Harvard Project "Honoring Nations" Symposium 2002

Honoring Nations: Oren Lyons: Governing Our Way to a Brighter Future

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Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
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Onondaga Chief and Faithkeeper Oren Lyons shares his perspective on why governance matters to the sovereignty and long-term prosperity of Indigenous peoples, and stresses the importance of adhering to the long-taught instructions that have ensured the survival of those peoples to this day.

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Lyons, Oren. "Governing Our Way to A Brighter Future." 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.

Oren Lyons:

"[Iroquois language]. That's our greeting for, general greeting across Six Nations country and the Haudenosaunee, people call us Iroquois. It means ‘thank you for being well' and it's important. '[Iroquois language]' means 'peace' and it's the same word for health. [Iroquois language]. ‘Health and peace,' that's our greeting. Thank you for being healthy. Thank you for the peace. We'll come back to that because that's instructive. Time is relentless and so is Andrew Lee. He put together a program, you know, when you look at it and say, ‘Well, how are we going to get through all this?' But here we are. It's Saturday afternoon and we have gone through all of the points that were put out in the program and very well as a matter of fact. It's been very enlightening and I really enjoyed these sessions because I learned so much, there's just so much that I guess we all had the same feeling. 'Boy, I wish everybody was here from my nation so they could have heard this.' So what that means is that somehow we have to transfer this information that we have back to our peoples, back to our nations, and to give them some hope and direction because we are in perilous times, there is no doubt.

Now I thought that we should begin and I should take the time and I will take the time to go through our greeting, our [Iroquois language] we say, the opening or the words before all words. Before we open any session in any meeting, big or small, we start with these words and so I thought you should hear them because as my grandmother said last night as she was talking, my aunt, and she said, ‘There are words, there are directions,' that she doesn't hear much anymore, but they are there and I know all our nations have them and when Regis [Pecos] was talking and he was speaking, when Peterson Zah was speaking his language, he was saying these very words and even though we didn't understand the language, we understood that these were the words and they are the same. They're the same for all our peoples and we're so fortunate that any of our elders can stand and speak for all of us. That's how common we are. Language of course is the soul of a nation and that's what's been put forward. And if you don't have a use for a language you lose it or if somebody transfers your uses to another language then that's what you use. Indian nations -- we didn't lose our language, it was taken from us, it was beaten from us, it was forced from us. We didn't lose it. So we have to fight back for it. We need it. There's a lot of information and instruction in our languages. When we lose these languages, all that instruction is gone. Ceremonies that we run will be gone. So we have to fight for it. Each generation has to pick up that fight and that's where we're at right now.

It's interesting to me, one more statement on the language, is that we're getting a lot of political play these days for the code talkers. Here in Washington people are talking about the code talkers, but the irony I think is missed by most people but probably not by our people. You know, those code talkers -- and there were many -- there were...I know there were the Ojibwes, I know that there were many other languages used but those languages, those Navajo languages that was used this war, the second World War saved thousands and thousands of American lives, thousands, and these were the very languages that they were beating out of us. And what if they were successful? How many lives would America have lost? Isn't that ironic that the very thing that they were taking from us saved...maybe saved the war. Who knows? It was mentioned here that we should forgive and we have and it's amazing but we don't forget. As you know, Indians never forget anything...ever! But we have forgiven and there's an amazing amount of good will in Indian Country to our brothers. We espouse common cause very easily. It's amazing, but I think that's a reflection of our nations, of our cultures cause that's just the way we are.

And anyway, we always start these meetings with the thanksgiving acknowledge we call it. We say first...our first acknowledgement is to the people. So all of the people who are here, all of the people who are not here, those who are sick, those who could not make it, we acknowledge all the people of the world, whoever they are, wherever they are, and we give a big thanksgiving.

And then we acknowledge the earth itself. [Iroquois language] we say, 'Our Mother.' We acknowledge the earth and all the life that she brings and all the generations of faces looking up from that earth...coming...coming...coming. We acknowledge the earth and we give a big thanksgiving for the earth, Our Mother.

And then we acknowledge all the grass and all the bushes and all the medicine that grow on this earth and we think about that. We're grateful and we're thankful and we put our minds together as one and we give a big thanksgiving for all of the grasses and medicines and bushes on the earth.

And then we move to the trees and we think of the leader of the trees, the maple. And we think of all the trees in the world and their duties and we give a thanksgiving, because they continue their duties and it supports us and we're grateful. So we put our minds together as one and give a big thanksgiving for all the trees of the world.

And then we move to all the animals that run in the woods and run in the fields and that live in the rocks and we think about them and we give a thanksgiving for all of these animals for they carry out their duties and their duties provide for us, support us. We think about them and we give a thanksgiving for all the animals of the world, big and small.

And then we move to the waters and we think about the waters, all these waters, the springs, the streams, the rivers, the lakes, the oceans, our life and what it does for us. The water that we cook our foods, we wash ourselves, we cook our medicines; without the water there would be no life. And so we put our minds together and we give a big thanksgiving for all the waters of the earth.

And then we think about all the fishes and the life that's in the waters and how great they are and how they sustain us. And we think about that and we think about the leader, the trout, and we say, ‘The river runs through his mouth' and we say, ‘This is wonderful.' We give a big thanksgiving for all the fishes of the sea and all the life within it. So we put our minds together as one and we give a big thanksgiving. So be it, our way.

And then we move to the birds, those that fly. These are very special. These birds do many, many, many duties. And the chief, the leader, the eagle is the one that looks out for all. And we think of even the smallest, the tiniest, the hummingbird and the songs that they give us that can raise our spirits when we don't feel good. They wake us in the morning, they remind us every day this is another day. They are messengers and we give thanks for all the birds of the world.

And then we move to our grandfathers, the four winds, the ones that bring the seasons. And we think about them, these powerful forces so great in strength that we do not want to see their ultimate strength but we may as we were warned. But still, we love these grandfathers, these winds of the four directions that plant the life on this earth and bring the seasons. And we put our minds together as one and we give a big thanksgiving to the great winds from the four directions of the earth.

And then we think of our grandfathers with thundering voices that bring the rain and when we hear them in the spring we're grateful and we run and we give thanks, special thanks because it means we are going to have rain for another season when they speak, these grandfathers with thundering voices. And we give thanks for them because they water our people, they water the trees, they water the earth and they replenish all the fresh water. So we put them in our minds and we give a thanksgiving.

And then we move to our grandmother the moon and she looks after the female, she works with the female. She sets the duties for the seasons. She raises and lowers the great seas of the earth, very powerful. We call her the night sun. She shows our way at night. And we put our minds together and we give a big thanksgiving for our grandmother the moon.

And then we think of our eldest brother the sun, without whom we wouldn't have light today as we can look outside and we can see he is doing his duty and we are served by that and we are fortunate. He works with the earth to bring life, together they produce life, this eldest brother, a mighty thanksgiving. Each day we are fortunate. Someone once said here, ‘Tomorrow never comes' and that may well be. So today is here. So we put our minds together and we give a big thanksgiving for our eldest brother the sun.

And then we move to the stars, those beautiful stars. They hold a great deal of knowledge and our people used to know the knowledge. But we now say we don't know much anymore. But yet they still guide us at night, yet they still lead us and they lift our hearts with their beauty and they bring the dew in the morning and work with water. And so we put our minds together and we give a big thanksgiving to the stars in the heavens.

And then we move to the spiritual beings and these spiritual beings who look out for us every day, these spiritual beings whose duty it is to work with this earth and help us, support us. They're the ones that catch you just before you fall; they're with us all the time. And they're with us if you want to work with them and if you want to ask them, they're there, these spiritual beings, and we don't know who they are and they work in many ways. And so we put our minds together in a big thanksgiving for these spiritual beings that work for the Creator.

And in our lands we give thanks for [Iroquois language], this man who was given a message to us 200 years ago that helped our nation survive, that gave us the directions that we needed, spiritual message. And so we put our minds together and we give a thanksgiving for [Iroquois language].

And then we come to the Creator, [Iroquois language], giver of all life; this might force who sustains us, looks after us, provides for us. Finally, with all our minds and thinking of all the things that we can think of that he has given us. We put our minds together in a mighty, mighty thanksgiving and we give a thanksgiving for [Iroquois language], the Creator.

So then we say we have now finished our first [Iroquois language], which is the words before all words and now we have provided a context as to who we are and what our duties are and we go about our business. And so with that I thought I could share that with that with you. [Iroquois language] So now we'll begin the business.

They told us, make your prayers, get up and make your prayers and then go to work, 'cause nothing happens without work. So the context then, who are we? In this great earth that we heard about, where is the human being and what is our responsibility because we have intellect, because we have hands, because we can build things and especially because we have the foreknowledge of death? We know that we are going on. Animals know when they are going, they prepare. If you watch your dog, in the morning when he goes out and he's making a bed and he disappears for a day and then two days then three days and five days and he doesn't come back because he knows it's his time. We used to know that too. We've lost a lot of things. Animals know, but they don't know beforehand. We know beforehand, so that's our responsibility. That means we have to look up for life and that's our responsibility and that's where leadership comes, that's where governance comes and that's where the relevance of our peoples today in today's context is very important because of these great knowledges that our nations have. We don't want to lose them. Everybody will suffer by that loss.

So now we want to talk about identity. You heard about it. What is our identity? Our identity is our land. That's our identity, it's our land, it's our water, it's where we live, it's where we've lived for thousands of years and who knows how long. I get such a big kick out of anthropologists and archaeologists and historians who say, ‘Well, you Indians have only been here 10,000 years yourself,' immigrants talking to us. We've been here a lot longer than 10,000 years and we know that. And I told them that. I said, ‘I'll just simply wait because eventually your science will turn it up.' They get very angry. But identity, yes, that's us, that's our land.

My uncle took the time when I was just graduated from college, took the time, realizing that I was head strong, kind of full of myself and feeling pretty hot...pretty hot stuff here. He said, ‘Hey, let's go fishing.' I said, ‘Good idea,' because I knew he knew where the fish were. We went in a boat, we got out in a boat and we were over by where the bass were and sitting there quietly, got our lines in and he said, ‘Well, I see you're just graduated from the university.' And I knew right then I was in trouble. I was in a boat, I couldn't go anywhere and he was the one that had the motor on the other hand. But it was interesting because he said, ‘Well, you must know who you are then. You know a lot of things.' ‘Yeah, I learned a lot of things.' ‘Well, you must know who you are.' ‘Yeah, I know who I am.' So I gave him my Indian name, I gave him my clan, gave him the nation and every time I would add something then he'd say, ‘And that's it, huh?' After a long struggle I finally had to be quiet for awhile and then he says, ‘You need some help?' I said, ‘Yeah.' ‘Good,' he says, ‘good.' He said, ‘Look at that tree up here,' and he pointed to a cliff and there was a beautiful tree not very old, a spruce it looked like, beautiful. He said, ‘You're the same as that tree.' He says, ‘Your roots are in the earth, that's your Mother.' He says, ‘You're the same as that tree.' He says, ‘You're one in the same, you're a little ant, your mother's the earth.' He said, ‘That's who you are.' That was the biggest lesson. I never forgot it and that's what we have to remember.

So identity, the land, that's what I mean, you're part of the earth. It's us and it's our responsibility. So how do you maintain this responsibility? Well, we were instructed to one, give thanks, which we did and two to enjoy life. We're instructed to enjoy...you're supposed to enjoy life. You're not supposed to be walking around like them pilgrims we saw come over, they were so grim. They only wore black clothes and worked seven, no six days. They worked six days. Our people thought they were kind of crazy. They took their little children in the middle of the winter and they put them in the water and they were just born and some of them died. And our people said, ‘What are you doing?' And they said, ‘We're saving them.' We never really figured that out yet. ‘We're saving them.' But anyway, they were pretty grim, but our people are not. They like bright clothes. Look at my shirt, nice. One time when we were talking with these...white, they're my brothers, they're Dutch...we were making an agreement, a treaty called the Two Row. After all was said and done, they said, ‘Well, how will we know one another?' And we said, ‘You will know us by the way we dress.' Now, think about that. If you have a hard time, they'll see a lot of us these days, won't they, by the way we dress. What does it mean ‘by the way we dress?' That means your culture, that means who you are. So wear something, carry something, show who you are.

Now, my clan is the wolf and we had a lot of discussion here about the wolf and I'm glad my young nephew Aaron brought that up. He talked about the wolf. A good question, ‘Who is the wolf?' Well, the clan, that's me, I'm the wolf. I'm proud of it. And people ask me, they say, ‘Well, what's your sign?' I say, ‘The wolf.' And they get confused, but the signs that they talk about come from another land and another idea and another way. We have our identities, we know who we are, and I'm so glad you spoke about your clans, who you are because that is really important, that's our identity. And who is the wolf then, who is the wolf? Really, even among our people, an enigma. We know powerful, we know spiritual, and we know our white brother looks at the wolf the same way he looks at us. He likes us because we're proud, he likes us because we're fierce, he likes because we fight hard. So he takes his picture and puts it on his uniform and says he is a warrior or he is an Indian because we're fierce and we fight, but that's not who we are and that's not who the wolf is. Anyone will fight when you're coming in your front door. The mouse will fight you if you corner them. You know you've got to be careful, he'll bite you. You have to respect. And so who is the wolf, then?

We were having a ceremony in the longhouse and it was a great feather dance, the Creator's dance, and we had a singer coming from [Iroquois language], Mohawk, and he was singing and I was listening. I couldn't understand exactly what...so I went to my grandmother and I said, ‘He's talking about? The wolf?' She said, ‘Yes.' She said, ‘That's an old song. I haven't heard that in a long time'. And I said, ‘What is he saying?' And she said, ‘In this road to the path to the Creator, this beautiful path that we all go on and we're walking,' she says, ‘we're walking and on the sides of the road are the strawberries, the leader of the fruit, strawberries all the way out.' 'And we're walking,' that's what he saying in his song, his preamble before we begin the dance. And then he said, 'To my side my grandfather the wolf, on his own path, side by side we're walking, we're walking through the Creator's land.' And that gave us some indication of who our brother the wolf is because I think, yes, I think he represents the natural world and I think how it goes with the wolf goes with us. We're the same and we're also the same with all our brothers. And so how it goes with us will go with them, although they don't know yet, don't understand yet. So somehow we have to educate and explain to them that we need all of us to survive, we can't lose one. We can't lose great leaders like the wolf or the bear; again, spiritual, again, powerful medicine, we know that.

We say in Onondaga, Haudenosaunee, that the leader of all the animals is the deer. Now with the deer with his horns we come around and in between these horns like radar and he can see far beyond his eyes here. He's all over the world, as the wolf is all over the world, as the eagle is all over the world the leader, they're all over. That's how you can tell they're leaders, they're everywhere. Not all animals are everywhere, but these are leaders. And so, yes, who is the wolf? I think the wolf represents humanity, life as we know it. We lose that, we lose everything, us included, and it will be miserable and slow. You're not just going to fold over and die, you're just going to die slowly, one generation after the other. It's going to take generations suffering. We don't want that. So how do we stop that? By keeping our ceremonies, by keeping our dances, by giving our thanksgivings. That's what he said. ‘As long as you give thanks, life will go on.' Simple instruction. Are we too busy, are we too busy to take the time to give thanks? So those are questions that we have to answer ourselves in today's time when time is relentless. It is relentless because we've entered into the same time frame as the rest of the world so we feel the same thing. There are some people who still operate on the time of the earth and they're quite happy, they're quite content. They just go along with the day. Kind of a nice way to live, but it's not the way things are today.

And so the identity: land. Then with the land is the jurisdiction. And jurisdiction is the ultimate authority over that land and if you don't have jurisdiction on your land, then you don't have the land. You're just there until somebody wants to move you and they will. Our people have a great history of being moved. You know about it. We know where we live, we know where we come from and still remember. We had great leaders who gave their lives for our people, great leaders who would look at us today and wonder, wonder about us. Do we have the strength? Do we have the conviction? Do we have the will to survive as our peoples, as who we are? We've talked about political will. Well, that's the bottom line, political will. If you don't have the political will to survive, you won't. You have to fight and you have to fight on all levels and yet in all of this is a common cause and the common cause is survival. There was an old Indian leader who came from the west, I don't know what exactly his name was but he said, ‘There is going to come a time when people will cease to live and begin to survive.' What did he mean by that? He's talking about quality of life and that's the values we talk about. What is the quality of life? Is the quality of life a BMW? Is that your quality of life? Or is it your grandchildren singing Indian songs? Is that a quality of life? It's up to us to choose that. Every generation has to look out for itself. You can't live your children's lives. You have to give them enough instruction to survive. That's our responsibility, instruction. Each generation will have its leaders, each generation will have its heroes and each generation will have those people whom nations will despise. All of us are spiritual beings and every day when we get up we try to keep the spiritual center and be a good person. We don't want to be too good over here because then you just follow this way and of course you get too bad then you follow this way. So every day we have to make choices of who we're going to be today. And any one of us on any given day can be the worst enemy of our people ever...every day. These are decisions every day. So we need a lot of instruction. We need ways to keep in a good way. So we said with ceremonies. Now we'll move on. We'll move on.

In the borders of nations, you have three specific borders in the area of sovereignty. You have a geographic border. You can see a map and you can draw yourself a couple borders here. You have a political border. That border can look fuzzy. And then you have an economic border. Now you're really getting fuzzy. If you don't watch all three borders, you lose your sovereignty. Money, necessary, currency, around the world. At the U.N. [United Nations] or in Europe now we have the Euro. They now have a common currency. They've decided that they're going to work together and become like the United States. It seems to be working. Now we have to live every day in this society and societies, they're all different. But we have to keep our own identity and so think about that, every day think about your geographic border, think about your political border, and think about your economic border and try to keep them clear because the clearer you keep them, the stronger you are, the more sovereign. And you're at risk all the time.

So we heard about women. Somebody said women are important. Well, I guess so. When they talk about...I'm traveling around the world, which I do a lot and they're, ‘Oh, you're a chief'. ‘Well, yeah, one of the leaders'. The first question they ask, ‘Can a woman be a chief?' I said, ‘No'. I said, ‘No more than I could be a clan mother'. But the question comes from Western society. The question comes from what they call the battle of the sexes, the conflict that Western society has between men and women and the battle that women have gone through to even be recognized as equal and not quite yet. But we knew long ago, our people knew long ago that women were the center of our nation. We're partners. We've always been partners, full and equal, with duties of the woman and duties of the man. Not difficult. No one better than the other but working for the good of the family and working for the good of the nation. Not a problem, this idea of equality. It's old to our people, but our brothers in Western society is just beginning and having a hard time with it. So we should not be carried away by their discussion. We should retain and understand our own and we all remember and know that women are sacred. They carry life. We can't do it. And I think that's why the white man fears them. But I don't know.

Now, what is the danger that we face today? The dangers that we face today is this idea of government and governance, we were talking about it and I hear a lot about it. And people that have played sports, lacrosse or basketball or hockey, and these sports in particular, transition is a big factor. And if you can lay your attack on a transition, you catch your opposition in a vulnerable position and you can score. The transition game, it's getting to be a common talk. We knew about this transition game long ago. So changing, the nation is changing, you're in transition, you're in this contest and if you're not aware, you're vulnerable. So if you're changing from a traditional government to an elected government or have changed, you're still in transition. You're vulnerable because it's not your rules that you're playing by. Somebody else set these rules. So not only have you played a game, you've got to know the rules and know them good enough so you don't get caught in transition. And what are you transitioning to? From Indian to what? Envision and looking forward to who? But what I hear that gives me such great hope, strength, enthusiasm is every single one of the projects and schools people are talking about hanging onto the ways and borders. And that's where we're at.

The variety of realities that exist are the varieties of realities that are across this nation. There's a full spectrum. So we have to watch and as we move into the international field and we have people probably on their way back or assessing the last meeting at the U.N. in Switzerland and very important that Chief Justice [Robert] Yazzie was there and we had a discussion the other day. He was explaining what was going on in Geneva as they discussed your and my fate in an international forum. Were you there? Do you know about it? Eventually you'll hear about it. There's coalitions of states out there, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, coalescing against Indigenous people. We had a statement here from the federal government said, ‘Self-determination is essential...essential...to our good governance.' And yet our number one opponent at the U.N. is the United States against self-determination. Did you know that? You know how long we've been fighting them on that simple term? Well, it's not quite so simple, is it? Self-determination: the right to determine for yourself who you are. It carries great political impact and since 1994, when we put the draft declaration for the Rights of Indigenous people to the Human Rights Division in ECOSOC [U.N. Economic and Social Council] at the U.N., out of 45 articles they have only since 1994 agreed with two. Forty three of the articles of self-determination and human rights they have not agreed to. That's the kind of fight going on over there. The Haudenosaunee led that delegation to Geneva in 1977 and I was one of the leaders there and the people responsible. One hundred forty four people in that particular event, North, Central and South America. Indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere, we said, ‘That's who we are.' And the last meeting they had there was over 1,000-1,100 delegates, Indigenous people.

They moved to establish a permanent forum for Indigenous issues in ECOSOC. We are now developing the rules and regulations for governing that. That's going on and the ECOSOC will be in May at the U.N. in New York. It's going to reflect all the peoples of the world. But from the time that we stood outside the U.N. in 1973 petitioning to speak to them on behalf of the Lakota Nation, who was struggling at Wounded Knee, they wouldn't let us across the street. Phalanx is the police. We couldn't cross the street to the U.N. In 1992 I gave the first address to the United States body at the U.N. in their forum from their roster. And if you didn't' have the longevity of knowing the fight in between those years you would have said, ‘We haven't moved a step,' but obviously we have. So you have to have a perspective. You've got to know about these things. The same slam you're fighting at home, these fights are going on over there. You've got to support the people that are there. It's hard, it's expensive, it's really excruciatingly slow. We just last year, from the Clinton Administration, got an agreement that we were peoples, in brackets yet, but still. They didn't even agree to that before.

So I want to end this little discussion with some news from my country. Good news, I think. It makes me feel good. On the 14th of April we are going to raise the next Tadodaho, the next leader of the Haudenosaunee for the Six Nations, we're called the Iroquois. This title is 1,000 years old and although I feel apprehension for this man that's going to take this position because it's such a difficult position, yet, I have a lot of real hope. He's a good man. He was one of our very best lacrosse players. He was one of the very best defensemen we ever had. And now he's going to take this position. His name is Sid Hill. About 46, pretty young for the position but he is working hard and I think he's going to do it. So in the process and procedure of governance that we do and how we raise our leaders, we're going to raise this leader and there isn't going to be any Bureau of Indian Affairs there and there isn't going to be any Department of Interior and we're not asking anybody for anything. We are just doing what we should be doing, which is to raise our leaders in our way and the process is 1,000 years old. It's hard, it's tough to maintain that in these times but we have. And I never realized until I started traveling how important that was. And I don't think a lot of our people, our own people, realize how fortunate they are to still have chiefs because all of our nations know about chiefs. They revere these people, very selfless leaders. We still have them. And I've been on that council for a long time now, since 1967, and I can say one thing, that there is no budget for the chiefs. We don't get paid. I think that might be a good idea for governance. You will certainly change the people who want to be in charge. No, nobody wants to be the chief where I come from. It's too much work, it takes you away from the family and I heard it the other day, when you're working for the [Iroquois Language] you can even lose your family and it's happened, I've seen it. It's hard but it's important. It's what you call leadership in governance. What is the purpose of leadership, but to defend and promote the welfare of your nation and your people and to really be concerned for that seventh generation, the long vision?

So we have to raise our leaders and I thought Lance [Morgan] had a good idea. I said, ‘He's really put his finger on the problem that I see with elective systems which is that two- to four-year fight that goes on which can be really fierce in Indian Country, disruptive and no continuity.' And I thought his idea was a good idea. Maybe we should look at that because you want continuity. And it's nothing to it except to change it. You know you can do that if you just have the political will. That's all it takes. So having been taken far out and finding our way back, we have to take advantage of all of these things. And I tell you that I could take all the events...I can take it home to our people and say, ‘We can learn from every one of these projects. They're positive, they show spirit, they show the will of our people.' And I congratulate you. We've just got to keep it up and somehow we have to share and we have to be better coordinated to work with each other and support each other wherever we are. And so we have to give up some of our people we love to hate, long-time battles. We have to really set them aside now and work together and be more understanding and be more tolerant with the problems of all of our brothers wherever they are, the nations and their struggles.

They're asking...the world is asking for the wisdom of the elders of the traditional Indigenous people, all over the world. I know because they call me. And I'm just the runner. I'm just a runner. All I do is talk about what the nation knows and I'm careful about that. I'm learning all the time. I know who the leaders are and I know what it takes to be. So we have to support them. And in our own way now...by being at this meeting we're all runners. We now have to go back and take the message home and share it and be concerned. It is the future. It is our people. And it's not only our people; it's the rest of life. I don't think that it's too late but we are, the human race, approaching a point of no return. We are approaching this point of no return. The ice is melting in the north as we speak. Global warming is here, we're in transition and the work that we're going to be doing today we are not going to be doing for ourselves, we are going to be doing for the next two or three generations. That's who's going to...who will gain by our work. Not us. We have to understand that we're going to have to take what's coming and not be weak and raise our leaders to meet these problems and they're going to be big. And if you think two towers going down in New York was a problem, wait. You're going to see some real problems coming. That's when we have to be strong and that's when we have to rely on the wisdom of our nations and remember them and hold them and keep the language. And with that I'm going to end my discussion. I'm going to, I think, urge you as we say [Iroquois language] -- try hard, do your best. [Iroquois language]"

Honoring Nations: Jeanette Clark Cassa: San Carlos Apache Elders Cultural Advisory Council

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Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Jeanette Cassa (1929-2004), Coordinator of the San Carlos Apache Elders Cultural Advisory Council (ECAC), discusses ECAC's work and the traditional Apache core values that its member elders work to instill in the younger generations of Apache people. She also stresses the importance of tribal leaders living by those values and listening to their people.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Cassa, Jeanette Clark. "San Carlos Apache Elders Cultural Advisory Council." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Sante Fe, New Mexico. February 8, 2002. Presentation.

Jeanette Clark Cassa:

"[Apache language] Good evening and we had a good day today and may it all be well today. My name is Jeanette Cassa and I'll try to do like the Navajos do. My name is Jeanette Cassa [Apache language]. The [Apache language] is very almost extinct now. There's just a few people [Apache anguage] probably extended out to the Navajo countries. But this is what I am.

I have an outline here and I'm going to try to make it short. I'm not quite used to speaking out in public. I'm used to being on top of the mountains looking for herbs, looking for plants, and naming the animals in Apache and birds out there for the education, the school. It says here that I'm going to talk about the past. Well, my...I was born in 1929 just when my father and my mother, we were beginning to realize that there is another world that they have to get in the trend of. And my great grandmother had been a prisoner of war, my paternal grandmother. She used to tell us stories about the prisons and it was very sad out there. They were roaming in the mountains but they came back, they were settled down in the valley and they...from there my father was born and then I came in.

Just when tribal council in 1934 -- I was about five years old when they developed the constitution. And the constitution took place then, so it was developed. And the tribal council was called the administrators at first and they advised people, they worked with the people real good and they never sat...they have some letters yet that they have written and it says there that not...it doesn't say 'I' and the chairman doesn't say, 'I.' He says, 'This council' and then he signs his name last while the councils, the district councils signed their names first. In those days they prayed and they got together and they prayed as they were developing the constitution. I believe that's why it still holds today. Only about one or two was amended in 1954.

But since I had gotten out of school I've been with the, helping out the council all the time and I felt that they were my relatives because I was an orphan. I had relatives in Mescalero, but there was quite a distance. So I grew up helping out the council. In those days the cultural principles of the...they gave advices on that according to the principles of life and whatever. Those things are gone today when you look at it, they're gone. They're gone and even in the English language, way back when Moses came there was a law put forth like the 10 Commandments. Do you ever stop to look at that? We had something like that. Don't do this or don't do that, but do this.

In the mornings when you got up you started out with your right foot, your right hand, whatever you were going to do. You were told to start with the right hand, your right foot so everything will go well with you for the day. They used to do that and then they say, 'Don't beg for things. Let it come to you or hunt for it, work for it yourself. Look for it.' Like when our people were in mountains those days they looked for food. They were constantly scratching around for food or looking, searching for food to eat so they were busy during the day. The men were out hunting, the women were at home or roasting agaves or looking for nuts and whatever they can eat. So they were constantly busy like the ants and that kept them slim in those days. And the food that they ate kept them healthy because they were natural foods.

So that's how their life was in those days and as we became...when the constitution came in, in those days we became a ward of the government. And then I went back to the reservation and as soon as I got home the council put me on the election committee so I had been with that until 1990. In 1954, I have seen two chairmen that were running who shake hands when one of them won. There [were] no harsh words; no criticizing one another, but they shook hands and that was good in 1954. After that it got out of hand. So that's where we are at today.

And the modern things that we learned that take place; I'm not as good as what Andrew [Lee]...but I do try to help anywhere, everywhere you help out. Your parents, your great grandmother told you, 'If you help out, it will come back to you in a thousand folds' is that they taught us. If you are a leader, don't hoard everything, give until you are the last one, take the last one or whatever you gave you got the smaller one and gave the bigger one away. It is not like this anymore.

There are a lot of words and teachings that have gone out of our lives everywhere, not just San Carlos. I believe it's with every tribe and even the modern world, the cities, everywhere. I had some experience in the earlier days, in 1950s the council decided that they needed to send people off the reservation to get work out there, to get a job, find a job and you were supposed to be out there and be educated. In other words, they told us, 'Be civilized' or assimilate with the public out there. So they sent us out. I have been there. I have been to San Jose, California and I've been to Dallas, Texas, but one day I decided that I needed to come home. I didn't have very many relatives at home, but I don't know why I came home, but someone told me that maybe you were meant to go home and help out. So all this time I've been doing it.

In 1990, when the NAGPRA [Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act] came in, my partner Seth [Pilsk] came out to me when I had retired from teaching at Globe High School, the Apache language, and I had retired and came home and I was sitting there. One morning he came up to me and said, 'Will you go to work with me?' I said, 'I retired'. He said, 'It's just for 18 months.' And it has gone...it has gone beyond that. It's almost 10 years, 10 years is coming up. But I went to work with him. We have worked on a lot trying to...we even worked with the [Northern Arizona University] with a science or something there was supposed to be taught in the school and we're still on that. And we're working on place names, putting every Apache name on a place where it...where the Apaches had been. So our map is just covered with black dots all over and on the side there because we couldn't put the whole name in there we just put it on the side.

That's where I am and the tribe today, the council today like here, they're here. I don't see any of my council member or maybe they're a little jealous of me, I don't know. But they do work with us. 1993 we presented a resolution. One reason we realized that we need a resolution to bring the elders council is that there are things, there are sacred things, there are traditions that are sacred, and we need permission from the elders in the community, the medicine men. So in order to work well with them we presented the resolution and they approved it. So we've been working under that. And that's what we've been doing all this time.

We do work with other companies like ADOT [Arizona Department of Transportation]. We receive letters, even from the arch science and the archaeologists that come in, but now we have Vernelda [Grant] on board as an archaeologist. So we send all those to her. And that's the reason why some other people haven't heard from us. But we've been called out everywhere and today I would say that I need to take speech lessons. I'm not as well...I'd rather be out there on the mountain and we do take people out. We have our elders' meeting and you've got to be patient with them. You have a meeting with them as a group like this, but you go over it again and visit them individually.

There's one thing we don't know anymore too and that is enduring things -- the cold, the heat, and other things -- we cannot sit still long enough. I notice that in the children as I try to bring these back, the other day. Our children are not working much anymore, too. So one forester has developed a thing where he can train the younger boys for the firefighters. So he asked me to come out there and talk to them and I did and I try to think about what I should say, but their attention span is short. So I try to make it short. I told them little stories. Like one day the firefighters got on the bus. A long time ago in the '50s the truck used to go up and down and they would honk the horn and then the men hears that whether they're drinking or not they go stand out there; some of them were drunk. But they got on the truck and they'd jump on the truck because they were able-bodied men. They were men that knew how to work. So they got on the bus. When the truck brought them to the bus they got on there, they threw the bottle away. It was time to put that bottle away and go. They got on the bus and got to wherever they were going and when they got there they fixed their bedding and they went to sleep right away, as soon as they got there. And the next morning they got up early and started work. They left the bottle behind and the job was a job and they went and did it. That's what I told the boys. It's time to put something away and get to work. There are a lot of other stories like that that I told to the boys.

But it's true about everything else. You people have... I listen to you talk and you have brought everything out, everything and maybe somebody wrote it down and everything that is needed as being a leader or working with the people. You brought everything out and mentioned it but there's one thing, when you become a leader, you kind of get tempted with things. And there's a little pool, maybe money or maybe something or maybe travel like this, you get tempted by that, and you spend more time out there and the work is back there. Nobody mentioned that one. But remember, you have to think twice before you can make a move. What's going to happen to me if I do this? There was one thing that I told the boys about that was; there was an elderly man that talked to us when I was working for the CAP office. He said, 'At 25...' He was telling us a story and he said, 'When you're away, somebody calls you and say your wife is out there or your husband is out there doing this. And you think is she really or is she home? And it gets in your way in your work and pretty soon it becomes a monster and you rush home and most likely you'll find your wife at home safe, doing all the work.' That was one...that's what this old man told me and that has been with me all this time. I thought about that. 'You'll get infatuated with someone at one time or other, but if you follow it, you're going to make a fool of yourself. You're going to lose everything and you'll just be out there all alone.' That's what he said. And so I remembered it and that's been with me all these years. I lost my husband to cancer two years ago, but that kept me straight. Things like that, the elderlies tell you.

Another one was...another one was that...he said...he said something else; stories like that. The women, my elders are full of them...will tell you a lot of things. He goes and visit the community. He involves with the community. He visits the people. So that's who we are, the elders. Today we're going to try to, no matter how hard it is, we're going to try to work, bring in the students, the young boys that are dropouts; we're going to try to work with them. We're going to try to work with the councilmen. We already do advise them, but when somebody wants, a leader wants something real bad, he will persuade someone or persuade the group to go along with him. And how do you go about that? You have to sit down and think it out and try it, getting it out there. So that's what we're trying to do. And I don't know how long it's going to last, how long NAGPRA's going to last. We do a lot of things. My secretary is Seth Pilsk. We'll think about it, we'll say about it, but he's going to write it down. We'll tell him and we'll read it over and say, 'This is not right.' Sometimes he gets angry and writes his own words, but we tell him, 'Don't do that.' So he's our secretary and he helps us, he's willing to help us. And he'll laugh and erase it out. So that's why he's with us and he's a botanist and I work with him. We have so many jobs. We've done a lot of ethnohistory with the Carlota Mines, Payson. Pretty soon we're going to Aravaipa and Winkelman. That's what we're doing and we'll be busy out there again.

We do need your help also in solving this problem about our leaders. How do we get them to work? How do we get them to listen? Will you listen to me, will you remember what it said or will you just ignore it? I said to Andrew, I said, 'The chairs are empty, go ahead and put me on.' But that's what we live by, the wisdom of the elders. There are a lot of good things what to do and what not to do. They used to say, 'Don't envy someone because it's no good.' There are a lot of things and probably your tribe is like that also. That's what we're trying to...trying to bring in and make it and work with the modern things, the modern teachings. That's what we're trying to do. I'm sorry that I'm just...like I said, I'm not used to making speech, but I can really holler and yell out there in the forest. Thank you."

Honoring Nations: Julia "Bunny" Jaakola: Education and Social Services

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Julia "Bunny" Jaakola reports back to her fellow Honoring Nations symposium attendees about some of the keys to effective governance that the education and social services breakout session participants identified.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Jaakola, Julia "Bunny." "Education and Social Services." 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.

Julia "Bunny" Jaakola:

"I'm from the Fond du Lac Band of Minnesota Chippewa and I am the Coordinator of the Social Service Department there. So in our social service group one of the similarities that came out loud and clear was that within the tribal structure, social services isn't always high priority, but with that we recognized a lot of other very pointed advantages to being involved with the social service part of the whole tribal business. When we looked at the structure, the...oh, in fact I wanted to say about our group, we were a small group but we had one person who claimed connection to the Pope and we heard a little bit about a party in Boston, but I don't remember the details. So within a structure, we learned that we really require user-friendly information systems. It's pretty clear that with technology as available as it is we really need to train our people and get them to the point of feeling comfortable with it. Structures that relieve tribal council of the burden of the day-to-day management, and one way that we do that is to be sure that the key people have the ear of the tribal council and the ability then to keep them informed. And the agreement between tribal council priorities and program goals, that's kind of what I meant or what we meant when we said about the place and prioritization that goes on. And we really have to work to keep our tribal council involved and aware of the needs in the social service area. Staff continuity is really a plus, an advantage, something that everywhere, not just in social services, but if you have that continuity in your area of business you're going to have a more solid business and business that's going to continue long after you're gone and it will strive or live through those changes of governmental officials, too. Lessons learned in the area of process: staff-directed, long-term planning. We talked about the community-based needs assessment and keeping reports going of day-to-day work that gets done; the development and adoption by the tribal council of the manuals and policies that describe the job description and therefore lay the expectation out for the employees who come to work there. The regular, for example, quarterly reporting procedures, we found that we all have to report to funding sources -- especially if we're on granting process -- but we have to do better at using that data, finding ways to take advantage of the fact that we do have the data collected and it's not just sitting around. Then we talked about the long-term planning. At Fond du Lac, we have a tribal specific health plan that is developed by the staff, by the advisory council that's made up of community people and the officials. And as changes are made in the tribal council, that policy...that plan is already in place so there's no, I was going to say, there's no way that changes are going to be made, but for the most part that plan is there and the people are still there who made that plan. So the plans are carried out and it doesn't matter that people change positions."

Honoring Nations: Roger Boyd: Economic and Community Development

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Economic development specialist Roger Boyd (Navajo) reports back to his fellow Honoring Nations symposium participants the consensus from his group regarding some strategies that Native nations should think about and pursue in order to build a sustainable framework for economic development.

People
Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Boyd, Roger. "Economic and Community Development." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Sante Fe, New Mexico. February 8, 2002. Presentation.

Roger Boyd:

"My name's Roger Boyd. I'm a member of the Navajo Nation and currently I work for the CDFI [Community Development Financial Institution] Fund, which is a part of the Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C. And I want to thank Andrew for inviting me to participate these past couple of days. It's really been good. I think it's always good to get out of Washington, D.C. and come down to where the real action is and I really appreciate all the different activities and conversations I've had. Also, by way of introduction, I'd like all the individuals who participated in the Economic and Community Development breakout session to please stand. I think there's some folks up here. Would you please stand, please, that participated in the economic development sessions? Now, one of the reasons I wanted these folks to be recognized is that early on in the discussion of our breakout session we talked about the difference between those that have authority and those that are leaders. So the distinction is, is that if you're elected or appointed to do something you have the authority, but the real leadership is from the folks who appointed you or elected you to do that. So I wanted you to know that those are the leaders, I'm the authority having to address you this afternoon.

The breakout session was to discuss economic development, and for those of you that really work in the field of economic development, it's like herding cats. Everybody has a definition and an opinion on economic development and the interesting thing about it that I have found over the past several years is that everybody is just about right when it comes to their definition of economic development, because it could involve education, it could involve business development, it can involve tribal court systems, it can involve good legislation to create a good environment within the community to do good economic and community development. And our discussion pretty much covered the gamut this morning. I'll hit some of the high points and where we sort of ended up in the discussion and I'm sure a lot of you, I felt like the discussion was just getting heated up and we were really getting to know each other and beginning to really define some of the crucial elements of community and economic development and then we had to take a break. But I'm sure the discussion will continue for many days and years to come I hope.

We started talking about power, which was sort of an interesting concept and our leader admitted that it was a very harsh and probably the worst word to start out with, but we all let him take his time and explain to us what he thought it was all about and he did a good job until we really got into the discussion. The discussion then began to take on another element, which I thought was very, very important because we started talking about leadership, identifying who you are, where you're going. In other words, it really takes a very clear vision of leadership and not only a clear vision of that leadership, but the willingness of taking on the responsibility to move forward on strategies and action in which to carry out that vision.

There was a lot of discussion about the differences and the level of sophistication and knowledge in economic development. I thought this was very, very important in our discussion because we were talking about, I think, the importance of having really well educated and people who have really good experience working with folks at the grassroots level, and it was very I think well pointed out to us the difference between education and having knowledge. I think one lady in the audience said, 'Well...' She'd met some very educated people who really didn't have very much knowledge and vice versa. Those who do not have formal education that are there on the forefront working day in and day out on these issues really, really were the people with the knowledge to make some of these things happen.

We also then began to talk about the importance of moving forward with economic development and how do you take the knowledge, the experience you have within your community, and try to work with other communities whether they be within your tribe, within your reservation but also regionally and nationally. There was a lot of discussion about that and I think that one of the points that I think was very well made was that we are not all on the same level. There's a lot of differences within our own communities with regard to this knowledge and the sophistication of doing economic development and that's not to say that we shouldn't respect that, we have to work with that. I think that we talked about the importance of working at the grassroots level and defining that level of the economy compared to the level that I think many tribes are being exposed to today through the profits of gaming and the development of natural resources. That's a different level but it's all within the continuum, it's all within that part of the economy and there's a lot of integration that goes on. A lot of times, and what we talked about was the emphasis sometimes is just placed on the vertical aspect of development and community development and capacity building, but I think we had a really good consensus that equally important, if not more important in a lot of situations, is the horizontal transfer of this knowledge and of this experience of trying to help each other out, not only within our tribes but from tribe to tribe, from region to region throughout the country.

We talked a little bit about timing, how important timing was. We talked a little bit also about the common denominators that exist throughout Indian Country. And probably I think one of the strongest common denominators is just our cultural values. I think that we share very much, and it doesn't matter whether you're a tribe from the northeast or Alaska or the southwest, one of the things that really is common among all of us is our traditions and our culture. And I think that that's the binding aspect that keeps us moving forward within our communities and throughout our relationships throughout the United States.

The question that was posed to us is how do we take all of this knowledge and all of the experience that you folks have demonstrated over the last couple of days and how do we reach out? How does the Harvard Project reach out to other tribal communities throughout the United States and to try to work with them? One of the points that was made was that we really should reach out and look at other regional tribal organizations. I think what has happened here today and the experience that has been demonstrated and has been shared, there is a real, there's a gap I believe, and we discussed a little bit in our breakout session is the communication. How do we reach out and start working with other tribal organizations throughout the United States? And I think that that's the next step. And all of us I think in one form or another belong to some of those regional organizations, whether it be ATNI [Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians] up in the northwest or USET [United South & Eastern Tribes, Inc.] or the Intertribal Council of Arizona and Nevada. These are all good organizations and actually one of the studies that we conducted, we rely heavily on those regional organizations because that is the continuum of the communication between us and the regional organizations and hence with the tribal organizations.

But I also think that another very, very important point that was made was not only of the similarities, but the differences and that what one tribe is able to do for themselves today does not necessarily automatically transfer to another tribe because there are differences. Just like Europe, I think somebody pointed out in one of our discussions and I think this is really true, a lot of people, you know, 'When you see one Indian, you've seen them all'. What was pointed out was, 'Well, it's like Europe. If you see a Frenchman, he's not a German.' And I think that that happens so often in this country and that when people look at us and they meet us, then they think they've met all of us when in fact they have just...this is a compliment to our friends from Alaska -- they've only seen the tip of the iceberg. But at any rate, I think that was a very important aspect of it and that pretty much concludes our presentation. It was a good team. Thank you very much."

Honoring Nations: Glenn Gilman: Two Plus Two Plus Two Program

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Hopi Junior/Senior High School Principal Glenn Gilman provides an overview of the school's award-winning Two Plus Two Plus Two program, which has built an extraordinary track record of academic achievement and college preparedness among its Hopi students. 

People
Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Gilman, Glenn. "Two Plus Two Plus Two Program." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Sante Fe, New Mexico. February 8, 2002. Presentation.

Glenn Gilman:

"There are two histories of Hopi Junior/Senior High School. One is the history with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the other is the history post-Bureau of Indian Affairs. And so we look at Hopi Junior/Senior High School is a result of a settlement between the Navajo and Hopi tribes and that settlement was the 1974 Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement. And so arising out of the Navajo Hopi Land Settlement was the fact that Hopi would get a Junior/Senior High School to accommodate approximately 800 students and also, the Hopi Tribe would have an Indian Health Service Hospital built in exchange for the Navajos getting clear distinction on what is Navajo-partitioned land, Hopi-partitioned land joint-use area, and also a section somewhere in between Keams Canyon and Jeddito called Jeddito Island and it's a unique piece of land. It's really ceded to the Navajo Nation, but yet, it's surrounded by the Hopi tribal lands.

And so out of that, we had Hopi Junior/Senior High School completed in 1986 and it was a Bureau-operated school. And I think what you'll find is that the facility itself was exquisite. I mean, it's a $26 million facility; a lot of really fine classrooms and a really fine gymnasium and auditorium, but what we found was we didn't have any operating funds. And so from 1986 until 1995, we ran budget deficits of approximately $400,000 per year. And most of those budget deficits rose out of the fact that we have a huge transportation bill and our transportation budget exceeded the amount that was given to us by approximately $400,000. So we transport approximately today 19 buses over 1,700 miles to pick up and deliver children to their homes. That's paid for and we get a certain amount per mile through our ISEP funding, Indian School Equalization Program funds through the Office of Indian Education Programs. What we don't get funded for is the activity runs that we run after school. Those number something like 2,000 miles per day, also. So we run buses to and from and to and from and we pick up the tab. And that was cutting into our educational funds and so can you imagine a school with one photocopier for nine years? And there were times when teachers would run up to the school, such as me, at 2:00 in the morning on Sunday morning just to make sure that I had my photocopies for the week because once the copier broke down, it meant writing all that information on the board so that students could copy it and take it home. So we were really a very poor school and instead of having 800 students attend we had approximately 350. And so the funding issue arose because we were undermanned as far as students. We could not attract the other 500 students.

In 1995, we decided to go grant and what grant means is that under Public Law 100-297 the federal government offered the Hopi Tribe, as part of the Sovereignty Act, the opportunity to take over Hopi Junior/Senior High School. And by taking it over, they would become then the grantee and the school board then would administer that grant for the Hopi Tribe. And so there are three issues here that I'll discuss. One is Hopi tribal sovereignty and I think that's important in this whole decision because without the ability for Hopi Junior/Senior High School to run its own affairs and to localize its own decisions, our success would not be possible. The second item that I think is important is continuity. Before 1995, we had no less than 80 percent turnover rate for those nine years in each consecutive year. And so in order to attract additional students we had to retain the teachers and the staff that we had. So that was an issue that we needed to deal with. Between 1986 and 1995, Hopi Junior/Senior High School had 17 principals and junior high principals, an average of two a year that resigned and were replaced and sometimes they weren't even replaced. And so the system was hurting and it was ill. And so the Hopi Tribe and the Hopi Junior/Senior High governing board decided to go grant and grant really means block grant. And what that is, is that according to our ISEP funding, each student is given a certain dollar amount and the more students we have, the greater the funding. And so when we went grant, we also looked into the fact that we needed to increase enrollment and that perhaps we needed to do other things and what we did at that time then is we applied for state charter status. And so we became a federal grant school and a state charter school. And under the state charter funding formula we were to get so many dollars per student, namely $4,500 per student in addition to our Indian School Equalization Program funds of approximately $3,200 per student, which would have generated somewhere between $6,000 and $7,000 per student, which would increase our funding.

The first year that we went grant/charter, it meant that we were given about $1.8 million from the State of Arizona due to the fact that we had approximately 375 students, close to 400. There were 10 other schools, eight on the Navajo Reservation and two, we were one of them, that went grant/charter. After the first year of grant/charter, our Arizona State Legislature who supposedly is education-friendly enacted what is called the Deduct Law and the Deduct Law stated that if you were receiving federal funds for students enrolled at your school they would deduct the amount of charter funds that you got because they're saying that's double-dipping. And so after the first year we were getting $1.8 million, the second year we were trimmed back down to $12,000. And so that currently is being challenged by the Native American Grant School Association and that's in court right now and if that case wins, we will get all of our money retroactive to the point that the Deduct Law kicked in. But case in point is that the $1.8 million was a significant amount and at that time we decided to invest heavily in technology. And what we did was we threw out all of our old books from Phoenix Indian High School, which we had on loan after they closed, which were no less than 10 or 12 or 15 or 20 or 30 years old, and all the equipment that we had gotten from 1986 until 1995, namely the MacPlus and MacSE80s and really the old, old, old generation of computation, and we started to invest in high-quality hardware and software. And so the question was with all of this technology and with all this investment, what are we going to do with it? And what we were seeing is that no matter how much we could prepare our students for college that if they went off to college there were a number of issues such as culture shock, being in the city for the first time, not being equipped to compete at college. Students would go to college, but then after the first semester they would drop out. And we found very few students completing their first year. And so the question was, how do we rectify that as quickly as possible? And the answer was that we bring college out to Hopi Junior/Senior High School. And to do that then, we had to establish partnerships and we established partnerships with Northern Arizona University and with Northland Pioneer College and that partnership, two years later, became the 2+2+2 Program.

And the 2+2+2 Program, I'm sure you've read about or can read about in the brochure, I'm not going to get into it, but what, in a nutshell it is, is that our students are able to take up to 30 concurrent high school credits for college credit if they pass -- paid for by Hopi Junior/Senior High School -- with the understanding that those students enrolled in the program would then go on to either a two-year junior college and/or a four-year university. And since 1997, we've been conducting that program very successfully and it's meant that many of our students who would have normally gone to either a junior college or a university and not succeeded have been able to transition very successfully into those college programs. And I think that's why we got the High Honors because we are so successful in having that transition. Also there was issue of when our Hopi and Navajo students go off to college they leave their culture behind and many of them really need that culture during the time that they go to school. So the fact that we have a Northland Pioneer College campus at Hopi Junior/Senior High on our 880-acre educational site and we have an interactive instructional television from NAU -- those two elements enable us to successfully proceed with the 2+2+2 Program.

This is shot on digital video technology. This will enable...this is our sign. We're able to afford a lot of things now because our enrollment has climbed over the last five years. Currently, it's 739 students and how we were able to achieve that kind of growth, 70 percent growth in five years, is because of the programs that we were able to establish and offer such as we have a local national junior and national senior Honor Society, we have an academic decathlon team, which was voted most improved in 2000. We also have a long tradition of excellence in athletics with particularly cross country and our boys cross country team has won 13 consecutive state championships, as our girls have won 12 out of 13. Last year we moved from AA to AAA, which AAA begins at the high school level in Arizona at 449 students. So our combined population, we have about 210 students in the junior high and about 525 in high school. Now we're coming into Hopi Junior/Senior High School. This is about a 1.3-mile road. And you can sort of see the condition of the road. The BIA, and I'm not going to slam the BIA because they do provide our funding, but they really don't do a whole lot for road improvement or infrastructure improvements and so we've had to take on a lot of those responsibilities ourself. I think I mentioned yesterday was the fact that when we had the school built in 1986, the BIA felt that a football field was 80 yards long so we had to move our goalposts back 20 yards. But with that they provided us landscaping but no water to water the trees or the football field so everything died within the first year. And since we've gone grant we've installed a new football field, irrigated football field and also just last year we completed a baseball/softball field. So as we're driving in, this is sort of the long and winding road that we've taken from BIA to grant and charter status.

And as I explained yesterday, the first year in the charter we had acquired a $1.8 million allotment from the State of Arizona and we invested heavily in technology. And so we installed about three years ago the T1 line and later upgraded that to a T100 line at the school, which I'm not real familiar with computer infrastructure, but we pretty much have state-of-the-art equipment and you'll see some of that including high-speed internet access at the school. Our 2+2+2 Program relies heavily on various aspects of technology and as we look at what we have at the school, computerization is a huge factor in what we can accomplish. We have business management technologies, which incorporated all of those computer technologies as to our 2+2+2 Program and that program is really a college-transition program, which allows students in their junior and senior year to take concurrent college courses, which can be transferrable to any two- or four-year institution. And we're pulling up right now to the new Northland Pioneer College campus, which was built two years ago. And with the diligence and help of Dr. Ivan Sidney, former Chairman of the Hopi Tribe, and our current governing board president, he was very instrumental along with our board and our administration, Dr. Paul Reynolds, our superintendent in getting this 11,000-square-foot campus built on our 800-acre educational site. And now we're going to through the NPC campus. This is their administrative building. This is totally separate from our building, but a lot of our students will take classes down here, as do our educational aides, and this is their computer lab. I'm just doing a little walk through right now of the NPC campus. Our students can take up to 20 NPC courses. They will take English 101, 102, College English concurrent while they're in high school, they can also take Government, they can also take Bio 101, 102. And what we're planning on doing is strengthening the partnership for their pre-nursing program and pre-educational program and so we're looking at expanding the concurrent courses that we will be offering, not only at our school...

And this is the teacher compound where our teachers and professional staff live. These are our two streets. Now we're driving up to the school and the fencing, the landscape, that was all an issuance that we incorporated. This box up here is what we call 'Checkpoint Charlie' and we are a closed campus and this helps us monitor people coming and going and assuring parents and community that nobody comes and leaves our campus without us knowing and that really maintains a very safe, friendly school environment. On the right is our stadium. We just installed new seats for visiting teams. Since we are a 3A, it attracts a larger number of visitors to our campus. And as you pull up to the school you can see that the area that surrounds us is pretty expansive and we live at about 6,000-feet elevation on the high desert plateau right between Keams Canyon and Polacca, Arizona. Polacca is a first mesa and the Hopi Reservation is three mesa, First, Second and Third Mesas, and it extends all the way down to Highway 264 and Highway 160, which is Moenkopi, and comes all the way east to the Hopi partition land, Highway 264 and Milepost 405. This is approaching our school and our school is 16 years old. It was built in 1985, opened in 1986 and it was BIA controlled until 1995. This is coming into our administrative area. These are a couple of the murals that the students painted a couple years ago as their senior class project. I'm not sure you'll be able to see it, it's sort of like...there, there's another mural. Our Hopi students are outstanding artists and I think, the first year I worked there I taught mathematics and social studies and students used to draw in my class all the time and I got a little bit perturbed that they were drawing rather than paying attention to me, but then once I saw the quality of their artwork, I was amazed at the kind of energy they had and the kind of talent.

Now we're coming into the IITV, the Interactive Instructional TV. This is the Northern Arizona University's interactive classroom and with partnership from NAU, and this is our Northern Arizona University Chemistry 151 class, which we offer for five credits, five college credits. Let me get some sound. This is sort of a funky video here. NAU invested a half million dollars in this equipment to make this possible. There are six IITV rooms throughout the state and we are one campus, we are the Hopi campus and there are four others on the Navajo Nation and one in Yuma and those are considered their satellite learning centers. And Hopi Junior/Senior High School offers a 10-credit college course, Chemistry 151, 152, and the professor teaches that course from NAU. This is our library and we incorporate the Accelerated Reading Program, which is a learning information system and this is one aspect of how we start our seventh- and eighth-graders, even though this is school wide, towards improving their reading skills and getting them started early towards bringing their reading and writing skills up to proficiency because we...there are a lot of students from three different races and they have all sorts of different learning styles and we get them really anywhere from 1st grade reading level up through close to 12th grade and we don't have a unified district. Now this is our Dell Lab, our Business Management Technology. You can see the type of equipment we have. And this is our math lab in the same area. And then across the hall we have a junior high MacIntosh lab. Those are the old computers that we had about three years ago, which we thought were state of the art and now teachers don't even want to...because they're non-internet accessible. But we do recycle those and give those out to the villages for general use for data processing. This is Mr. Loveland's math class and you can see the students are using graphing calculators and the school buys those for all students and they're probably about $140 per issue. This is Mr. Mentzer's class. He's one of our outstanding teachers. These microscopes...we purchased 30 microscopes at $800 each and we're really the envy of many schools when they come and see the kind of equipment and programs that we offer and we're very proud of the fact that we're able to do this in such a short period of time and we were recognized by Harvard University for this program that we've put together. The technology that we have now enables us to do movies like this and students can get into a computer and edit this and make their own movies. A lot of our students now attend colleges and universities and don't drop out after the first year because they're fully acclimated into the university environment when they get there. And that's pretty much my presentation. Any questions at all."

Audience member:

"Can we see the student version of this?"

Glenn Gilman:

"Okay. Yes."

Audience member:

"I do have a question about the funding because it can't all be general funding from grant money?"

Glenn Gilman:

"I'll tell you how the funding works. Generally the students are counted by September 26th and it's called ISEP count week. And so ISEP, Indian School Equalization Program funds, those are tied to whether or not we have Native American students at our school. So if we can show their certificate of Indian blood at one quarter Indian blood or more then we get funding for them and that funding is about...this year, I think it was $3,730 per student. And so with that funding, that's your rate of student [unintelligible], with that funding you have other things that are included like Title I monies, Title II, Title IV, Title IX monies and those are all what they call formula-funded grants. And so with that, with those extra monies, with special education monies and with our charter funds, we come up with a certain dollar amount. And so, if you have 385 students or if you have 785 students or whatever, you're still paying pretty much for the same costs as far as electricity and infrastructure or whatever. And so we do generate more money, but we still pay out almost the same amount in salary for teachers and what not so we've been able to manage that money and by going grant, the BIA has provided what are called administrative funds and administrative funds are those funds that allow us to conduct our own business or whatever, but a lot of times we'll shift over those administrative funds into the educational field to help pay for programs that fund a lot of these programs that we have. So no, they're not all BIA funds, but generally through a lot of it, I would say 98 percent of it is BIA-generated."

Honoring Nations: John McCoy: Intergovernmental Relations

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

John McCoy of the Tulalip Tribes offers advice to session participants about how to communicate tribal priorities in the intergovernmental law and policy arenas. 

People
Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

McCoy, John. "Intergovernmental Relations." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Sante Fe, New Mexico. February 8, 2002. Presentation.

John McCoy:

"Good afternoon. As Andrew said, I'm John McCoy and the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Tulalip Tribes of Washington State and our physical location is 40 miles north of Seattle. Our western boundary is the Puget Sound; our eastern boundary is Interstate 5, which technically we're still considered a rural tribe, but urban areas. So that's a little bit quick history about me and Tulalip.

In our breakout session, some of the things that we covered was one, we feel it's necessary for all tribes to have a governmental affairs department. And then you all, in creating this department, you need to put someone in there, a Native American that you can trust to deliver your policy messages. That is a tall order because tribes traditionally, jobs like that they like to keep at the council level. But councils, you're extremely important to the governmental affairs process, one if you're to do the job effectively you need to travel a lot but you have some at-home issues that you need to take care of and your intergovernmental affairs department, not only do they have to do the external work, they also have to do internal work. So it's a continuous education process on your home reservation and in your local county, state, region, and federal levels.

So it's a tremendous balancing act, and it is how we function at Tulalip and from listening to Justin [Martin] from Grand Ronde, we basically operate the same way. Individuals like myself go out and deliver the message, do the heavy lifting, but when it's time to make a testimony at the legislature or maybe go to the state and federal level to sign some legislation, well, then that's where we need the tribal leader to deliver the final message. And so we need that consistency, we need your help, but we also need you at home because that work is there. Again, it's a continuous education project. We need to be involved in the local levels. Everything is grassroots, so you need to work your local communities and even still doing that, there are situations that arise like at Mille Lacs, they have a horrible situation going on right now and I wish them the best of luck 'cause I know they'll persevere. But you need to continue to work, as contentious at times as it is, you just have to keep working because at the end of the day you will prevail because...

Joe Trujillo and I were talking also in our group we were talking about what the federal budget is for Indian Country and then what the gaming revenue is. Well, yes, the gaming revenue now exceeds the federal budget for Indian Country, but what we have to be careful of and the federal government needs to understand is that yes, originally that money, the gaming and the federal dollars, yes it does start out as for Indian Country. But all of us in this room know and understand that we don't have the goods and services on our reservation to deliver what is needed. So consequently the entire community, the non-Indians benefit. Whenever you build a road on your reservation, the non-Indians benefit. Whenever you run the water line for your people, the non-Indians benefit. So there's a lot of indirect benefits that the surrounding communities get to enjoy because of the Indians. So that's one of the educational messages that you need to continue to get around to your surrounding communities because no matter what you do, they benefit. Just in your employment figures...at Tulalip we employ 1,250 people, 50 percent of them are non-Indians, although the Indians hold 74 percent of the management positions, as it should be. You deliver the medical benefits, the dental benefits and all those other things, you probably have a...your minimum wage is probably higher than the federal or the state minimum wage. So you do a lot of things, you need to get your message out and let everybody know what you're doing.

Another thing that we continue to battle in going out, when we do go out, we need the support, because these legislators will see Justin and I all the time. Every now and then we need to bring a youth or an elder with us to help deliver a message. So this is a community project. It's teamwork; you need that work from everybody to deliver these messages. And then, the other ticklish thing in the feds, Congress is running legislation. Now that basically would extremely limit the tribe's ability to participate in the campaign process. From the tribe's point of view, I think this is something that directly violates the First Amendment of free speech. There was an attempt in Washington State to...they tried to pass a bill four years ago that said, 'Foreign corporation, foreign nationals and Indians cannot participate in the political process.' Needless to say, we killed that bill. So we need to be active. Now, there are times a tribe may not be able to give any money, but you actually have the most powerful weapon there is and that is your vote. You need to get your members out to vote. And you may not have like I say the finances to make a contribution but there's two things politicians understand: it's money and votes, and not necessarily in that order. If you can deliver the votes, you can make a political statement. If you can deliver money and votes, then you can make a bigger statement. But it's teamwork; we have to work together from the culture. We need the culture because we talked quite a bit about that today. All our governments are culture-based and that is appropriate, that's the way it should be. We need our elders to tell people like me their stories because that helps me deliver the message and keep it culturally introspective."

Honoring Nations: Aaron Miles: Idaho Gray Wolf Recovery Program

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Aaron Miles, Natural Resource Manager for the Nez Perce Tribe, shares the progress of the Idaho Gray Wolf Recovery Program and talks about how the program hopefully will begin to seed a change in the mindset among those human beings who share the wolves' environment.

People
Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Miles, Aaron. "Idaho Gray Wolf Recovery Program." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Sante Fe, New Mexico. February 8, 2002. Presentation.

Andrew Lee:

"We now have a presentation from Aaron Miles from the Nez Perce Tribe who is the department manager of the wildlife there, and he's going to talk about the Nez Perce Gray Wolf Recovery Program, or actually the Idaho Gray Wolf Recovery Program, which has been a phenomenally successful recovery program led by the Nez Perce Tribe and was a High Honors winner in 1999. Aaron."

Aaron Miles:

"Thank you. Thanks, Andrew. I really appreciate this video. My mentor, his name was Roger Van Houghton. He was a forester, he was of Dutch descent, and I remember him when he had his computers, you carried those big cards around to program his computer and you had to keep them in the right order. The cards were about that big around or square and it had the capacity...it didn't have near the capacity of the memory that you have in these computers. And that's pretty interesting to see how kids have that technology available to them and to be able to learn like that. Like I was mentioning, Roger was a great mentor to myself.

And before I was the Natural Resource Manager, Jaime Pinkham actually was the manager who had brought in, had been a part of the wolf recovery effort initiating this with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You'll see in my slides here some of the more aspects of who I am I guess. I'm more of a fisherman, so you'll see some of the tribal elements in this, because the way our treaty reads is that we have the exclusive right for taking fish and then all other privileges, hunting and all that, come in after the fishing right. So wildlife and all that stuff is tied to our fishing rights. It's kind of a weird little set up because you think culturally, all animals are equal, all two-legged humans, we're all equal to the animals and so. Why don't we get started?

First of all, I'd like to first go over the introduction and the Nez Perce history a little bit more so you understand the dynamics of wolf recovery a little bit in conjunction with Nez Perce culture. And then I'll get into more of the logistics of Nez Perce, the contract with the gray wolf recovery from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I'll give you an up-to-date report on what we're doing right now. And then I think also kind of going over some of the...understanding the value differences between Indian versus non-Indian entities and the politics. And then kind of get into the larger picture of really looking at repairing, mitigating Nez Perce country, and so that we have a diversity of species within our country and the benefits as well.

So the first part, my administration, I have around anywhere from 90 to 100 employees right now. I have six division directors. I have everything but fisheries. In fisheries, Jaime Pinkham is now the new Fisheries Manager for the Tribe and so I work with him. And then there are several places where I represent the tribe at the Intertribal Timber Council, I'm a board member of that board. And the State-Tribal Working Group, the states and tribes work collaboratively to make recommendations on clean-up efforts for the Department of Energy and so we meet with them [DOE] quite a bit. And now we're trying to get...administer the Integrated Resources Management Plan. And then I lobby, I work with my policymakers, the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee and many of you met Justin yesterday I believe.

First of all, I've got to get started off really understanding Nez Perce culture, Nez Perce history a little bit. In 1855, how we became politically established was Chief Looking Glass, old Chief Looking Glass was hunting buffalo in Montana, buffalo country -- we'd been battling the Mandan, Hidatsa, the Blackfeet and all over for the buffalo resource. And one of the things during that time, the governor then, Isaac Stevens, wanted to negotiate a treaty with the Nez Perce Tribe and so that was held at Walla Walla, Washington or the Washington Territory. And so we had actually come in, there were 2,000 Nez Perce warriors who had actually stopped hunting and come in for this treaty. And during that time, it was not about conquering the Nez Perce, the Umatillas, the Yakimas, it was not about conquered because the cavalry only had a few...they didn't have a large number of soldiers there so it was just...it was...the tribes could have taken them out easily. It was about perpetuating our rights...reserving our rights for the future and which now I'm the seventh generation from the Treaty of 1855 signers. Chief Looking Glass...so this is the Young Looking Glass who fought in the Nez Perce War. There is not a picture of his father who signed the Treaty of 1855. As you can see, this is the circle of influence that the Nez Perce had in regards to hunting, gathering, fishing. And so what you see is the original reservation here in 1855 and you had the northeast Oregon, you had the Wallowa Band, this is where Chief Joseph comes from. And so our rights going into buffalo country to be able to hunt and then fish with our sister tribes on the Columbia River. And then battling...we fought a lot with the Shoshone Bannock down in southern Idaho.

Before the treaties or before this reservation was formed, Lewiston's right here, so you had a lot of non-Indians waiting for the opening of the reservation. What they were doing was illegally going on to the reservation and looking for gold, looking at our resources, and so there were a number of things that were unexploited at that time. This is the reservation that Joseph refused to go to and so the Nez Perce War of 1877 escalated. We were actually...Joseph and the Wallowa Band were actually heading to the reservation and two young warriors before they actually got the reservation had retaliated and killed a couple of non-Indians because they had murdered their fathers and so retaliation escalated the War of 1877, so the first battle takes place in Salmon River Country. And my great-great grandfather Two Moon and Ollicot led the first battle in which we had won most of them throughout the Nez Perce war, but the Bear's Paw is where we surrendered. And this is a picture of Big Hope Battlefield, and you can see where they placed the Howitzer up above here when they had snuck up on the Nez Perce, our encampment. The encampment was down here and that day they killed 60 to 90 women and children. It was the first act of genocide by the U.S. government on the Nez Perce people. They had blatantly come after our women and children...had smashed in the heads of all the infants just to prove a point to us and to get us back to Lapwai on the reservation. And so when the Howitzer would...the cannons would land and hit...cannonballs would hit out there in the encampment, shrapnel would blow everywhere and would kill people. And my great-great grandfather Two Moon was actually down in this area and he was one of the first...he had killed three or four soldiers that day. We had the guns in my grandpa's place for quite a while and their house burnt down and so we lost not only a number of resources from the tribe, but even the cavalry. And so the Nez Perce chased back the cavalry and made them retreat during this time. And Yellow Wolf, Chief Joseph's nephew, had actually...they went up...they only got two shots off, I believe, with the cannonball and they had dismantled that Howitzer and buried it and so it only took just a matter of minutes for the warriors to make the cavalry retreat.

And then Chief Joseph, Hinmatoylokekt, leads, he's the leader of the Nez Perce, which we had many chiefs, Chief Looking Glass, White Bird, Toohoolhoolzote and so he surrenders at Bear Paw [Nez Perce language] and my history there is...my great-grandfather was born the year after, James Miles, who was born at Fort Walsh. Some of my family had made it into Canada, into Sitting Bull's camp. That's who we were trying to reach was...we were allies with Sitting Bull and one of the things...for me I feel fortunate enough to be here today and lucky enough because the things that they did, their existence, their living and survival is the only reason why I'm here today. And so Chief Joseph, ‘I will not fight no more forever.' And then the other thing...one of the other things that he said was, ‘The earth and myself are of one mind.' And that's kind of the premise of how I look at natural resources, ‘The earth and myself are one mind.' I remember when I was going to school I had learned a lot about Aldo Leopold, I learned about the great conservationists and preservationists, but I only had to turn to my family or turn to the chiefs that have been part of our history, and so I didn't have to look very far to find guidance.

Okay, right after the War of 1877 the Nez Perce get split up, we go to the Colville Reservation, some go back to Lapwai on the Nez Perce, Umatilla, and then eventually go to Oklahoma. One of the things during this time the, here's the part that kind of, I always have a big problem with is, we were to provide testimony as Indian people to all the animals who had lost their voice when we had become in existence, so we as humans have a submissive role to animals, not dominion. And so when we have that...the ability to take an animal to feed ourselves, we are to provide testimony and to perpetuate that animal. And so during the unregulated times when ranching, mining, all these 'lords of yesterday' that Charles Wilkinson talks about in his book, they are dominating, they are...so environmental degradation and loss of habitat, this is where it happens and then extirpation and extinction of plant and animal species takes place. And during this time a tax on tribalism began through the government programs such as the Dawes Allotment Act, the boarding school era, and the Relocation Act. So becoming no longer a tribe no more, we're becoming somewhat acclimated and assimilated to become Americans, and so the animals have no voice to speak on their behalf when we're in the boarding schools, when we're learning to just become American and have dominion over the animals.

And so during that time a lot is lost, loss of the chief system and we go to...that's actually Big Hole as well, Big Hole Battlefield. So tribalism is almost lost to Eurocentric values. Indians are demonized with predators such as the wolf and grizzly bear. Indian leadership is reduced from a proud man or woman with a role in the tribe to a hopeless reservation individual. And so a lot is lost during that time of...now it's just 'me, me, me, I, I, I' -- it's no longer we together as a tribe. And then we also...I don't know if it's whether to combat and beat the white man at his own game, we adopt the first modern version of the constitution and bylaws of the Nez Perce Tribe, approved by the Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs and so it's ratified by our General Council and then Robert's Rules of Order takes front and center rather than coming into a meeting setting and listening to our elders first. And so, anybody can get up and talk now without...and so maybe a loss of respect takes place there. And then later on...we've been fighting a diminishment case on the Nez Perce Reservation. Right after 1893, the Dawes Allotment Act, I think it was 1897, I believe, in our history that the Indian Affairs Commissioner said, ‘No, the reservation was not diminished when it was opened up for the Homestead Act.' And so we've been facing...we have an anti-Indian group on our reservation who is saying, ‘No, you guys accepted money so that's ceding your land away and the reservation lines disappear.' And it comes over really employment issues where we're trying to employ our tribal members. We have an unemployment rate that probably reaches 40 percent at different times, but we are with, through Harvard, I've got to say this, we are actually at the table with them and they've been a great facilitator in all this. Where's Joe [Kalt] at? Oh, there he is in the back. He's been a great help to us.

And so this is what the Indian Affairs Commissioner...the Commission defines as Nez Perce country. So it goes all the way down the Montana border over into northeast Oregon so we have the exclusive right to take fish in all streams and so we can still go on the Columbia River even outside of this barrier and if there were still buffalo in Montana we'd still be able to hunt over there, which I know some other tribes don't like that. And then here's...I wanted to bring this to your attention because this is kind of the...this is the individual practice, the practice of what we always want our kids to do, to practice and exercise our treaty rights. And this is myself at Rapid River and then this is...I'm catching a fish. There's a dam, the trap, which is about maybe 200 yards up above. But we fish three different ways: with this large dip net, there's a hoop on the end and you just put it up river and go downstream, you make one sweep and that's how you catch them in your net. The other way is we have a gaff hook, it's a large hook like this and you feel around in the river and you just pull when you feel...when it feels like a thigh or something you just yank on it. And then the other way is we spear them as well. And so we had fought the Shoshone Bannock, they had actually...we have history of where they killed a lot of Nez Perce when we were fishing during this time and so fighting over the fisheries resource was also a big deal pre-European contact.

And then this is what it's really about -- it's about our kids, our youth. This is my oldest daughter. Last year she caught eight salmon. I was very proud of her. She's very much a tomboy so she wants to go hunting and fishing. And so my two youngest boys, they're not really into that yet, but they're starting to learn and this year I catch them, they're wanting to, they carry around poles with them and act like they're fishing so that's part of their experiential learning. And then my youngest son James, he's named after my great-grandfather James Miles who was born in Canada, James Joseph Miles. My daughter Celilo and Aaron, Jr. His Indian name is 'Two Moon.' So that's kind of the exercising of our rights. That's a very important part of our lives.

People always tell me, ‘Well, Aaron...' I've been confronted by individuals saying, ‘Aaron, you don't go to powwows, you don't do this, you don't do that.' And I'm like, ‘Well, you can do whatever you want if you...whatever you want in your mind that you feel that makes you Indian.' I hunt and fish, my hair's short. My grandfathers, their hair was short and I've always been...that's always been my lifestyle. I always used to listen to them in the sweathouse; they would be talking the old Nez Perce language. You could hear women's names in there sometimes. It's just part of the culture, and so there's new culture that is established during that time and it's important that you encourage your children to go in any way that they want to just as long as they're...that they have some ethics behind them.

And so, the tribal side, now we're getting into the management side of things in which the tribe contracted the gray wolf recovery effort from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1995. In 1995 what I understand, I've talked with the Wildlife Director, Keith Lawrence, he's told me during that time the State of Idaho, the legislature passed...prohibited the Idaho Fish and Game from being involved with wolf recovery so the tribe lands wolf recovery by default. They think the tribe's going to land flat on their faces and not be able to recover wolves into the State of Idaho. And so the gray wolf recovery, 250 wolves later, 17 packs, we're doing good. The wolf already knows that's his country and the bulk of it's right in Nez Perce country. And so we become the contractor and then later on, last year the Idaho State Legislature memorializes the removal of all wolves from the state. And so right now to be involved with wolf management, which we're getting into de-listing, they have to undo some of the legislation that they put on the Idaho Fish and Game to be involved. And so right now, the Nez Perce Tribe is trying to bring them along, help them along with wolf management and accept the recovery efforts. And so the tribe's successes that we've had and obstacles, Curt Mack received an award for the top 100 scientists for Audubon Society for the 20th century, the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Award, the Harvard Award, we've received.

The biggest obstacle is obtaining the social acceptance of wolves. We know the biological acceptance is much greater than what cattlemen and the row growers will allow the wolves to do. There's much more that they can grow. We've identified the train wrecks, where the livestock interactions and wolves take place and where the depredations take place, but the problem is the ranchers, since the American government put them there, they want the American government to bail them out. So they want subsidies or even...so if there's a depredation they want the government to pay for their livestock or their cattle and so we're trying to work with them because wolf management, that's not going to happen. There's not going to be no compensation plan for them. Right now Defenders of Wildlife, they pay for, like if a calf is killed by a wolf, they'll pay full weight, calf weight, as if it was, even if it was real small, just born, they'll pay that price for the rancher and even depredations that even look suspect that may or may not have been killed by a wolf, they'll still pay for it. And so the ranchers have a lot of...I'm not sure if it's incentives, but there's a lot that's going for them in this. Right now, we believe that the environmental groups are going to probably sue in this...the wolf recovery effort because it first called for 10 breeding pairs in the State of Idaho, 10 breeding pairs in Montana, 10 breeding pairs in Wyoming and so it's a 30 breeding pair aggregate and right now the State of Idaho is taking up the bulk of, with 17 pairs and Wyoming and Montana still are lagging, I think, I believe seven or eight, seven packs and I think Wyoming's down to like five and so they have to have 10, 10 and 10 and so that's what the environmental groups are saying or the Nez Perce is saying, ‘We know it's not going to happen in Montana and Wyoming so we've got to get everybody on the same page to get the wolves delisted' because we need more social acceptance. We need the state to be involved rather than just ignoring the whole issue.

The biggest thing in this effort that I've learned... Well, you've got to understand the value differences between Indian and non-Indian, tribalism versus individualism. Ranchers are worried about their economy, their check book, their...and it's not about...it's not about us, it's just about me, that type of mentality and the definition of 'natural' from a tribal perspective versus non-tribal. When I went to my first wolf oversight committee meeting, one of the things that I was really in awe about was everybody except the biologists were around a table talking about wolves. So you had ranchers, you had livestock owners...it was even farmers around the table and so it was like, ‘Well, where's the biologists, where's...' We've gotten to a point where how much local control can you have? So local that you just take biologists out of there and people who really care about the resources. And so learning...and also learning from the past versus sustaining the present. And so the tribes are very much...and it goes down to the tribal Garden of Eden versus the state's Garden of Eden. What is the picture that the tribe would like to see versus the state? Well, the tribe would like to see the rolling hills with pine back on those hills where the state would rather see rolling hills of wheat. And so our difference...there are so many differences that we have between the state and the tribe. And then the definition of American from Indian versus non-Indian, that's just the whole...they believe that America is all about us, and here the bulk of the land is federal land that the wolves occupy and it's all taxpayers, just not the State of Idaho taxpayers that fund wolf recovery and are part of what we want in America. And so it's also a selfish point of view in my eyes. But still, nonetheless, we're the contractor; I still got to work with individuals that have definite differences between the tribe...among the tribe. And so that leads me to my...how are we going to start mitigating in a holistic manner all of Nez Perce country, the things that we typify as 'the West'?Some of the things that we...the things I have to continue working with private landowners, changing the mindset for the highest economic return. I believe that's probably what guides the natural resources in the State of Idaho. Collectively protecting our ways of life, and what I mean by that, last week I met with the Idaho Cattlemen's Association and the...growers for the first time and I told them, I said, ‘You know, we as Indian people are very much in the same boat as you. As ranchers and farmers where maybe sometimes people perceive that as a way of the past, the dying out and we need to stick up for each other rather than looking out ways how we can get rid of each other because for us we want ranchers to accept that wolves are here, they're here to stay and this is the animal, this is the icon that was with the Nez Perce Tribe when we were flourishing economically, everything about us culturally, socially, politically before the white man was here. So we want you guys to understand that this is an important species to us spiritually, and that it's important for you to accept this animal. If you're claiming that you're five, six generations in this country, then you will accept these ways as well, not just the agrigarian part of your livelihood. It's all about the hard-working individual being able to overcome these obstacles. That's really what our heritages are about.'

Benefits of wolf recovery: so we're restoring the west. We're restoring the image of the hardworking individual with Indians, with wolves, with the predators and then learning to live with our neighbors is the biggest deal. I mean, we're so close to non-Indians, but we haven't been able to come that close, not until JFK [Kennedy School] came into, or Harvard School came in and help us out, sit down with the North [Central] Idaho Jurisdictional Alliance. We've never been able to sit down with them. I sat down with an individual who made a public comment who said, ‘bloodshed is inevitable.' He was referring to that sometime we're going to go into battle with the Alliance and so that's how far we have gotten from that point. And then the other thing is, for us elk populations become healthier. You've got a healthier ecosystem. There's some things we don't understand about wolves yet, whether they're additive or compensatory. We don't know if they're taking additional elk or additional livestock or are they just bumping out another predator so there's less of another predator deprivating on livestock and elk. One of the things that I thought was kind of humorous is the state, they actually...they want slower moving elk, they want the most elk they can have in the State of Idaho and so they can sell the greatest number of out of state tags and so the Idaho Fish and Game, their very existence is based upon money, it's not about science. And so we're learning more about them as we go through wolf recovery and it just...they want accessible elk and it's kind of a crazy thought in my mind.

And then the spiritual significance of [Nez Perce language]; [Nez Perce language] is 'wolf' in Nez Perce, restore it to the Nez Perce people. And above all, our belief in perpetuation and protection of the [Nez Perce language] is the creator, his natural resources. It's not about us, it's about how we can get the spirit animals back that belong to the Nez Perce when we used to perform [Nez Perce language], when the spiritual elements to the tribe, that we know we were facing a lot of social ailments, social-economic conditions. When I was growing up in Lapwai, we had an unemployment rate of about 80 percent. There were more dogs in Lapwai than there were human beings. There was so much going on. I'd have to walk by two bars every day when I'd walk to school and there'd be fights breaking out and it was a rough time in our tribe's history, and to be reduced from this very respected individual in a community to someone who's now just an alcoholic. Through our natural resources, that's how we address these issues and some people look at them that way or some people just seem them as totally different. And I hope that with what, I'm able to leave you here today that natural resources, that's who we are as Indian people. Without them, we're almost like we're just another regular American and we've been fighting for that right to be different for so long. We weren't a part of the civil rights movement by and large 'cause we were fighting for the right to be different with our reservations and be unique, and so that's really what America's about today and so I think America is learning that sometimes my ways are un-American, but they have to accept us whether they like it or not and learn to live with us and vice versa."

Honoring Nation: Lance Morgan: Ho-Chunk, Inc. Economic Development Corporation

Author
Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Ho-Chunk, Inc. CEO Lance Morgan share the lessons he and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska have learned about the keys to creating an economic development environment capable of fostering successful nation-owned enterprises. He stresses the need for some Native nations to engage in constitutional reform in order to create that environment, in particular staggering the terms of elected officials to ensure a nation's institutional stability and, in turn, the strategic direction and advancement of the businesses it owns and operates.

Resource Type
Citation

Morgan, Lance. "Ho-Chunk, Inc. Economic Development Corporation." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Santa Fe, New Mexico. February 8, 2002. Presentation.

Miriam Jorgensen:

"My name's Miriam Jorgensen. I had the opportunity to talk to some of you yesterday. I'm the Research Director for the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and I'm more recently the Associate Director for Research for the Native Nations Institute. And as many have said already, that one of the most exciting projects they're involved with is the Honoring Nations program. And it's through the Honoring Nations program that I personally met our next speaker and then had the opportunity to get to know him even better through the program that Gail Christopher, your lunchtime speaker, runs, the Innovations in American Government program, because I got to do the site visit to Lance's program this past July and met with him, and he shared a lot of information about what he's up to both with the business, what the tribe is doing and about some of their ideas and goals. And that work then led, his work that I wrote about for the Advisory Committee, led to the award that he received for Innovations in American Government.

On one hand, Lance doesn't need a lot of introduction. The experience that I had with him is that he's just a remarkable guy, because one of the things that happens is that you spend just a few minutes with him and he leaves an incredibly strong impression. You feel, ‘Boy, I really know this person and I'd really like him as my friend and if he isn't my friend, I really don't want him as my enemy,' because this is one smart guy in terms of strategy, in terms of politics, and in terms of getting things accomplished. There are a couple things I want to say about Lance, that it's just a real honor to introduce Lance Morgan. He's a Harvard Law School graduate, he is a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. I grew up in South Dakota and we tended to just kind of ignore that state down there. And he's a real family man. One of the things I really enjoyed about the visit that I made to visit his program is I got to meet his wife and one of his two daughters. He's somebody who really believes in investing in community and using his smarts to help move his community and his nation forward. He's really bright with economic development. He's a very savvy politician. He can tell many stories about how he's really stood up to the States of Nebraska and Iowa and the federal government and won his way in terms of sovereign rights for his nation and he's a real fighter for Indian issues. And the last thing I want to say about Lance is, when he takes the mic you never know what he's going to talk about. So he may talk about his winning innovation and he may talk about other things but I'm sure you're going to come away moved so I give you Lance Morgan of Ho-Chunk, Inc."

Lance Morgan:

"Wow! I'm really glad I caused something to talk about. I really appreciate that introduction. Miriam came and took the time to really spend some time and get to know us and we really enjoyed her visit. And I think it was really instrumental; our experience with the Honoring Nations program was really instrumental in us winning the Innovations in Government Award, which I think is kind of the big brother of this award, I'm not sure, but they seemed awful similar. And so I really appreciate the time and effort that everyone in Honoring Nations program...they put in on our behalf to do that. And I really appreciate coming down to do this. I've been traveling a lot lately and I was trying to think of a way that I could reasonably not come, because my family's been really pressuring me to spend more time at home, but I thought it was important to come down and share some of our stories and I really came down to talk about Ho-Chunk, Inc., but I've really decided that I don't want to talk about that all and as the time that I've spent here, just like Miriam suggested. I really only have one point to make and it's going to take about 15 minutes. I'm starting to take after my grandfather I think. What I'm going to do is generalize a lot and I kind of want to apologize in advance for that because every tribe is very, very unique and I think in order to do this without all these kind of side issues coming up or all these caveats or all these exceptions, I'm going to talk in very general terms. So I want...and I really don't want to offend anybody in this situation so I want to just apologize right up front.

Since we won the Innovations in Government Award and the Honoring Nations Award, I think we've really struck a chord and we've been visited by over 30 tribes, and we've put our information together in a package and we've sent it out to 40 or 50 other tribes. And so what's happened is, over the last 18 months, we've learned a lot of things and that's what I want to share, some of the simple insights from that. And we've really been on almost like a crash course of tribal economics. And what we've learned are really two simple things. And the first thing is something that's very obvious is that almost all the tribes are suffering from the same problems. We all seem to be having universally the same issues that we're all dealing with. And the second thing -- and this one came as a bit of a shock to me -- we were really forced to think about why we were successful. And the reason it came as a shock because I was thinking it was me and that's not the answer. And it hurt a little bit, but I'm over it now. Why we were successful, what are the reasons behind that? And what are the reasons behind some of the other tribe's reasons why they continue to struggle all the time? They had...we're not...we don't have a lot of money in our tribe and our corporation has grown to the point where we're projecting $100 million in revenues, which strikes me as absolutely insane. In 1995, Ho-Chunk, Inc. was in my apartment in the second bedroom, and so it's amazing. Our tribal casino makes $3 or $4 million a year. And how have we been able to take -- and Ho-Chunk, Inc. does nothing with the tribal gaming -- so how have we been able to go from literally zero to $100 million in revenue in that period of time? And I think it...this is why I was taking the credit, I was thinking it was me, but really it's a...we're really a product of our environment and that's what I want to talk about a little bit.

We've boiled down some of this that we've learned to a couple of really, really simple points and some of them have kind of coalesced here just in the last day doing some of these roundtable discussions. Harvard says sovereignty matters. Harvard says -- I've been saying this for years -- institutions matter. They say that culture matters. That's right, of course they matter, but what conditions in a tribe allow the development of the institutions that can effectively use sovereignty and still integrate culture? Well, in other words, the real question we should be asking is not the what -- what did Ho-Chunk, Inc. do to be successful -- is the why. Why were we successful, what was behind it? And to be honest, what we have done from a business standpoint to be successful is meaningless to this discussion because you should do something else. You should do what works for you. But the why, the why our government was willing to make such a radical change, was willing to do something we'd never done before and commit, at that point, 20 percent of all of their money to starting Ho-Chunk, Inc., everything they had, and a very poor tribe. Why were we willing to invest in that institution on a long-term plan when we were suffering from huge social problems and huge unemployment issues? What caused our tribe to make that radical decision and to also let go of that authority, that micromanagement over it, and set a system up that had a chance to kind of flourish and develop? And to me, that's really the issue.

And I didn't understand this, because Ho-Chunk, Inc. was set up in late 1994. I graduated from law school in '93. I worked at a law firm. I showed up and thought it was me, but really, as I've been there, I've realized that it was the product of a very, very long process. The tribe even tried to do this in the ‘80s and that I was...that my plan was really just the next step, was really just the next logical basis for it and the only reason we had a higher chance of success is because we had some gaming dollars; before they were trying to do it with smoke and mirrors. And so I've learned a lot. I've really been forced to think about that. We've learned that success in tribes seems to happen kind of randomly, somewhat randomly. One tribe does this here; the neighboring tribe is not doing very well. But there really seems to be two circumstances under which a tribe is successful and one of them involves kind of the really good individual, the great individual or this group of individuals, the super-motivated person. A tribe is a very unique place you get to work at because one person can make a difference there. You can...and if one person is highly motivated, they can bring others into the fold and make a difference. And I wonder, what I wonder when I see some of these programs up here, I wonder how many of them are motivated by, are the result of great individuals or great systems. And I think that if you're relying upon the great individual, it's probably a mistake because they probably don't come along that often. And so I think that you're better off waiting for number two or working on number two, which is the tribes who are successful tend to be successful because it's kind of a natural and kind of logical evolution of some of the systems that they put in place, the systems that kind of allow long-term continuity and stability. In other words, the success isn't random; it's really a predictable kind of factor in their environment if they have these systems in place.

So since the individual's topic is too hard to discuss because it's too random, I really want to focus on what I think that we learned about continuity and long-term stability. And all this is leading up by the way to the simplest of points and will be obvious soon. Most tribes are structured around their tribal council. Think about your tribal government. In the structure, the organizational structure of a tribe...I've seen lots of neat charts, but really what they are, the typical organizational chart in reality is very wide and very flat with everybody reporting up to the council, businesses, departments -- everything has to go through the council. And what that means is that a lot of times things aren't necessarily dealt with efficiently, they're forgot about, they're dealt with only when things go negatively. And it also has the additional side effect of making your tribal government incredibly dependent upon the skills and knowledge base of that tribal council. So the system is designed to funnel through the council and it's only as strong as the individuals on that council and that's a weakness, that's a weakness in my view. I'm going to back up a second here.

How can we ensure that those council members, since we're so dependent upon them, are good? And I was thinking and I want to say that I'm not an expert on this because I'm going to talk about Winnebago and what we used to do traditionally. And I'm just going to say what was told to me and I want it very clear that it's not my place to talk about this kind of thing typically. Traditionally in Winnebago, our leaders were the head of each of our clans and those leaders were selected by the women in those clans because it was felt that their concern for their family and their children automatically meant that they would pick somebody who they thought was knowledgeable...that was the best person and typically they picked the eldest person within that group, family group and the most experienced. Not always -- sometimes they would take somebody younger. It wasn't a rule that it was the eldest, it just typically was. So what we had was a system, a rational, traditional system based upon knowledge and experience. We had it kind of built into what we already did and change usually occurred at death. Not the next election. The reason we had this is because if we didn't, we would make mistakes and people would probably die. We had a cultural imperative for a rational system and that changed when the federal government forced kind of these constitutions on tribal governments and that changed the system dramatically. And when they did this, I can just imagine some lawyer in D.C. typing this up in the ‘30s, saying, ‘Well, this is a good idea', and someone said, ‘Sure, fine.' And there wasn't any thought whatsoever as to how to kind of institutionalize or introduce some of these already very rational processes that we had in place. It just happened. And we've been dealing with that for the last 70, 80 years.

The majority of tribes in our area have a tribal council that's elected every two or three years. This system is horrible, absolutely horrible for long-term continuity. I'm going to list a few things that it does and this stuff to anybody who's been with the tribe, this is not going to be earth shattering, but I think it's helpful to put it altogether. It creates kind of...these elections become all-or-nothing events and it creates a highly negative political environment on the reservation where attacking is the way to get on. There is no kind of getting on board, being part of the team. It creates a possibility of complete turnover of the elected representatives every two or three years. These new council members in this negative environment are often elected by attacking the current system. You don't get elected by praising the existing government. And so...it hasn't worked for us anyway. It used to be very...when we first started Ho-Chunk, Inc., it was very common to get elected by attacking Ho-Chunk, Inc. It was a very good way to get elected in Winnebago. It was very controversial at the time, which was almost the best way to do it. But this attack system almost forces the new council to tear down what's there. They almost had no choice. Their electorate expects it. It also leads to kind of inconsistent political strategy. You have no relationship with the local, the state, and the federal authorities. They don't even know who the next guy is. And it also hurts business dramatically. It really hurts your strategy. You have no continuity over a period of time. Business needs to be continually moving; it can't wait and stop for the election. You can't wait for the hammer to fall. You can't replace the CEO every couple of years and hope to have any kind of consistency in what you're doing. And the other thing is it also creates a lot of short-term thinking; both right after the election, you've got to make your big splash, and right before an election.

We joke that...one time we gave a dollar raise, the council did, to every employee at the casino before an election and we calculated how much that was over the period of a year and I said, ‘We only have...' I mean, you could win our election with 120 votes. We tried to work it out per vote and only a third of the employees were tribal members and it came out to an astronomical number per vote, what that cost the tribe. It was something in the tens of thousands per vote. But it was a very popular decision at the time and the tribe had money then to do that. And so before the election at least all kinds of really random short-term thinking and decision-making that has long-term implications that screws up long-term planning. And it makes it even worse when they don't...when it doesn't work and they don't get re-elected and the new guys come in and have to deal with that and tear that down and there really isn't any sense of long-term strategy in that stuff. So these tribes are in this kind of cycle, this perpetual cycle of starting over and unless the tribal electorate is incredibly rational in a very negative, in an environment that's likely to be very negative -- because that's your system for success to get elected -- unless they're very rational and elect the same people consistently over and over again, which does happen in some tribes -- some tribes they're all up for election and they reelect generally the same people -- unless they do that, the possibility of any kind of long-term cohesive strategy or continuity is very, very minimal in a tribal government that has its election every two or three years and everybody's up to bat.

In Winnebago, we're lucky and I didn't realize how lucky we were really, I mean I knew it was a good thing, but I didn't realize how lucky we were until we visited with these other tribes. We have staggered terms. We have nine tribal council members. Three of them are up for election every year and usually two or three are re-elected again. I'm going to list the nine, just the number of years that each council member has been on our council to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. And a lot of people when they get older will leave the council and they'll kind of designate some of the younger to start cycling through. It's very much a logical system, really kind of based behind the scenes on families and clan membership and stuff. But our council members are one year, three year, three year, four year, five year, five year, eight year, 14 year, 16 year and our tribal chairman is in his 16th year. And so I was going to do the math on it and do the average number of years there but I didn't have a calculator. My math skills are worse since high school. My guess is that's around six, six or seven. And what does that do for long-term strategy? Our tribal chairman was there in 1986 when we first tried to start a corporation. The Winnebago Business Code of 1986, he was there, he was behind it. So in 1993 or '94 we started again, of course he supported it. This made more sense, it was the next evolution in this process and these staggered terms, they have several kind of natural results. It reduces the kind of emphasis on the elections themselves. It prevents this kind of radical short-term thinking that we were talking about. There isn't this great push...because only two or three of them are going crazy before the election, but the rest of them can kind of hold them in. It also allows kind of naturally a long-term planning and a long-term kind of projects to continue to move forward. It automatically allows for kind of an institutional knowledge base to continue to grow. There is no starting over here. And the elections, I've never seen an election that's resulted in a firing of a key employee. I've never...because it doesn't happen that way because the rest of the people obviously support that person. And more importantly, I think it allows kind of a system where these institutions can naturally evolve because they're really focused on the long-term perspective. I think this not starting over is very positive. And I didn't know, I didn't really think about this in these terms until very recently. And I'll give you the two reasons or the two examples that popped up that caused me to start thinking why, that caused me to start thinking about the real benefit of an institutional kind of knowledge base in these situations.

And the first one was, somebody asked me recently, we have our corporation, we recently formed a planning department to go after government grants and a non-profit corporation to also bring in additional funding into our community. And someone said, ‘What made you think of that?' And the answer was, ‘Well, in '95 I was totally against it, in '96 we got a grant to do this.' So I said, 'Hey, that's pretty cool.' In '97 we didn't do anything. In '98 we got a low-interest rate loan through our own kind of efforts and we said, ‘Hey, this is a pretty good deal.' In '99, we got another one. In 2000, we got a grant to build a new office building. It was great for business because we didn't have to pay for it anymore; we got a new building. But in 2001, we learned that all these opportunities are out there that we're not tapping into. The non-profit will do it. And so one day I come back to my office on a Monday and there's a note on my computer from Friday that says, ‘Form a non-profit you big dummy.' It was to me, I wrote it because I didn't want to forget by Monday. But he asked me that question, ‘What made you think of it,' and it caused me to think, ‘Well, I didn't think of it.' It was the next step in the natural evolution of the internal knowledge base that we built up.

And the other example that integrates not just Ho-Chunk, Inc., but that integrates kind of the governmental side is, we recently just signed a groundbreaking tax agreement for gasoline on our reservation that recognizes our jurisdiction over non-Indians. And somebody said, ‘How did you do that?' And I did the same thing again. In '95 we took over the tribe's grocery store and you used to have to sign your name and write your ID number and get your refund from the state and I said, ‘We're not doing that anymore.' I said, ‘This only applies for Winnebagos,' and we said, ‘Any Indians a good Indian, we'll send you your money instead.' And so that was kind of a big deal for us. In '97, the Omaha Tribe next to us started a cigarette factory and they ruled that that's tax-free because they make the cigarettes on their reservation. I said, ‘Hey, that's pretty interesting.' In '98, they start selling gas tax-free, we supplied it to them through a loophole in Nebraska law. In '99, Iowa threatened to sue us because we were taking it to that state. So we went into negotiations, which went poorly and then they cut off our supply of fuel, which really just made me mad. And they were saying bad things about us, called us ‘shady characters.' And so we got in trouble. We called the governor and we didn't appreciate that. And so they said they would negotiate with us but they never got around to it and they didn't really...they put some feeble efforts in. And so we said, in June of 2000 after the second crack at negotiations, we said, ‘We're going to start our own tax.' And six months later we figured out a way to make it legal and essentially all we do is take the alcohol and blend it in with the gasoline on our reservation to make a charter product, similar to...and it's a manufacturing process similar to what we learned the Omaha Tribe did in '97. They made a manufacturing process and said, ‘Well, this is just our manufacturing process.' And it really threw them for a loop and we implemented kind of a political...we learned how to do that because we had a gas station business. Now, by the way, we have seven trucks and we sell 100,000 gallons of gas a day. This is like a year and a half later and we sell it to seven tribes now, but that's a different story -- all because Iowa really pissed us off.

We put together kind of...we learned how to do this from our business side but we had a legal element -- I'm a lawyer, our tribe's lawyer -- and we learned from the Omaha Tribe's legal experience in '97. And we had a growing kind of political knowledge because of the success of the tribe. And so we put together kind of a sophisticated political, legal, business-oriented strategy. We already had de facto control, we owned all the stations so we could pass any tax and apply it to us. And we offered to negotiate right off the bat. We always kept the lines of communications open. And anyway, that was in 2001, just a few weeks ago the governor signed our tax agreement that gives us, that locks in, that recognizes our jurisdiction and locks in a real good price advantage for our businesses that helps 70 of my employees keep putting food on the table. And that took years of natural kind of development both on the governmental side and both on the operational business side. And that kind of knowledge didn't just happen. People always...they come down to visit and say, ‘How'd you do it?' and really, it's a hard thing to say because it took a long time. It's a hard question to answer and this format has caused me to really think about that, how important it was to have the government stable and learning and developing relationships, how important it was for us to have a stable business environment that was learning these things and that was taking pieces from elsewhere. This strategy that we evolved would not have happened if the lawyers in a council meeting would have said, ‘Hey, we've got this problem.' They'd have said, ‘Well...' The lawyers probably would have only said, ‘This is how you'll end up in jail,' or ‘the state will do this to you,' and we probably wouldn't have went forward. But we had a business imperative to do this. We had jobs at stake, we had money at stake, and we found a way to do it using our knowledge that we had learned over a period of time and the reason we were allowed to do that is because our government is a highly stable environment.

And in summary, that's the point I want to make. In order to have any chance at long-term success, the tribes really have to structurally institutionalize continuity and that's a lot of big words in a row. But really what I mean to say is you need to change your constitution. And I'm not talking about the big changes, the ones that, the committees, the general councils, ‘We're going to go back to the old ways.' I'm talking about one simple tiny little change that will give you a chance at some of these kinds of successes. They'll be different than ours obviously, but just stagger your terms, allow your tribe the opportunity to have a chance at continuity and that will allow the natural kind of abilities and instincts and knowledge to form and flower on your reservation and that should lead to the kind of environment where these institutions develop, institutions that can take advantage of sovereignty, that get smart, that are Native American, and go forward on a cultural basis. And I realize that it's a very, very simple recommendation to make after the big introduction I got, but I think sometimes that's what you need to do, the simplest answer is the easiest. And I don't know if I have any time for questions but I'm done essentially."

Miriam Jorgensen:

"We do have time for questions, so if Lance would take a couple of questions it'd be great, so if you want to just raise your hand and pose the question to him, Lance will probably answer it. Are there questions?"

Audience member:

"Lance, in some of your fuel acquisitions and some of that, how have you dealt with kind of adverse public relations issues such as the large Petroleum Marketers Association lobbying and some other groups like that as well as the states, and you didn't mention Iowa?"

Lance Morgan:

"Oh, that's a funny question. We actually went to the...we were negotiating the tax agreement with Nebraska and the head of the motor fuels department was in our office and I said, ‘Do you want to go to a KKK meeting?' And she said, ‘What are you talking about?' I said, ‘Well, the Iowa petroleum marketers and Nebraska ones are getting together to talk about us.' And she goes, ‘Oh, I talked to them. I cleared all this up.' I said, ‘Well, let's go to lunch up there.' So we went and she's sitting...she had just said, ‘We need this information from you, I've got a report.' I said, ‘I'm not giving you that, that's going to put a gun to our head. They're going to use it against us.' And as soon as we walked in there, they started bad-mouthing Indians and they said, ‘We need to get this information. Nebraska's going to give it to us and then we can go after them.' And he said, ‘Because we could go down to the reservation and get it, but they'll probably throw you in the Indian jail. You know what that is? That's when they tie you to one of their slot machines.' And I busted out laughing. These people had no idea who I am and they're talking about they've got these lawyers and they're going to sue you if you try to say anything to them. It's basically they're just lying through their teeth to their constituents, see, and the head of the motor fuels department is sitting there. She goes, ‘I can't believe they're doing this.' I said, ‘See, this is what we're dealing with.' And so at that point she started talking in terms of ‘we.' ‘What are ‘we' going to do to deal with this kind of stuff?' And I said, ‘She's like Patty Hearst.' We were going to make her an honorary member of our tribe after that and they lost all credibility.

We took the time to educate Nebraska and then we showed them the dirty side of what we face. And the term we always use is 'jealousism,' that's our little term. It's not racism, it's jealousism 'cause they don't like it for us. We've lost our place a little bit. But we also did some other things in advance of before we started. We felt that the current taxation system was based upon the color of your skin and I think sometimes we're so used to making that distinction that we don't even think how crazy it is. You go on to the reservation, the Native American pays one price, the non-Indian pays the other. Now how in the hell is that right? Where else in America do you make a racial distinction based upon taxation? It's all about jurisdiction and it's all about...it's all about the entity. And I said, ‘We're not going to stand for this anymore' and so our PR campaign was going to be based on race. We were not going to do this anymore. If you come to our jurisdiction, you pay our tax and it sold with everybody. We had a reporter who wrote a couple weeks after we implemented our tax, on the front page of the Sioux City paper, she said, ‘A cashier...when you buy gas in Winnebago, the cashier has to determine the color of your...he knows what to charge you by the color of your skin. In Winnebago, race matters on what to charge and the Winnebago Tribe has implemented the race-neutral tax.' So we invented these terms, race-based taxation, race neutral. Republicans, they loved it. The Democrats, we give them a lot of money. So they basically backed off.

And the fact that we also were offering to negotiate...when we implemented our tax we wrote a three-page letter. The first half talked about how their legal system wasn't worth the paper it was written on and it was just very much rhetoric. And the last part talked about our strong, strong legal arguments that we put in place. The pre-emption argument, the fuel blending, the manufacturing, all these kind of things are very, very strong legal arguments on our side. We thought we had a very high chance of winning in court under this situation and at the end we said, ‘We will negotiate.' And we thought that if we said, ‘We will negotiate', that three, four, five months at least, we'd get to do this. And after a while everything died down and the state actually met with us in a very contentious relationship, contentious meeting, and when we laid out all of our legal arguments and all of the rationale behind it, they really got on board with us and then we did negotiate. The primary thing that turned the tide was we showed...on our reservation we have half the land and one third of the roads and you've got...the county got $1.6 million for excise tax money for gasoline to fix the roads and none of those roads are in our neighborhood and we got zero. So when we show our blending process and all our investment in these trucks and fuel additive things and gas stations and the people on the jobs and show how much money you're getting and how we're getting nothing, I said, ‘I can't wait to get to court with that. I said we're on a war footing.' And they said, ‘Okay.' But all this was planned. Our eventual goal internally was to get our tax agreement and that's all we wanted, that recognized our jurisdiction and we ended up getting it. But we did it with a combination of kind of PR, of political thing, of operational, of legal buffing, and it worked for us. But there was a lot of attacks along the way. But you've got to plan this out in advance.

We wrote a very interesting memo for the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe that balanced the business, who now have their own gasoline-blending and taxation system on their reservation. And it was not a legal memo, it was a combination legal and business memo that balanced these interests, talked about their PR strategy, talked about their legal strategy, talked about how to do this operationally, an all encompassing kind of thought process that you don't normally get in these environments. You only get those piece...tribes never quite pull those pieces together and we were lucky that we had all those pieces in our organization. And we now think strategically about how, and automatically about how to develop our sovereignty to strengthen our institutions. It's very strange, but it's kind of a natural evolution of what went on."

Audience member:

"Can you talk a little bit more about leadership in the business side of your programs and where or what is that continuity? Obviously you're a good example of continuity, but the other issue is what about other leaders within your tribe? And how is that coming with respect to, I guess, leadership development and how that works in terms of the business side of things in the different entities that you're working with?"

Lance Morgan:

"We talk about systematic approaches. We have the exact same thing on what we're doing. We have a general tribal preference of employees, but we target internally our best and our brightest. We've had every valedictorian the last several years working for us at some point, summer jobs or coming back from college. We have our own internship program. We've actually expanded to other tribes. We've had lawyers actually from a couple of other tribes come and work. They've stayed at my house and they work with us for a little while to get some insight into what we're doing. We've kind of...our internship program to me is my ability to directly nurture kind of the up and coming people. We've gotten so big now that some of our companies and departments are now going to start their internship program this year and we're just starting that so that they can have them too. We just hired one of our tribal members who just graduated, or is about to graduate from college with a computer degree to do research for us in our planning and non-profit company. And so we've kind of systemized it and now have expanded it.

On leadership on the business side, I think it's very important, and we talked about this a little before -- not here -- and I think tribes pass these corporations, they form these entities and then they just run off and they expect them to be successful. And I think the real effort needs to be when you form the entity. You have to set up principles of governance between the corporation board and the tribal government and you need to go through all the possible abilities of interaction from how do you handle your finances? How do you handle personnel? You don't want the tribe's personnel policies. You don't want to use the tribe's accounting system, you'll never get a check written; somebody won't sign it, they'll take the day off. You have to decide how you're going to send money back to the government, what you can retain. You need to do all of this stuff up front and we have a list of 10 or 12 things depending on the tribe and then once you have those, you need a leader with the courage to stick to that and hold them to it, because a lot of tribes have corporations that don't... and their CEOs are puppets and they just do what the tribal council says and they're afraid to make decisions.

I've had meetings with tribal councils where I've whipped out the long-term plan from 1994. I said, ‘Let me refresh your memory,' and I've read from it. And one of the sentences said, ‘If we did that, that would contradict the very reason for our existence.' Everyone else said, ‘Oh, yeah.' But if you don't do that up front, then you have no chance of saving it later because the tribal government is a very flexible dynamic entity. They'll adapt their mindset to whatever is politically expedient at the time, whatever they feel they have to deal with, they'll rationalize their approach to it. And so you have to stick...you have to do your homework and be willing to have the courage to stick to it and not in a disrespectful way. You don't have to do that. I have a lot of respect for our council leaders, but really sometimes you have to remind them...and since we have this kind of institutional knowledge base and memory of these things, people say, ‘Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay, okay. We can't do that,' and they deal with it some other way. And so it really isn't just leadership, it's planning and leadership and sticking to it over a period of time."

Honoring Nations: Using Partnerships to Achieve Governing Goals

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Heather Kendall-Miller moderates this panel of Native leaders for a discussion on building and maintaining intergovernmental relationships.

Resource Type
Citation

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.

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"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."

Justin Martin:

"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."

Don Wedll:

"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."

Theresa Clark:

"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."

Mark Sherman:

"[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."

Nicholas Zaferatos:

"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."

Miranda Warburton:

"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."

Lori Gutierrez:

"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."

Cheryl Weixel:

"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."

Neily Anderson:

"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."

Mark Lewis:

"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."

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"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?"

Justin Martin:

"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."

Don Wedll:

"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."

Theresa Clark:

"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.

Mark Sherman:

"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."

Nick Zaferatos:

"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."

Miranda Warburton:

"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."

Lori Gutierrez:

"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."

Chery Weixel:

"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."

Neily Anderson:

"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."

Mark Lewis:

"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."

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"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."

Justin Martin:

"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.

Don Wedll:

"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."

Theresa Clark:

"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."

Mark Sherman:

"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."

Nicholas Zaferatos:

"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."

Miranda Warburton:

‘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."

Lori Gutierrez:

"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."

Cheryl Weixel:

"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."

Neily Anderson:

"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."

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"Mark, the last word?"

Mark Lewis:

"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."

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"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."

Honoring Nations: The Politics of Change - Internal Barriers, Opportunities and Lessons for Improving Government Performance

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Moderator JoAnn Chase facilitates a wide-ranging discussion by a panel of Native nation leaders and key decision-makers about internal barriers inhibiting good governance and opportunities and lessons for improving government performance in Native nations.

Resource Type
Citation

Belone, Cecilia, Dodie Chambers, Vernelda Grant, Julia "Bunny" Jaakola, Beth Janello, Aaron Miles and Gary Nelson. "The Politics of Change - Internal Barriers, Opportunities and Lessons for Improving Government Performance." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Sante Fe, New Mexico. February 8, 2002. Presentation.

JoAnn Chase:

"Good afternoon everybody. Thank you for that very generous introduction. And it's a pleasure to be here. It's always wonderful. This is one of the meetings over the course of the year that I so look forward to, is the Honoring Nations Advisory Board meeting. Many of you know that for several years I had the privilege of serving as the Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians and, as Andrew [Lee] said, have now gone on to do some work in the field of philanthropy and have always enjoyed my time with the National Congress of American Indians, but so much of the time we spent working -- and that we collectively as Indian people spend -- is really fighting off a huge hostile audience, whether it's the Congress, sometimes it's the state governments. And so many times, we're reacting to things that are coming our way and really engaging in battle if you will, and often it's like hitting your head against a brick wall time and time and time again. One of the ways I was able to sustain my involvement with NCAI and enthusiasm and be rejuvenated was to come often and participate in these meetings and be so encouraged by the really truly innovative and creative and amazing things that are happening on the ground within our tribal communities of the truly exemplary programs that are being developed and implemented and the good governance that does exist. So it's always good to be back in this arena.

I'm excited this afternoon, we have...I think you're going to have a very compelling discussion, excellent participants. I thought the way we'd get started this afternoon is just ask each of the participants to briefly introduce themselves, your tribal affiliation, and maybe a sentence or so about the program that you're with and then we'll start off with some dialogue on some difficult questions. Maybe Beth, if you would start."

Beth Janello:

"Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Beth Janello. I'm the Environmental Director for the Pueblo of Sandia here in New Mexico and we have water quality standards, which we won an Honoring Nations award for in 1999. I'd like to invite everyone to come to the pueblo tomorrow and view our Bosque Restoration, our Rio Grande Restoration Project...

As I was saying, I'd like to invite everyone tomorrow to come down to the Pueblo Sandia and view our river restoration project. We have been a very active participant in trying to protect the Rio Grande and we've had some, definitely some problems working with our federal trustees, certainly the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]. We're trying to educate them and trying to get help from them and from the State of New Mexico to protect the river, but it's not always an easy task and I hope today that I can share with you some of the things that we have learned and answer any questions you may have about protecting your own waterways. With that, thank you very much for this opportunity. I appreciate being here and I look forward to you coming out tomorrow to the Pueblo of Sandia.

Aaron Miles:

"Good afternoon. My name is Aaron Miles. I'm from the Nez Perce Tribe. I'm a tribal member and I work for my tribe as the Department of Natural Resources Manager. I've been on the job for a little over two years now and it's been very interesting, learning a lot and I think it's exciting to work for your own tribe in investing. So coming back home was a good thing for me. My background is in forestry. I graduated from the University of Idaho in the fall of 1995 and I worked for the other school, Washington State University, for a couple years as the tribal liaison in the provost's office. There's a lot of neat experiences I'm excited to share with you.

Dodie Chambers:

"Good afternoon. My name is Dodie Chambers with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Michigan. The project we had gotten an award for was for planning and development for our tribe. Our tribe had never had a planning and development department so I was part of the initial setup of the planning and development department. Probably like some of you our projects were exceedingly overrun as far as budgets and the proper people weren't doing the proper jobs. And the contractors that were available knew that they were going to get money from the tribe and from the government, therefore skated on a lot of the absolutely mandatory things. About that time is when our chairman decided that we needed a planning and development department so that's how we began our start up. And because it was a first time for us of ever having a real planning and development department it's what we had won our award for. Not only was I the first department manager for planning and development, I was first tribal chairperson of our tribe, I was the first self-governance director of our tribe, I was first housing director of our tribe; so there was a lot of firsts. And of course planning and development was another challenge I had to take. So that's how we got started and we continue to work well with the planning and development department. Now I'm on the council again. I was 20 years ago and back on it again. We can do nothing but move forward now. Thank you."

Julia "Bunny" Jaakola:

"Good afternoon. I'm Bunny Jaakola and I represent the Fond du Lac Band of Minnesota Chippewa. That is my home band. I have been working almost 15 years as the coordinator for the Social Service Department there within the Human Services Division. Prior to that, I worked 15 years in juvenile justice. In our area, so many of the children, the youth that came through that court diversion program are now the parents of the kids and the families that we work with on the reservation. So I think everything that's been said about continuity really holds true. I think my familiarity with my own people and then working outside in a county/state kind of program and coming back to the reservation, everybody knows who I am and I've had people working with me now for several years. And for the first time in our history and probably some have not even heard of this year, we have people calling our Social Service Department and saying, 'I want to talk to a social worker.' When I started in social work, it was difficult for me to say that I'm a social worker because of our history with social work. So I think that anything's possible when we've got families who are in dire need making the call and asking for help. That's progress. And I'll talk more later."

Vernelda Grant:

"[Apache Language] My name is Vernelda Grant. I'm San Carlos Apache and I work for my tribe as the Tribal Archaeologist and Director of the Historical Preservation Archaeology Department. I work closely with the Elders Cultural Advisory Council, who I'm with here at this symposium. I primarily work with the national, state and tribal legislation on cultural resource management and work with the Elders Council on language and community education projects on cultural resources."

Gary Nelson:

"[Navajo Language] Hello. My name is Gary Nelson. I'm the Town Manager for the Kayenta Township. About a year ago, I came up to talk with [then-Navajo] President Kelsey Begaye about my interest in helping the Navajo Nation in the area of commercial industrial development and also one of the larger farms that the Navajo Nation has, it's actually probably the only real large farm we have and it's one of the largest farms in the nation, and that's the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry. Surprisingly, both what I asked for seemed to have fallen into my hands.

Kayenta Township is one...something that I really desire to assume, to contribute in that area but also in other areas. The township was awarded and recognized also probably a year, two years ago, and since that time also we've made great progress. We're doing new developments. We're currently going to build a 40,000-square-foot office building. Also 100,000-plus square foot of new shopping center. We assessed the township for need for new office space as well as the market area to see just what kind of population existed within the 50-mile radius up to 75-miles radius. We found that there was like 40,000 to 50,000 people that resided within that kind of distance from the township. With some of those numbers and knowing where some of the people shopped, we determined a need that we could easily support another shopping center or additional services that currently aren't there.

So the challenge is there and we're also pressing to really begin to make some legislative changes. Navajo tribal law as well as federal law, laws that currently are in place that prohibit our goals, we want to remove those stumbling blocks or barriers so that our people really move forward in the area of economic development and to build their economic strength and become a politically powerful people. I guess our vision and our understanding is that as long as our people are poor they're not going to have the sovereign strength or the economic strength or be in subjection to other powers, dominant governments, other races, whatever you want, but really economics has a lot to do with our sovereign rights and the power that's going to come behind it. Thank you."

Cecilia Belone:

"[Navajo language]. For my people, [Navajo language]. I am Cecilia Belone, the Division Director for the Division of Social Services within the Navajo Nation. We have a project, the Navajo Child Special Advocacy Project program that was recognized in the year 2000 for serving children who are victims of sexual abuse and working with their families, providing family-centered services and also applying cultural and traditional functions to providing these services. We're collaborating with really resources that are necessary in order to help heal children and families.

My mother had always said and my elder had always said that I was a current leader. I didn't really think that they meant being before people but eventually I was going to come before people and I had to watch what I say and I had to pick my words carefully. I never knew that...really knew what they were talking about until I started to work with child sexual abuse. And it's something that many of us deny that it exists, but on the Navajo Nation I feel like it's something that we have acknowledged that it does exist. And it's not so much talking about the existence of it, but the language by which you talk about it within the Navajo Nation and that was a challenge. And as somebody had said earlier that when you become recognized and receive an honor that just gives you a greater challenge and we've taken that challenge. And this program is only a part of a larger system, the social service system that involves a lot of other social and behavioral issues. And I have taken on that challenge and my boss, the president of the Navajo Nation has made it a priority. And having to have the Navajo Nation Council acknowledge that has just been a tremendous challenge and it's something that I'm very honored to be a part of. We will talk further about some of the issues that we have encountered in getting to meeting that challenge.

I would like to say thank you to the Harvard Honoring Nations program for acknowledging that there are many, many good things happening out there among our people and I would like to honor all the programs that are up here that have been recognized and all those who have gone before. They have set the standards for us and for us, with the Navajo Nation, we're pretty encouraged for our people. Thank you."

JoAnn Chase:

"Thank you to all of our participants. As you can tell, we have a great diversity in experience and I think we can have some really provocative dialogue for this afternoon. I want to concentrate and ask maybe you want to respond on part of the title of this panel, 'The Politics of Change.' And change is...it's difficult implementing change, creating change and then implementing change comes with lots and lots of challenges. The old saying that everybody wants to get to heaven but nobody wants to die I think has some meaning as we try to think about pushing boundaries and changing ways and meeting challenges.

As we talk about the politics of change and in what you have experienced in developing these programs and implementing these programs, certainly as we talk about some of the components in creating successful programs and examples of good governance, you might talk about some of those components that have contributed to the positive creation, but in so doing I'd encourage us to really speak candidly about some of those barriers. As I reminded myself of the programs I was struck by some of the tremendous challenges, sometimes our own tribal communities, our own tribal governments, challenges of tribal politics, dealing with hostility and misconceptions and even overt racism in outside communities, dealing with federal regulatory or state regulatory schemes that are in place that for years and years and years have been oppressive in trying to break those down and create partnerships. It's a tremendous amount of challenges that we certainly do have.

And so maybe I ought to ask Dodie, since Dodie you have served as a tribal councilperson in a variety of capacities with your tribe and now this program. If you might start us off in dialogue and ask folks to weigh in and talk again about some of those specific barriers, how those barriers you've broken down in getting through the first phase, which is creating successful programs."

Dodie Chambers:

"Well, I think for our tribe specifically, our tribe is fairly recognized only for 20 years now, 21 or 22, but we were Indians in the community and in the area and were dwindling. Like there may have been only about 10 families left in the 1960s. So the outlying area people, the founding people, the state people, the townships didn't want to recognize us as a government and even to this day they don't think we have the kind of government that...the government they have. So that was one of the big barriers was once we became recognized, once we start getting federal dollars into our tribe, once we were available to offer even our two-percent monies to the area, townships and county people, they still...we still had a little problem with them wanting to recognize and acknowledge that we are a government and we can run...we can have our own sovereignty and provide our people with our programs the way we want to. They still don't want to acknowledge that; we're still not quite as good as they are. That continues to be a smaller problem. It was huge 10 years ago even, but today it's a smaller problem but it still exists and we are still not 100-percent people when we go into town. So that continues to be a barrier. It has been, but we've knocked down some of those walls and unfortunately those walls came down because of the two-percent money from our gaming industry. That was one huge barrier that we overcame and continue to overcome and still work on today."

Aaron Miles:

"Some of the barriers that I see the internal things like me as a manager interfacing with the policy people, the elected leaders, getting on the same page as them is quite difficult. I think when you look at the different values, when you look at the diversity on the council, you have those who have just come out of this post era of the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] running the show and so their institutionalized thinking is, 'This is the way it's always been done and it will continue to be that way.' And then I think some of the younger generations that I interact with it's more of 'How do we relearn the value system that was in place before pre-European contact? How do we gain a better understanding of protecting the resources that contribute to our culture and way of life in that context?' And so that's one of difficulty because right now the tribes aren't really...when you look at our tribes were forced into this era back to really become American citizens, to become this equal, but now I think tribal members now in this new age are really trying to...how are we going to be different? We want to remain unique among the American citizenship and our right to remain unique. And sometimes the things that we do are quite un-American, our way of thinking, our way...the way we do things and it's unintentional. How do we as Indian tribal people begin to implement something like that? But we still have to get on the same page it seems like internally before we can address those problems."

Beth Janello:

"I'd like to mention a barrier that I see in terms of trying to implement a scientific program and that is a real difference in values. Trying to establish water quality standards that protect traditional uses perhaps of the river. It's really hard to explain that to the EPA or to the New Mexico Environment Department. So having very different values for the protection of a resource can become a barrier if you don't have education or if you have ears that don't want to hear it, or economic value is the only value rather than habitat protection or water protection or ceremonial or traditional protection. So that's something I've found to be a real barrier in terms of implementation is a difference in core values."

JoAnn Chase:

"Beth, could you just take that a step further perhaps and talk about how you dealt with that. Clearly the difference is there. Was it dialogue, was it inviting folks to come be with you? Is it something that you're still continuing to deal with?"

Beth Janello:

"Yes, we deal with it every day and the most effective way that we've found to deal with it is through working through...perhaps maybe working through the laws. For example, we set our water quality standards under the Clean Water Act. We got treatment as a state, we followed the process, the legal process and so then it becomes very difficult for people to argue with that. One thing we've also done in the last couple of years that's been very effective is we collect data, we monitor the river on a weekly basis so we know what's in there. It's very hard to argue with fact. We know and actually we're discovering that not only are our water quality standards in some cases being violated, but so are the state water quality standards. So the potential uses for the river are not meeting state uses, not just tribal uses. So our data has become very effective. So sometimes it means, unfortunately, working in the system instead of trying to...for years I think we talked about, 'You don't understand you're not meeting the water quality standards,' but not until we had the data to back it up did people start listening. And we had the regional administrator from EPA come in and talk to the tribal council last month. So the Pueblo of Sandia has had water quality standards since 1993. We applied for them in 1991. So it's not really very new, but our EPA officials only came out in December. So it's an ongoing issue and I think a very effective means of dealing with the barrier is to have data and back up documentation."

Gary Nelson:

"I'll speak to you more in the area of business and economic development. Kayenta Township, the community of Kayenta, town commission, having gone through all the normal process for organizing itself into a township structure and doing all the necessary planning, master planning in preparation to really do economic development and then entertaining new businesses and to go through the process of this local review and local approval, having exercised this local governance, what we experience is that we still have a barrier in the way and it has to do with the existing law. There comes a point that the law, the structure, the current law is really prohibitive and it must change and that's really what we're experiencing. Listening to the business associations or the community, what they want, their desire, they want the economic freedom just like any community outside the Navajo Nation, the ability to gain equity, value in their businesses, the ability to sell that business or to utilize that lease hold interest to leverage capital. All those things are prohibited under existing law and it's really come to a point we have to say, 'No more. If our people are going to prosper, this law is not allowing it.' And so that's where we're at.

And we are currently involved with the Navajo Nation Council, some of the attorneys and economic development committees and divisions entertaining a new regulation, new ordinances that would govern Navajo Nation law from this time forward. The Navajo Nation also has been successful in getting congressional support and in entertaining the idea of forming their own business leasing approval without intervention anymore. But the challenge is that the Navajo Nation must develop these regulations, BIA still has to approve of it to see if it's going to be fine. But in the end, the Navajo Nation can't just duplicate the same law; it's not going to work.

So really what's happening is that we have gone out to the grassroots people, the local communities. We've asked for input. Kayenta Township, having had numerous years now as a township and a government structure, having probably more business development in recent years than any of the communities on the reservation, it provides some excellent direction and some of those are in the booklet that you received today. The bottom line is that BIA and the Navajo Nation must let go of authority, delegate that to the local people, let us determine our own destiny, how we want to do business or what we want to do with the lands that are available for development, whether we want to leverage the value of that land to get capital investment or those things. Those are the barriers.

The barrier also is that the current lease, they're okay. Many of the provisions can remain the same but let us do rent negotiations like any other off-reservation communities, cities, towns. And that's based on land valuations and improvements, the value of those things and determining a rate of return on those things as rent, but not a structure that the government has that is discoursing to outside business. We have a gross minimum annual rent that would be in place for the term of the lease whether it's 25 years or if there's a certain lease that's 99 years and that rent is there, or if the business is doing well then the other rent that would become effective would be a percentage of gross receipts. So if a business is doing two million dollars a year or even higher and they have a gross receipts percentage set at five, six, seven percent, usually that business will be paying $100,000 or more a year, whereas the value of the land is...the rental payment if it was based on land valuation could be one fourth that amount or even less.

So the more you penalize businesses we find that they're not going to come out to the Indian communities to do business. So our whole mission and focus now is to really create that environment that is favorable for business activity and that would allow our people and anyone who wants to do business to get into business easily and without much trouble. That's really where we're headed with what we want to changed, specifically."

JoAnn Chase:

"Bunny and Cecelia, you both deal with among the most precious of our resources and the reason why so many of us do the work we do, our children. And I'm sure that in implementing the amazing and effective programs you both have dealt with which are different programs there have been a number of barriers both within the tribe among our own people and certainly outside. I'm wondering if you might both make any comments specifically on some of those challenges with respect to the specific programs you've both dealt with."

Julia "Bunny" Jaakola:

"First, I want to be sure to thank the planners of this symposium, because one of the biggest barriers that I've run into within the tribe, within the county, within the state is the credibility. People just refuse to give one another credibility and I feel it more so on the state level and the county level here in Minnesota, but it's hurtful within the tribe. And we were awarded two honors awards from the Honoring Nations and one of them was a foster care program off reservation, very different, very unheard of, and the other was an online pharmacy billing program, very successful. But when you come up with the ideas, and I was not the one that came up with those ideas, but when people do bring ideas forward they need to be heard and encouraged. And the way that I've found to combat that is with education -- educating the community, educating the other co-workers, educating the county people and on the state level, wherever. It's a constant education process. And in fact I've said in kidding ways that before I went to social work school I should have gone to teaching school so I could help people to understand what we're trying to do. One thing that I didn't hear mentioned from the leadership perspective this morning was I found that to be a two-way street. I want to be able to rely upon my leadership for support and understanding and encouragement, but if they don't know what I'm doing or if they don't know what people are doing out there, they're liable to react to some things in a different way than if they were fully informed of what it is we're doing out there in the community, out there with the county, with the state, whatever it is. And I think that's very important, especially in a community where you are...this is home. Half the people are relatives and the other ones are in-laws so you need to be sure to protect your back. The way that I try to help the youth, the younger people that I'm mentoring is to look for that proactive stance wherever you can. Bring the information there. If you hear of a hot idea that's going to be different, be sure you let them know where you're going with that, because fear drives a lot of things and sometimes it's simply that fear of the unknown that brings about that resistance or that 'no' at first glance. Thank you."

Cecilia Belone:

"I have to agree that many times it's because people don't know and our social service issues are not physical. They manifest themselves physically maybe, but somebody talked about addressing deep-rooted issues, so you're talking about multi-generational issues that you're trying to address. But we seem to...our social service approach seems to be the band-aid addressing the symptoms and we all know that the symptoms are because of a lot of previous issues. And those issues are non-tangible, you can't see them. It's not like creating jobs. It's one of the most popular programs within the Navajo Division of Social Services, child care centers. You're doing great if you're putting up a bunch of child care centers. You're doing great if you're providing a lot of cash assistance. We're doing our own TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] program now from the three states and that's more popular than some of the non-tangible programs like the child sexual abuse program that we have. So for us, it's more internal because we're larger enough and we're sovereign enough to exert that authority. Most of what we deal with with the state now is just like working together on Indian child welfare issues, Indian Child Welfare Act issues. All the other services are provided through the tribe. So most of it is internal. Having to coalesce around these non-tangible issues requires a lot of education, a lot of outreach, a lot of communication, and you have to start right from the get-go. Are you going to work with these politicians, your tribal leaders or are you going to butt heads with them? I chose to work with them and actually get some things done, because if you start just right adversarial from the beginning that doesn't help you any. So you have to be aware of the dynamics within that leadership not just your immediate committee members, but the total council and everything...all of the other boards and whatever else there is. And you have to be able to collaborate within your own system, because it does not work and you cannot do it alone. And our social workers burn out, most of them are already burnt out, in two years, four years, and if they are there by 15 years, wow! Who's going to last 15 years in such a job, being out there among the people? And it's got to be a very dedicated person who does that. And most of all your people have to be committed because you can't go out and do...protect a child and deal with the family issues on a daily basis if you're not committed. Otherwise, you just become a part of the process. And it's very important for our people and our leaders to know that and educating them and working with them on those issues. We have the council actually acknowledge that the issue does exist and they actually committed some dollars to it in order to supplement the Bureau of Indian Health Service funds that we were getting. So this is not something that is created in a year, created in five years. It's something that started 20 years ago, that the foundations were being laid and you were really educating on basic issues. And it's coming to fruition and it has and we want to expand on that to include the entire...all of the social services issues, not just child sexual abuse."

Vernelda Grant:

"I sort of listed...since my job and the work I do with the Elders Council pertains to working with the past living cultures, the archaeology and prehistoric cultures and also the present living culture, living community, we have a wide working communication with just many different kinds of people from political leaders to community members to tribal programs to the Bureau of Indian Affairs agencies to federal agencies off the reservation, museums and whatnot. But I sort of -- just based on a working communication with those people -- I sort of listed barriers and I just kind of listed it now because this is like what I see overall just within our community. I'm just going to list them out. There's a lack of...there's cultural barriers, there's language barriers, there's a lack of self-identity, self-awareness, which kind of leads to lack of respect and there's barriers with the lack of technical expertise within tribal programs and a lack of communications with regards to economic development, commitment, the lack of the practice of good sovereignty and the lack of dedication. I sort of see this door opening interrelated in some sort of way and how we try to make those things positive, because we deal with it daily, is we sort of use our cultural, our Apache cultural beliefs and background, and we use that to basically focus on, I guess, objectives that we work with within our program. I'm just throwing that out."

JoAnn Chase:

"Thank you, and I actually want to take this a step further as well. We've heard some of the ideals and principles that have gone into planning and creating programs including communication, collaboration, dedication, commitment, pure tenacity. As you read through these programs, this didn't just start yesterday or the day before. It started 20 years ago and people have stuck with it. Education is a two-way street. Not only is it important to educate people that we are working with in order to create and develop programs, but it's also important ourselves to be educated about who it is we're trying to deal with and communicate with, and then both qualitative and quantitative. You mentioned Beth, facts speak volumes as part of breaking down these barriers and overcoming the programs. So we've created the programs, some of you have implemented the programs or are continuing to implement the process and probably facing certain challenges of implementation. And so I'd like to ask you also to comment on now that we've created these very innovative and wonderful programs, some of them rather new, how are they sustained? What measures need to be taken? How do we define and measure success? What can we do to ensure that this work continues perhaps as some of you go off to do other things and continue to be effective and valuable services to our people and to promote an advancing tribal sovereignty? I'll just open it up to the panel whoever would like to respond to that."

Julia "Bunny" Jaakola:

"I had mentioned mentorship a little earlier, and I think that's one sure way of continuity is being sure that the younger people, the newcomers are involved and because they will become committed as they feel the excitement of growth and development. There are formal ways to develop the mentorship, but there are easier informal ways of doing this and it's like taking someone under your wing so to speak. I like the comments this morning about the youth council. Those kids are going to be the leaders of tomorrow and the more they know about what's going on in their community the better participant they are going to be."

Dodie Chambers:

"Excuse me, I had to swallow that candy first. I think another way of ensuring that our programs will continue, like this morning, the Grand Traverse Band Junior Tribal Council is much involved and as we mentor them and allow them to shadow us in our programs, that will help...that's one way of sustaining our programs. Also within our tribe we have internal program directors training and within that training all the employees, all employees take this training where they learn everything about any program including budgets, report forms to the federal government, to the Bureau [of Indian Affairs], to Indian Health [Service]. This program directors training could help ensure that when I leave my program the next person who has learned the exact programs and rules and regs and requirements. Then when I leave then the next person, whoever it is, can step right in and that would be another way of sustaining our programs is to have the next person who has learned the exact rules and all the budgets and all of that per program and per agency and per federal government agency too. That's a way of sustaining some of the programs that we have.

I think also that tribes should insist on education for the young people. Too many people these days want to step into tribal government, just step right into it, with no prior training or knowledge or internal workings of the tribe, of the tribal standards and we need to insist that our kids at least get a minimum high school education, minimum, and encourage going on to college and then coming home to work and not starting at the top the minute they come home. Because that's what a lot of the kids today are demanding that when they get out of college and they come home they want to start at the top, and then if they start at the top then they step on toes and find out they don't know about tribal life. So although we encourage our kids to go on to school we have to kind of take them in at the entry level at least and let them learn for a minimum of a couple years at least, two years at least, tribal government and tribal ways. So yes, we need to pursue their education goals, but once they come home then we need to mentor them also for a year or two.

And I think also a fourth way of sustaining our good intentions and our good works, from this day forward, I would hope that the councils pass ordinances, makes it a law that the next generation of tribal council members have enough sense to go back...look backwards in the books and see if there isn't a law already or if there isn't a way to do things already. Because again, today too many of the kids automatically want to step up and assume something new without realizing they might be breaking an old law of some kind. So I think that would be a fourth way of sustaining programs is to ensure that ordinances are passed and that that book of ordinances is passed on to the next council so that anything that's in place is followed or anything that needs to be changed we would know where it needs to be changed, what paragraph, what section, whatever.

JoAnn Chase:

"Aaron, maybe as you address this question too and I know time is getting short on us here, but let me add a little twist to this to actually create a tie to some of the dialogue that took place this morning in terms of continuity of tribal governments themselves as well and how do the programs that we work with and how are they affected...?

Aaron Miles:

"Some of the things that I have seen with our gray wolf recovery effort is that we're in a totally different arena now that we not only serve the tribal membership, the general council now, but we also serve the general public. I mean the State of Idaho citizens now are stakeholders in wolf recovery and wolf management. So now a lot of my duties are to work with the state's entities and that's a whole new ballpark for the Nez Perce Tribe. And it was just recently in 1980, when I was growing up as a child, we fought the state, the Army National Guard at Rapid River in the central part of Idaho with the Fisherman's Committee, the state was trying to regulate us. And so when I come back to the tribe I go a whole 180-degree turn from not liking the state to having to work with them and so that was a different thing for me because my family had been adamant about not liking the state. And so finding common ground is where we're at right now. When you take a look at the Pacific Northwest, we're all in the same battle each...every...what is called the 'lord of yesterday,' the ranching, mining, farming, all that. We're all trying to protect our own heritages and we as Indian people are in the same boat. So we've got to find that commonality of how do we build our strengths from one another, rather than finding ways to oppose each other? That's kind of where the tribe...I think where tribes need to be, how do we protect each other rather than fighting and that common ground, hopefully, will make the tribes more visible because that's what we need right now. I was listening to Billy Frank, Jr. recently. He was saying, 'We've got to embarrass the hell out of the federal government for their past...the wrongdoings that they did to us.' Because right now we're...I was listening this morning, we are in a state of emergency of trying to protect our sovereignty and that's going to take educating non-Indian folks about who we are. It's very important. But I think also with that the tribe has to figure out ways to build leadership internally. What I see happening is that like for the Nez Perce Tribe, only the chairman can speak on behalf of the Nez Perce Tribe. Well, that leaves only one person being able to speak about the Nez Perce Tribe and there's a number of capable individuals on council or even managers that could speak on behalf of the tribe and start building that leadership so you have more individuals rather than just one. Attitudes in the workplace, there's different things that have changed the work environment from 20 years ago, 10 years ago and so tribes maintaining or keeping up with those...technology, the flow of information is so readily available, it's so different than yesteryears so we've got to keep up with those times, too. And I think tribes have been actually ahead of the game in many respects, especially with resource management. We've...like the Nez Perce Tribe, it's been the Nez Perce way of thinking that's been bringing back the species that belong in our Nez Perce country. It's not the science, it's the science that is meshed with the way the Nez Perce think, not just science alone. So that's the way I think most Indian tribes are operating and we've got to continue on like that."

JoAnn Chase:

"Comments by other panelists? Gary."

Gary Nelson:

"In order to preserve what we've worked hard for or even at the tribe certain values and things, first there has to be a strong identity and a national pride that comes probably before you can really say you have vision, commitment and all those things. I sat next to a Japanese man one time coming back from Chicago and I began to ask him questions. I started off by saying, 'You know, the Japanese people as a group are highly intelligent, capable, competitive, almost maybe you're equal, on par with the white race. What do you...what is your philosophy? What do you teach your youth?' His answer was fairly short and simple and he said, 'We teach them they're better than anybody. We teach them national pride, to believe in themselves.' It's the same thing what my grandmother taught me as a youth. '[Navajo language],' she says. 'Having confidence in yourself is a quality trait to have.' And so with our youth, all the things happening among them, the violence and the drugs and stuff, and then also I hear the elderly saying our youth don't know our cultural stories anymore but then it has to go further beyond that. Even the elders, or as a people, what does our culture mean or what does it...what's the interpretation of those things? Because you can't gain the identity without understanding what it means, and so that's something I've struggled with all my life. And I've seen my grandmother pray a certain way and how we're supposed to pray as the Diné and how she would say certain things to the thunderstorms but she had certain things she would say and I always wanted to know those things and I sought and searched myself and I finally came to realize what it is. So when you really realize where you fit in the human race and that you're not inferior, that you have a great heritage, it's a whole new world. The confidence that it gives you, that's what our youth need today. And to preserve that, I think the Kayenta Township, we have to build that into the system, the educational system. We have the strong desire at the community level for the Kayenta Township to continue. There was great effort to do away with it, to squash it, to limit it. There were strong forces out there that wanted to see it end but there was enough community vision, community support that stepped up and fought to keep it. Today with the new development, we're looking forward to tripling our tax revenues and the best way to sell is to show results. I'm a strong advocate for that. If people see the end product, how the new revenues or what it's paid for or new developments and new revenues and the kind of new services that the township might be able to help fund. So with that, the organizational structure, the right structures have to be there, a stable government. I think those are some of the components, I'm sure there's more but I think preserve something and to build that pride it will go. So if you do create this environment for business and if we do all the other things that help it, we know our people are going to get into business, they're going to...we'll see them doing business just like any off-reservation community."

JoAnn Chase:

"I'd just like to remind the panelists we're running a little tight on time, so if you have some comments about what it takes to sustain and courage to make those comments and then we'll wrap up and move on in the agenda. Vernelda."

Vernelda Grant:

"Just real quick. With the line of speakers this morning, I thought it was pretty interesting because I don't think I'm a conference Indian but I do go to conferences and I hear a lot of people speak and I try to sit back and keep my mind open to a lot of things that they have to say. But this morning I thought it was pretty interesting because it seems like each individual that was up there spoke on elements, well, like specifically Mr. [Robert] Yazzie and Mr. [Oren] Lyons, and I apologize but I didn't get the name of the doctor that spoke during lunch, but they all pointed to elements that make and sustain a leader and what a leader is and what a leader goes through. And you don't hear that much and it kind of points back to that self-awareness, the leader, the person who knows themselves and where they're going to go, where they've been and what they can do and who they can influence. So I think something like that that was pulled out, that's what I saw. I don't know if I'm just way out there, but I thought that was really interesting because we need that, we need that leadership and strength, I think, in our communities. We're lacking it with our tribal leaders, we're lacking it with our youth, we're lacking it with, I hate to even say this but in some communities with the elders, too. It's just everybody and I think that's...that leader, whatever field they may go into, governance, the cultural arena, dealing with money, different types of management, they can be successful no matter what they go into and like I said, they're all interrelated, not one works without the other and a person who's more whole, a person who's more...who can let their guard down and know who they are can go anywhere and like I said, can lead anybody anywhere. So I think that's what I wanted to stress about what I got out of this morning's line of speakers."

Aaron Miles:

"One of the concerns I had as well when I heard this morning's speakers was leadership. My concern is that in today's society, we have to teach our kids -- or there's this perception that we have to teach our kids -- how to be aggressive and get out there and do things, take initiative and direct people to do things in more of a military-type leadership. I was always brought up to always respect my elders and those characteristics to always be last in line or always offer your help, the humility, the things that servant leadership is really about in Indian Country sometimes don't mesh with the leadership in today's corporate world or whatever. So am I actually, when I teach my young kids, I have four kids, am I giving them a disadvantage if I don't teach them those ways? And so those are some of the daunting questions Indian people will be facing right now and in the future so who's leadership are we talking about and that's kind of where I'm coming from."

JoAnn Chase:

"That may be a very appropriate way to conclude our dialogue this afternoon. We are actually right at our time limit but this morning we had a chance to ask some questions and I encourage people in the audience, there's such great value and richness in the exchange that occurs to keep up the dialogue and ask the questions of the folks as we have a little bit more time together. But before we close this afternoon's session, does anybody have a particularly pressing question that they just need to ask before we let this panel go and move on along in the agenda?

We could be here all afternoon talking about some of these issues. These are great questions and again I appreciate the candor and the spirit of the dialogue among the panel. This will probably go...this is a question that raises some issues that need to continue to be talked about, not just a simple answer to a question but the kind of questions that we need to continue to raise and debate in our communities. And specifically, how do your programs address issues related to gender including sexism? I think it's a very provocative and important question and as I say, we need to continue to ask, and what is the distribution of leadership positions between men and women. So those issues of gender equity, certainly dealing with issues of sexism and probably added to that at some point important questions about racism both within our communities and the racism we face as well as various other -isms that are challenges to our communities. But in closing, does anybody want to talk about the gender issues with respect to their programs and within the leadership of their programs, whether it's excellent..."

Aaron Miles:

"We need more women in our leadership in Nez Perce."

JoAnn Chase:

"Anybody else have a response to that question? Bunny."

Bunny Jaakola:

"At Fond du Lac, unfortunately women are scarce in the leadership roles. The one position that's very important is the executive director in the structure that we have and that happens to be a female. However, it's my opinion that because the council members are all male, they see it easier to have a female in that position. So it's not...I don't really respect that and I'm wondering if you coordinators other than in nursing, the others are mostly male and the division directors are mostly male."

JoAnn Chase:

"Thank you for the question. Certainly those are important as I say questions that we need to raise. I again appreciate the candor of the panel discussion. I think if we don't raise the difficult questions sometimes and address them and talk frankly among ourselves, then they don't get addressed and the kinds of progress that we can make both within our programs and collectively is thwarted as a result of that. I also thank you, I've learned such a great amount in listening to each of you. We talked about some of the elements in terms of creating programs. We've talked about some of the elements in terms of sustaining programs and certainly one of those elements is the personalities involved and so each of you should be commended for your hard work and your personal commitment and dedication to really making a tremendous contribution not only within the tribe and your neighboring areas but collectively to the community as a whole."