Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez,
who completed her fellowship
with Rep. Kurt Schrader’s office
in 2010 and was hired full-time as
the congressman's communications
director and district representative
for Tillamook and Lincoln counties.
Her specialties included fisher-
ies, transportation, community
development, grants, the Federal
Emergency Management Agency
and ocean issues, including tsuna-
mi, marine debris, and wave and
Auger is also working for Schrad-
er’s office and will stay on as a
legislative assistant after July 31.
“It’s honestly a dream come true,”
Auger said. “I’m looking forward
to being able to do this in person.
When you are on the Hill, you get
to collaborate with your team, and
also have the opportunity to meet
staff members from other offices
and network with them.”
The Confederated Tribes of
Grand Ronde established the Mark
O. Hatfield Fellowship in 1998
as a “living tribute” to honor his
accomplishments, both as Oregon
governor and U.S. senator.
Spirit Mountain Community
Fund annually sponsors a Native
American to serve as the Hatfield
Fellow, who interns in an Oregon
congressional office for an eight-
month term. Placement of the fellow
traditionally rotates through the
Oregon congressional delegation
to enhance mutual understanding
between leadership in Washington,
D.C., and Indian Country.
Community Fund Director Mi-
chael Cherry said that the fel-
lowship is a “once-in-a-lifetime”
“I continue to be so inspired by
our Hatfield Fellows, who are de-
termined to be strong ambassadors
in their communities with lasting
benefits to all the Oregon Tribes,”
Cherry said. “I lift my hands to the
Grand Ronde Tribal leaders who
created the Hatfield Fellowship in
1998, and also to the 21 Hatfield fel-
lows … who make us all so proud.”
So far, Auger’s fellowship with
Schrader’s office has been entirely
remote, although congressional
offices are gearing up to return
staffers to in-person work.
During her time working with
Schrader’s office, Auger has focused
primarily on Tribal issues, but also
has assisted with issues pertaining
to natural resources, agriculture,
Social Security, animal welfare and
“Agriculture and natural resourc-
es are areas I have a lot of interest
in,” Auger said. “There are pieces
and aspects I have familiarity with,
and all of these are of interest to
me. I have a lot of background
knowledge that I was able to bring
to the table.”
In her full-time role as legislative
assistant, she will continue to focus
on these topics and others that
come her way.
So far, the biggest challenge of
the fellowship year has been the
inability to work in person.
“Everything has been altered and
this has really been a challenge,”
she said. “It’s really hard because
when you think of a normal fellow-
ship, you are in the office, working
together on site. You get a lot more
networking and spontaneous con-
versations that happen.”
She offered the example of vari-
ous congressional committee meet-
ings being held online.
“It’s a very different model (than
in-person) and that makes it hard
to fulfill the complete experience,”
she said. “However, Rep. Schrader’s
office has been really helpful with
helping employees adjust to the
The most enjoyable aspect has
been working on different policies.
“I love what I am doing,” Auger
said. “The nature of the work is
deeply interesting. I really have
found a labor of love. I enjoy ev-
ery day. I’ll continue to work on
legislative issues and anything
else that comes up, and provide
support, information and input to
Rep. Schrader’s office.”
Auger said that research is and
will continue to be a big part of
“There is a lot of research,” she
said. “There’s past legislation and
current legislation that comes to us
during the session. … I’m looking
forward to the transition of working
in person and being able to walk
around and see other people.”
A small sign that things are
returning to normal is the plan to
meet with some fellow attendees
of the American Political Science
Association, where Auger attended
virtual orientation sessions in the
“There was a lot missing from
that, but a small group of us are
planning to have lunch in D.C.
soon,” she said.
Auger also said she appreciates
the Hatfield Fellowship program.
“I’m very blessed to have it,” she
said. “I appreciate the opportunity
and will continue to make sure I
do my very best and always think
about my role as something I am
doing to serve our Tribal commu-
nity and legislative district.”
Auger, who lives in Vancouver,
Wash., received a bachelor of fine
arts degree in interior design from
Marylhurst University and a mas-
ter’s of interior architecture from
the University of Oregon School of
Architecture and Environment. She
also holds a professional certificate
in Tribal Relations from Portland
State University’s Institute for
Tribal Government and a course
certificate from Northwest Ener-
gy Policy and the Columbia Riv-
er-Portland State University Mark
O. Hatfield School of Government.
Auger is the ninth Grand Ronde
Tribal member to be named a
Hatfield Fellow, joining the likes
of Hernandez, Grand Ronde Food
Bank Coordinator Francene Am-
brose and Bureau of Indian Affairs
Pacific Northwest Regional Direc-
tor Bryan Mercier.
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