Harvard Project "Honoring Nations" Symposium 2004

Honoring Nations: Miriam Jorgensen: Lessons to Take Home

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Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
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NNI Research Director Miriam Jorgensen concludes the 2004 Honoring Nations symposium with her impressions about the lessons learned from the convening, from the great diversity among Native nations to the great strides they are taking when they devise their own solutions to the challenges they face.

Native Nations
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Jorgensen, Miriam. "Lessons to Take Home." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 10, 2004. Presentation.

"I just want to say thank you to the previous speaker because he really...it's Rick George? I'm sorry, I was busily writing down all your notes and the name was like the thing up ahead. You just did a fantastic job of making a lot of the same kinds of summary points that I'd like to make. Even though you were thinking ahead to the future about how to continue on the success of programs, I just hope that everyone was really taking to heart a lot of the things that he was talking about, because they really scored deeply in my mind as things that were very important. So in a sense, I kind of feel like I'm kind of adding to your list or underscoring some of the same things that you were saying. I was asked to draw together some lessons that we've heard at this symposium and also to offer some more reflections, just to try to put a tie up on things.

And I think we all have probably some different ideas about what we've learned, the thing that we're walking away with that touched us the most, but I just wanted to start off with this observation. Boy, tribes are solving really tough problems, aren't they? These are not sort of little easy things that your programs are addressing, not little administrative fixes, not little 'let's take this small program and do this little change and things are going to be done.' You're addressing problems that are as big as the rights of Native people incarcerated in local, state and federal prison; preserving the rights of American Indians and Native nations to have the say over how remains are appropriately treated and reburied; the right to control land and water and other natural resources in ways that make sense. The programs that address really tough problems like children's safety, family violence, and problems that are very overarching, but hit at the core of what Native sovereignty means, like control over whether or not you get to run your own law enforcement department, because what more fundamental right is there in tribal government than to be the one that controls, who wields coercive force within your society? Should that be the federal government? No. And tribes are...and we've honored a program, the Gila River Police Department that took that on, that task. So these are tough problems.

And that leads me to one of the big lessons that I think comes out of what we've learned today: that in addressing these tough problems, there's clearly a lot that we can learn from each other. There are ways to figure out the way through the administrative maze of working with state departments or with the federal government or even going up to the international level when that's necessary. Things we can learn from each other about those administrative fixes or about particular strategies that apply sometimes across programs of different sorts, or when we have programs that are very similar to each other, there are definitely things to learn from each other. But there's also a sort of a parentheses at the end of that, and that's the notion that if you look around this room there's also tremendous diversity. And I think that's kind of the notion of saying, 'Yeah, we can learn a lot from each other, but sometimes what we learn from each other is how different we still are.'

I think there's this thing...and I do a lot of teaching about Native America to non-Natives and of course others have said this before, that one of the things that's the first reaction is, ‘Oh, my gosh! You mean there are still a lot of Native people in the United States?' And after that they say, ‘And of course they're all the same, right?' And you look around this room and say, ‘No, we're not.' We come from very different cultural traditions. We come from very different practices, very different histories. Some tribes have the Trail of Tears, others had no removal; some had no major battles, some had lots, some have a very modern history of struggle and fight. There's just a lot of differences out there, and I think in learning from each other about our programs, it's also acknowledging that difference and saying, ‘You do it that way and that's helping me understand how our way is different and we need to be different as well.' So I think there's lessons in difference as well, as much as there is to learn from similarities and things we can do the same.

One of the other big points that I walk away with -- and all of you who have been close to the Harvard Project for years or just learning about the Harvard Project may think that this is just one of the things that we trumpet all the time, but in hearing conferences and symposia like this, I think that we're getting it right: that you can't ever abandon this notion that tribal sovereignty, the sovereignty of Native nations and the issues of self-determination and self-governance just stand above all in a lot of these programs. And you can just hear it in the strains of how important that is in the way the programs are implemented and the actions that the leaders are taking to make those programs work.

But I think another...and a reflection and something I've heard in listening to the breakouts and listening to the speakers is that the notion that that battle for sovereignty just never ends. And I think it was somebody yesterday who talked about being wary of complacency, that you may feel like you've gotten to a point where things are successful or that battle is won, but I'm reflecting on something that the gentleman Edward [Wemytewa], whose last name I'm not going to pronounce correctly, who's the Zuni Eagle Sanctuary representative said to us, ‘You know, we have to fight that battle all the time because the personnel change and sometimes memories are short. Even our own memories change and we have to keep at the forefront what our battle is for -- it's for our rights and our sovereignty,' and that's just something that keeps going as a lesson throughout as well.

Sort of a sub-piece of that, and this again is to tie into what Rick George said, is that one of the very important pieces, and kind of picking up on what, you know, the reactions I heard to Myron's [Brown] talk yesterday and some of the things that Greg Mendoza said this morning, is that one of the ways to keep fighting that battle is to really train the youth, be they on-reservation youth, off-reservation youth, folks who are really engaged or folks who are not yet engaged, is to teach them about tribal government, about the rights of American Indian people, and to have them be ready to hold that banner forward as well.

The next point -- and this is just a quick one because it's already been covered well by Mr. George -- this is the one where I was thinking, ‘Hey, this is exactly what I was going to say,' is the notion of leadership. Julie Wilson talked about this this morning a little bit, how she said there's leadership in every place. She said that was what struck her, somebody coming from the outside, looking at Indian Country, not thinking about it very much before, is how the leadership of the Honoring Nations programs emerged from lots of different places. When we think about the safety program that the Mississippi Choctaw have put together, one of the things there is that this emerged from just activists, community activists. It's the same with a program we honored several years ago, the White Earth suicide intervention program. These are not people who are already engaged in tribal government, but activists that bubbled up from within the community. Other times it's a tribal bureaucrat who says things can operate differently or somebody like Greg who was out of government, just a youth who said, ‘We need to change the system.' So leadership is everywhere and honoring that, reacting to it, providing a means for them to move forward is just an important piece too.

The last thing I want to say, and if anything this is the thing that I felt this symposium did really well and that Amy [Besaw Medford] really needs to be honored for and those who really worked with her on that, is that one of our goals in all of this is to create an environment where we can learn from each other and I think that happened. I think that this has been a place where, and I'm going to use a really sort of Harvard Business School kind of word I guess, the 'network' word, but I think we've done more than network. I think what we've done is expanded our circle of friends. Manley Begay earlier in the day was saying to me, I said, 'how do you like those sessions, Manley?' And maybe I'm telling tales out of school, but he said, ‘I've just been having trouble getting to the sessions, Miriam, because I've just been talking to so many really interesting people about great programs and learning a lot about them and expanding our teaching skills and thinking about stuff that we ought to be looking into and making more friends and renewing old friendships.' And I said, ‘Manley, I know what you mean.' And I walked away from that and I kept looking around going people are really engaging with each other. If they didn't know each other before, they're introducing themselves to each other, they're renewing old friendships and they're even getting together with their group that they came with and said, ‘Oh, I just talked to so and so and I learned about this.' That is great. That's what we wanted to do. And that, I think, is more than networking because networking to me kind of implies I'm going to get out my pack of business cards and I'm going to hand it out to people because I'm going to say to them, ‘What are you going to do for me? Are you going to get me a job? Are you going to get me a connection?' But this is networking among friends. It's expanding that circle of friends so that when we walk out of here we know lots of people who do very interesting things that can help us and the tribal communities that you work with certainly, but there are also support systems and colleagues and people to share joys with -- people who care about us personally, about our professional careers, and about the Native nations that you serve. And I think to that extent this symposium has been very successful and helpful and something that I'll definitely remember.

So those are the lessons and reflections that I offer and I just want to send you off with that spirit of positiveness and hope that you've gotten that joy out of this symposium like I have."

Honoring Nations: Manley Begay: Reflections on the Day

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Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
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Harvard Project on American Development Co-Director Manley A. Begay, Jr. synthesizes the learning that took place during the first day of the 2004 Honoring Nations symposium, focusing on the nation-building success stories chronicled during the day as testaments to and reflections of Indigenous self-determination.

Native Nations
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Begay, Jr., Manley A. "Reflections on the Day." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 11, 2004. Presentation.

"Thank you for the introduction and for sharing today with me. As I think about today, it's been a very good day. A lot of good discussions, good thoughts being expressed, and old friendships renewed and new friendships made. And all in all it's been a very good day. And as Amy mentioned, I am Navajo. I come from Tuba City by way of Wheatfields. Wheatfields is north of Window Rock about 50 miles. And my clans are Maii deeshgiizhinii -- that's my clan, Coyote Pass Clan. And I'm born for Tachiinii, the Red-Running-Into-the-Water People. And my maternal grandfather is Lokaa Dine'e, the Reed People. And my paternal grandfather is Todichiinii, Bitter Water People. So that's who I am as a Navajo person. And up to the year 2000, I had the great pleasure and honor of working with Joe Kalt here at Harvard. And since then, I've been stationed at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where I serve as a senior lecturer for the American Indian Studies Program, and also serve as Director for the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management and Policy, and the Native Nations Institute is a sister organization to the Harvard Project. And since then I've been working with Stephen Cornell, who directs the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, the other partner in crime.

And Andrew Lee asked me to talk a little bit about, before I begin to talk, a little bit about this particular logo. This logo is something that I began working on when Joe was really young. Now he's getting old and gray. And so this is sort of an art project I started working on. And when I finally came up with the design, a good friend John Thornier got together with me and he has the talent of working computers and the Mac program and all that, and he basically perfected this design. And this particular logo is really about power and strength. It's really about vision. It's really about unity and a sense of direction. And you can see that the eagle is in the center. And you know what the eagle means to many of us as Native people; it's the source of strength, it's a source of vision, and it's really sort of the centerpiece of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. And you'll see a number of feathers that go around, which represents Native nations throughout Indian country. And around that you'll see a hoop, and that hoop signifies unity and togetherness. And there's a sinew that wraps around that particular hoop. And sinew is really, I believe represents sovereignty, it really represents this sense of strength. The old ones would say that we should be like deer hide, fine deer hide, and that particular deer hide could be used for bows and arrows and it's very, very strong, yet at the same time it's flexible and it's soft and it can be tender. And so it really has these elements of both -- sort of strength, protection, yet at the same time one of tenderness and softness and flexibility. So that particular sinew wraps around that hoop and really signifies togetherness, strength, sovereignty. And that makes up this particular emblem. And obviously the four eagle feathers represents the four directions, the four winds.

You know, sitting here today and going into a few of the sessions, I've been asked to sort of reflect on this, this day. And, you know, I can't help but also recognize that I have relatives here and family members here as well, many of whom I respect highly. And it's really quite an honor also to be in their presence and to know that they are from not only Navajo country, but also from Indian Country at-large. At the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona, I share a joint duty with Joan Timeche. I'm not sure where Joan is at. She's probably at Harvard Square. No, Joan's back there. Joan and I run the show to the best of our abilities. And Joan comes from the Hopi Nation. And it is not true that Hopis and Navajos don't get along. We get along. I just follow what she says.

You know, not too long ago, we were being controlled by the federal government -- and Anthony Pico talks a bit about this -- and we were being controlled by the federal government through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. State governments and other entities also controlled us to a large extent. We were dictated to about how to govern and how to run programs and how to live. In our travels -- Joe Kalt, Steve Cornell and I -- we ran across a tribal chairman at one point in time that said, 'You know, I remember when, as a tribal chairman, before we could even make a decision I had to lean over to the BIA superintendent right next to me, get his permission before the council could vote.' Clearly somebody else was in power, not our own leaders. And this was occurring only a few years ago. It's not like it occurred decades and decades and decades ago. It just occurred recently.

Then things began to change at the urging, sometimes strongly, by the National Congress of American Indians, by the American Indian Movement, by the National Indian Youth Council, and many other organizations as strong leaders throughout Indian Country. And this really occurred on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, movements that also included the Brown Berets, the Black Panthers and others. This was a time of change in the United States socially, and music began to change, people began to question, you know, 'Who are the Beatles, you know, who are the Rolling Stones, who's Bob Dylan?' And these were folks that were in the limelight. You know, peace and love were stressed amidst the Vietnam War. It was a time of upheaval for some. It was a time of needed change for others. For Native peoples, it was a time for needed change, a change from poverty and control, and we wanted to move toward a better life and freedom. And this same tribal chairman told us a short time later, 'You know, I found a bit of strength, and with this strength I told the BIA superintendent sitting next to me, 'Well, I really don't want you to sit by me anymore, I want you to move to the end of the table.' And so he moved to the end of the table.'

And I was just a young man at that time and, you know, somewhat in awe of the American Indian Movement. And their message was really a message of sovereignty at all costs. You know, I traveled at that time to Pine Ridge, to Flagstaff, Arizona to the [Childs?] Ranch, which is outside of Ajo, Arizona and protested the injustices that were occurring, the mistreatment that Indian people were going through. And these events were all part of the events like the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] takeover in Washington, D.C., Wounded Knee II, the burning of the Custer Courthouse, and the taking over of the Richardson Trading Post in Gallup, New Mexico, and many other events like that. It began to change the tide of people's thinking. I even had the distinct pleasure and honor of going to Coachella Valley at one point in time and actually siding with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. What these events did was begin to change the mentality of many Native peoples from being subjugated to thinking more freely, to thinking about freedom. Remember, this is in the world's greatest nation. This is in the world's wealthiest nation. This is in the country that touts democracy and freedom as the pinnacle of civilization.

There really was a change from some outsiders deciding how we should live to the right to determine our own destinies. It was a change from the one-model-fits-all that was being perpetuated by the federal government to the right to think independently according to our own diverse cultural teachings, from an outsiders, making mistakes and not being accountable to less making our own mistakes and learning from them, from being told how we should govern to designing our own constitutions and governments. This same tribal chairman that had moved the BIA superintendent to the end of the table now was even more courageous. He said to us, he said, 'At times, you know, we're dealing with issues that we don't want the BIA to know about.' So he said, 'I finally told the BIA superintendent we don't really want you in here at this moment, so could you please leave?' And he left.

So you can see the change that occurred ever so slowly, but significant nevertheless. We are currently in the midst of a political resurgence. Finally, and over 500 years, we as Native peoples are in a position to determine our own futures with programs designed by us, not by an outside agency or person. It is in this context that we are seeing these Honoring Nation's programs. It is in this context we have wonderful uplifting stories from Lummi, Chickasaw, Menominee, Zuni, Chickaloon, Navajo, Tulalip, Gila River, Viejas. These stories are a long time coming. They are a testament to resilience of the human spirit, ushering in of justice against tremendous odds. They are a testament to the power of the human will. They are also a testament to the gifts of strength given to us by our elders, by the land, by the mountains, by the rivers, by fire, by rocks, by animals. Lastly, these programs are gifts to those yet unborn. These programs should be our gifts to those yet unborn. I look forward to the time with our young ones. Those yet unborn will say, 'I'm so glad my leaders developed those programs. My life is richer because of their wise decisions and sound management.'

I do, however, offer one word of caution. We should not become complacent with our successes. Vigilance is key, because our sovereignty is neither secure nor absolute, and poverty, poor housing, and other social ills are still with us. So the fight continues through assertion of sovereignty, with the building of culturally appropriate capable institutions of self-governance. And with good leadership may we all continue to remain strong and creative. May we continue to be vigilant in the things that we do. Thank you."

Honoring Nations: Mary Jo Bane: Preventive Health in Brazil

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Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
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Harvard professor Mary Jo Bane frames the session "Building Great Programs in a Political Setting" with an intriguing case study of a preventive health care initiative in Brazil, illustrating that effective program management can be achieved even in a highly political governance environment.

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Native Nations
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Bane, Mary Jo. "Preventive Health in Brazil." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 10, 2004. Presentation.

"Well, I'm delighted to be here with you this afternoon. Thank you for having me. What I thought I would do to start off our discussion this afternoon is talk through with you a case that I teach in my course on Strategic Management in the Public Sector. And I like this case because it is a case about a project that should not have succeeded, but it is a project that did succeed and from its success, I think that there are some very important lessons to be learned about program design, but even more importantly about management and about managing in a political environment. So what I'll do is describe the case, talk through some of the ideas about it, make a few general comments as a result of it, and then we'll move on to the other presentations in this session. What I'm going to talk about is a preventive health program that was run in Ceara, Brazil and this program is described by the political scientist Judith Tendler in a book, which I think is very good and if you find this interesting, you may want to look at the book. Her book is called Good Government in the Tropics and it's a set of cases about successful programs run in this part of Brazil and her analysis of why they were successful.

As I said, the interesting thing about this program is that it should not have worked. Any self-respecting management consultant, any self-respecting bureaucrat from the World Bank would have told the State of Ceara that this would never work. Now, why would they have said that this program would never work? This program was a program which hired 7,300 unskilled workers, sent them out into villages to do preventive health work with rather little supervision in a context where there was a history of corruption, where there was a history of clientelism, of patronage, of government workers abusing their power and abusing their authority, and a place in which there was a context of government workers -- shall we say -- not being particularly dedicated to their job. And the World Bank bureaucrat would have said, 'In this kind of a context, you should never...this kind of a program should never work. These people are not likely to perform their jobs; they're likely to get caught up in the patronage system, they're likely to engage in corruption, they're likely to do harm, they're likely to slack off. What you should do is privatize and have some competition in this program and make sure that the jobs of the workers are extremely well defined and that they are extremely well supervised.' That's not how this program worked. It should have failed, but it didn't fail, and it didn't fail according to some pretty important measures.

The program was started because the health situation in this particular part of Brazil was very poor. It continues to be very poor. The health indicators in this part of Brazil were very bad, very high infant mortality rates, very low immunization rates for children, very poor access for the citizens to preventive health programs and to health professionals, but after a couple of years of this program, infant mortality had dropped by 50 percent, immunization rates among children had tripled, and all of the people in this area now had access to doctors and to clinics. So why was it that this program succeeded where the predictions would have been that it should not have succeeded? Judith Tendler gives her own analysis of it in her book. My take on the success of this program is that it succeeded because the program incorporated some very interesting and important and innovative ways of structuring accountability, of building in accountability mechanisms in a way that was very different from the standard way.

Okay, what's the standard accountability paradigm when we think about a government program? How do we think about the mechanisms of accountability? How do we think about making sure that the folks who are employed by government actually do what they are supposed to do? Well, the standard way of thinking about accountability -- I would say -- is a way of thinking about accountability that looks like this: the elected officials instruct the state bureaucrats, the state bureaucrats instruct and oversee the supervisors in the program, the supervisors oversee the workers in the program, and the workers deliver services to the clients. To the extent there is accountability from the citizens in the course of the program, it's a very indirect form of accountability. The standard way we think about accountability in government programs is that the citizens elect the elected officials who then instruct the state bureaucrats who then instruct supervisors, who then instruct the workers, who then deliver the services to the clients. That's the standard way that we think about accountability.

And if you just think about this for a minute in the context of a preventive health program, you can see why you might predict that this kind of a structure wouldn't work. We've got a few state bureaucrats -- we've probably got a lot of state bureaucrats, but relative to the number of workers really, very few state bureaucrats -- who sit in the state capital, have 7,300 unskilled workers who are working basically in the homes of 850,000 citizens. They're basically working in rural villages, they're visiting homes, they're doing things in their villages and they're acting very autonomously because they have to. They're out in the middle of nowhere delivering the services that they're meant to deliver. There are 235 supervisors who are supervising the 7,300 workers and if you think about that and you think about the context, you can understand how supervision could not be close and direct. So that's why people said this is not going to succeed and indeed, one would not expect it to. But it turned out that as the program was being structured, a number of features of the program were developed that modified this accountability paradigm in some very interesting ways.

Now, I have to say when I talk about this case sometimes students ask, 'Did they really plan this? Did they really think through all these ideas in the way they designed the program?' And the honest answer to that question is no. Some of these things they did for political reasons, they did because it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned out working in a very interesting way and let me explain two pieces of it.

One way in which this program ended up modifying this standard accountability paradigm is that it developed in the workers, it developed in these unskilled, not particularly well-educated workers, a sense of dedication, a sense of professionalism, and a sense of pride such that I would say that these workers held themselves accountable in very important ways. Now, how did they do that? How did they develop in the workers a sense of professionalism and pride? There were a couple of things. And as I said, not all of these were completely planned out, not all of them were thought through as they were designing the program, but one thing the state bureaucrats did -- and if I'm being honest I have to say the reason they did this was that they wanted to enhance their own political prestige -- but one of the things that they did is that they gave this program an enormous amount of publicity. Everywhere you went, there were ads, there were radio programs, there was a real communication campaign saying to people in the villages, 'Your children are dying. Your children are sick. It shouldn't happen. Our infant mortality rates are too high. Our sickness rates are too high. We shouldn't put up with that and we're going to do something about it.' State bureaucrats thought, 'Yeah, that'll be good for us because now we're doing something important,' but what effect did that have on the workers? Part of the effect it had on the workers is to make them realize that they were part of something really important, that they were working for a program, working in support of a mission, that was important to their own families, to their own neighborhoods, to the whole State of Ceara, and that sense of working for something important gave them a sense of pride and a sense of commitment. The state also publicized any successes in the program and this was a program where there was actually a good likelihood that there would be successes because this was a program where there were some relatively easy things that could be done that could help improve health outcomes: dehydration treatments for kids, immunizations, pre-natal care -- all that kind of thing. And so they were able to publicize successes, they did that very regularly, and the workers gained from that a sense of pride. So that was one way in which they did it.

Another way in which they instilled a sense of dedication and professionalism was through the hiring process that they set up. I'm going to describe this hiring process. This is going to sound horrifying to you, okay? I'm going to warn you ahead of time. You're going to think, 'This is the most horrible hiring process I have ever heard of!' I'm going to describe it and then I'm going to tell you what effect it had. They decided that they were going to do a merit hiring process, that they were going to take applications from people and they were going to interview them and then they were going to choose the workers for this program as a result of their performance in the interviews. They got lots and lots of applications because even they were only paying the minimum wage in this poor part of Brazil, this was a good wage and people wanted it and people had their neighbors helping them to fill out the applications and so on. Then they held the interviews in public. They sent the folks to do the interviews of the workers in a public setting. And Tendler describes how they would be doing these interviews and there would be people looking in the windows and listening to the interview and watching the interview that was going on, and the people who were interviewing, they were pretty scared, and all of this was going on in public. And as a result of that they did it. Well, what people were hearing as they listened to these interviews were a couple of things. First of all, they were hearing the interviewer say how important this job was. Secondly, they heard the interviewer say, 'If you get this job you should be really proud because there are lots of applicants, and this is a very selective hiring process.' And then they heard the interviewer say, 'There are some requirements for the job, which you absolutely have to follow: you have to live in the village where you're working, you have to work eight hours a day, you have to visit every family once a month, and you may not distribute political information for anyone.' Those things are clear; everyone in the community heard that, everyone in the community heard those things. What did that mean? It had a couple of effects. One of the effects it had was that it, again, enhanced the sense of pride of the workers who were hired through this process, that they had indeed come through an important selection process. It also meant that the people who weren't hired and the citizens in the community knew what the requirements of the job were and kind of had their eyes on these people, so that was an important piece. The merit hiring process -- the way it was conducted -- was a very important part of leading to worker dedication.

They did a couple of other things in terms of enhancing professionalism and worker dedication that were very important. One was they provided the workers with three months of training to be health agents and to be health aides and they provided the workers with continuing training as they were doing their jobs, continuing training and professional education. Now, it turns out that many of the workers left these health agent jobs and went to work for hospitals or went to the city to work for health organizations and so on. So some people said, 'Gee, you're wasting this training because people aren't using it here for this job,' but they were smart enough to realize two things. They were smart enough to realize that that training that they were providing was really important to this piece of the equation, they also said to themselves, 'Gee, if we've got some better trained health professionals in the other sectors of the health system that's not so bad.' And that was a real incentive for the workers who, as I said, weren't being paid all that much, but knew that they had some prospects for mobility and that they were getting the training that they need. So that was another aspect of how they increased professional pride and responsibility. They also allowed the workers -- and to some extent they did this because they didn't have much choice, they couldn't supervise them closely -- but they allowed the workers to expand their jobs in a couple of different ways. They allowed the workers to do very minimal curative-type health work as well as preventive work, you know, putting Band-Aids on, taking sutures out, giving people aspirin, pretty simple stuff, but it was the kind of thing that allowed the workers to do something quickly for a family and therefore to be able to get the confidence of the family in order to do some of the more preventive kinds of things. Again, not something you might normally think about doing, they did it pretty much because they couldn't supervise them that closely, but it turned out to be very important. The workers also took the initiatives in generating public health programs in the community and also took the initiative in helping families in other ways.

So all of these pieces of the program led to a sense of dedication and worker pride that meant that the workers were in many ways monitoring themselves in the same way that professionals did, but from what I said about the hiring process, you can also see that there was another accountability mechanism that was very, very important that supplemented the professionalism of the workers in a way that if they were tempted to do some of the things that people were afraid of, they knew that somebody was watching. And the way it worked was because of the way the hiring process worked, the citizens and the rejected applicants knew what the requirements were for the job, and the citizens and the rejected applicants had information channels directly to the workers and directly to their supervisors and were able to communicate back when someone wasn't doing their job. Turned out they also communicated back when things were going well, when they thought the worker was doing a really good job. And that feedback mechanism, the direct framework mechanism from clients, and in this case rejected applicants to supervisors and workers, turned out to be extremely important. So what you had then in this program was an accountability paradigm, which supplemented the regular one with another arrow, which had some different relationships between the state and the citizen through which the state provided lots of information, lots of publicity, and lots of openness to enable the citizens to supervise. And so the accountability paradigm was supplemented in these various ways. I think there were some other things that probably contributed to the success of this program. I think there was probably some just dumb luck involved. I mean it was a program that was ripe to succeed. There was also a set of relationships between the state and the municipalities, which I haven't talked about because it was pretty complicated and I think not so essential to the success of the program, because what I think really was important was these different ways of getting accountability for workers who were basically unskilled workers.

So let me just close by making a couple of comments about general lessons from this case. It's interesting: usually when I teach this case, I teach it as part of a section in which I also teach a case about an agency in Sweden, which put into place a lot of teamwork, a lot of job enlargement, a lot of autonomy for relatively low-skilled workers and was very successful. And when I teach that case, first the students usually say, 'Well Sweden, of course it'll work in Sweden. Everything's wholesome in Sweden. Nobody steals anything. Everything works really well. So you know it'll work in Sweden, but it won't work any place else.' So when they say that, then I almost immediately try to teach this case about Brazil because Brazil is not Sweden. It's not Sweden in a lot of different ways. And then they say well, 'It'll only work in some place where you can't pay very good salaries and...'

So I actually think there are some real generalizable lessons here that one can learn about how to manage programs within government structures, within public structures in a way that can make them successful. And I think one lesson is not to underestimate the possibility, not to underestimate the potential, of even unskilled workers to act in ways that show professionalism, that show dedication, that show a real involvement in their job. That can especially be the case when the mission is indeed compelling, but that can be helped by the use of publicity, the use of information, the use of merit hiring, and the use of job expansion. So that's one lesson that I draw. A second lesson that I draw -- which I believe is generalizable and I think that you can find this in a variety of cases -- is that there are some accountability mechanisms, which involve the community and the citizens and the clients in direct ways, not indirectly through voting for elected officials and then blah, blah, blah, but directly in being able to report on, to correct and give praise and so on for the work of the workers.

So I would leave you just to think about this case and think about whether perhaps some of these lessons about worker dedication, about ways to enhance it, and about accountability mechanisms might be generalizable in some of the situations in which you work. Thank you."

Honoring Nations: Myron Brown: Akimel O'odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Former President Myron Brown discusses how the Akimel O'odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council is an example of building a great program in a political setting, and shares how Gila River youth are having their political voice heard through this innovative leadership development mechanism.

People
Resource Type
Citation

Brown, Myron. "Akimel O'odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 10, 2004. Presentation.

"'Building Great Programs in a Political Setting' is what I would like to present to you today. Youth have always have had the disadvantage of being both young and inexperienced in getting both their voice and needs recognized and heard. To engage in this type of dialogue at the tribal level [can be frustrating]. What has developed over the past 16 years is a series of interlocking programs and activities. These have provided the youth with a series of long and hard engagement within the world. This engagement has allowed the youth of Gila River to both understand and appreciate the efforts of working in a political setting. The following is a brief summary of the programs and the activities provided to 'Building Great Programs in a Political Setting,' and this program gives a basis by which to operationalize the following activities for hands-on engagement of active participants in the political setting.

One of our main programs that the Gila River Youth Council hosts every year is the Gila River Close Up Program, which started in 1998. This annual event explores the rights and responsibilities of tribal members' involvement in American and tribal government. The Gila River Close Up is an educational and leadership project for high school community youth to promote participation in government process. Now, with this program we usually...it's an intense two-day gathering within the...we invite, I think, 50 students from the community to participate in this program. And we host it. It's at a hotel; it's a two-day gathering. And that, within those two days the kids learn about our tribal government, the three branches of our government: legislative, judicial, executive. What we recently found out through Andrew Lee is that this is actually, the Close Up Program, Gila River is the very first, the Youth Council is the very first to focus a Close Up program on the tribal government and not on the state government. So that's one good thing, because our children, our kids in the community know a lot about the state government, the federal government and how it works, but they're not too familiar with the tribal government. It's a whole different thing, how our tribal government works. And then so...and during this two-day gathering, we invite a speaker from the state or the federal government. Speakers include Representative Cheryl Chase, Pete Rios, just like our tribal government, like our tribal leaders, people like that, people who influence our community. And within the two-day gathering, they get to travel to the courts and they have a mock trial. And so it's really interesting and the kids get to learn a lot about the community and the government.

Another program that we have is the Gila River Kids Voting Program, which the Gila River Kids Voting Project features specially designed curricular for grades K-12, and culminates with the community youth accompanying parents to the voting place on Tribal Election Day to cast their ballot in simulated election. The purpose is to instill lifelong habits in youth and boost voter turnout among future adults. Now, another thing is since this is a critical time, the Tribal Election is coming, the state election is here, the federal election is here, and so we're getting ready for the general election. And with that the kids get to vote. They get to vote for the president, they get to vote for state representatives, and it's simulated. And so the gig is they have to bring their parents along with them so they can vote, which is a cool thing because the kids want to vote. The kids, 'I want to vote.' And so the thing is they have to bring their parents with them. And our Tribal Election Department credits the kids voting for bringing a seven-percent increase in voter turnout in our community. And with that we have seven tribal schools, and so the youth population in the Gila River Community, the population in the community is almost 20,000, and the youth make up over 50 percent of that. So we're also the first tribe of the nation to have kids voting at a tribal, state and national election level. And so with that, the 2005 election is coming up, and so we're getting ready for that. And that's really a good thing. So we're just getting really ready for this election, the kids are excited. I actually work the voting polls, and this past primary election our state had, kids started coming and showing up. And the kids voting...it's not until the general election that the kids voting starts. And so kids were like, 'Can I vote?' I'm like, 'Aw. Yes, you can vote in the general, but please remember, bring your Mommy and Daddy, you know.' And so that's another influential program that the Youth Council offers.

Another, our next program, as you've seen in the video, a lot of that was with our Gila River Youth Conference. The Gila River Youth Conference is held annually for community youth and draws an average of 500 youth. An intense two-day gathering of addressing the issues rose during the year with regards to input from tribal leaders and recommendation to tribal leaders. During this time, changes to policies and procedures may be raised, new officers may be elected, and the direction of the council may be set for the upcoming year. This activity promotes youth leadership and communication while building confidence and self-esteem. Over this past summer, we just had our, we just celebrated our 16th Annual Youth Conference, and it was at our brand-new Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort. And so the focus for this year, we thought it best, we focused on diabetes seeing as though Gila River Indian Community is rated number one in the nation for high diabetes. And so the Youth Council thought, 'Well, let's do our conference on, you know, health,' which was, and we got a great turnout this year. We invited our hospitals, we invited our community leaders, we had a health panel, and the hospital did a, what do you call it, it was like a fair, like a hospital fair, you know, they had the X-ray department, they had the dental department. A lot of the kids who want to be, you know, maybe kids who want to be future dentists or doctors, you know, a lot of kids liked the booths. And so that was really good. There was a really good turnout in the workshops that we had, workshops such as, you know, dealing with health issues. Most of the workshops we had were, had to do with health. And so it ended. And well, we got a good turnout. Some have even called it the best youth conference ever. So I was really excited with the youth conference.

And not only with the youth conference do we talk about future issues, it's also whenever we elect new officers for the Youth Council. And with that, on one of the days we send all the youth to, our community is composed of seven districts, almost like political districts. And so the youth from their respective districts would go into these separate rooms, district one through seven. And then so we'd have the leaders...like I'm District One, so I would lead the room. And since my term will be ending, you know, you'd address the youth, any of the youth who want to participate in the Youth Council, they'd nominate themselves or declare themselves candidates. And so with that they go through a process, they go through a caucus, they go through speeches, and then they go through the vote. And it's the youth of the community that vote them in the office. It's the youth of our community that vote us into office. And so, and then the results come back within the last day. We usually have dances every night for the young people and the results come in the last day, 'So and so, you're declared our District One candidate.' So that's how we develop our Youth Council, is through our youth conferences.

And closing with my presentation, as a result of the Honoring Nations 2002 study, these are the lessons that they concluded with: statements about the importance of tribal youth should be backed by concrete investments in their development. For example, tribal leaders can facilitate the establishment of youth councils, host, fund and participate in youth activities and events, and encourage you to participate in national organizations. These and other investments inspire youth to make a positive difference in the community and build up the pool for future leaders. With appropriate training and organizational support, youth can make meaningful contributions to tribal government, they can offer input into the issues affecting their peers, provide guidance and feedback in policy formation, and serve as effective spokespeople for the tribe. Like tribal governments, tribal youth councils require good organization, by-laws, staggered terms, a code of ethics, election rules, and clear processes for decision-making are institutional ingredients for success. So with that, that is the conclusion of my presentation. I'm open to any questions, you know, later on. So if you guys see me just holler or something."

Amy Besaw Medford:

"Does anybody have any questions right now? I can pass the microphone around."

Audience member:

"Are you open to invitations from anybody like us? We would like you, representatives of the Youth Council to come to our community to visit us."

Myron Brown:

"Can you say that again, please?"

Audience member:

"Are you open to invitations from communities all around the country? Like we would like one or two of your representatives to come and talk to our youth in our schools."

Myron Brown:

"Exactly. We're open to anything like that. Did I hear it right or what? I hope so. I think. I hope I heard what you said. But we get a lot of invitations from different youth around the country, youth who want to form organizations just like our Youth Council. Everywhere we go, you know, we always meet new people, and they're always fascinated by our program and they want to form something like this in their community. And so just get in contact with us. I have a business card if you've like more information about our youth council and how it got started. So, yeah."

Amy Besaw Medford:

"Does anybody have any questions for Chairman Pico or for Professor Mary Jo Bane or Myron Brown?

Audience member:

"I have a question for the speaker. Are things changing? You said traditionally, elders...oh, I'm sorry. I was talking to the Youth Council person. I'm embarrassed. OK, let me start over. I'm sorry. What I was going to ask is are things changing at Gila River? Are the elders now making a place for the youth? I mean it sounds like you've carved out your own."

Myron Brown:

"Yeah."

Audience member:

"But are they now looking to you for answers to some of the pressing issues there?"

Myron Brown:

"Well, we're always involved with our elderly nowadays. I mean we invite them to our youth conferences. This past youth conference, a lot of elderly came. They had so much fun. They danced with, sometimes they will dance with us, we'd have a good time with them. So to answer your question, yeah, we're involved with our elderly now. They have opened up a lot. They have pretty much adapted to our Youth Council, and so we're very thankful and we look up them, and so if that answers your question."

Audience member:

"It's more of a comment than a question. After today's presentation, I began to reflect a little bit about what's happening at Lummi. We have the Lummi Cedar Project, which is a youth initiative. We have a youth leadership program in place where they're looking at starting to serve as voting members on our nine commissions that we have in advisory capacities to the council. And after hearing the presentation today, I can tell you there's a national movement and is not limited to just Indian Country. I wanted to close my comment out with saying that I have every bit of confidence that Indian Country is going to be in good hands."

Myron Brown:

"Thank you."

Amy Besaw Medford:

"One more."

Audience member:

"I also, just to applaud the amazing things you're doing with the new community, and sort of to follow-up on the, I guess the question about the elders is the next question is, is within the tribal governance and leadership, is it the intention to be able to also have a voice there, or do you have a voice?"

Myron Brown:

"We do have a voice there. It's a formal voice. The Tribal Council is always asking us questions. They always want our input, which is a good thing because it never used to happen before 1987. It never was like that. Like Greg [Mendoza] and his friends, it was never like that. That's why we formed the Youth Council. Now that we're formally recognized as a youth council, the Tribal Council now make some kind of recommendations. Like an example, the Cardinals stadium that was coming into our community, it was a big issue for our community. And so the Tribal Council said, 'Well, why don't you guys ask our youth about it, ask our youth how they feel. What do they think about this big thing coming into our community? So the head from the Cardinals actually came to our youth council, made a presentation, and was giving out freebies trying to really, you know, trying to really go for that 'yes' vote. And of course, giving out footballs and all the good stuff. And so, yeah, I mean it's a good thing. The Tribal Council has always...we have a voice there. We also present matters to the Tribal Council. Like at our youth conference, we go into like unity circles and we basically develop problems. It's usually something, since our last conference was about health we talked about issues in health, why is everybody diabetic? Kids post some really good questions, and so at the end of the conference those questions are then tabulated into a report and it goes before Tribal Council. And they get to see what we talk about, and maybe changes can happen from there. So those are just some of the good things that the Tribal Council has done for us. And it's a bonding thing, we're all one."

Honoring Nations: Miriam Jorgensen: Using Your Human and Financial Resources Wisely

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

NNI Research Director Miriam Jorgensen kicks off the 2004 Honoring Nations symposium with a discussion focused on "Using Your Human and Financial Resources Wisely," In her presentation, she frames key issues and highlights the ways that successful tribal government programs have attracted talent, invested in employees' skills, obtained and managed financial resources, etc.

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Citation

Jorgensen, Miriam. "Using Your Human and Financial Resources Wisely." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 10, 2004. Presentation.

"My name is Miriam Jorgenson, and I'm the research director of the Harvard Project of American Indian Economic Development, and also the associate director of research for our sister program, the Native Nations Institute, which is at the University of Arizona. Just by round of introduction, I grew up in a town called Vermillion, South Dakota, and it was an interesting time to be growing up there. I'm now almost 40 years old, and I say that with a little bit of embarrassment, but during my young childhood one of the earliest events that I remember was Wounded Knee II. And it was a really interesting time to be growing up in a university town, which was sort of a mixture of both Indian and white politics, and liberalism and populism, and things like that. A lot of excitement, and it got me charged up at a really young age about American Indian affairs and American Indian issues. What a big motivating event, and I'm very honored and glad to be working for the Harvard Project, to be able to still be involved in these issues, and still on what really is the cutting edge of American Indian policymaking in the United States.

Well, this general assembly is about 'Using Human and Financial Resources Wisely.' Now, it is almost a dry topic to start off an incredibly exciting symposium with. But I think it's an important topic to begin with, because as we look across all the winning programs, 16 programs in each of four years -- I don't know, can I do the math that fast? -- 64 winning programs, and if we look across, the applicants that were extremely successful, but didn't rise that high. When you look at the things that they share in their success, and you think about our five criteria and what leads to marking high on those five criteria, using human and financial resources well is something that really helps programs succeed. It's what helps them live on and become sustainable, it's what helps them have good effectiveness, and things like that. And so I think although it seems, in some senses, a dry topic, it's really at the core of what makes these programs succeed. I want to just highlight a few points about what I think it means to manage human and financial resources wisely that we've learned from these programs through observation. Some of these are more universal. They're not just about Indian Country. And in that sense, I'm going to turn to our presenters in the second half of this presentation -- our representatives from the Lummi Nation and from the Chickasaw Nation -- to give us more specific, on-the-ground examples of how these things are being applied in Indian Country in a Native way.

But to start with human resources, I wanted to relay a story that Joe Kalt was telling to me last night. You know that this is our second symposium of our learning that we get out of the Honoring Nations programs. Our first one was three years ago in Santa Fe. And Joe said, 'do you remember how when we were sort of trying to ask the participants, 'what makes your program a good program? Give us some feedback and ideas about what is it in your mind, as program managers and administrators, that makes your program succeed.' He said, 'every answer we heard was some version of, good people. Good, committed people is what makes our programs go.' I think that's absolutely true, and I want to explore that a little bit more. How is it that you get good people and manage those people well, so that you're getting the most out of them? I think that one of things we've learned from looking at Honoring Nations is that you start with really good, raw material. You recruit great people to these programs or you develop good people in them; sometimes it's a little of each.

On the recruitment side, we're seeing, sort of three different things occurring. One is, recruitment of, by happenstance sometimes, having the best person for the job being the founder of the program, or being in the community, who can really run it, get it going, draw other people to them. Those are sort of those lucky circumstances where you have the best person for the job right there, ready to take the reins. In other situations --and I think this is particularly true when we're talking about some of the programs that have extremely technical elements or certain specific skill elements, where there has to be some recruitment from the outside -- I'm thinking about some of our natural resource management programs, like the Columbia River Fish and Wildlife program, the Umatilla Basin...the Salmon Recovery Project, even things like the Gila River Police Department, where there are specialized skills, where there is recruitment from the outside. And by outside, I'm thinking of two different things, where you're recruiting your own tribal members, who may not be actively engaged within the tribe and the tribe's mission at the time, encouraging them somehow to come back and work for the community. In other cases, it's recruitment of other Indians from other tribal communities, to work for your nation, your causes. And sometimes, it's experts who are non-Native, who are coming to work for the program. But it's this concentration of getting the best people and, once you get them, managing them well. Whichever source of those people, I think it's also the case that one of the things the winning programs do really well is do something to tie them to the program, to inspire those people to give the best possible for the program. To get them bought into the mission and the ideas and the goals, so that the program really can be the best it can be. Now, how does that happen? How does that sort of motivation and firing up take place? How do you take someone who might be, sort of, really good raw material, the best person for the job, and turn them into somebody who's highly skilled? Again, I think there is wonderful learning from Honoring Nations on that.

One of the things we've seen in this is really just the creation of opportunities for learning. Some of this is obviously by necessity, as we look at the programs of one Honoring Nations. Very few of them have large staffs. I think there's one that's listed, the Gila River Police Department, for instance, is listed as having at one point 92 employees. That is an enormous program for Indian Country. Most of the programs we're talking about may have staff of no more than three or four. An average program is five or six or seven. And so, there's of necessity, creating this situation of cross-training, teaching each other about the work that you do, and giving each other challenges to stay engaged with the job and to create a really good program. So, again, some of it is by necessity through the size of the program. I just also think it's smart human resource management that's saying, people are going to really fired up about this program and do it well, if they understand the various ins and outs of the program, if we can substitute for each other in various ways and take advantage of our different skills and play off each other.

I think another thing that really is about managing the human resources well within these programs is most of the Honoring Nations winners are really taking seriously the notion that you make a successful program if you create an environment where it's okay to take risks, where it's okay to say, 'I don't know the answer to that but I'm going to try to find out.' Programs do this in a variety of ways, and we'll be talking about some more of these in our political session tomorrow, but I think a really important way is when tribal politicians support that kind of risk-taking, learning environment. I'm thinking in particular of two examples, the Fond du Lac tribe, and also the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska, have very consciously at their leadership level told their winning programs -- Ho-Chunk Inc. at the Winnebago Tribe in Nebraska, and the online pharmacy program and also the foster care program at Fond Du Lac -- they've said to them, 'Look, take risks. We know you might not succeed. We know you may lose some money, but we'll never be out there with that innovative cutting edge program to solve our people's problems unless you do have our support in taking this risk.' And I think that's really an important aspect of management.

I think another -- and I'll just end with this point on human resources and move to financial resources -- another thing that the winning programs are doing incredibly well is really linking the people who work for the program to the community, and having the community see what they're doing, and having the folks working for the program get that support and encouragement from the community. I'm thinking, for instance, of the Ya Ne Da Ah School, in Alaska, where you've got community members certainly very involved with the school, but also the people working in the school and volunteering in the school, and even the students at the school feel like, 'You know what, the community is behind us,' and that makes all of those working in the school feel like their job is important, and it's being done well. Also, the Kake Circle Peacemaking program is another example of this, where you've got a lot of community involvement, certainly. But because the people working with that program feel the strong support of the community, it energizes them and encourages them.

I want to move on, now, to talking about also managing financial resources wisely. Now, I think one of the biggest things again, if you look both just at the raw material that we're looking at when we're assessing Honoring Nations winners and when we're getting out into the field on site visits, and when we're hearing you talk at symposia and conferences, one of the things that we're seeing that makes really successful management of financial resources, is to not have sole dependence on a single program within the federal government. Almost none of the applications that we see, if you remember, those of you who filled out these applications, there's a little blank that says, 'How much of your money is coming from these various sources?'  Almost none of the programs that are really rising to the top as successful programs are putting 100 percent federal. And it's not just that they're not putting 100 percent federal, they don't have sole reliance on one federal program, and oftentimes they don't even have sole reliance of federal programs. Winning programs are seeking a variety of funding sources. And that's just smart, because it means that those programs aren't tied to the vagaries of federal funding, they're not tied to what Congress may decide to do next year, and it often means that they're being really creative and innovative on the finance side, which has payoffs for the programmatic side. I want to give a couple of examples. Government reform at Navajo, for instance, has raised some money from foundations to do some things that they otherwise wouldn't be able to do. I think some of this has happened at the Lummi tribe as well. We see a lot of partnership within organizations and Chuka Chukmasi from the Chickasaw Nation will talk about this some more. Partnerships are a great way to draw in additional financial resources that you might not be able to take advantage of.

One of the other innovative ways, and we're seeing this more and more outside of Indian Country, but I would argue that it's taken place first in Indian Country in a lot of senses, is realizing the sort of business side of some of these government programs too. Unashamedly, many of our programs have a pure business side. The Jicarilla Wildlife Program, the White Mountain Outdoor Wildlife and Recreation Program, are two very similar programs that say, 'You know what? We have this business side of our work that raises money and pays for and helps support our very programmatic service side of our work.' I'm also thinking of the Yakama Nation land program, which says, 'Hey, you know, our goal is to get all of land back, to get the Yakama Nation's traditional land back to our nation, but we know that we can't do that just through grants from our own tribal government or from the federal government or through philanthropic spending. We're going to raise money by developing some of the land that we buy back, so that we have more money to buy more land back.' So it's this very virtuous cycle of innovation on the finance side, that's keeping the service and programmatic side alive and doing well.

I'm just going to close with two challenges for the human and financial management. I think I've spent sort of the last ten minutes sort of extolling the virtues of saying, things that programs are doing well, there's some Native twist to the way these things are happening too, even though are some universal themes in this good financial and human management. One of the things that I think on the human side, all programs, but perhaps particularly successful winning programs, have to struggle with on the human management side, on the human resources management, is making sure that folks don't get too burned out. Making sure that those folks who are so highly successful, running great programs, aren't turned to and asked to do so much that they just get all of their energy and zeal sucked out of them. Some programs are doing this to some extent, but again, I think that it's a challenge, especially for successful programs, to make sure that that aspect of managing human resources well is really honored, that people aren't sort of asked to do too much so that, in the end, the program can suffer.

On the financial management side, I want to say that this is a sort of success that we already see and something that I think I want to challenge programs to do as well. It's clear that really successful financial management also depends on financial controls, things like annual audits and budget hearings and reports and things like that. Successful programs do these things really well. But really successful programs are taking advantage of these opportunities to say to themselves, 'Are we just reporting out to an outside entity, to the federal government, to our tribal government, to our philanthropic funder, or are we using these opportunities, that we're forced to do because we have to do them for our reporting purposes, to look at ourselves and to do self-examination, to use this audit process to say, 'Am I on mission?  Am I using my resources in the best way possible? Am I keeping to my service population in the best way that I can be?''  So that, again, is another challenge. On the human side I say, find ways for successful programs not to get their people burned out. And on the financial resource side, find ways to use forced controls upon you, to really figure out even stronger ways to make the programs move forward.

Those are just my thoughts, from the standpoint again...I will admit this, because [as] the director of research, I frequently am looking at things in sort of an abstracted way, and now, I'm hoping that we'll hear some more specific examples through stories of programs about the successful management of human and financial resources. And again, looking for some specific Native programs and specific Native nation ways that these have been occurring. To hear about that, I'd like to introduce several people to you. From the Lummi Nation, we have two representatives. We're very honored to have Chairman Darrell Hillaire here, who's going to be talking some about the Safe, Clean Waters Program, but also about some of the other exciting things that they're up to in the Lummi Nation, and giving you some of the ideas about how they're managing their human and financial resources through some of these interesting innovations. And with him is Sharon Kinley, who is from Northwest Indian College, but also works for the Lummi Nation, and she'll be giving a presentation following Chairman Hillaire. After their talk, we have representative Kay Perry from the Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program, and she'll be talking more about that program and also offering some of her insights and ideas as well."

Honoring Nations: Kay Perry: Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Kay Perry with the Chickasaw Nation's Housing Counseling and Loan Service program provides an overview of the Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program and how the program uses human and financial resources wisely.

People
Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Perry, Kay. "Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 10, 2004. Presentation.

Miriam Jorgensen:

"Well, they're a hard act to follow, but I am going to ask Kay Perry from the Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program to come forward and to talk about the program there and perhaps some of the other things that are going on at Chickasaw, again with this focus on helping us thinking about using financial and human resources wisely on the ground. There are a lot of examples of that in the cultural protection example we just saw."

Kay Perry:

"I'm Kay Perry and I'm Director of the Housing, Counseling, and Loan Services Department in Ada, Oklahoma. And our program was the Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program. I think that every winner here, the idea started somewhere with a fire that just kind of burned within and there are all kinds of programs -- can everybody hear me? I can't tell. Okay -- that are winners, but an idea had to start somewhere, and I know for me, home ownership was a fire that was kind of within me because I grew up very, very, very poor and I guess I was a freshman in college before my parents ever owned their first home. And I can remember growing up, thinking that people who owned their own homes were rich and they had money and, 'Gosh, wouldn't it be nice to have a house of your own instead of living in rent houses where the curtains blew out in the winter because of the wind coming in around them, or that were up on cement blocks, didn't even have foundations.' And I can remember growing up that way and thinking that people who owned their own homes were rich. And I can always remember having that desire, even as a little kid to have a home of my own.

And I've actually worked in the mortgage lending industry for 30 years now and I worked primarily at banks. I've been with the Chickasaw Nation for a little over five-and-a-half years and I worked at banks and I saw the inequities in lending, and there were many inequities in lending, and it was always the minorities that that inequity was reflected on. And I can always remember hating it. And I'll be honest with you, I've even lost a couple of jobs because I'm pretty outspoken because I spoke up about some of those inequities. I went to work for the tribe five-and-a-half years ago and the Chuka Chukmasi Home Loan Program was already in existence and it has grown tremendously since 1998, when it started. And when it first started, it was a collaboration between a broker, PMI mortgage insurance company and Freddie Mac -- actually started out to be a Freddie Mac loan, Freddie Mac is an investor -- and it was the beginning. It was a full-documentation loan, it was underwritten by human beings, and when I went on board, after it had been in existence for a couple of years, we weren't doing a lot of loans. They weren't doing a lot of loans because, quite frankly, even though there was risk-share agreements in place...and there were still those inequities because even the underwriters were involved in the underwriting process and you just almost had to be a perfect applicant to become approved for a loan. The loan required counseling, but at that time it was done over the phone with a company that was contracted. We talked to applicants. They spent about ten minutes on the phone with them and then they signed off on a counseling piece. Well, that didn't make me very happy.

And so when I came on board, I immediately started talking to the powers that be about making some changes. And that's the one thing that I can say about the Chickasaw Nation, that the leadership, put people in places and then give them the freedom to talk about making changes for the better, to look for ways to make things better. And in 2000, we actually changed the way we were doing everything. We partnered with a different lender. PMI Mortgage Insurance Company remains our partner today, they've been there from the very beginning, but we went to doing Fannie Mae loans, and we do automated underwriting, so that your race is not there, your sex is not there, your marital status is not there, your age is not there. The file is underwritten automatically, on an automated program but everything is based just like everything else. Everybody's underwritten under the same conditions.

We are really, really, really heavy on the counseling portion. In 2000, we started doing our own counseling and that was a real trip. It took a while to put everything together. We partner with different companies to obtain materials free of charge. We look for different resources to add to our programs. We get a HUD grant, we've applied for a HUD grant five years in a row. Four years -- we don't know this year -- but four years in a row we've been very fortunate to get a counseling grant that supplemented our counseling program. We won't allow our counseling to be farmed out to anyone. When we first started, we did loans only in our 14-county service area. Now, we can do loans for Chickasaws anywhere in the continental United States and for other Native Americans living in the State of Oklahoma, we can also help them as well. We do down-payment and closing-cost assistance. We use the lender's money for the first mortgage loan, which keeps our money freed up for the down-payment and closing-cost assistance loans. We actually service those ourselves, and all the grant money, all the leveraging that I do for resources, for materials, to supplement our counseling program, it keeps my budget money in place so I can give raises and have good fringe benefits and just make everything more attractive. We're huge on education.

When I first started, it was a one-man show, it was just me, and I was doing all of it. I was doing the seminars, I was taking the applications, processing the loans, getting them through underwriting, following them up and getting them to closing, doing the seminars. It was tough. We're up to four people now. All my, everyone in my department has to be a certified home buyer educator-counselor. They have to go to school, they have to test, and they have to pass the test. And then we do continuing education every year, anything that comes up that pertains to us, because we want to be better so we can pass on that knowledge. Many Native Americans who are buying homes on the secondary market in the private market aren't just first-time home buyers, they're first-generation home buyers. And the problem has been that...getting a mortgage loan, it's not an easy thing from the standpoint of understanding what's going on. And being in the lending field, I know that I wasn't that way, but I know it's all in the numbers, it's all in the profit, it's all in the bottom line, it's all in how many you close, every month, and what you're going to make on all those closings. So no one was taking the time to explain everything from start to finish, talk to people about what all these charges were, what they meant. All these vendors that were charging things as surveys, title insurance, title work, you know, you just throw those words out there, and people are embarrassed to say, whether you're Native American or regardless of your race, you're embarrassed to say, 'I don't understand what you're talking about.' And loan officers just assume that people understand what they're talking about because it's everyday language to them, but people don't understand. And I always took the time to explain everything, line-by-line, go over what it meant, and we do that today.

Our counseling for out-of-state clients is actually done on the phone. Summer Stick is here with me. Up until recently, she was our main counseling person. Summer, stand up. Summer developed a pretty extensive questionnaire. We mail materials, a packet of materials about this thick to clients who are out of state and can't come to regional seminars that we do. They're given ample time to study that material. They can call and ask questions and then when they feel like they're ready to talk to the counselor about the process, then Summer calls them, so that it's on our nickel, and she spends whatever amount of time is necessary on the phone with them. And she has a list of 36 questions, areas that she feels like they need to really understand so that we know that they're going into this process understanding. We also, on all our loans, require post-purchase counseling. We work with a lender that if a customer misses a payment, we're the first person they call. We get on the phone, try to figure out what's going on. And so, we're trying to create good retention numbers for Native Americans.

Our current delinquency and default rate, when we applied with Honoring Nations, it was zero. And it's not that now, but it's still lower than the national average. We're at .07% of all the loans that we've done. We've originated almost $22,000,000 in first-mortgage loans. We've done a little over $620,000 in second-mortgage loans, which are the down payment on the closing cost assistance and we have no defaults on those. So we're pretty proud of those records, and we want to establish really good lending figures for Native Americans, because it's always been the assumption that they were high risk. Well, they're not high risk. They're just like anybody else. We're hard working, you know, just haven't been given a lot of opportunities, and [there] haven't been a lot of people that took the time to go into this area with Native Americans. I don't personally think that all Native Americans want to live colloquial lives. I think that in Oklahoma, we're fee simple land. I know reservations are different and I understand that, but there are a lot of areas where Native Americans want to live outside the reservation or they live where there are no reservations, and there are no reservations in Oklahoma. And we try to be very culturally sensitive. We do, actually, have a reservation in Ada. It's a tract of land, and we call it 'Kullihoma Reservation,' and we have actually traditional housing, traditional Chickasaw housing, and the council, huge council house on that land. And the Chickasaws are very culturally sensitive, but at the same time we all have to learn and grow and live together and do things according to the way that things are done to a degree, as much as we can. The lending arena is one of those areas. What the Chickasaws have done is partner with people to make sure that Native Americans have the same opportunity that everyone else has, and then we've carried it a step further by having negotiated some concessions, it's a little bit easier. We're very proud of our program. October the 5th we are having a roundtable and we want to partner with other Native American tribes who don't maybe have the expertise or the money to set up a lending program, but who would like to assist their tribal members in purchasing homes through maybe down-payment and closing-cost assistance. And we are going to offer our expertise. We have the manpower. We will teach you how to originate the loan. That's take the application and gather the supporting documentation, send it to us. We're going to process it. We're going to get it approved. We're going to walk it through to the closing process. We'll even provide the counseling.

For five years now, we have people who come in who want to build a home of their own, new construction, and we have to outsource them to a lender once they're approved for their permanent financing to do the construction loan. And I haven't been happy with the fees. So the powers that be said, 'Sure, you can do your own construction loans.' So we'll start, we'll get them approved for their permanent financing, we'll provide the construction funds, we'll follow that through all the way to the end. And then once the house is completed, we'll pay ourselves off with the first mortgage lender's money and have collected a little bit of interest in the interim. So all our assistance loans, they are loans, they are not grants, I don't have the funds to make grants available and as you all know, grants run out real quick. Maybe you allot $100,000 and it's gone in six months and then you're out of business 'til the next fiscal year and more money is allotted. So all our loans are loans, but at a very, very low interest rate that way we get the money back plus a little bit of interest to put in the pot to loan out to more people.

I think that one of the reasons our program has been so successful is we took over the counseling area of it and are really, really big on counseling. There's a bank in Ada that has branches throughout the state of Oklahoma. There's another bank locally. There's two banks in Ada. USDA and HUD, all now are referring clients to us to do pre-purchase counseling. So our counseling program has really taken off as well, and that's just really happened in the last two-and-a-half years. So we're also really, really proud of that and feel like it'll continue to help our retention figures and our delinquency figures for Native Americans because I want us to be the best, the lowest. I think that what we're doing in Ada helps to strengthen our community. Our counseling, our seminars, are actually open to the public.

We think that our program is a wonderful complement to the mutual help programs. There's a huge need for the mutual help program and there always will be. Not everybody is meant to be a homeowner. Some of us are meant to be renters, some of us are meant to be in mutual help homes and that's okay, there's nothing wrong with that. But for those of us that do want to be homeowners, we should have a choice about where we want to live and how we want to do a loan and so we feel like we've given our customers and other Native Americans that choice. And we're really proud of Chuka Chukmasi."

Honoring Nations: Darrell Hillaire and Sharon Kinley: Semiahmoo Project

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Darrell Hillaire and Sharon Kinley from the Lummi Nation and its Semiahmoo Project discuss the unfortunate circumstances that prompted the creation of the project, and how the Lummi are using the project as an opportunity to re-engage their culture, elders, core values, and language. 

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Hillaire, Darrell and Sharon Kinley. "Semiahmoo Project." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 10, 2004. Presentation.

Darrell Hillaire:

"We at Lummi, we feel quite honored to be here today. I also have Leonard Dickson here with us today and Greg Amahli, that are here representing Lummi. And it's, this is a place that we think carries a lot of prestige, but that isn't why we're here. We also recognize the agenda and recognize a lot of names of great leaders that are in attendance here, and we get kind of excited here about coming here to share some time with them. But I think, most importantly, we come here because we've established some pretty good friendships over the years. Joe Kalt, and we take his advice in the things that we try to do with our businesses and we're thankful to him for that. Andrew Lee, who's taken the time to come spend some time with us at Lummi and learn about us a little bit more, and it gives the program that we're working on together more meaning, and we thank Andrew for doing that. And of course our elder, Oren Lyons, who's been a friend of previous leadership at Lummi and continues to be our friend today and someone that we look up to with a great deal of respect. And that's the most important reason why we come here, to share some of our ideas with you and ask for help in some of the things that we're doing because we know that as we continue to grow, we're going to be making mistakes, and maybe you've seen something that we haven't seen.

We probably have a lot of things that we can talk about today. You know, we have the infrastructure issues that we work on, our water, our roads that requires partnerships not only within the Lummi government, but also other governments, state and local governments. We probably could talk about our casino and how we've set up the distribution of funds from our casino to the different programs, most importantly, education and to our members. But I think today we're going to talk about using financial and human resources wisely as it relates to a specific incident. That sometimes we talk about as a project and sometimes we talk about it as a program, but really, what it is, it's about the recovery of our ancestors. And what had happened four years ago is that, within our homeland, at a place called Semiahmoo, over 65 of our ancestors were disturbed, and removed, and disrespected, and located in other cities and in other homes. And it was very tragic for us to learn and understand what had happened and we had to respond with a sense of urgency to this crisis. After we got over the hurt, after we got over the anger, there was a lot of work to be done, and that work continues today. And this work is simple when we as a people follow the protocols of the old people, the work becomes simple, but it's hard when we come up against inevitable development, and talk about money and talk about politics and talk about political decisions, you know? And I think we're doing that because I think it goes right to the heart of who we are as people. When you think about it that way, when you think about standing up and fighting for the integrity of your nation and your people, then this work has to be done and those bridges have to be crossed, and we have to learn about that because at the end of the day it defines who you are. So that's why we felt that we needed to talk about Semiahmoo today as a project, but it's much much more than that.

So with that, I'd like to introduce Sharon Kinley. She's the dean for the Coast Salish Institute at Northwest Indian College, which is located on our reservation. She's also my relative, and she's also been with Semiahmoo from the beginning, for four years. We've been through three chairmen since this has occurred, and Sharon and ten other people have been there from the beginning and they're still there. And I sense that they'll be there until the work is completed. So with that, I'd like to introduce Sharon Kinley. Thank you."

Sharon Kinley:

"Good morning. My name is Sharon Kinley, I'm from the Lummi Nation. I am the director of the Coast Salish Institute, which is an institute that our new president, Cheryl Crazy Bull, has introduced to the college for the preservation and the revitalization of the Coast Salish cultures in our area that we serve. Last week -- I've done this presentation hundreds of times, but it never gets easy -- last week, I saw Darrell in the hallway and he said, ‘Gee, I'm going to Harvard to do this presentation and I decided that you should come and share what we've been doing at Semiahmoo because it really fits into the way that they lay out the honoring of nations.' And so I said, ‘Yeah sure, okay. I'll come.' And when I read the agenda on the plane over here and when I listened to you talk this morning, now I know why I'm here.

At Lummi, we have a very long history in Puget Sound, and the Georgia Basin, what is now called the Georgia Basin Watershed. We have for hundreds and hundreds of years, our old people, our [Lummi language] have fished and lived, raised their children, buried their dead, and all the areas that surround the Lummi Nation and all our neighboring tribes. And what we know about all these old villages and these old people is that where they lived, they buried their dead. One of the things that we're particularly interested in at Lummi at the college, is being able to reconstruct and to write about the history of reef netting, which is a technology that exists amongst the Coast Salish people, especially in our area, which extends across the Canadian border, and doesn't exist really, in any other culture in the world.

As many of you know, in 1855, the Lummi Nation, amongst others, entered into a treaty with, what is called the Point Elliott Treaty with the United States. As many of our elders have told us over the years that after those promises were made in the Point Elliott Treaty, the late Pateus used to say to us, '...and then they said,' to us, ‘go this is our land now.' In 1973, when I was a lot younger, the City of Blaine decided to construct a sewer plant -- not a wastewater treatment plant, but a sewer plant. And in that, the rules of development were very different, and 1973 was before a lot of the laws that have been established to protect cultural resources wherever written or certainly, ever followed. In 1997, as a result of the treatment plant, of the sewer plant, being constructed, Western Washington University, in conjunction with the University of Washington, had to come into the area and do what anthropology, what archaeology calls salvage archaeology, which is archaeology that you do ahead of the bulldozer. You're just going in to collect what you can in a very short period of time. And that report, when we read it all these years later, by Dr. Grabert, what we know is that what he collected there, he could determine was at least 3,000 years old. This site -- as it's located on the boundary exactly between the United States and Canada, in Puget Sound -- is probably the most well documented site in all of Puget Sound.

It was only in 1980, after all those years of trying to get their ancestors repatriated without any of the NAGPRA [Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act] laws, the Lummi were successful in doing that, brought the ancestors that were collected in the salvage archaeology home and reburied them at the Lummi cemetery. There was a lot of talk in the community by the elders at that time, because our belief is that the most important thing to do in these situations is to rebury our dead where they were originally dug up. In this case, the elders in their wisdom decided that we would rebury them at the Lummi cemetery because they just didn't think to rebury them at Semiahmoo would protect them. And they were right.

Probably over the course of this project, I personally and a lot of our staff has learned more about engineering studies, more about the permitting process in Washington State, more about NAGPRA, Section 106, and all the historic preservation laws. And what we know is that consultation with tribes takes place at the end of the permitting process, at least in Washington State. I don't know about Massachusetts, but in Washington State there's a whole phase of development that takes place that's called pre-permitting, where people, if it's your development, have spent a lot of money. They spend a lot of money on engineering studies and all kinds of things, and then they enter into the permitting process. And in that very long, complex permitting process, tribes are at the end, in consultation. By the time the developer and the city council make consultation and contact with the tribe, they'd already made up their mind that they were going to continue this project.

And in August 1999, through a very long story, we arrived out at the treatment plant only to find that what was supposed to be an expansion to the sewer facility actually was an acre excavation site that was 18 to 20 feet deep. And as you see, in the excavation site here, it was solid shell midden from the top to the bottom, which is thousands of years of habitation. It was solid shell midden from the top to the bottom. And we said that day, one of our cultural directors said that day to the people, to the construction people who were working there because they had come across a burial. And he said to them, ‘I'm so glad that I happened to show up today to be here while this burial was being disturbed.' And the guy who was kind of running the machine said to him, kind of offhandedly, ‘Oh well, that's nothing, you should have seen the 26 that we took out yesterday.' And we just froze. And so, it took us a day of people's attorneys calling other people's attorneys, our attorneys calling the sheriff, to get a stop work order in place. And as we were doing that, they continued to dig.

This is just a shot of the excavation site itself, where over 400 truckloads of fill were taken offsite to a local landfill site and deposited there. And this local landfill site, the gray area that you see, is the shell midden that came from this ancient cemetery. This is private property, probably about seven miles away from the treatment facility, and as we arrived there that day and walked that site, there were ancestral remains that were physically on the ground everywhere. And so, at that point in time, we had ourselves, the Lummi Nation, as a jurisdiction, the private property owner, the City of Blaine, the county, the developer, and USDA and Rural Development. We have multi-jurisdictions standing there looking at each other, wondering what they were going to do. And we knew right from the very beginning that we had many obstacles. Certainly externally: permitting processes, jurisdiction, unrelationships. And certainly, in those very first days, how we felt and, for the most part, when I stand here, I can still feel how we felt that day. We couldn't talk. We couldn't even talk to each other. And, internally, amongst ourselves, over many years of being affected by residential school and other federal policies, we did not agree in how to handle it. We did not agree what was the best method, what was the best road to take, in all of our diversity. And we knew we had no money. We didn't have money for cultural resource, or NAGPRA, or repatriation, or any of those things.

After long discussion with the tribal council, with our elders, with many community people, with our youth, the tribal council issued a resolution immediately that year to the city, the county, to the [unintelligible] office. And they said, 'We will recover our ancestors. We will take care of the gravediggers, our own people who are going to go out there and recover our ancestors. We will protect this site from further desecration, and we will make sure that this never happens again to anybody, not just here.' We decided, we made a conscious decision, and not all projects do, but we made a conscious decision that this was going to be a culturally driven project. And we went to the couple that you see here on the right, and we said to them, 'What's the first thing that we should do?' And they sent my daughter to Vancouver Island, in B.C., to a little tiny island off the coast, you have to take two ferries to get there, and we went to this elder that you see on your left, the late Rose James because she, at that time, was the oldest ritualist in this part of the country that has the responsibility for caring for the dead. And we went and got her and we asked her to help us, and she came, and she lived in my house for four years. And she got up every morning and she went with all the young people that we had taught to screen this material, the 400 truckloads of fill. This old woman, over 80 years old, got up every morning, faced the daylight and said prayers for us and our ancestors.

So we used to go out to this site and we used to work until noon, these old people, and after three or four months of my not being a morning person and being tired, doing this work and then going to my job, we would look at her and she just, she never faltered. And we thought, ‘Gee, if she can do this stuff, so can we.' And she used to say to us every single morning, ‘You can do this. You can do this.' And we used to look at 400 truckloads of fill and think, 'How are we ever going to do this?'

This is just a shot of some of the artifacts that we have recovered to date. We have artifacts, we have more artifacts in our possession presently than the university. We have artifacts in our collection that the archeologists in our area have never seen. The other thing that we knew that we had to do was, because this is a culturally driven project, we decided that the people that were going to do the work, was us. We were going to do the work. And after that, we went to the university and asked Dr. Campbell, who is the lead archeologist there, to send us two of her best graduate students. They had to be technically sound in archaeology, they had to have real good writing skills so that we could work out all this, all this permitting process, all the reporting that we had to do to the state because remember, Semiahmoo was not, was no longer our property. It belonged to the city and the county. And so in order to even work there we had to apply for a permit to the state to collect ancestral remains. And we told her, 'Send us your best graduate students and they're of no use to us unless they can teach. Unless they can teach us, they're no good to us.' And so we had 20 young Lummis and our elders, and these graduate students came and Dr. Campbell, and we started. And our elder used to say, ' You just get up every morning and you put one foot in front of the other.' And every morning she got up. She was over 80 when she first came. So I thought, I even thought we could do this.

The other thing that we did after a couple of years of screening material, and we are probably, in four years, we are probably not halfway done. In four years. And the other thing that we did is we decided that we had to look at this whole permitting process, we had to engage it, we had to become the most knowledgeable at it, we had to be able to interact with the county, the state, and all the other jurisdictions, and all our other neighboring tribes in a very different way than what we were used to. We created our own [unintelligible] office, we created a contract service office, which is archaeologists and our tribal people and we said to all the largest development people in the area, 'When you are going to develop within our Aboriginal territory, you come and ask us to do the survey and site work. You come and ask us first.' And we also have set up in, recently, the Repatriation Office, which is not just to respond to NAGPRA, but it's to respond to all the inadvertent discoveries that happened all the time in our territory. Last week, we handled five inadvertent discoveries in three separate counties, all affected by human remains, all cemetery or burial ground disturbances. And we developed Title 40, a code of law that we developed within the Lummi Nation that not only helps people who have been working in the surrounding counties and jurisdictions know how to work with us in these situations, but it also helped our own planning department. It helped us interact with our own land use plan, so that we could know when we were putting in a road, where not to build it.

We decided too, that -- I don't know how well you know us, because I don't travel a lot -- but we, we know how to be Lummi aggressive. What we decided was that we had to learn more about being proactive and assertive in a very different way. We realized that we had to build relationships and so we set out to do it very deliberately. We met, and we worked with the Watcomb County planning office, with the Watcomb County Council. We meet regularly and work closely with the State [unintelligible] Office. We work with San Juan County, Skagit County agencies, private industry in our local area. We also learned real quickly that we had to develop relationships with the media. We had to meet with editorial boards. We had to educate them about who we are. At Northwest Indian College, when we set out to expand our college and to build new buildings, we went out and hired a firm who went out and interviewed the county. And she came back and she met with the president and the faculty and she said, ‘Nobody knows who you are. Nobody even knows you're here.' And so, very deliberately, we then felt that we had to educate not only ourselves internally and be able to work together, but the surrounding our neighbors, and our neighbors' children.

The other thing that the tribal council did a lot anyway, but did a lot for us, was begin to work on very deliberate relationship building and agreements with all of the agencies that are doing and are affecting development in our area. USDA and rural development, we're the funders of this treatment plant. In the beginning, they had already put a couple of million dollars into this project when we said, ‘Stop.' We've also very deliberately over...yesterday, my husband met and worked on an inadvertent discovery with the Nooksack Nation in a burial disturbance that took place right on what we call the traditional boundary of both of our reserves, and so we work a lot with the neighboring tribes, both in our area, and in British Columbia.

We have learned about how to align our resources, how to use education as a tool to educate our people in archeological methods, hopefully to get them to think about going on to four-year universities, at least get them into Northwest Indian College, where we can give them basic skills and a really good two-year degree. And we have learned, I have personally learned more about the legislative process than I ever thought I would have to know. We knew every senator, every chief of staff, every secretary, we knew everybody. And we knew when to call them. We also knew that it costs a lot of money, and in the beginning we didn't have any, and so the tribal council made a very, a very difficult decision. It put $200,000 into this project in the very beginning. It was a very difficult decision, internally because one of our core values is to protect the graves of our ancestors, but we also need money for youth treatment and intervention, for the education of our children, for health care, and they were very difficult decisions that the tribal council had to make.

The last thing that we're going to show you that we worked on is...one of the things that we've done at Northwest Indian College, well two of the things that we're doing, is that we are utilizing the technology of GIS mapping, where we are actually teaching our young children the technology of GIS mapping. And I can't even articulate it to you because I don't understand it. And all of my kids are computer literate, but we are teaching them to actually map in the cultural resources. We've had long conversations internally about this, because the elders are very uncomfortable with it. And at this point, we're actually doing the work, but we haven't made those decisions about who we share it with other than ourselves. The other thing that we did was that we set up a whole program at the college where we would train our young people how to collect and learn their own history. And to collect the oral histories, to record the language because our elder, the late Rose, said to us the very first day that she came, 'Language is the most important thing. You have to turn to your culture for the answers.' And that's what we did. You have to turn to your culture for the strength, and that's what we did. And so we took all of these young people and we trained them in the technology of oral history, in video production...this is actually, looks like a laptop, it's actually a very expensive editing machine. And they go out and they interview the elders, they create biographical sketches that we then are turning into material for our curriculum that we are writing, on history, and at the same time, they are building relationships with their own grandparents, the people that they go and interview."

Darrell Hillaire:

"And where we go from here, well, we just settled with the archaeologist Gold and Associates. We had to take them to court via a class action suit, which meant we had to bring together the people to sign on to...would be very complicated for them to understand in legal terms, but they did it. And, as a result of that settlement, we were able to realize about $4.2 million that's going to help us continue the work. And this compensation that we receive for the people is not payment, but it's a thank you for having them standing with us; for those who are leaders in a traditional way and also for those such as myself who represent the government. We all stood together, and it's important for us to note that, if we stay true to ourselves these things can happen. And as the judge said, he said, ‘The court has never lost track of the fact that the money is the most inconsequential aspect of what we're dealing with here. This was a tragic event. It was something that never should have happened. The court recognized the fabulous job that the Lummi and its attorneys played to get recognition and acknowledgment to provide a solution to the tragedy.' He stated he believed that he hoped this work would 'prevent anything like this from happening in the future, for all tribes, not just in western Washington, but throughout the country, and even into Canada, where this case has resonated.' He commented that he hopes the Lummi feel that the American system of justice, which has let them down so many times in the past, didn't let them down this time. He stated that this result made him feel very, very good.

And I think as we went through this, I really can't even describe it as a process, but we had to have our time with a number of people, not only Gold and Associates, but the City of Blaine, the Department of Agriculture, the state historic preservation office -- all these people we had our time with -- and at the end of that time I think we had some things resolved and we came away with some friendship. And today, with the City of Blaine, their city manager, whom we fought hard with four years ago, today he was an auctioneer at an event we had for raising money for the Freedom and Liberty Bowl. He auctioned off some of our arts and crafts to the people. So that's how far we've come in this relationship, and we need to continue that. But today, you know, as Sharon said, we need to get involved with the permitting process. But I think, more importantly, we need to get involved with the planning process. And share our vision for our homeland. At Lummi, we've been invited by the City of Bellingham to join in the planning for the development of 139 acres right on the waterfront in Bellingham. To them, they'd like to see a replica of a traditional longhouse built right on that waterfront, and to us, that represents where my great grandfather lived. So some of these things can happen, but it means we have to get involved in the front end, so that's where we have to go from here. So, [Lummi language]."

Honoring Nations: Ana Marie Argilagos: Family Strengthening in Indian Country

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Ana Marie Argilagos provides a basic overview of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's mission and discusses a report detailing what family strengthening involves in Native communities.

Resource Type
Citation

Argilagos, Ana Marie. "Family Strengthening in Indian Country." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 11, 2004. Presentation.

Amy Besaw Medford:

"I'm pleased to announce that we have Ana Marie Argilagos, who is our program officer from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She headed up this...she's the one who came to the Harvard Project and with this idea of ‘Family Strengthening in Indian Country,' and I'd like to invite her up here to give a few words."

Ana Marie Argilagos:

"Good morning. It's really great to be here. I had the pleasure of being in Santa Fe with many of you about two-and-a-half years ago, and I kept asking Andrew, ‘When are we going to convene the Honoring Nations awardees again?' because it's such a great opportunity. It's so exciting to be here with all the honorees and to hear about the really amazing work that's happening in your communities. And it's just expanding and we get more and more alumni, do you call? Groups. So thank you for inviting me. I also appreciate that you all came. I just came from Washington, D.C., it's a short shuttle ride for me, but I spent all summer traveling. And these are long distances, it takes a long time away from your family, so thank you. I also wanted to thank Andrew and Miriam, Amy, Joe, and the rest of the team. You guys do great, great work and it's a talented group of people. I always go back to Baltimore where the foundation is and brag about the work here. And last summer we had the honor and the pleasure of being able to steal one of your highly talented staff. You'll notice Marie Zemler was one of the authors of the report and now we get her in Baltimore. So it's great and we're not sending her back. So we're looking to see who we steal next. I'm excited that Julie, you're able to join us today and share the report. It's impressive, isn't it? Yeah. There's lots more copies outside. I have about 2,000 copies in my office, lots of boxes. So feel free to take as many as you want. You can also go on the foundation website, which is www.aecf.org, download it, or you can call us and we'll send you whatever you need for free. So share it with lots of folks.

We also, as Julie said, we look forward to hearing your feedback and your ideas and your thoughts. We didn't do this to say, ‘Oh, what a nice report. We learned so much. That's great,' and to put it on the shelf. Really, we did it, at least I felt my motivation for it was, to spur discussion, to spur dialogue, feedback, to get people thinking. And so it's supposed to be a working document and it should be evolving. We're not thinking that it's going to be, ‘Oh, this is what family strengthening is in Indian America.' It's really more of so we can continue. And so this idea of what are the next steps, what would you guys like to see, is really important because it doesn't come from us here in these big buildings. It comes from what you guys...when I came on board to the Annie Casey Foundation three years ago, my boss told me three important things. He said, ‘Do whatever you want, but as long as you pay attention to three principles and that's listen to the people, because the people, residents, families know best.' And then he said, ‘Do no harm. We don't think that we're being harmful. We think that what we're doing is a great project and we have the right intention, but you don't think about it because you're not walking in people's shoes and so, inadvertently, you do things that don't work. So we have to listen and we have to try our best to look comprehensively and do no harm.' And then the third one was one of my favorites. He said, ‘Make new mistakes,' which is great. So he's like, ‘We don't want you redoing the same thing over and over because that's great, but it doesn't really help anyone, but go out there and be creative, be innovative, see how things link, how things intersect and reframe them.' And so that's what we've been doing for the past three years.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, for those of you who don't know, has been working for about 50 years. We originally started in Washington State, and then we moved to Connecticut, and now we're in Baltimore. We were founded by the guy who started UPS and he started back in 1900 on a bicycle, him and his four brothers, as messenger delivery guys and they built it in 50 years to a huge company. So, never FedEx anything to...UPS, we like UPS. They've been very kind. And they really are, you know, the Foundation has really, what we work is...I should say we're not still part of UPS, but I appreciate what they've done because Jim Casey who started the Foundation...and Annie E. Casey, by the way, was his mom and she was a widow; she was very young with five kids. And so he realized that his mom had had such trouble raising them, but she still had support, she had people around her, she had a network of people that helped her get forward and get ahead and get by. But he always was thinking in the back of his mind, ‘Gee, we were really vulnerable. And any little thing could have really set us back and we wouldn't have had the outcomes that we've had and the success that we've had as a family if we wouldn't have had the support system around, if we wouldn't have had the connections.' And so when he retired he put his time and the rest of his life, he really dedicated -- him and his brothers and their sister Marguerite -- to really working with vulnerable kids and families to make things better.

He was always really concerned especially with foster kids. He felt like foster kids had the worst outcomes and were in the worst danger, especially once they transitioned out of foster care. He was really worried about those 18 year olds that had been raised in institutions and then were put out and had nobody. But really what he was thinking was that the kids do well when the families do well -- as you read it, those of you that read the report -- but that the families, you have to be supportive with the families and you have to connect them to economic opportunities. They have to be connected to services and supports that they trust, that are accessible, that are in their language. So it's not just...a lot of times people say, ‘Oh, there's day care there,' or that there are services and supports somewhere in the city or in the neighborhood, on the reservation, but it's not services and supports that people feel comfortable. And so if people don't feel comfortable going there or if they don't feel like they're welcome there, that's not very good. Then the third thing is the social networks. And that's the glue, I think, that keeps things together. A lot of times, us in academia -- I spent a lot of time in the government or in the foundations -- you think of social networks as the faith-based institutions and all these formal institutions, but it's not just that. It's also the informal. It's the people-to-people thing and I think that really is really powerful.

But anyways my challenge to you is to keep us in the loop, to stay in contact with us, to share your stories. We wanted to, when Joe and Andrew, when we first started thinking about how can we work together, I knew there was an intersection there because you guys, Honoring Nations, it's about honoring innovations in government, exemplary programs, tribal sovereignty, economic development, and I said, ‘But what's at the core of that?’ At the core of that it's really about the kids and the families, and if you look at the honorees it's really about, ‘How can we do well by our kids and our families and next generations?' And I knew that there was an intersection and I'm so excited to see it. I'm so excited to have Julie and the Weiner Center part of the work as well and I will be here two years from now for the next set of honorees. Thank you."

Honoring Nations: Gregory Mendoza: Akimel O'odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council

Year

Gila River Indian Community Governor Gregory Mendoza, formerly the director of the Akimel O'odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council, provides a history of this trend-setting example of innovative governance and discusses the many different ways that it strengthens the Gila River Indian Community.

Resource Type
Citation

Mendoza, Gregory. "Akimel O'odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 11, 2004. Presentation.

Gregory Mendoza:

"Good morning. First of all, before I begin my presentation I'd first like to acknowledge my bosses. Our president, Myron Brown, Jr., all of you remember Myron. And one of my other bosses -- this is Britney Bydell, who didn't really get to speak yesterday, but she will have the opportunity right now. Britney."

Britney Bydell:

"Can you all hear me? Good morning, how is everybody? Good. My name is Britney Bydell and I am 16 years old. I am the District Three representative and we are divided up into seven political districts. And I am also a part of the Arizona Youth Commission for the State of Arizona. I attend Higley High, where I'm in the 11th grade. And I want to say that it's a great honor to be here and to be able to come and meet all of you wonderful people and to learn about Harvard University and to be able to experience and learn about the Honoring Nations and I will learn this all for the very first time. Greg."

Gregory Mendoza:

"Thanks Britney. And I don't know if I could top what Myron did yesterday, but I'll do my best. But I just want you to know that this program started back in 1987 and I was just right out of college and wanting a job, really. And I share this story with the youth council members. Every year we have our in-service orientation for the new members coming on board, and I think it's important for them to understand the chronological history of the youth council and where it evolved. But myself and about maybe nine other college students felt very frustrated back in our community.

Back in 1987 there was very few opportunities for our young people to come together. And so it was through that interaction with my colleagues that we wanted to bring our young people together to bring a collective voice for our community. And so that year began, and it was quite a frustrating process for me because my parents had to support me for one year from 1987 to 1988, but my parents understood my mission. They understood the importance of giving young people the opportunity to come together.

And our community is comprised of two tribes, the Pima and Maricopa Indians. Our ancestral names are the Akimel O'odham and the Pee-Posh. The Pima are referred to, our ancestral name is the Akimel O'odham, meaning 'the river people.' The Maricopa ancestral name is the Pee-Posh. So the youth council named...the official name of their organization comes from the ancestral names of the two tribes that make up the Gila River Indian community.

But again, the year 1987 was real trying because we had to sort of convince the people of my community to come together to support a concept, a concept in our culture which was really unheard of, to give young people a voice. Because in our culture we're taught not to be boastful, we're taught to be respectful, we're taught not to speak over our elders, and we're taught just to be there and listen to them. But we soon decided that we needed to bring the young people together and so we sponsored our first youth conference and we drew in about 300 young people and the idea of the youth council was born.

In 1988, the youth council became fully incorporated under the laws of the Gila River Indian Community. We became the first tribal youth council to be fully funded by our tribe. We are a youth servicing, youth-led organization complete with again, our bylaws, our constitution. And again, I've been their facilitator now going on 17 years. And as I reflect back on the 16 years, actually my 17th year will be coming up. On October 17th would be my 17th sort of year with the program and with the organization. As I reflect back, I have to just say that working with young people in our community is tremendous. It's a wonderful opportunity as you see with Myron and with Britney -- perfect examples of what our young people are capable of.

And I just have to add something about our president Myron because he's going to be leaving us very shortly. Myron is very involved. This young man is a precinct committeeman. He was manning the polls during the primary election. And I have to add this and he's not going to like this, but you know what, he has his own mind and he's a very proud Republican. And I think that's so unique about Myron. Myron was a delegate to the Arizona State Republican party convention. He's hoping that he will be a delegate at the next Republican National Convention. So he also just was recently elected one of the directors for Students for Bush. So Myron is involved and I admire that in any young person, to be involved at that level. And to tell you the truth, I don't know how he manages his time. This guy is a full-time college student, second-year political science major; he works part-time for a health care corporation. I don't know where he finds the time and he's still president of our youth council. As Britney mentioned, she's an up-and-coming rising star of the youth council. She just got appointed by the State of Arizona's governor to the state governor's youth commission. She has a voice for Native American youth at the state level, so that's very commendable as well.

Gila River Indian Community is comprised of over 20,000 tribal members. Young people represent about half of the tribe's total population. Our problems are no different from other youth from throughout the country. We have the same social issues that affect our youth, gang violence, drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, which are very high within our community. And so we, the co-founders of the organization decided there was a desperate need and urgency to develop a youth program.

Our tribal council in the past have always focused on the elders and the young people were somewhat overlooked. Young people had no idea what the system was all about, the governance of our community. We were somewhat disillusioned about our lack of voice within the community and so the council was created based on giving that young people the opportunity to provide positive change within the community.

Today, the youth council has a formal voice and I invite all of you to come to our youth council. It's just amazing. You ever see a tribal council meeting? These guys do better. These guys know parliamentary procedures, they know motions, they debate motions; it's a really unique setting when you see them coming together on issues facing the youth of the community. And of course Myron being the president, he has the gavel and he controls the council with his gavel. But it's an interesting process because we get a lot of groups, youth groups particularly, that come to Gila River just to see and observe and study our council. I think our adults and our elders are just really taken by the leadership of this young group and it's really amazing.

So I do encourage if you're at Gila River, if you ever want to see a youth council meeting, the youth council meetings range from maybe three to five hours. Their agenda is anywhere from, what is it? Two- to four-page agenda. They have the same process, reports, old business, new business. Every once in a while they'll have resolutions on the table that they'll entertain, but it's a really unique setting.

I'm their boss and what I do is I work with them directly. I work really closely with the president; I advise him. I sort of give him some direction on where we need to go, but they sort of give me the insight, their perspectives, that I do as the administrator to put all these ideas together in the form of either a report, a grant application, or a position paper. My job is just to work with them and I do a lot of the writing on behalf of Myron but with his perspectives going into that.

I think it's really important for people today, if you're going to develop a youth program you need to make sure young people are involved in every phase and at Gila River we do that. And what's so unique about the relationship with our community is that our tribal council gives us that authority. These young people, once they're elected onto the council, they're actually sworn in by a tribal judge that makes them official. They're considered like any other tribal elected official in the community and they have perks just like any tribal council member. Of course, they get stipends, of course they travel, of course they're given many opportunities, just like tribal council members to attend various events, receptions, activities, stuff like that. And what makes that really unique is that the council, they get invitations from time to time to meet with the council members or even meet with the governor. So it's a really good setting for the young people in our community.

And I have to just say that the accomplishments are great and I'm just going to include some of the benchmarks over the years, in the last 16 years that this group has accomplished and it's really good. And I think Myron pinpointed some of those accomplishments.

In 1993, the youth council launched again the Kids Voting Program, which mocks the polls to the young people. What we did with the Kids Voting Program is that we developed a curriculum K-12 and what we did with that curriculum is we took basic concepts from the tribe's constitution and bylaws and we developed it into a curriculum. The curriculum also includes some corresponding activities so that the young people not only has the kids voting curriculum for their lesson planning, but they also have corresponding activities. So the curriculum, again, was adapted from a state program, but we included it, we tailored it to meet the needs of our community. And again, as Myron mentioned yesterday, we're getting ready for the presidential election, so you'll see young people coming to the polls come November second. Our youth council members will be manning the polls in each of our communities' districts, political districts. And what makes our community really unique at voting time is that our theme for our Kids Voting Program is called 'Voting is a Family Affair,' because you see young people taking the parents to the polls along with themselves. And what is even better is that community, they have like barbecues in all the districts and now the young people are afforded that same opportunity to eat with their parents in a sort of a community fun environment. So I think it's really something special when you see young people involved in the electoral process and understanding some of the basic fundamentals of voting and when they become of age...you know we've been doing this for almost ten years, just think what we're doing with all these young people that have gone through the program since 1993. The last Kids Voting Program, we brought in close to 1,000 young people to vote. We're looking forward to this next coming election because again we're hoping to surpass that 1,000 amount.

In 1996, the youth council succeeded in establishing a Boys and Girls Club in the community, the first Boys and Girls Club in the State of Arizona to serve a Native American community. This project grew from the youth council because we thought there was a great need to develop a youth program for the younger ones. So as you know, the Boys and Girls Club, they do a lot of their programs, they focus primarily with the young ones all the way up to teens. So what we did is we initiated the planning and the application process and we submitted a grant application to HUD [Department of Housing and Urban Development] and we were awarded a $1.5 million grant. The tribal council included an additional $2 million to the project, and to this day we're very proud to have two clubs now in our community.

In 1998, the youth council won a grant from the Close Up Foundation to implement an intense program focusing on tribal government, to explore the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic nation. The program is a hands-on program for young people. It exposes them to tribal leadership from the courts to the tribal council to the governor's office. So the young people got to see how our tribal council operates and how our government functions. And what's so unique about Close Up is that we bring the select group of youth, 50 young people from about 14 different high schools, including boarding schools that service Gila River Indian community, and they come in for three days to examine tribal government one on one. And it's a unique opportunity because the young people are even introduced formally to the tribal council, they're introduced to the governor, the lieutenant and our tribal judge. And what happens at Close Up is that they elect their own governor, they elect their own lieutenant governor, they elect their own tribal council. So these are like a mock community for the young people, and it's a really unique opportunity for them to examine their tribal government. What we also included in this particular program is that we have a curriculum that focuses on the three branches of government that is based specifically for high school students from our community. So we're very proud of this program.

In 2001, the youth council learned the benefits of persistence when we advocated back in the mid-1990s for a tribal teen court program. The youth council was first involved in the development of this grant when we were invited by the Department of Justice to go to Washington, D.C. to provide some feedback with regard to developing a tribal youth program grant for tribes throughout the country. Our youth council members didn't know at the time that they were developing a grant program called the Tribal Youth Program Grant and it was through that opportunity where they provided feedback to the Department of Justice on the needs of the young people in their community. And so as a result of that, the tribe won a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to develop a tribal teen court program. So we're very proud that we are now beginning to reduce and prevent crime within our community, particularly among the young people.

And just recently the youth council won a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a 'Celebrate Fitness" grant initiative. As you know, as Myron mentioned to you, diabetes is the number one problem within our community and what we're discovering among our young people is that a lot of our young people are now being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. And so I personally am involved, not only my health because my parents are diabetics, but now my two younger brothers are diabetics. And it's something that I've been very passionate about with regard to our young people because it's starting to come to our young people. 60 Minutes did a special segment about the fattest Americans and which featured the Gila River Indian Community. We featured this video to our youth during our youth conference back in August and it was just alarming for the young people. I think for our young people in the community it was a shocking, an awakening for them to see that diabetes is an issue within the community and we need to begin to develop preventative measures to prevent this from our community. So of course, I've taken that as well because I work out, I try to work out every day and as you saw in the video yesterday I looked a little bigger in that video. So I've been very cautious about my eating habits as well as exercising daily. But again, we won this grant and so the youth council is beginning to develop Celebrate Fitness projects within each of our communities in the community.

So again, these activities and these different initiatives are all projects that had been launched by this youth council and it's remarkable what these young people can do together, collectively, as a group and it's a pleasure to work with them. Challenging at times, you know. And I just...I think it's the best job in the world and again you meet such great people as Myron and Britney. And again, a lot of our alumni, we've served over 300 alumni who have now become educators, teachers, firemen, policemen. We have some that are presidents of some of our tribal corporations and you have even one that's served on our tribal council. So 90 percent of our alumni that have gone through the program have come back to the community. They come back, they have a sense of community, they want to use their education and so they are. A lot of them are involved still and a lot of them still look to the youth council, they advise us, they give us direction. A lot of our board members, we do have an advisory board comprised of former members of the youth council.

So I just want to say that in the 16 years, it's been a great opportunity. I think Gila River is very fortunate because we also have the financial support of the community. Of course, as their administrator, I look into other financial sources, grants, and we've been very successful. So with that, thank you."

Honoring Nations: Jennifer Harris and Julia Davis-Wheeler: The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Representatives Jennifer Harris and Julia Davis-Wheeler of the Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations youth treatment center discuss the Lodge's genesis and how it works to strengthen the families of the seven Native nations it serves.

Resource Type
Citation

Harris, Jennifer and Julia Davis-Wheeler. "The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 11, 2004. Presentation.

Amy Besaw Medford:

"Next up we have Jennifer Harris, who helped participate during the Family Strengthening Symposium. She's from the Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations and is a registered nurse.

Jennifer Harris:

"I'm so short. Good morning. As that wonderful introduction that Amy gave me, my name is Jennifer Harris. I'm a registered nurse at the Healing Lodge, which is located in Spokane, Washington. We are seven consortium tribes. We are not located on a reservation; we are located in the city limits of Spokane, but on federal property. I kind of broke my talk into two sections because I wanted to touch a little bit and explain about the Healing Lodge, but I also wanted to talk about the Strengthening American Indian Families [symposium] that some of us were here for a few years ago. So I'll start with the Healing Lodge, which is a 26-bed inpatient chemical dependency treatment facility. And I'm fortunate to have one of our past board presidents -- I don't want to pick on her -- Julia Davis, here in the audience. And the presentation before was so excellent. Julia was one of the founding members of the Healing Lodge. So maybe when I'm done, she might want to come up and say a few words about how many, many years ago these tribal leaders came together with this idea and have actually seen it through to a beautiful, working program. So maybe she would be gracious enough to do that for us later. At the Healing Lodge, we have our own school, which does have a Native American Studies program. We have cultural resource people who are there available to the children. I guess I should have said that it's inpatient treatment for 13 to 17 year olds. We will take a 12 year [old] or an 18 year old; 12 if it's a dire situation and 18 if they're still enrolled in school. Their days are planned from the moment they wake up [until] the time they go to bed with education and process groups and a medical staff. They have mental health counselors, recreation specialists, the medical department. We're just one small part of this wonderful program that tries to help these youth recover from substance abuse and give them skills to go back into their communities. And when I was here -- to kind of switch gears -- when I was here for the Strengthening Families Symposium, it was something that I heard over and over again and something that I hear when people ask me where I work is, 'How do you not despair? How do you go to work and hear these stories every day, see the tears in these young ladies' eyes and young men, and know that you're sending them back to these communities and again you're powerless?' You have them for such a short period of time, which is usually 60 to 90 days, and we try to help them heal, teach them skills and hope for the best when they go back to the communities. And at this symposium, the pieces of the puzzle just went together for me. When the Healing Lodge was given honors in 2002, I was not part -- I'm still not part of the administration -- but it was the administration that was involved in the nomination process. And we have the big plaque on the wall, but not all of us know how that came to be. And being here this weekend, like I said, really put these pieces together for me. And it's the youth programs, the family violence programs, the economic development that is helping these children that I see every day. What I do on the front lines is just a small, small piece and I see this economic development and these fabulous programs as what's going to break the cycle of poverty. It's no secret that the poverty leads to addiction, abuse, violence, crime and helping these children at this stage in their life to be sober and clean and healthy is one small piece, but it is the salmon hatcheries and the revitalization of culture that is going to stop the addiction before they ever get to me. You will put me out of a job and I will gladly go because that, like I said, my light bulb went on when I was involved in the breakout sessions and hearing the speakers, that the Honoring Nations programs are what is breaking the cycle of poverty, which is bringing the self-determination, the self-governance, the revitalization of culture and what is going to eventually bring the Native American people out of poverty, out of despair and break the cycle of addiction that I see every day and help these children hold their heads high, be proud of who they are and continue to be members of a society that has in the past not been honored. So if anybody would like to hear, the story is fascinating and the web site is www.healinglodge.org and it's a beautiful facility. We do have -- and Julia will touch on this most likely -- we are run by a board and to be on the board you have to be a tribal councilperson. So our leadership is all Native, which I know is important, that we're learning about today with the self-governance and sovereignty, and we focus on Native American hiring. It's very hard, I know some of you must know that finding qualified Native people who are willing to come and work in the programs is sometimes difficult but we try to make sure that our administrator, our treatment director, the people who are making the decisions, know the Native culture and are making those decisions coming from that place. So that's kind of a nutshell of the Healing Lodge and what I've learned today. And I just want to thank everyone for all of their awesome input and what they're doing in their communities. I think it's easy to lose track of why we get up and go to work every day and the things that we do and I know you see the faces of your own children, but I see the faces of the children that I work with and some of them come from the tribes that you're representing. And knowing that, I can see like the floodgates closing and it coming to a trickle and through the generations the healing and the addiction decreasing. That's really the most important thing that I learned from being here. So I'll turn it over to Julia."

Julia Davis-Wheeler:

"There are seven tribes that belong to the consortium and that is the Umatilla Tribe in Oregon, the Kalispel Tribe in Washington, the Colville Tribe in Washington, the Kootenai, Coeur d'Alene and Nez Pierce tribe in Idaho. That's seven tribes, right? Did I say them all? Spokane. And I see our Kootenai tribal chairman just walking in the door, Gary Aitken. He's on the board and all of the tribes passed a resolution after a working group got together in 1986 and they were all tribal leaders and they wanted to do something for the kids. And that's when the omnibus drug bill was going through Congress and the focus was treatment centers for youth and at that time, in the Portland area, we didn't have any youth treatment centers. And so Mel Tonasket, Bruce Wynn, Ernie Stensgar, myself, Amy -- your mother Amy -- a bunch of others of us got a working group together and this goes back to improving tribal government and what we can do for the youth. And so what we did was we formed a consortium of tribes and we invited any tribe that was interested to come in to work with us. And we especially wanted the bigger tribes, the Yakama, the Shoshone-Bannock, and of course the Colville. The Colville, which is one of the larger tribes in Washington, decided to come in with us, but the Yakama and the Shoshone-Bannocks, because they had their own treatment centers going, decided to not come in with us. So what we did is we formed a band, if you will, of tribal leaders to get this youth treatment center and to be designated as the residential youth treatment for the Portland area. Now I need to tell you that it was not easy. It was very hard because we had the competition of the coastal tribes, if you will. And no offense against any of the coastal tribes that may be here, but they have Seattle, Portland and that corridor where they wanted to have the youth treatment center over that way instead of inland. We wanted it east of the Cascade Mountains so we could serve all of those youth and so we did have a little bit of a tug of war there and we won them over and they decided to support us to go ahead and do this treatment center. I just needed to let you know that it was a lot of work; we had a lot of meetings, continuous meetings. We met with Indian Health Service and we were finally designated as the youth treatment center group. And then we had to go through that whole rigmarole of finding a building, finding a place, finding the land, getting appropriations. I can't tell you how many times we went back to Washington, D.C. to lobby and it was like a miracle from God that we got special appropriations back in 1989. Oh, we started this in 1986, in 1986 when we formed this tribal leaders working group to do this. We knew that we wanted to do it and it was in 1989, 1990 with the help of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, some of the staff people knew what we were doing [and they felt strongly] with it and so they helped us get special appropriations, which was...that's unheard of now. Anyway, we got the appropriations to build a building. And the reason I'm saying this is we are very proud of that building. It's a brand-new facility and after we got appropriated the money then we had to find the land because the omnibus drug bill said that you had to be near a hospital, you had to be near a metropolitan area, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. We wanted to put it down in Pendleton, Oregon with the Umatilla Tribe and we were looking at buildings down there. We wanted to have it on a reservation and Indian Health Service kept telling us, 'No, you have to be near a metropolitan area.' And it was like we were hitting our heads up against a wall. We tried to have it in Coeur d'Alene. The State of Idaho does not have a good reimbursement rate for treatment beds, Medicare; it didn't work out there. We tried to do it in Washington. We were looking over on one of the reservations and there are no buildings. You all know that. There's nothing on the Indian reservations that could house a youth treatment center. So what we did was we said, 'Okay, we'll build one.' We knew we wanted to build one. So we went back, we talked to the Department of Health and Human Services and they agreed to purchase land for us. So we ended up buying four acres of land, six acres of land, within the city limits of Spokane. Now, I know a lot of our tribes in the Northwest cannot understand why we are off the reservation but we had to do that. So the residential treatment center is in Spokane, Washington, and if any of you go there I really want you to go out and look at the treatment center, it's beautiful. It's one of the best facilities in the west and it's brand new and it's out in some trees. We have a sweat lodge for the young men, we have a sweat lodge for the young women, we focus on culture, on helping those young people deal with the substance abuse and the alcohol abuse that they're going through. We have elders come in and meet with them and talk with them about, some of those kids have lost touch with their culture, they've lost touch with their spirituality. Some of them have, they're just like little babes. So we're really working with them to come back. But so that's how we ended up with the federal land, and I'm leaving a lot of other things out. We had to fight with the City of Spokane to even build that residential treatment center because the neighboring people around, they didn't want us there. They did not want us there. So we had to battle with the city, the counties, everybody, to even get that facility there. And so that's why it's so good to see that the Healing Lodge has been recognized for improving tribal governments because even though we couldn't actually do it hands-on ourselves, as tribal leaders what we could do is help all the young people that we could -- not just one tribe, but all of us tribes and help them so they don't have to go through what we see every day. And a lot of us are recovering people ourselves. I'm not ashamed to say I'm a recovering alcoholic; I've been sober now for geez, since 1988. No not '98, since 1980. So that's 20 some years. And I know Antone [Minthorn]is the chair of our Umatilla and I know he has a long time [in recovery] -- I hope you don't mind me saying that -- but there's many of us that really believe strongly in this, the Healing Lodge. And for any of you that do get a chance to come up that way, we have visitors that come from Canada. You know Charlene Belleau and Fred Johnson, those people that did the Alkali Lake video, they're interested in coming over to do some...they've gone from sobriety now to real inter-healing. They've gone from one step to another step and so we have a lot of visitors from Canada. They come and tour our facility. We've had visitors from Navajo; we've had visitors from Oklahoma, California. They all come to see our treatment center and it makes me feel really good. And I know that Gary is a member of the board and Gary, when you go back and talk to the other board members, tell them that we need to keep this going and keep it strong and invite everybody to come to the Healing Lodge and have a meeting or something there. So it was a lot of work, but it was worth it, and as Jennifer has talked about or touched on, working with those kids is an award that you're giving back as an adult to them so they don't have to go through hell, as it's said. So thank you."