Heather Kendall-Miller moderates this panel of Native leaders for a discussion on building and maintaining intergovernmental relationships.
Anderson, Neily, Theresa Clark, Lori Gutierrez, Heather Kendall-Miller, Mark Lewis, Justin Martin, Mark Sherman, Miranda Warburton, Don Wedll, Cheryl Weixel and Nicholas Zaferatos, "Using Partnerships to Achieve Governing Goals," Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Sante Fe, New Mexico. February 7, 2002. Presentation.
"It's my pleasure first of all to be an advisory board member. Coming from Alaska, oftentimes, we have our focus on our specific issues. And it's been so wonderful and so educational for me to be on the advisory board and to learn about all the wonderful things that are happening throughout Indian Country. The first advisory board meeting that I participated in I just walked away totally stunned and wowed because there is incredible stuff happening in Indian Country, as you've been learning these past several days and you've been sharing. So I'm really excited to be here and participate in this because as usual it's been eye-opening in many, many respects. Maybe what we'll do, while Andrew is passing out the name tags, is to offer our panelists an opportunity to introduce themselves and also to talk a little bit about the award-winning program of which they are here representing. And once we each have a chance to introduce ourselves then I'll begin to pose some questions. So why don't we begin over here with you, Justin."
"All right. Sorry I was late. Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Justin Martin and I'm with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde where I'm the Intergovernmental Affairs Director, as well as a tribal member. I have a background in public policy and public administration, as well as working as a legislative assistant within the Oregon State legislature. Our program, Enhancing Government-to-Government Relationships deals exactly with that. We have, basically, a five-pronged strategy or approach to that that includes communication, education, cooperation, contributions, political as well as community contributions, and presence. All topics that we all have been sharing over the past couple days and I look forward, again, to sharing some more of that with you and this panel. So thank you very much."
"My name is Don Wedll. I'm with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. I've served as the Commissioner of Natural Resources for 18 years and also Commissioner of Education. I'm talking about today partnerships in regards to natural resource activities."
"My name is Theresa Clark. I'm from Galena, Alaska, the Louden Tribe, which is a federally recognized tribe for Galena. Every village in Alaska is a tribe. I run Yukaana Development Corporation, which is a tribally owned business of the Louden Tribe and we've used partnerships extensively in developing our business."
"[Native language] My name is Mark Sherman and I'm the Director of Planning and Development for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa [and] Chippewa Indians. I was really glad that I was chosen to participate in this particular panel discussion because I really believe in partnerships in achieving governing goals. In our department we knew what our mandate was and what our governing goal was. When we got started, we didn't know who our partners were. But the important thing that I wanted to say about our process and how it relates to partnering is that number one, when you have partners you have to start using the word ‘we' instead of ‘I' or singular uses of pronouns. And so it's been a great privilege of mine to develop these partnerships and accomplish our goals. I took inventory last week about some of the things we've accomplished over the last several years and who our partners were. I spent a lot of time analyzing it, categorizing it and listing it in different ways. Finally I came to the realization that there were too many to list, too many to talk about. And so what I wanted to stress today, as we get going further along here and get a chance to talk about our process a little bit, you'll come to understand that what's important is that we developed effective partnerships, not only externally with contractors and consultants and government officials and various other entities, but more importantly we developed an internal partnership with our own membership, with our own government. And these things really set the course and made my job much more fun. Thank you."
"Hi. I'm Nick Zaferatos and I have the pleasure of working for 20 years with the Swinomish tribal community in Washington State and with Chairman Brian Cladoosby, who asked me to speak today because he had to catch a flight back home because general elections are being held tomorrow. The Swinomish have been involved for about 20 years, almost 20 years now in Principle #4 that was outlined today, which states that a strategic orientation matters. It was concerned with addressing chronic problems on the reservation dealing with the loss of control over the reservation territory that hadn't occurred since allotment days and brought about a lot of interest from outside governments that were making decisions about how the reservation ought to develop and a realization that none of that was benefiting directly the tribal government. So employing, developing a strategy, it looked like it had several ways of approaching that including and primarily regionalism, one of opening up dialogue and relations with a broader region, county, local government, state and us reasserting tribal interests in matters relating to land use control and development. The centerpiece for the project was a land use planning program that was begun in mid 1980s, but it also included all aspects of reservation development, water supply, sewer control, public works and the web of cooperation between the Swinomish Tribe that's been employed through this cooperative program really affects just about every jurisdiction that has an interest in operations in Skagit county. So it's a regionalism approach, it's one that's been tested for about 15 years now and it's still operating."
"Good afternoon, I'm Miranda Warburton. I work for the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department. I'm the Director of the Flagstaff, Arizona Branch Office of the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department. And I started that little office up in Flagstaff some 15 years ago and I would like to say that first of all it's been a tremendous honor and privilege to work for the Navajo Nation for the past 15 years. And the goal of doing this was to really set up a program to train Navajo students who were interested in cultural preservation, to give them the opportunity to do practical work on the reservation, and to learn more through interviews with Navajo elders, with knowledgeable people, to really be out in the field while they were working on their academic degrees. So our partnership was really between the Navajo Nation and Northern Arizona University. And I would say that the greatest example I can give you of the success of our program is that after 15 years, I'm quitting in October and a woman who is with our program, a Navajo woman, Davina Begay-Two Bears will be taking over. And as I speak, the reason that she's not here is that she's supposed to be turning in her Master's thesis this afternoon. So Davina is a great example of our program and I'm thrilled that I'll be turning it over to her and I'd also like to acknowledge someone else who's here, Reynelda Grant, who is the San Carlos Apache Archaeologist, tribal archaeologist. And Reynelda was part of our program too and that just like is a great feeling to be able to sit here and see Reynelda doing such a great job and speaking so well and setting such a great example. So again another example of what this partnership has done."
"Good afternoon. My name is Lori Gutierrez. I'm from Pojoaque Pueblo and I'm the Assistant Director for Pojoaque Pueblo Construction Service Corporation. Our project that was awarded by the Harvard Project was the unique collaboration and partnership between Pojoaque Pueblo Construction Service Corporation, which is a for-profit tribal corporation and the Poeh Center Cultural Center Museum, which is a nonprofit arm of the Pueblo of Pojoaque. And the unique collaboration being that the corporation was first established to not only build the Poeh Center at cost but to, reduce the construction cost, but would do work both on and off the reservation as generating revenues to go back to build the Poeh Center as well as to sustain it through its long term goals. Thank you."
"Good afternoon. My name is Cheryl Weixel. I'm the Wellness Center Director for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and it's an honor to be here and it's also an honor to work with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. 10 years ago the Coeur d'Alene area, or the Plummer and Worley area, didn't even have healthcare, hardly any. And even with the non-Indians and the Indians in the area, we had to go 40 miles to get healthcare. So the Coeur d'Alene Tribe partnered up with the city of Plummer and built a medical center and from there they decided to start changing lifestyles and the only way they could do that was to help people with exercise in Spokane, which is 40 miles away. So they saved money from third-party billing, grants, just partnering up with the city of Plummer again, got a HUD grant and built a $5 million debt-free wellness center and hopefully...we've been there four years now and we're changing lifestyles one person at a time and it's a great opportunity to be there and it's just very rewarding."
"Good afternoon. My name is Neily Anderson and I'm here as the chairperson for the White Earth Suicide Intervention Team. I know...when I...I was so honored that we had gotten honors and I went around and was telling my friends and family that we received high honors from Harvard from the Governing Honor of Nations and they're like, ‘But you're a suicide prevention team, what does that have anything to do with Harvard?' And so it was kind of like we had to go through in depth and explain that the team was started by grassroots community members in 1990 and it was developed because there was a very high rash of suicide completions and attempts that year. So what they did was they formed...they did some forums and let the people talk and the tribal council really kind of hung themselves up and sat and listened to what the people had to say. Not just about the suicide attempts or completions, about everything else that was going on as well. And what they did recognize was that something needed to be done and so they signed a resolution stating that we needed a team and developed the team. And the team, like I said, is grassroots and it is community members. So it's not social workers coming in, saying, ‘Well, I'm a social worker and I'm here to help you'. It's, ‘I'm a community member and I care'. And that makes all the difference in a crisis situation and for Native American people. We just recently got a...received a grant and are working on getting some more funding because the team...the WESIT team, the suicide intervention team is a nonprofit organization. There's nobody paid to be on the team. There is 26 on-call volunteers that go every two weeks; there's a different set of three people on call. They go out all hours of the night and volunteer their time. And again, when you're talking about people in crisis or Native American people, knowing that these people are here because they care, not because it's their job to be there, not because they're being paid to be there and they have to be there to maybe please their grant makers or whatever. They're there because they want to be there and that makes the big difference. So as a grassroots organization the people volunteer their time, whether it's night or day, whether it's during work or out of work, and with the tribal R2C behind us 100 percent, we're allowed to leave work. If we get a call and we're on call, we're allowed to leave work and go wherever we have to go to respond to that call. The partnership that we have is mostly with the counties, the police department, the hospitals, facilities subject to our home facilities, things like that. We have partnered up with them basically. They have finally recognized us as a value to them, something...someone that they can use to actually lessen their job. We get a call through the dispatch system just like the police department does; we carry radios and get our call. And when we respond to a call, we basically get the information from the police officer; they make sure the scene is safe when we get there and they kind of turn it over to us. We're not allowed to sign 72 hour holds if that is needed, but the police officers are. And so our doctors as... but they're more willing now to go ahead and sign a 72 hour hold or what has been happening most recently is, they have the information, they know that this person needs a 72 hour hold, but they're calling us to see what our opinion is and same with the hospitals. We get more calls from the hospital where a family member has brought an attempter into the hospital; it's not done through the police department or the ambulance service. The family member brings them into the hospital and the hospital's calling us, they're calling our dispatch. We have a tribal dispatch, they'll call our dispatch and we'll be dispatched out. So it's a real grassroots...it's people who care and that's what I've seen a lot while I've been here is these may be our jobs that we do but they're just an added benefit. We do what we do because we care and that's what I've seen here. You people...the people that I've been surrounded by for the last two days are here because they care, they want to help their people expand, grow and accomplish things that they may not accomplish on their own and that's the job that they have. It's not that they're politicians, it's not that they're a tribal council member, they're there because they care and that's how I see you people here and the people that we have on call on our team."
"Good afternoon. My name is Mark Lewis. I'm from the Hopi Tribe and I'm from the Third Mesa area, Hotevilla Village on the Third Mesa area. I am pleased to see a couple Hopis. [Native language] I'm an eagle clan so I wanted to say that since there's a couple Hopis in the audience. My mind's really spinning now because I had an introduction that I was going to do but I'm kind of worried about how it may come out after listening to Neily. I'm really concerned so if you bear with me I'm kind of going to tinker with it and I'm not meaning to offend anybody, but this is really how I was thinking I was going to introduce this. I was going to just make a remark that I'm in a rather unique situation here today because I've been asked to be on this panel as the...representing the Hopi High School. And as I was introduced they have Mark Lewis, the Hopi Guidance Center, and that is my job; I'm the Director of Behavioral Health and Social Services. And so given that I was going to make kind of a quick joke that I was relieved that I was introduced as representing the Hopi Guidance Center because I would feel much more comfortable speaking about the Hopi Guidance Center, but I'm not here to speak about that. I'm here to speak about Hopi Junior/Senior High School. The problem with that is I've only been...I've been elected to school board and I'm only on my third week and the reason I'm up here is because some of our more senior veteran board members were just unable to make it to Santa Fe today. And so what I'm a little nervous with my new friend here is I was just going to kind of make a remark that I am a professional social worker, I have my undergraduate and master's both in social work. I'm very proud of that and I was going to also say that I was thinking of the lady from Minnesota who I know very well, some of the negative perceptions of social workers throughout history. I was going to say I'm very proud to be a social worker and so should you and we should never not feel proud about being a social worker. But also I'm nervous too because I've just been elected to school board and that's very political in Hopi and I've been accused of being a politician. So I'm both now a politician and a social worker, but I'm also a community member and I do really care. So anyhow, the good thing going, my strategy was to...I was really relieved. I was excited coming here; this is my very first school board trip. I was really excited to come and meet new people, new professionals in other disciplines such as yourselves and then...but I got a call this morning around 8:00 from Mr. Glenn Gilman who you'll be hearing from shortly. He's our junior high principal, a very good, wonderful junior high principal. And he says, ‘Hey, just want to let you know that you're on a panel this afternoon and you're going to talk about 2+2+2'. And I says, ‘Well, that's because our board member called in late and was not able to make it', so that just kind of added to the excitement and nervousness I had about meeting a new flock of people. But as soon as I came in I saw Dr. Stephen Cornell and my colleague and friend Cecelia Belone of the Navajo Nation, my colleague, counterpart, and friend from the Navajo Nation, who I work a lot with in social services area. I also work with Dr. Stephen Cornell in the areas around TANF reauthorization, nation building etc. So I'll focus on you so I'm not as nervous talking about 2+2+2 at Hopi Junior/Senior High School. So I'm glad that you sat right there. I feel much more comfortable. I'll just pretend I'm talking about social services issues and maybe I won't sweat so much on my folder. 2+2+2 essentially it is partnership, it is partnership between three academic institutions, Hopi High, community college, Northland Pioneer College and Northern Arizona University and it was a partnership from the get go and I can talk more about that as we move on but it was genuinely a partnership from the get go in an effort to achieve one governing goal, one of the many governing goals that I know that we are working on. I'm learning more about the board and that was to try and do what we can to improve and prepare young students for academia beyond high school by giving them a boost while they're still in high school. And I can talk more about that but I don't need to get in too much detail because Mr. Glenn Gilman will be telling you more about that true partnership between community college, university and Hopi High. So again, thank you very much for allowing or asking me to be up here and allowing me to be up here."
"Thank you, panelists for those introductions. Partnerships; each of you have given us examples of the partnerships that your tribal governments have formed in the process of implementing your vision. What interests me is, in some cases, some of you have been forced to develop effective partnerships and relationships with state and county governments, even federal government, and as Lance so articulately told us, we all as tribal people have experienced the hostility that is oftentimes focused on tribal governments by state and county governments. Given that history of hostility, how do you begin to build an effective relationship with an agency or another government? Justin, you want to begin again?"
"Sure. Well, I think that there are several layers to partnerships and as we heard from the panel, there are many wonderful partnerships on many different levels. When starting to work with what can sometimes be seen as hostile governments or governments that one, do not have an understanding of Native peoples or even tribal governments, I think it's very important and very critical to first of all understand their government, understand where the government that you're looking to work with is coming from. Whereas, we want folks to understand and respect tribal government and to learn how we elect our officials, how we operate our communities and governments, we should also make an effort to one, understand where they are coming from. And then I think it steps back even further and it looks to the personal level. Let's start to build some personal relationships while we are educating them to how our tribal government and how our people operate and conduct themselves. And that can be handled in many, many ways, but I think once you do that, once you get to know people, once you put your face with your name that's on your business card or the name that is seen in the newspaper or even your tribal newspapers, people start to understand where you're coming from. So it's basically a very basic relationship, find out who the people are, what makes them tick, even if it's outside of what you're both working towards. If you can find some common ground or a common goal, you can start to nurture that relationship. One other important point, I was talking to some folks earlier in the day, I think is, don't expect to make those top level relationships the ones that really get the job done at the end of the day. And I want to say this without offending tribal leadership and I've been very blessed to work with Kathryn Harrison and our tribal council who gets this. Those top level relationships need to happen out of mutual respect for a tribal government or a state government or a federal government, but at the same time, the ones doing the ground work, the ones trying to understand the tribal issues, and the ones that are going to be dealing with you on a day-to-day basis are the staff. And I think it's critical to involve staff at all levels. And from my own personal experience in working at the state legislature, I can't tell you how many times my state representative, who was new at the time, outside of his expertise area would call me as a staffer into his office and say, ‘Justin, what are we going to do?' Those are the people with the vote. So if you get to that staff member, create that relationship at those lower levels, then you begin to work up into the upper levels. Again, those are the solid foundation relationships. And who knows? I think in a lot of time within the tribal system and within state government and federal government, a lot of time that staff moves on to be that elected official or that leader. So to begin to lay that ground work in educating people to your government and also learning and being able to understand their government and where they're coming from is certainly an excellent tool that I feel needs to be utilized in every day relationships."
"Maybe to follow on that a little bit, one of the things that we saw that was very effective in negotiations and partnerships is that if you eat with someone, have lunch with them, it makes it much harder to fight with them a little bit later. You actually get to see them in a little different light than if you're in trying to negotiate and ultimately where you want to, after you've settled negotiations and you start building that partnership, a meal, that type of thing, is a very effective way to bring about a good partnership, get to know people on a very personal level and be able to discuss things and have trust in people that what they're committing to and the partnership that you're developing will grow and create a good forum for the types of things that you are working on. So that's my suggestions."
"Yukaana itself does not have inter-government relationships. Our owner, Louden Tribal Council does. We separated government, politics and business so our partnerships, Yukaana's partnerships are business partnerships, whereas the government, inter-governmental relationships are left to the tribe or the politics are left to the tribe. I can go further on that, but I'd much rather let Louden tribal council do that because that's politics.
"In our planning department we have forged a number of partnerships with county and township governments, worked a little bit with some state officials. We'd like to do a little bit more in that respect. Our relationship with our state government needs some improving. We've reached out to them on a number of times for a number of different reasons and for some reason, we have a situation where they prefer to minimize or should I say minimize that acceptance or recognition of the fact that we do exist. I think as the future goes forward that this will improve. It's got to come to a place where both sides have some common goals to work on. It's not always an adversarial situation and if it is an adversarial situation, you can usually accomplish more by searching for things that are...that you have in common rather than focusing on those points that are controversial. I found from my own experience in dealing with non-tribal government officials it's always better to listen than to talk. And if you hear something you don't like, you're better off rather than to argue the point, rather just to repeat the point, let them hear how ridiculous it sounds. It's not all give and take. Sometimes tribal governments have to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘This is our position'. And we've had to do that a few times too. Once they understand your position, whether they agree or disagree, they come away from the experience with a lot more respect for your organization having a clear understanding of why you made your position and why there's no room for compromise. And so you have to use every arrow in your quiver, you can't just go with one standard approach."
"I think for Swinomish cooperation was a result that began by using confrontative tactics. That is, with the tribe being in business, as usual that was carried out for a really long time by county or other governments in making decisions on the reservation and where the tribe asserted its interest. And when that occurred there was a reaction and the reaction was the status quo was being disrupted and there were kind of two paths to consider. One was a path of conflict, litigation, problems, costs. And the other was a better understanding of what's the root of the change in course, talking, education, lots of education and a need for some kind of mutual benefit because cooperation does require a commitment of resources of time and money and people to engage in that. And when there's a perception that there is something to gain, I think that's almost always necessary in order to get the commitment both on the tribe's part as well as the government. The tribe entered into about a dozen separate agreements over the course of about 15 or 16 years with almost all of them the same kind of situation was presented where the tribe saw to disrupt business as usual and assert some kind of an interest and a receptiveness on the part of the other governments to at least begin discussing ways of cooperation, mutual gain. With all of them, it was formalized politically in terms of entering into some kind of an agreement, which then allowed the business of government to take place, which is almost always on a staff level on a day-to-day basis. And that's when the culture of cooperation really starts to take place. When you start dealing with lots of little itty bitty issues on a regular basis and you solve problems, it leads towards developing a more positive culture or at least more faith in working together to resolve problems. Sometimes political meetings are necessary, sometimes even litigation is necessary, and Swinomish has been more recently involved with some litigation, which the tribe views as okay because after you've exhausted the time of talking and trying to work things together through things at the staff level or even at the policy level, some things just really can't be agreed to and that's after all what the courts are all about. But even despite litigation from time to time, most issues with respect to land use development affecting the reservation do take place on a day-to-day basis, mostly in an administrative bubble, sometimes at a policy level. But there is an overall perception that there's a mutual gain in the long term by investing and keeping the doors of communication open, and in the process of doing that there's an awful lot of learning when the tribe understands the culture of the county or local governments and those governments understand a lot more about what the interests of the tribes are. And what we found is that the visions between those two governments were really not that far off and in fact, we were able to be brought together into like a unified land use policy. So there really wasn't a difference in terms of the vision."
"In our program we're really talking about a partnership between the Navajo Nation and Northern Arizona University and so there are some differences, it's not city or state governments. But I wanted to say a couple of things in that regard and first of all, to my colleague from Hopi, that if there's anything worse than a social worker politician, it's an Anglo anthropologist working for a tribe. So I kind of felt like I had this real uphill battle, but I think that there are a lot of people within the Navajo Nation who would like to see people like me replaced and I wanted to see people like me replaced as well. So in order to do that, in order to have an effective program, I felt that there really had to be a tremendous amount of cooperation between the Navajo Nation and Northern Arizona University. And I would just sort of reiterate some of the things that other people have already said. One, the long haul; people have to know you're there for the long haul. It's taken 15 years I think for me to feel like this program is really a success. I have three students who are getting master's degrees this year who I think all are going to go on to great things, but people have to know both within the tribe and at Northern Arizona University that you are there for the long haul and that there is a real commitment, that you really do care, and that if things get rough you're ‘not just going to sort of run away and abandon the whole thing; that you really are there and you really care about it and you really mean it. And I think what you just said about something to gain. I mean, NAU doesn't really care about our program, and this is like being the most sort of practical reality based statement but it brings in Native American students. So if I can convince them that it's worth having this program to recruit Native American students for their head count, they'll realize they have something to gain. The Navajo Nation definitely has something to gain because Navajo students are getting degrees, undergraduate and graduate degrees and anthropology or other social sciences and in many cases are returning to the tribe or to work for them or if they're not coming back to work for the tribe, they're going off into other places and setting a really good example. So the whole idea of something to gain and I think a personal commitment to being there for the long haul makes all the difference in effective partnerships."
"We at Pojoaque Pueblo Construction, we have agreements with large business for outside business opportunities and I remember when we first started negotiations, there was extensive negotiations when dealing with sovereign immunity. Large business did not know structures especially dealing with small entities like Pojoaque Pueblo, with tribal enrollment of 320. It was really difficult to explain to them how you go about it. It turned out that they ended up hiring an Indian attorney so that they could get a better grasp about a tribal nation. But I think in order for a partnership to flourish or even to have longevity and continuity, it's important that during this time that there's mutual benefit because without that mutual benefit it doesn't exist. But I think it's important that during these negotiations that you keep in mind what that mutual benefit is and use that as your focus because I know that during these extensive negotiations we would get off on that and it was always a constant reminder to keep going back to what it is that we were doing this partnership for."
"I think what was an important aspect to the medical center, Benewah Medical Center, and also the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Wellness Center came afterwards, was the fact that both there was a need out there and then there's a common vision. Everybody needed healthcare in the area so they brought the partners in, they utilized each other's strengths and built from there and then they took the weaknesses and built them up. And in that they had a vision and that is a better healthcare for the whole area and also a chance to change the future generations and provide fitness and exercise for the young kids so that they'll want to be healthy and they'll hopefully one day rid diabetes and heart disease from that area or at least control it. So I think if I go back, I think this strikes on the weaknesses and a common vision and a common goal is really what we needed. And today I can say that just from people telling me stories from the past that when they decided to build the medical center, they had the Indians and the non-Indians saying, ‘No way will I go in that building with an Indian', or ‘No way will I be in there with a White person'. And I can honestly say today that side-by-side there's Indians and non-Indians working together, playing together, sitting side-by-side in the waiting room together and actually talking and communicating for the first time, which I think is a tremendous accomplishment, especially in that area."
"First off I've got to get some things straight here. Being the chairperson on the team isn't my job. I'm also a social worker. But the team...when the team started, we started out with a goal. We weren't quite sure how to get to that goal. We knew what we wanted to do, we knew we had to do something and we knew that we had to do it now and that was kind of what we looked at. And so going in we...the only thing that we had that could link us to any attempts that maybe the police department had or any calls that the police department had about attempts or completions or whatever the case may be was our tribal dispatch. That was our only link at the time when we started. And we're going on 12 years now and we used to meet in the back of a restaurant, a local little restaurant and talk about what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. And it was there that we realized that we needed to partner up with some people. We need to start going out and doing some in services and letting some people know what we were going to do. So we started going out to the hospitals and letting them know that, ‘this is where we're at, this is where we want to be in a year, can you help us get there? These are the people that we have on board. These are the caring people that we feel the community members will react to.' So it was the hospitals that we went to first and it was...it took years, it took years. And we're going on 12 years now and I would say in the last four years we've finally got...we still don't have 100 percent backing from other specific agencies, but in the last four years we've got...our policy is to, if Menominee County Police Department has a call, they call the tribal dispatch. Well, they know where I work so they were kind of skipping around things and calling me right at work. And the reason we had that policy was so that when we went out on a call it was the same for them. I have a radio, they have a radio. Our radios are our lifeline and if something was to happen to me, my dispatcher knows where I was, what I was doing. So next it took the police department. We were showing up at calls, the police department was looking at us like, ‘What are you doing here? You're interfering with the law.' We got a lot of that and so it took a lot of in services with the police department to say, ‘We can help you. We can work side-by-side. I'm not here to do your job. I'm here to help you make the situation better for a family', because with a police officer coming in and saying, ‘Okay, we're taking these people, we're putting them on a 72 hour hold', they never really took a look at how that affected the people that were left behind. So the next thing that we did was we went to other agencies, tribal and non-tribal, our tribal mental health programs and the non-tribal mental health programs, because we figured, ‘okay, we've got this person that's attempted suicide.' Now if they were to call and try and get an appointment, a lot of times the mental health field, to get an appointment it's really backed up. So what we would do then is, ‘Okay, I can get you an appointment tomorrow. I can make sure that you have transportation to get there. Is this what you want?' And so it got...now it's to the point where all I have to do is to make a phone call or another team member...all we have to do is to make a phone call and we can get that client some services immediately instead of having to wait two or three weeks down the road. The schools, we also work with because when, with the adolescence and the rate of suicide that we had at the time... In 1990 when we started, we were 50 percent lower, 10 percent, excuse me; we were 10 percent higher than the national suicide rate nationally but we were also 8.5 percent higher than the Native American rate normally was. So on our reservation we had a big problem. So in the schools when we had adolescents attempting or being placed on 72 hour hold, the parents not wanting to give up information when the school calls and says, ‘Where's your kid? Your kid isn't in school. Your child isn't in school. They're truant, they're tardy. What's the situation?' Then the parents really having a problem telling the school system that, ‘My child is on a 72 hour hold,' without the school system or without the family members feeling that the school system is looking down on them. ‘Oh, you must be bad parents if this is what's happening to your children.' So those were some other partners. The main partner that we have that we rely on is the tribal council backing us 100 percent in whatever direction we go, whether it be...like with the grant, we just applied for a grant. We just, before I left, we just got word that we had received the grant. We have received the grant, now we have to go forward with that. So it's the tribal council that has backed us and said, ‘run with it'. They have opened their arms and realized the fact that this is something that they cannot fix as a tribal council member. This is something that the community has to help themselves to do and with a little bit of organization. So with those things, those partners we would not be able to be a team, we would not be able to work as a team and that's why we come up with the name Suicide Intervention Team because it takes more than one person to fix the things that are going wrong with our people. It's a team effort whether it be...when I say the Suicide Intervention Team, I mean not just the people that are on call that go out there in the middle of the night, not the people that have to leave their jobs or get up from the table during dinner because they've got a call from dispatch, I also mean the police department, the mental health services, the hospitals, the tribal council, the schools. They're our team and we all have to work together as a team or else we will not exist. That's plain a simple. It took us a lot of years to establish that team but it was something that we realized right away that needed to be done. That was one of the things that we worked on right away and with our patients and I think what really kicked it off was we were there. When there was a call, we were there, somebody showed up. Whoever was on call took the call and that's what I feel really made the difference. It wasn't, ‘Well, I'm eating dinner right now', or ‘I'm sleeping and I've only been sleeping for a half hour and I don't want to get out of bed to go on this call', ‘I don't want to get up from dinner and skip dinner because I have a call. We got a call, we went out. It didn't matter what we were doing, who we were with. We took that responsibility when it was our turn to be on call, that was the responsibility that we took and not because that's our job. It was because we care about the people, about our people and what they are doing with their lives."
"As for the Hopi High 2+2+2 program, you're going to learn that it is a partnership between a community college and Northern Arizona University. It involves interactive television; it involves a new satellite campus being built on the Hopi High school grounds and facilities. And what that really means is that...that meant that the Hopi High took the initiative to work with the state systems and other systems in order to be able to develop this program for the future needs of our kids and for the current development of those kids so that they can achieve success academic-wise in the math and sciences after they leave high school. And what I've observed and what I've noticed and in talking with my colleagues that I've worked with, I think that approaching a hostile government if you want to call it that, there's a lot of leadership that's involved with that, approaching that kind of a situation. I think in the case of Hopi High I think you had some real important dynamics that happened there. One of them, the board was made up of very experienced leaders within the Hopi Tribe in a variety of areas and it was also headed by former chairman of the Hopi Tribe, Ivan Sidney. So I think already Hopi High was in an advantageous position because there was already influences and relationships that had been established by that board. And so that leadership didn't think twice about worrying about government. They had already experienced working with these people, had already relationships established with these people and all they really did is capitalize on that, but that takes leadership and initiative. And so I think that that's one of the ways that Hopi High was successful in developing this 2+2+2 program, and as well from the former governing board, I think a lot of credit goes to them for being very proactive and for being very interested in taking the initiative to do things to improve upon Hopi High. One of the main things they did there is to get away from the Bureau and move into a grant school. And after that it was by rather than just, as somebody mentioned earlier today, by just kind of continuing to operate things as usual as the way the Bureau and as the way IHS has taught us, they weren't going to...they weren't satisfied with that. So they were very proactive and they went and developed an administration. Glenn Gilman is a wonderful example of somebody who had many years teaching and worked on his own principal-ship and those things were allowed to be developed because of the leadership of that board and being proactive and outreaching and going to get good administrators rather than just doing things as usual, doing an advertisement and selecting from whoever shows up at the door. So I think those are the kinds of things that are under...the underpinnings of the ability of the high school to be able to successfully develop partnerships with the state system. In my own experience, as an administrator, we are involved in a number of intergovernmental agreements with the State of Arizona, with entities that are regulated by the State of Arizona and without a doubt we have to work with the federal government as contractors of the federal government. And so my view about that is that...and part of it's probably just being a young administrator. You're allowed to be kind of stupid and risky and my view is to kind of approach these situations as not even thinking that I'm dealing with a hostile government or a resistant other entity, but rather expending more energy and time thinking about how can I best establish the rapport with these people because we need to get something accomplished. So that's been one of my experiences as far as developing partnerships is expending more energy on finding creative ways and skillfully and thinking strategically like the gentleman from Winnebago about how I'm going to make this thing happen, what can I do to make the relationship develop but also too having a little...enough savvy to say, ‘Well, what do I do if they're not resistant', and that's just a matter of holding people accountable. And so those are some of the ways that I think that you develop good partnerships with people is you're going in knowing that your mission is to produce a result, not to be expending so much energy on worrying about how hostile they are or how much they may not want to work with you or whatever. And the lady...the presentation at lunch brings up a very good point because I think that if we continue to see governments as hostile or if we continue to see states as ‘us vs. them,' if we continue to see and feel and believe that we're not respected, then that's how we're going to approach these situations. And oftentimes what happens is we just simply do not approach that situation, but if we're more proactive, if we feel and believe ourselves as equal partners, if we truly believe in and embrace sovereignty, I think that's how you're going to be successful in developing the kinds of partnerships that we're talking about here today."
"Thanks. Well, listening to you I'm struck by the similarity of things that each of you have shared with us. It's obvious that in the work that goes into building relationships and building partnerships. There's obviously some core characteristics. I hear building personal relationships and the importance of those personal relationships. Communication, open communication both ways; communicating to others about tribes, tribal governments and then being open and listening to being educated about the needs and concerns of other agencies, state governments, counties or whatever. There was also lots of emphasis on common goals and finding ways of building upon what are going to be mutual benefits. That seemed to be fairly critical in establishing relationships and partnerships. Joint problem-solving; that was interesting that once those relationships are made that it takes an evolution of actually sharing in partnering in solving problems; education, respect, common goals, personal relationships. We've only got about five to 10 minutes left and so I'm going to ask you to keep your final comments fairly short but I'm intrigued about now that you have built these relationships, now that you've worked at establishing these partnerships, how do you maintain them? Do they become institutionalized? Do they become static or are they fluid? Do the relationships change as the tribal council changes? How does the continuity of these relationships continue? Again, I'm sorry to suggest that maybe you keep your comments within two to three minutes each and then we can quickly wrap this up, thanks. Go ahead, Justin."
"I think you kind of hit the key concept right on the head when you said institutionalize. And I think everybody here has worked very hard to institutionalize their program, especially once you find that vision or that clearly defined objective and you're able to go out and in a grassroots type of method start to educate staff, general public, your own membership as to what good governance is all about, then you start to institutionalize that. So then it becomes Grand Ronde, not Justin Marin. And then five years from now, what if Justin Martin or what if Neily Anderson isn't in that role? Well, the program has been built over time by grassroots through education, through communication, through cooperation and it becomes an entity in and of itself and I think the key is institutionalizing these programs so they do co-exist with that long term vision the tribal council can provide.
"In Mille Lacs's particular case with...ultimately our agreement with the state Department of Natural Resources was institutionalized through a number of things, court rulings and ultimately the setting up of schedules of annual meetings usually in January and July to re-discuss where things are at, set limits, and then there's actually some physical things that are happening as to what are safe harvesting of particular resources, those types of things then drive the partnership because neither side can arbitrarily make a decision on their own, they have to do it jointly. And so those are some examples in our particular case and how that partnership gets institutionalized and because of the physical harvesting of resources, there needs to be joint decisions about the amount of those resources that can be harvested and that I think binds that partnership and will bind it for as long as people are harvesting those resources."
"Our partnerships are a little different because they're business partnerships and our business partnerships are through like joint venture relationships or teaming relationships and other businesses that have gotten us to where we are today. So I think ours are probably more short term. We partner on projects, completed the projects, and then the joint ventures are terminated or dissolved because the contracts have been completed. But we do maintain relationships with them, personal contacts or whatever for future projects. We may not be capable of doing a project or may not have the financial resources or whatever and we may be able to partner again in the future so we do...I do keep in contact with all our business partners that we have terminated joint ventures with."
"Maintaining our relationships? The simple answer is we have to sort out our relationships and keep them differently. We do a lot of our work through contracting sources when it comes time to actually implementing the plan and one thing that has worked very well for us in our department is that when a contractor knows that we're releasing a plan for bid, they know that they'll be treated the same way they were the last time and the process is consistent in its fairness and that it's de-politicized and that all players in the process have equal opportunity at the table and that's essential in dealing with outside business entities because they will only play the political game one time and then you get a reputation in the neighborhood so to speak and so it's a good idea to maintain a sense of consistency and fairness. And then we try to reinforce our relationships, the ones that really matter as we go along you have certain partners that become more essential to your process and maintaining a frequent relationship and just not taking day-to-day matters for granted or assuming that everything is going to be smooth. Don't be afraid to just pick up the phone and call them even on problems that require simple answers because when you're calling them and they're calling you, that reinforces the relationship and makes them feel like there's a good reason to maintain an ongoing relationship in the future."
"The agreement-making and relationship-building activities are part of this first generation experience for changing a hostile environment into a cooperative environment. I think that our honorable speaker from Hopi really expressed it very well by saying that the next generation should just simply come to expect that we operate in a cooperative environment and that's an ideal state that all of this work that we're mining right now will take us to, that this is the preferred status quo, this is the way people behave and nations behave and governments behave."
‘I agree. I guess in our case what I would like to say is that it was a long struggle to become "institutionalized," to develop some kind of institutional standing so that now we actually have a place, a space, physical space, at Northern Arizona University and we actually have funding from the Navajo Nation for our students. But once that's in place, as I see myself stepping down on October 31st and Davina [Begay-] Two Bears taking over, there's a certain amount of training for her that she needs to do but way beyond that, I just hope that whatever my vision was is done and that her vision, whatever she chooses to have happen, to make it become a truly Navajo program that that really happens and that that just really evolves in a wonderful way and I have every confidence that it will. So while the structure and framework is there in an institutional sense, whatever she chooses to have happen and whatever the next person who takes over after her chooses to have happen and how that evolves and I hope that none of us can envision what that's going to be. I hope that it just exceeds all of our expectations."
"Maintaining our relationships, our established partnerships; we have concrete contracts in place. However, times change, our business changes, our needs change and I think it requires a constant evaluation of the partnership, evolving the partnership, making modifications, if necessary, to adapt to new needs and concerns."
"Well, it's like any relationship with the special businesses that we keep the lines of communication open. I think that's very important for us and then also, not assuming something that we don't know from the other person. Ask those questions, get the facts and then make decisions based on that."
"Well, with us and the team, to talk about suicide on our reservation was something that was thrown in our face, it was something that was chronic there, something we couldn't get away from. On other reservations, I've talked to several different reservations who want to start up a team on their reservation, and on other reservations this is something that is hush-hush, this is something that you don't talk about. Well, on our reservation, with the attempts and everybody being open about the attempts, about the completions, about the ideations, everybody who sits on the tribal council or sits on the team is or is in some way affected by somebody either completing suicide or attempting suicide. So everybody has been affected by it in one way or another. Even if the WESIT team or if WESIT was gone, I don't think that the people would settle with that. I think if I was gone, if the people who are on the team as on call members were gone, I think that the community would pick it up and run with it. We do have a resolution in place stating that this is the team and this is...we're going to keep this running one way or another, but even if we didn't have that, I don't think the people on our reservation would self-manage."
"Mark, the last word?"
"That's a tough one. I just started these relationships. I haven't had enough experience yet to maintain them. No. As a social worker and as a social work administrator but I actually began my career as a mental health provider for Hopi. And so one thing that I've learned, and also as a member of the Hopi Tribe, one thing I've learned is that collaboration, which is needed, a prerequisite for partnerships, it's a very profound word, it's a very strong word, it's embedded in our Hopi values that we teach. But as a mental health provider I've learned something that it's...the word is profound but to actually apply it and practice it is very difficult. It's not an easy thing; it doesn't just come natural for everybody to collaborate successfully. And what I mean as a mental health provider, I think that there's a mindset that goes with that. I think there's a condition that goes with collaboration, an ability to approach things to produce an outcome, ability to approach things healthy, healthy-minded and the skills necessary to collaborate successfully is a result of development, a fully or better, best developed kind of individual and people can be trained of course to be successful at collaboration. So I guess to maintain partnerships to me is to have...is to hopefully ensure you have good leadership that will continue to produce people that have that great unique skill of being successful collaborators and to ensure that those people are in those positions that make those decisions to maintain those partnerships. So that's the one thing I would say and as this conference notes here, leadership of course isn't something that is new, certainly not to Harvard, but I'm pleased that it's beginning to come in and infiltrate, if you will, Indian Country. Because I think that in this new world we have a lot of knowledgeable and intelligent people, but leadership skills, that's something that is...can require a lot of training and, at least for my tribe and I would bet for your tribe, is that we need to develop the leadership qualities in our tribal leaders because they're knowledgeable and intelligent, but to be an effective leader requires high level skills in practice. And so that's what needs to continue to happen and continue to develop in Indian Country. And I hopefully won't say anything more but as a tribal administrator, as a chairperson on several committees and now...I do this when I take my staff or a group or a team of Hopis to different meetings or symposiums but certainly without a doubt as a governing board member now it's very important that I support those people that do that work. And I do this with tribal administrators but I just wanted to be able to recognize the Hopi staff that really do 2+2+2 that have come along here; Glenn Gilman, you're going to see him in a moment, a wonderful speaker so he tells me, and Mr. Stan Bindell, one of the wonderful faculty you've seen around with a camera way in the back, he's...it's great to have a local reporter as well. He's a faculty member but also does a lot of work for the local newspapers and it's very important for Hopi for him to be able to come back and share this event with Hopi, the Hopi public and Stan's responsible for that. I'm very pleased also because what this is about is now you have these people like us jabbering but the people who actually do the work, that doesn't get enough attention. And Mr. David Logan who just walked in here, he's actually one of the teachers in the 2+2+2 program, if you can just kind of raise your hand. And we should be paying attention to these people so I just wanted to show my support as a governing board member. Thank you."
"All right, thank you very much. Unfortunately, we do not have time for questions. We are out of time and we nee dto move on with the next speaker. So I want to thank all of our panelists very, very much for sharing with us your experiences and your insights. Thank you."