checkerboarded reservations

The Indian Reorganization Act at 80 years

Year

At Pine Ridge, daily controversy surrounds the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934. Congress enacted the IRA on June 18, 1934. However, the voting requirement was drastically altered just three days prior. This amendment (H.R. 7781, 49 Stat., 378) dated June 15, 1934, lowered the overall voting bloc from "majority of all eligible voters" to "30 per centum of all eligible voters." Although similar voting laws have been voided by the Supreme Court (Baker v. Carr), this reduced voting requirement is legal, and Pine Ridge elections still adhere to this law. On Pine Ridge, the IRA was put to a public vote on October 27, 1934, with only 28.7 percent participating. The current Constitution and By-laws of the Oglala Sioux Tribe was accepted by the members of the new Oglala Sioux Tribe via referendum vote on January 15, 1936.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Star Comes Out, Ivan F. "The Indian Reorganization Act at 80 years." Native Sun News. Rapid City, SD. October 14, 2014. Opinion. (http://www.indianz.com/News/2014/015347.asp, accessed October 14, 2014)

Swinomish Cooperative Land Use Program

Year

Based on a memorandum of agreement between the Tribe and Skagit County, the Swinomish Cooperative Land Use Program provides a framework for conducting permitting activities within the boundaries of the "checkerboarded" reservation and offers a forum for resolving potential conflicts. The process, which began in the mid-1980s, was the first of its kind in the United States and illustrates a promising alternative in land use conflict resolution by promoting between-government jurisdictional coordination. Since 1996, the tribal and county governments have jointly adopted a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and procedures to administer the plan, which together foster a mutually beneficial government-to-government relationship. Significantly, the model also has served to improve relationships between the Tribe and other contiguous local governments. To date, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community has instituted more than a dozen separate agreements with federal, state, county, and municipal authorities in the areas of land use, public safety, public health, environmental protection, and utility regulation.

Resource Type
Citation

"Swinomish Cooperative Land Use Program." Honoring Nations: 2000 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2001. Report.

Permissions

This Honoring Nations report is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.

Honoring Nations: Ken James: The Flandreau Police Department (2005)

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Former Flandreau Police Chief Ken James present an overview of the Flandreau Police Department to the Honoring Nations Board of Governors in conjunction with the 2005 Honoring Nations Awards.

People
Resource Type
Citation

James, Ken. "The Flandreau Police Deparment," Honoring Nations Awards event. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Tulsa, Oklahoma. November 1, 2005. Presentation.

Ken James:

"My heart is leaping with joy, with passion that we have an opportunity to come here today to showcase our presentation on our unique city-tribal police partnership that we have in Flandreau, South Dakota. And I want to offer my gratitude and appreciation to the board for allowing us... because what would happen is if we just kept our program to our self, we're not really helping other agencies and other communities across our great nation. And so what we have up here is, I want to show you our logo and what it has there is our police logo, which is our patch. What it does is it identifies our, pretty much our mission statement and how we operate as a police department. That was put together when we first initiated our program by a seventh grader. We wanted the community to take ownership of our department by having the public get involved and a seventh grader drew that and put that together. What it consists of is the...it shows the farm and agricultural community which Flandreau is in Moody County and it also shows on the bottom the river which is called the Big Sioux River which runs right through the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribal reservation and the city of Flandreau and then we also of course have our logo of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. And I'm going to go on and talk a little bit about our history, our jurisdiction and our sustainability as far as our joint police partnership.

As far as I know, we're the only city-tribal police partnership in the United States. That doesn't mean that there are contractual agreements between city and tribes or county and tribes, and so I believe that what we have today, what we're going to present about and talk about and hopefully after the program today, if any of the people in the audience want informational sharing on our program look forward to seeing our representatives that are here or myself. Thank you very much for that. The history of us is that we began in 2000 as a police department. The city and the tribe approached one another and asked about the possibility of putting together a joint police department and what happened... it wasn't nothing unique at first because in the city of Flandreau and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, because of previous joint ventures, they didn't see us as something special at first, and so what they done was they got together and they put together what was called a Public Safety Commission, a nine-member commission. And at that time what they done was the commission members was made up of both tribal members and city representatives. And what they did was they did a feasibility study and they also did some research looking into if it would even be possible. And then in August they got with both the city and tribal councils and they made the recommendation that, they said this will work, this program will work and so they put it together. They put the Public Safety Commission together and then they made the recommendations and then they put together what was called the Joint Powers Agreement. What that was is they put the city language, the city attorney got together with the tribal attorney and they came up with what was called the Joint Powers Agreement. And for those of you who want a copy of that, you just get hold of us, we have it on our email and we'll be glad to send that to you.

So what happened then was when we began in January of 2001 as a police department, we had to put together a standard operating procedures manual. And in that we also had to work on our cross-deputization agreements and that meant that our police department was cross-deputizing with the tribe, through the tribal courts, and we were also cross-deputized through the state. So in Flandreau, if I could step away from the podium for a moment, on some city streets in Flandreau or in some tribal jurisdictions in Flandreau, it depends if you're standing on this side of the street you're on tribal land, if you're over here on this side of the street you're on city or state jurisdiction. So it's a very complex issue but through our training our officers go through we've been able to figure that all out. And then of course we also put together our Mutual Aid Agreements with our law enforcement program. And then in September of 2003 the final piece of that cross-deputization agreements was that the tribe went one step further and they allowed the Moody County Sheriff's Department to be a part of that agreement process and what they've done was the tribe has what's called fee land, which the state has jurisdiction on, and so what happens is the Moody County Sheriff's Department patrols that.

What happened was in July 19th of 2003 during our annual Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Powwow, everything came together in unison and it took an emergency to see everything come together. What happened was we had a fatality accident that happened where several occupants were thrown from the vehicle and we had one 14 year old that had died from the accident. The multiple agency's response to that was primarily we put safety first. We didn't...we weren't bothered, we weren't hindered by jurisdictional issues and the rescue, the fire and rescue responded and so what happened was through that everything was handled accordingly, it went by the book and what happened was out of that, out of that tragedy we got together with the city...tribal prosecutor, the Moody County state's attorney, the local sheriff and myself and we came up with what we call a zero-tolerance policy on underage drinking. We realized the impact that that accident had and we realized with the problems associated with underage drinking in our community, we came up with a zero-tolerance policy. And last we also...we ended up...because the Flandreau community's so small, because of the tragedy it impacted the community. It had a very adverse affect on the community. So what we done was we put together a healing walk and what we did with that was we got together with multi agencies and we put together a march, a walk in memory of the accident and it was also to kind of bring healing to the community.

Our jurisdiction, this is very pivotal here because as you can see up on top it shows our citizens come first as far as our organizational structure and our span of control. The citizens come first. And then it breaks down into our city council, then over it has our tribal council and then if you look down it has our city liaison and our tribal liaison. The city liaison and the tribal liaison, they both serve on the Public Safety Commission and they're kind of...they go back and report the monthly meeting that we have to the respective entities and then of course we have our nine-member Public Safety Commission that breaks down to the Chief of Police, the Sergeant, our police officers, and then of course our citizens again.

Our sustainability and our promising practices of our department: in the past five years we have emerged as a growing respectable police agency in South Dakota, and how we done that was by applying our standard operating procedures. Some of our procedures are nationally accredited policies and procedures that I had adopted from my previous employment. We also applied our community principles into our standard operating procedures and that's pretty much our philosophy and how we approach law enforcement. Then we also, we have our joint law enforcement training. Through training with osmosis, some of our non-Indian officers, I think they receive the best training in the world as far as cultural competency. They understand that they work with the tribe, that we have tribal members and so I think they get the best training as far as cultural sensitivity from our department as to going to maybe a one-week course. We have had, again we've had five years of continued law enforcement operation. We share our joint partnership as a model with other agencies. I think that's pivotal for us here today is that we have stepped forward, we have stepped out of the box and we have moved forward. Just recently we...last month we put on what was called the Great Plains Summit on Meth. In our community, we do have problems just like other jurisdictions and other communities, but we did something about it. We didn't sit on the sidelines and wait for something to happen. We took control and through that it's inspired and it has motivated other tribal communities to go back and start their own task force. Then last, our sovereignty, we have our sovereignty, which is understanding the unique relationship with the tribe, then we have our safety by promoting safety, developing that safety network in our community. And then I think what's equally important is the synergy that goes into that. There's a saying that says, 'A single twig breaks but a bundle of twigs is strong,' and that's the unification of our services as a police department in Flandreau. And then of course our sustainability, staying on task, staying on top of our programs, looking for innovative ways of moving forward into the future. I think that's one of our promising practices is having a visionary response of going forward rather than backwards. And then last is that equals our success as a police department. Thank you very much."

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"Chief Ken James, I'd like to ask you a question and you've given us a good view of the sustainability practices of your police department but I wanted to ask a little bit further, pry a little bit more. What you've accomplished is incredible, but I'm wondering whether or not the program itself would continue at the level of sustainability were it not for you. You seem to be a very dynamic police chief, and obviously you've been part of the success of this whole program. Is there a mentoring aspect of this program that you are cultivating in the event, for instance, you're not there? Second of all, and you touched upon this a little bit, I think what's also phenomenal about this program is that obviously on some levels you've dealt with racism within the community. The community has come together on this and jointly agreed to go forward. Is there still a level of tension related to racism within your community that the police department continues to attempt to address?"

Ken James:

"First, to answer her first question, I'm very privileged and very blessed to the Chief of Police for the city of Flandreau and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. I see myself only as a buffer. I'm the one that polishes and shines. That's what I do best is I polish and shine. It's people in our audience that has attended, come a long way from South Dakota to make this police department a reality. It's coming together and having the integration of the community that first and foremost, they're the ones that seen the vision of this wanting to take shape and take place and I think hiring me as the chief, I came in and I've done what I can. But I'm hoping today that...I'm here to also...I have the capacity to acquire and to learn and I want to learn from the audience and I want to learn hopefully from the governing board here that perhaps, maybe there's things that we can do better as far as our visionary response. So I think that's one of the key things to our success as far as our sustainability is working together in unison. We have community leadership meetings and then what happens is that the city and the tribal council, the city council, the tribal council, what they do is they sit down and they meet and they go over to review the past year's events and the progress and things that have been made as far as our police department. So I think what's very important and I want to emphasize is that communication is, I think it's very imperative. I think that's probably the most, the key that lies behind the measurable success of our agency. And I understand, I read a lot and I do want to emphasize also that I do know that what we've been able to do in Flandreau, I know there's been other communities that have done likewise and I just read an article in the Lakota Journal, where the city of Bismarck is now looking at ways of strengthening and bringing some sort of resolve to maybe their community tension and things that are going on in Bismarck, and I know Mr. Dave Gipp there has been instrumental in working with that, the City of Bismarck. I know he's been doing that for a long time.

The second part is dealing with racism. As you know, as being a chief of police and being in law enforcement for 20 plus years, I have realized that I don't take things personal when things are said or directed at me as the chief or...and this is dealing with racism and I have learned to be very thick-skinned and what we have been able to do when we deal with some of the tension and anxieties that go on in the community, more so when we're dealing with events that are tragic in nature, sometimes we have to go around some of those things and sometimes we don't just put a band-aid approach to it, but we have to go right directly through it sometimes, right through the barriers and through those elements. I'm very fortunate to have a community that understands that we're coming together as a police department and as a community as a whole in Flandreau. One of the most important things about the sustainability is that if we don't have safety in our communities, everything kind of dwindles and economic development will dwindle and people wouldn't want to come to the Premiere Royal River Casino in Flandreau because it would be unsafe to come for a form of recreation and entertainment."

Michael Lipsky:

"Chief, congratulations on your achievements. Our program is concerned with the governance of the nations and so we're particularly interested in the relationship between your work and the tribal council. And I don't have a clear picture yet of how the council came to the opinion that it should move in the direction that it has. I wonder if you could explain that to us a little bit more."

Ken James:

"What happened, the history as far as law enforcement was that the tribe had a tribal officer at one time in the history of their law enforcement. Then they switched gears and they went over to the BIA and then in the past, back in the '80s they went back and they contracted with the Moody County Sheriff's Department and that was all the way up until the year, around 2000 when the city mayor and the city council met with the tribal council and decided that they were going to look at having their own law enforcement. And at that time because of the previous joint ventures as far as water development and some of the other programs that the city had joined forces with the tribe, it was a perfect glove that fit and so they said, 'We're going to dare to try something different,' and that's the key is you're facilitating positive change. It's going on yesterday and it's going on today." 

Honoring Nations: Ken James: The Flandreau Police Department (2007)

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Former Flandreau (South Dakota) Police Chief Ken James discusses how the Flandreau Police Department works to provide culturally sensitive law enforcement to all of the citizens it serves.

People
Resource Type
Citation

James, Ken. "The Flandreau Police Deparment," Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 27-28, 2007. Presentation.

Michael Lipsky:

"So our presenters are Ken James, Chief of the Flandreau Police Department, who was honored in 2005, whose program was honored in 2005; Don Corbine, who is from the Bad River Recycling program in Wisconsin; LuAnn Leonard, the Director of the Hopi Education Endowment Fund; and Mary Etsitty, the Executive Director of the Office of the Navajo Tax Commission. So perhaps, we'll go in the order that I read those names and so Ken, perhaps you'd start off?"

Ken James:

"[Dakota greeting/prayer] Before I start I want to share with you -- it's a song. And I sing this song for strength, for inner strength, and it's a song of encouragement. And I sing this a lot in the line of work that I do. I always need strength from the higher power. And after I get done singing his song, I'll share with you the history of that song.

[Singing]

That song, (you can go ahead and sit down. Thank you). That song is a reminder of our history, as Dakota Santees in South Dakota, Nebraska and North Dakota. On December 26th, 1862, our brothers and sisters, our ancestors, stood side by side holding hands with the men, the women and children in Mankato, Minnesota, on December 26th, 1862. They were a bristling wall of strength that stood there, and they watched their brothers, their relatives. The largest mass execution in U.S. history; 38 Santees were put in the gallows and they were hung. And it was for our homelands in Minnesota and we were exiled. Our ancestors were moved, and we were moved, and we were moved. And through all of those journeys through life, we've had the tenacity to overcome and to adapt as Indian people.

When I look around the room today, I see each and every one of us have our own stories to tell in our families, in our tribes, in our nations. And so we, each and every one of us, we're that bristling wall of strength today for our people and for the generations to come. And I want to start off by -- it's been so gracious, I've learned so much since I've been here. I've never been to this side of the world other than to -- I've been to D.C. for a law enforcement summit, so it's been just very gratifying to come here and to learn and I'm just absorbing it all in. It's just been a blessing and a gift. Somebody once said that sometimes we have to travel this road alone but we don't have to do it by ourselves. We have so many people. I share that a lot with my children that sometimes we're going to have complex issues come in our life but we can do it together. There's nothing saying that we can't do it by ourselves.

And I want to share with you, I want to thank and I want to acknowledge some people here. I think it's only right and fair that I do that. In our Native way, we do that anyway. [Because] what I've learned in my career, it was given to me, it was something I didn't do by myself. I had so many people that are no longer here in the physical realm that [have] helped me to get where I'm at today. So I'm very appreciative of that love and that unconditional love that has been bestowed upon me. My Indian name is [Dakota language]. In Dakota that means ‘strong minded.' That was given to me in 1995 in a Hunka ceremony in Kyle, South Dakota. I was adopted into the, at that time was the president of, the Oglala Sioux Nation; his name was Wilbur Between Lodge. And it was mostly, in part, because of the work that I was doing down on the Indian reservations working more so with gang violence in Indian Country. I also did a lot of work in building healthy lifestyles. I want to share with you that last week was 14 years of continuous sobriety for me. I gave that up. So today the federal Bureau of Land Management declared me a fire hazard because I'm so dry. So don't light a cigarette or nothing around me, I'm flammable. I've been married 27 years. I have six grown children and one granddaughter and another one on the way. My daughter's Kaylen James. She's a student now here at Wellesley College here in Boston. Her sister, another identical twin, is up at Dartmouth going to school there. And I'm very proud of them. I have four other grown children and they're all in school, going back to college and still continue to evolve and still continue to learn.

I want to acknowledge that we have Josh Weston, our president, the youngest president in the history of our tribe; he's my nephew. And then I have another person I want to acknowledge is Leah Fyten. Leah is the Housing Director for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. She's currently on our Public Safety Commission and she's also Chairperson of our Meth Initiative Coalition there in Flandreau, South Dakota, that she chairs and doing a very good job. The other person I want to acknowledge in the crowd here is Dr. David Gipp, a huge contribution in my life, as far as my career in law enforcement. In 1979, I was a young 18-year-old, turning 19, and I went to school at United Tribes [Technical College], and I took up the Criminal Justice program. And I had the opportunity to learn and also work at United Tribes [Technical College] for four years in the security department before I went on to work in the Rapid City Police Department. We have continued to maintain contact and continue to keep that dialogue open as far as some of the contemporary needs and concerns that's going on in Indian Country today. So I'm just glad and very pleased that we still have people, such as Dr. David Gipp, around that's still a huge inroad in our lives, still paving the paths for so many successes in Indian country with all the students that graduate [from] United Tribes [Technical College].

And then last is Harvard [Honoring] Nations. Yesterday the motto was ‘Just do it'. Well, I think there's another part of that is they keep coming back. Two years ago when we were given this award we thought that would be the end of it. That's not the case. They call you up, they're in contact with you, sharing dialogue, sharing information, sharing ideas. And it's kind of spun off on me [because] now I'm contacting them. When I'm dealing with complex issues, it just takes a phone call, or even an email, to get on the phone, or get on the computer, and we share these issues together because together -- again, I heard someone say that two minds working together is better than one and when we can put that altogether it's really, there's a lot of strength in there. I just appreciate Harvard for all the work that they do and continue to do, even after you get your award, they continue to work with you. And then it's people such as yourselves that are here. I've learned so much talking and sharing and learning so much about the other cultures and different backgrounds. So I'm going to be going back to South Dakota rejuvenated, energized, and ready to go back to work and do what I do.

Myself, I have about 28 years of security, corrections and law enforcement work. The majority of my law enforcement career was in Rapid City, South Dakota, which is in the western part of South Dakota. There we have probably about 80, 85, 90,000 population. And about 7,000 Native Americans live in Rapid City and that population fluctuates. And then I've been the Chief of Police for the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe and the City of Flandreau for the past seven years. One of the things I wanted to share with you is that, when I took this position as the chief of police, they were looking for someone who could collaborate and use that cooperative learning to engage the community; someone that would be able to work with the Native population, the Native people, and then of course work with the non-Indian community and bridge that gap and bring things together. One thing that I found out is, there's an old Hopi saying that says, ‘One finger can't lift a pebble, it takes more than -- several fingers to coordinate and bring that together,' and that's how it is when we work together in Flandreau.

It hasn't been an easy road. A lot of the rites of passage, the maturational process that we had to go through to get where we're at, was -- we weren't courting disaster, but when you go into something and when you don't settle for the status quo -- there's nothing wrong with the status quo, there's nothing negative about it, but if you want to be an innovative leader, if you want to forge ahead and maybe sometimes even fall forward, falling forward sometimes you're going to make some mistakes. And certainly in our department in Flandreau we have some flaws, we've had some weaknesses. But we didn't try to override them; we tried to work through them. And it's been a tremendous learning experience, as far as our growth, and we have certainly not become stagnant.

One of the things I wanted to share with you about our experience is we've -- talking about Flandreau -- we've been able to take that model, use a traditional law enforcement setting. If you look at it, where we're at today in law enforcement, the model is that it used to be tribal law enforcement and traditional law enforcement. Then it moved over to Indian Scout, and then it went to BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs], and now you're seeing it come in a complete circle, starting to go back again to traditional law enforcement. In Dakota, we call it the Akicita Society, the Soldier's Lodge. Today, what we have done is, we've been able to fine-tune that and today, in contemporary law enforcement, we call it community-oriented policing -- and in that, what we've done is, we've been able to mesh that together. And so I come to find out that community-oriented policing correlates very well, it identifies very well, with traditional law enforcement, what those principles are about. In [community-oriented] policing, it talks about the broken window[s] theory. In Native country, when we see broken down cars and dilapidated buildings, we become desensitized to that, we see it every day, and after a while we become accustomed to it. In the [community-oriented] policing, the broken window[s] theory is that, if you have windows that are busted up, what it does is it increases crime; it goes against societal needs.

One thing that I want to share with you is that, as the chief of police, I am Dakota first and professional second. Everything that I do, the way I live, the way I act and conduct myself is that I'm a Dakota first and that I'm Chief of Police second. In the same lines, as chief of police, I'm also chief of police/mentor/coach/teacher to my officers. I keep giving back to them that sacred trust and responsibility. When you wear that badge, that's what it's all about, about the community comes first, the welfare of the community. Sir Robert Peelsaid it best during the ancient feudal backgrounds when law enforcement was first established. He said, ‘The community is the police and the police is the community.' We're just an extension. One of the things about [community-oriented] policing in Flandreau, as well as across the nation, is part of that [community-oriented] policing principle is that we're there to identify problems and then coming up with approaches and solutions to those problems. It's being a problem-solver in today's 21st-century law enforcement.

And again I want to share with you is that -- I heard yesterday, someone talking about, by working together in unison -- a single twig breaks but when you put a bundle of sticks together there's strength there, it's hard to break that. One of the things I wanted to share with you is that when we work with people and we work with the demands of society, we see a lot of issues; we see a lot of concerns. And one of the things I wanted to share with you is this, is that -- there's an old ancient method of working with arrows. Someone had talked about the quiver and the arrows yesterday. What we do with the arrows is that, when you have one arrow that's out of line, what you do is you take that arrow and you make it the focal point. You make that the center of importance. You take that arrow and you put it in the middle. And you take all the straight arrows that have precision and balance and equilibrium, you put it around that arrow and you wrap it. You put it away for a couple of days and you come back. You don't go back and tamper and check and see if everything's working okay. You let it be, you let it work on its own accord. Several days later you go back, you unravel that wrapping and the arrow that was crooked and out of line that was in the middle is now straight. It's been aligned with the rest of the community. That's social bonding in our traditional culture, bringing things together. And when we see kids that are in gangs, we see the methamphetamine issues; that's what we need to do with people. We put them at the center, rather than outcast them and displace them and kick them out of the community.

One of the things I want to talk about, in our department there's training through osmosis. It's probably been the biggest thing, as far as relational building, is that I have non-Indian officers that work in my department. What we've been able to do through training through osmosis is they learn from me, as a Native chief of police; I show them the mannerisms, I show them the etiquette, I show them the things that we do in our way of life. And vice versa, we do the same thing. I go out there and I learn just as much about the backgrounds and cultures of my officers that work for me. It works so well, is that our model -- in Rosebud reservation in South Dakota, up on Standing Rock, they're starting to look at and view what we've been able to do in Flandreau, as far as building that partnership between the city and tribe, because in the Nation it's never been done. So when we forged ahead in that concept, in that partnership, we didn't realize the magnitude of what it was going to cause. We didn't even think of it as something special because historically, in Flandreau, the city and tribe has always learned to get along with each other, see the differences, and be able to work through some of those issues. And I think that's partly due, because we have one of the oldest BIA boarding schools there in Flandreau, and -- for example, our city mayor is a retired teacher from the Flandreau Indian School. So, in other words, we never had to really reinvent the wheel, and today the tribe and the city are working on other economic development ventures and things like that. So we're certainly moving ahead, forging ahead and we're learning from our past.

One of the things I want to share with you is about, when I traveled over here the other day, come across, we had a relative, an ancestor, his name was [Dakota language], which means winner. Most of you guys probably seen the movie that came out a couple months ago, it was about Wounded Knee. And in there, the main character was about Dr. Charles Eastman. Dr. Charles Eastman came to Dartmouth and went to school here and got his education. And what happened was, during that time of travel here -- I can only imagine what had happened, as what happened to a lot of our ancestors, it was part of that assimilation process, as far as that U.S. policy of educating the Indian. A lot the people, especially the Dakotas and Lakotas and other tribes, we were taken from the families and we were taken, by either buggy or horseback, down to the Missouri River where they were departed from their loved ones and their relatives and they made the journey east to go to school here. I had a grandpa that went to school at Carlisle Indian School; he was a World War I veteran. After he left Carlisle, he never did come back to our reservation and that was a part of that process. It's not to say that he didn't go on and work in other Indian communities, but he ended up relocating in the Southwest. And we all know too well about the 1950s with the relocation.

I had a grandmother that went to school at Hampton Institute over here on the east side. So there's a history that's there. Earlier when I sang that song, I want to share with you, it's about tenacity, it's about perseverance and it's about enduring. One of my grandmothers, after the Dakota conflict, went down and went to Crow Agency, or Creek, and ended up there and then ended up down in Santee Agency in northeast Nebraska and she had the intestinal fortitude to go, during all the mass confusion, she ended up going back. We ended up leaving one of the children behind there in Minnesota up in present day Minneapolis, Fort Snelling. And it was at a time when there was still a lot of hostility towards Native people. When she got to Santee Agency, it wasn't a man, her Indian name was [Dakota language], which means ‘like [a] man,' [because] she took some of the duties of the man when they were away on war parties or if they were away from the camp. So she went, she walked on foot. I don't know how she got through over the bridge, or there wasn't even bridges back then, but she walked all the way back to Minnesota and reclaimed one of the kids there and then took him back on foot all the way back to northeast Nebraska. I shared that story a couple years ago at a wellness conference in Rapid City; we were talking about building strengths in families. And when I look at my own disappointments and my own problems in life, I just have to draw back to that memory of our history in our family and I say, ‘Wow.' Last summer I had a chance to go down to the southern part of our Indian reservation in Nebraska and I found where she's buried. It's way down in this valley and I walked down, I got out and I walked and got there and I was able to -- I just remember kneeling down at her headstone and saying, and I kissed it and said, ‘Thank you. Thank you so much for what you done.'

So I've learned, through that time, about taking our police department, all the things that we've been able to do, mixing them together, and sharing, and giving a lot of thought to what we're doing, as far as a police department in today's contemporary society. And I want to share with you one more story. And it's about what I do, why I do what I do. When I was working in Rapid City I went to a domestic violence call and it was very chaotic. I remember showing up about three in the morning, I got there and there was a young boy. It was families just fighting, people were intoxicated. And I looked and I could see right through this little door, these little eyes peeking out, little angel faces peeking out, little lips were trembling. And I imagined they were scared and frightened of police and fire and ambulance there, and one of the grandmas was [lying] on the couch having a heart attack. And so I remember watching them and I went out the door, I got in the police car, and I was getting ready to leave. And I looked and I seen this little young man, about nine years old, he was walking back and he, at nine years old, he already had a substance abuse issue, inhalant abuse. And he was probably one of the youngest that was put into the detoxification center in Rapid City. But anyway, he was coming back and he was acting like a gang [member]. So I called him over, I knew that he was on probation so I put him in the car with me. And I call it a divine intervention. And I put him in the car with me, I put him in back and started talking to him, he got very defensive. So I started talking with him and I said, ‘You know,' I said, ‘How do you feel right now with all the stuff that's going on with your family right now?' And so he got very defensive and very abrupt and I just kept talking to him and finally he -- I told him, I said, ‘You know, I want you to know this,' I said, ‘as a young child,' I said, ‘You've already been to hell and back already with everything that's going on in your family.' I said, ‘You've got sisters in there, little sisters that need you.' I told him, I said, ‘If you can get through what you're going through today, you can go anywhere in this world, if you put your mind to it.' And I ended it by saying, ‘You know why I'm telling you this? It's because I simply, I care about you.' And that little boy, in the back seat of my patrol car, he just started to weep like a baby and he ended it by saying, he said, ‘I want to say something to you.' He said, ‘I never -- no one's ever said that they care about me.' That was a reflection, a tiny reflection of myself, looking at that little boy growing up. And that sticks with me today because sometimes in my line of police work and working in Flandreau, working with families, one thing is that we get kind of bogged down, we get wrapped up in our work, and I have to go back to the basics of why I do what I do. And it's about making a difference in people's lives, improving safety in Indian Country. And so I wanted to share with you a little bit about that.

We still have a lot of work that's ahead of us. Together, we can accomplish a lot of those things. The thing that's really, that we're dealing with today in society, in Indian Country, is methamphetamine. The other part is we're dealing with the youth gangs and the violence. And then we still haven't really curbed the domestic violence. And today, on the panel, there's going to be some work and discussion about the Violence Against Women Act. So those are the areas. And I wanted to share with you and close by thanking everybody here. I wanted to talk a little bit about our police department. I'll be around still afterwards to share with you a little bit more about what we do in Flandreau. With a time allotment of a little over ten minutes, I don't have that much time to share with you everything and it's impossible, you can't do that. But I want to share with you some things that you will understand as Indian people, the commonality of things that we do. Thank you very much."

Jaime Pinkham: Intergovernmental and Intertribal Relations: Walking the Sovereignty Walk

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Native Nations Institute
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Jaime Pinkham discusses why the building of productive intergovernmental and intertribal relationships is so important, and shows how they can advance the nation-building efforts of Native nations. He shares a number of in-depth case-study examples illustrating how Native nations have engaged in such relationships in order to overcome conflicts and achieve their goals. 

People
Native Nations
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Citation

Pinkham, Jaime. "Intergovernmental and Intertribal Relations: Walking the Sovereignty Walk." Emerging Leaders seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. March 21, 2012. Presentation. 

"So I get the opportunity to talk about 'Intergovernmental Relations: Walking the Sovereignty Walk.' And believe me, a lot of my comments will come from my personal experiences at Nez Perce. And it's good to see Joanna Merrick, one of our tribal leaders from Nez Perce, who was able to join us for this conference here. Because if you think about the political landscape of a place like Idaho, it's probably a lot like what the people at Yankton Sioux experience in South Dakota -- a very conservative community, a very conservative government, which trickles down into how the local governments kind of operate and feel and look at Indian policy. So it really was out of necessity that we found ourselves working on these intergovernmental agreements.

I think those of you from the Pacific Northwest probably know of a guy by the name of Billy Frank, Jr. from the Nisqually Tribe. And one of the quotes that I always steal from Billy, one of my favorite quotes, is when he said, 'We need to be peacemakers when we can and warriors when we must.' Those of you who ran for tribal council, I bet you've heard the standard campaign is, 'I will fight for sovereignty, I will fight for treaty rights.' It doesn't always have to be a fight, does it? Well, I've never heard anybody who said, 'I am going to fight against sovereignty and treaty rights,' much less somebody who got elected on that platform. So we ask ourselves, in this nation-building tool kit -- all these things that we've been sharing with [you] -- how does intergovernmental relations become a part of the tool kit?

So let's look at what's been going on over the past three decades, since the 1980s. We've seen this thickening of relationships between tribes and with states. And some of this is driven by the fact that we see governors being elected and taking actions to formalize new relations with tribes within their states. Some of it will come as an executive order by the governor. Just in 2010, the Governor of South Dakota, newly elected Governor [Dennis] Daugaard, had created a secretarial position -- Secretary of Indian Affairs -- and he selected someone from the Cheyenne River Sioux, an attorney by the name of J.R. LaPlante, to head up this first department within the State of South Dakota. And what's interesting, before this the tribal relations in South Dakota was under the tourism department in the state. So it shows a major shift in thinking. And we also see state legislatures responding, too. For example, in Idaho, the State Legislature had passed legislation that created an Indian Affairs Commission. And on this commission you have a representative from the House, from the Senate, from the Governor's office as well as a representative from each of the five tribes in Idaho. The expectation is that maybe there's another avenue to resolving these conflicts and trying to head off issues before it gets into the legislature because believe me, you don't always want state legislatures working on Indian policy.

There are other areas, too, that we see. If you looked at the National Conference of State Legislatures -- it's a coalition of the 50 state legislatures in the U.S. -- and on their website, if you look under the Indian Country headings, 42 of the 50 states now have some kind of a formal relationship that they're developing with tribes, whether it's through the actions of the governor or the legislature. So we see this emergence. But the other thing we see too, which I find extremely fascinating, is the number of Native Americans running and getting elected to state legislatures. Now you see this in South Dakota, certainly up in Alaska, Montana, we're seeing it in Idaho and Washington. One of my favorite stories is Richard Marcellais, Chairman of Turtle Mountain Chippewa. Not only was he chairman of the tribe, but he was also the state senator from North Dakota from that particular district. And back in 2010, when the chairman was running for re-election, he gave me one of his campaign cards. And you look at it and here he is with this war bonnet on and this picture that says, 'Integrity, Honesty, Hard-working. Re-elect Richard Marcellais, Chairman, Turtle Mountain Chippewa.' Turn the card over. Here he is in his business suit, 'Honesty, Integrity, Hard-working. Re-elect Richard Marcellais, State Senator.' I thought it was fascinating. How many citizens have this ability to exercise leadership in multiple layers of government? And tribes have that opportunity, and we see many tribal people exercising it.

Well, we also see the growth in intergovernmental relationships between tribes and states. For example, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act requires that we negotiate compacts with states, which in turn are intergovernmental relations. And many times we see these compacts also leading to other relationships and agreements with local governments over gaming and its impact on land use and public safety and revenue sharing and other areas as well. So we see this emergence going on. And the growth in intertribal partnerships have long been occurring. I was talking with Jefferson earlier, another Columbia River Treaty tribe at Warm Springs. We've had this ancient relationship where we're connected by river and our relationship to salmon, which that grew into a connection by blood. And so that strategic alliances with tribes that have lasted over maybe the axis of a common resource, a common language or maybe we had common enemies. So we always had these nation-to-nation relationships between tribes and that's nothing new for us.

The growing interest by governments in strengthening agreements, avoiding the pitfalls, and simplifying processes. Gosh, believe me, they just don't print enough money to solve all our problems these days. So what are some other avenues that we can have to provide the services that our tribal citizens need, whether it's through health care or law enforcement, jurisdictional issues? And I'll share some examples of where this is coming true. And the drivers for this growth are many.

We see this devolution of power. The federal government -- the granddaddy of governments, so to speak -- wanted to transfer more responsibilities and authorities down to other governments whether it's tribes, the states. And many times they transfer those responsibilities, but they don't transfer the resources to implement them. But we see this devolution going on. In some respects the Indian Self Determination Act, which provided the tribes with the opportunity to manage those BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] responsibilities, we see cases where tribes and even the states are asking for a greater say or the ability to manage natural resources like federal lands or the bison range in Montana when it comes to the Flathead Tribe [Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes], or Nez Perce who wanted to take on wolf recovery from the federal government for the entire state of Idaho. So you see these responsibilities being shifted from the national level on down to the tribal level and state level. And you even see states going through this too, transferring certain authorities down to counties and cities. Also the increased assertion of sovereignty by Native nations; the more that we get out there and exercise our sovereignty wisely, we see this expansion, especially where you have life-sustaining resources like water and fish and wildlife that don't know political boundaries. And so our sovereignty will be extending outside of our reservation boundaries to provide for law enforcement, management and care of natural resources. So we see ourselves expanding outside of our boundaries.

In some cases, it's the challenges themselves that drive the need for these intergovernmental relationships. In Nez Perce, we're a checkerboard reservation. You've got three counties, multiple cities. You've got these jurisdictional intersections and as cars are passing by, whose authority takes precedence? What parcel of land are you standing on at a particular time? And are you Indian, non-Indian, or are you a member of another tribe? And so you have all these complexities of this jurisdictional web of issues that you try to sort out. We also see it in social services, welfare reform, where Congress had kind of created this inequity granting more authorities to the states than they did to the tribes. So in some cases, we're forced to work with states on social service programs. And of course the limited capacities; and it's not just limited capacities of money, it's also what kind of talent and resources, whether it's technical resources or intellectual resources or information that we need to solve our problems. But as well as work with our neighbors as they face the same kind of concerns and challenges and opportunities that we do. And always there's the potential value added by cooperation. Thinking about Billy Frank's comment about are you going to be a peacemaker or a warrior, you need the wisdom and the strength to do the due diligence to decide which is going to work in your community. Sometimes it is the litigation -- you have no choice but to litigate your concerns.

One example I'd like to use that I know Joanna is familiar with, a very difficult decision at Nez Perce and it involved the adjudication of water rights in the Snake River Basin. In the tribe, we didn't want into the fight, but we had to get into the fight when the state had filed water claims against the federal government. Well, we weren't going to stand by and let the feds represent our interests. Even during the negotiation, hell, it was hard to tell what side the feds were on. Were they with us or against us? And so we knew that the only chance for us to make sure that we came out protecting our interest was to engage in the litigation. But the tribe took two tracks. They were parallel tracks that were simultaneous. One involved the litigation and one involved a mediated negotiated solution. On the litigation side, the primary basis for our claims was around in-stream flows. We're salmon people; we love our sushi. And so being [that] the Clearwater and the Salmon and the Snake rivers coming through our country, the salmon are important to our society. And so we wanted to insure the in-stream flows for the adults to return and for the young smolts to go back out to the ocean. But it was also the in-stream flows for our consumptive uses, for domestic-industrial uses. Also the litigation was over the use of springs. We used to herd our cattle all around that region. And in our treaty, we retained the right to access private property to water our cattle and horses. So that's where litigation was taking us.

Same thing, though, on a negotiation was about the in-stream flows. But when we got to negotiation we found out there were other things that we could put onto the table. We were allotted and all the surplus land that was not either reserved for tribal allotments or for the tribe in common and not homesteaded was given to the Bureau of Land Management. We had federal BLM lands within an Indian reservation and dammit, we wanted those lands back. So we put those on a negotiating table. The next thing we said, 'There are two federal fish hatcheries on this reservation. Why are the feds running them and why aren't we running them?' We said, 'We want those fish hatcheries,' under negotiations. Well, the feds said, 'Well, we'll give you this one. This other one has this huge research facility, it's state of the art and we don't want to give it up.' So we negotiated and we said, 'Okay, let us co-manage it with you.' So we started talking about even more than that. And we started talking about funding --funding for watershed restoration, funding for the infrastructure to have clean water and clean sewer, to build a community infrastructure. So we had a funding package on there. Then it came up to a vote and I tell you there was not a wrong answer. Do you vote for litigation? Do you vote for negotiation? They were both right answers. And I think there's something liberating about you can pick either one and either one is going to work. But after a hard decision -- I was no longer on council so that rested with Joanna and others -- they voted with the negotiations. And it was actually one of the largest-funded water rights settlements in this country. So it shows that sometimes litigation and cooperation -- tough choices -- but cooperation does allow you to put more opportunities on the table.

When I was on council and we'd be talking about these intergovernmental agreements, we had concerns about going forward with them. And one is we have this long history of conflicts with these governments. So why would we want to sit down and be their partner all of a sudden? And wasn't it just the feds who have this government-to-government relationship with us? Why do we want to recognize these more junior governments like cities and counties? And we also thought, 'Yeah, they're the minor leagues. We're a tribal government. We're in the big leagues. We don't want to deal with these little junior varsity governments.' And also the feeling that we are tribal sovereigns. We always think there are three true sovereigns, and that's the tribes, the federal government, and the states. And why would we want to deal with these other governments? By dealing with these non-sovereign sort of governments, doesn't that erode our sovereignty? So there was a concern about that. And the other one is heck, sometimes we're so darn good we just beat them in court anyway any time there's a conflict. But we figure, we admit that these intergovernmental relationships -- we're talking about how government is a tool for the nation -- well, this is one of the tools in the toolkit here, is these nation-building tools of how tribal governments can interact with other governments because we can influence policy outcomes on a broader scale. When you interact with state on policy issue, your authority, your voices get expanded and may impact how things go on outside your community. And it enhances economic opportunities. And I'll share an example of how this worked at Nez Perce, where because of the existence of the tribe and our work with the local city, we were able to expand the economic infrastructure to support both the city and the tribe. And also the delivery of quality services to our tribal members, especially on reservations where you're very rural and we had limited resources to provide for our tribal members, but also the counties and the cities have the same limitations. So are there opportunities that we can cobble everything together to create a single functioning program? And again, I'll share more examples of that.

This federal devolution thing -- it's not going to go away. I think it will continue to expand and we need to be prepared for it. Utilization of scarce resources, the mutual concerns -- as I covered before -- but also I think what's important here is when we talk about the concerns -- that I showed on an earlier page -- really these intergovernmental relationships are an exercise of sovereignty. We say to ourselves, when we get into these agreements, that we have the sovereign ability to negotiate the terms of an agreement, to pick and choose who we want to partner with, to characterize what is the nature of that relationships. So really these intergovernmental agreements are just an expression of our sovereignty. And so the contributions are many -- and again so that I stay on time and we play a little bit of catch up here, let me cover these in the examples that I'm going to show here in a bit.

So let me share just some common areas for these intergovernmental agreements. One of my favorites is a Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. They sit on the far east side of the state right along the boundary of the State of Minnesota. So you've got the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, a small reservation and it overlaps the boundaries of the city, the City of Flandreau. And so again you have this jurisdictional intersection. Whose laws take precedent? Who's involved in a particular action or crime? Is it civil, is it criminal, on and on and on? Well, they were struggling with this about this overlapping mixed jurisdiction and they finally decided back in 2000 and said, 'What if we just create a single police department?' And so in 2000 they created a joint police department. And actually, it's led by the tribe, so you have uniformed police officers that provide law enforcement, tribal law enforcement, that also provide law enforcement over the city. And how they managed that, the cooperation of that is they have a joint public safety commission that provides oversight, helps with the creating of laws, and it respects the rights of the tribe as well as the interests of the city in this agreement.

Others are justice systems, and we've been talking a lot about [Chairman John] 'Rocky' Barrett at Citizen Band Potawatomi. We have a lot of Rocky stories, too. And Rocky was saying, there was a city that came to him and said, 'We don't have the resources for law enforcement on our reservation. Can we contract with the tribal police to provide public safety on the reservation?' And Rocky said, 'Yeah, fine, we can do that.' But he said then they came back later and they said, 'You know what, we like how you resolve your disputes in your court system. Can we use your court system to adjudicate our conflicts?' And Rocky said, 'That was unheard of.' A non-Indian government saying, 'we like how your courts operate, can we use your courts to resolve conflict?' And it just shows the sophistication of the infrastructure that Citizen Band Potawatomi was developing. When I was talking to Rocky a couple years ago, he said that agreement is no longer in place. He said after a city council election, the new city council voted to disband that relationship. So we say, 'Well, the city didn't have the staying power to stay in it.' But there's another example that's been emerging.

Leech Lake Band of Chippewa in Northern Minnesota -- another checkerboard reservation -- and you've got the issues that the tribe and the non-Indian community share is the same that many societies share; and it's the substance abuse, and the crime that is associated with substance abuse. And so you've got the state, the tribe and the counties with these overlapping jurisdictions. And they decided to get together to create a joint wellness court; it was the tribe and two local counties -- Cass County and Itasca County -- that formed this wellness court. And while it focuses on the crimes itself, it also focuses on how do you drive down the repeat offenders. And so it has this intensive monitoring program that if you're convicted then you have to frequently appear before the court and they monitor you on your progress. 'Are you keeping up with your treatments? Are you doing your community service?' And on and on and on. But what's interesting is that it doesn't matter which court you go to. The joint powers agreement says, 'Well, you go to the court...' If I'm a tribal member, I can go to Cass County court and through teleconferencing I'm kind of beamed into the tribal court. And so what's interesting is that you've got these three courts with the same laws respecting their authorities, but it doesn't matter whether you're Indian or non, you can go and get the same kind of treatment and oversight in whichever courtroom you go into. And the counties actually, the counties and the courthouses, fly the Leech Lake Tribal flag in their courtroom. How many county courthouses fly tribal flags? One of the attorneys, one of the judges actually said, he said, 'There was a time when I thought tribal courts were inferior to our courts.' And he said, 'Through this joint powers agreement I recognize it is not so.' He says, 'I now fully understand the strength of tribal sovereignty.' And he says, 'That Leech Lake flag that flies in my courtroom reminds me of that every day.' There are even cases where the tribal judge, Korey Wahwassuck, takes the bench right next to one of these county judges, too. I think it's just a phenomenal agreement.

Land use examples. Swinomish, I think, is a great example; you've got another checkerboard reservation. And so you've got the county and the cities that overlap with Swinomish and each had their own land use laws. And so when maybe a county would permit something and put conditions on this permit process, you would have impacts across the boundaries on the tribal resources, impact to the water and the land. And so they decided to get together and create a comprehensive land use plan, which now they do. And that land use plan, while maybe it started with the county land use plan, it began to grow into other plans and other arrangements. Actually, as I understand, Swinomish was the first tribe in the nation to have a joint agreement on land use planning with other governments within a reservation.

Natural resource examples; there's an abundance of those. Chippewa Flowage Agreement; Lac Courte Oreilles in Wisconsin has a relationship with the state and the U.S. Forest Service -- the feds -- on the operation of a reservoir that inundated one of their villages. And so this cooperative relationship between three parties helps to address the management concerns in managing the water levels within that storage facility.

Social services: you see the Houlton Band [of Maliseet Indians] that has this child protective team that works with the state to try to assert more authority of protecting Maliseet children in their placement and their care and establishing foster homes. The other one I want to share is Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; we've been talking about [former chairman] Frank Ettawageshik. They have within their constitution a clause that specifically talks about intergovernmental relationships. They said, 'We recognize we have inherent powers and that as citizens and nations we have these inherent rights.' And in the constitution it says they recognize that there are other peoples and governments and nations within the world that also have these inherent rights. And it says, 'We will recognize their sovereignty as long as they recognize and respect ours.' It's a quid pro quo on a government-to-government relationship and I think very unique to see that actually embedded in a tribal constitution in that way.

Let me share a couple of case studies from home, one about this bitter fight that we had when I was on tribal council with this alliance, and another one is this project that we did with the City of Lewiston on expanding our infrastructure. Nez Perce is a checkerboard reservation. If you look at a highway map, it would be within the State of Idaho and it covers about three quarters of a million acres, but through our treaty we have actually a large land base that extends across three states and covers roughly 13 million acres of land. We were homesteaded. Similar case of what happened at Yankton Sioux; we were allotted and then homesteaded and that has created a bunch of conflict. Well, this alliance had formed because, as we were out there exercising our sovereign powers -- whether it be through tribal employment rights offices, we were aggressively purchasing land -- and thank god the tribe is still aggressive in buying land today. We're buying land on and off the reservations and county governments were upset because of the fear that it was going to erode the tax base and we were going to become larger land barons. We had implemented a utility tax on the reservation saying any private utility running through the reservation whether it's a railroad or a cell tower or utility line had to pay a utility tax. Law enforcement. Even the state lottery became the issue because we told the State of Idaho, 'If we had to negotiate a compact with you to have gaming on our reservation, then doesn't it serve that you have to get a compact with us to have those lottery machines on the reservation?' So we forced the state...well, we had to litigate it first and we won in litigation and it required the state to negotiate a compact with us on the state lottery; but it was a source of conflict, these ongoing questions of sovereign immunity.

Those of you who can remember back; there was a senator from the State of Washington, Slade Gorton, who was really tough on tribes with sovereignty. Well, Slade was in his heyday back then. And so 23 governments -- cities, counties, highway districts, school districts, even the same school districts our kids were going to -- had created this alliance to challenge the jurisdiction of the Nez Perce Tribe. And the premise of that conflict was the same thing that happened at Yankton Sioux. As a matter of fact, the tribal attorney that was fighting or the attorney that was fighting Yankton from South Dakota was also helping to fight tribes at Mille Lacs, the Omaha and Winnebagos in Nebraska, and he moved out west to help fight the Nez Perce on our jurisdictional issue. So this guy was really making a name for himself, kind of inciting this racial conflict over sovereignty.

And so the alliance took the position that since we were homesteaded that our reservation was diminished. Quite basically saying is that our outer boundary was erased and our only jurisdiction was over the lands that we held, that we owned. And we said, 'No, the political boundary is intact,' and there was an issue of diminishment. And they were actually using the Yankton Sioux case to cite that. And so we had these series of conflicts and charges and countercharges that were going on. And things got so bad the prosecuting attorney from Lewis County was speeding through the reservation, coming down the grade and down at the bottom was one of our tribal police officers. And he was speeding on by and so our tribal officer pulled behind him and pulled him over. And when the tribal police officer got up there, this county prosecutor said, 'I don't recognize your authority,' and he drove off. And our cop, our tribal cop, played it really smart. He didn't get into this wild chase, he just pulled in behind him with his lights flashing and followed him off the reservation boundary to where this guy turned him into, he turned himself into the state patrol. We tried to get the guy disbarred, but the best that we got out of it was tremendous media coverage about how reckless this is becoming. We had the city administrator for one of the communities on the reservation write a letter, an internal memo, which happened to leak and it talked about bloodshed was inevitable. Phil Batt -- grand gentleman, the governor from Idaho -- flies up and tries to convene a meeting between us and with these 23 entities around the table and, as hard as he tried, we were not going to come to a resolution and the tensions continued to grow.

But then something wonderful happened. And I hear Joe Kalt's going to be here later on this afternoon, and Joe Kalt is one of my heroes. And Joe had a friend from Idaho, a guy by the name of Keith Allred, who worked at the Harvard Institute and he said, 'This is what is going on in Idaho.' And so folks at the Harvard JFK [John F. Kennedy] School of Government offered to come up and help mediate a solution. How can we get off of this litigation merry-go-round and ease these confrontations, which were growing and building day after day? And so through Joe and Keith, they provided this neutral facilitation and created the starting point that we would accept each other's existence and honor and recognize them. And we needed to learn about one another. The more you fear, the less that you're willing to collaborate on. And we discovered that we cared about many things. And what we ended up doing was framing this MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] where we promised to work together. We knew that the jurisdictional issues would always be there but we said, 'There's areas of interest that we have in common. We need to focus on that. We'll commit ourselves to respect our governments and we'll agree to try to minimize these conflicts.' And so we went forward and we created an MOU that had this language in it. It says, 'nothing in this MOU shall limit or waive the regulatory authority or jurisdiction of the governments.' The alliance signed off on that. The very thing that they feared they were willing to recognize the tribe's jurisdiction and our sovereignty. So there's still tension between them, but boy, that was a major milestone to get that agreement in place and try to bring some peace back to our existence.

Quickly here, let me wrap up with another project: the City of Lewiston, Idaho. The reservation boundary is over here in green. The City of Lewiston, the largest community next to the reservation, well, our casino is right there where that little red arrow is. We bought a sliver of land and we thought that was the ideal place. And it first started out with a little metal shed where we sold cigarettes and expanded to a little convenience store. And we said, 'It's time to put a gaming facility there,' but we didn't own a lot of land. And by putting up a gaming facility, we knew that we're going to need the infrastructure of water and sewer but that was going to eat up valuable land that we'd rather develop. So our executive director, being quite savvy, he pulled out the comprehensive plan for the City of Lewiston and he looked at their urban growth boundary. And you know what, the city was kind of encroaching and growing towards the reservation boundary. And we recognized that eventually the city is going to have to expand their infrastructure and services, so why don't we get together and hit them up with a proposal? So that's what we did. So we committed to work together. And this is when the alliance issues was going on and so we played this quite well in the media, I thought, too. We told the city, 'How about we go out and get an EDA [U.S. Economic Development Administration] grant? And what we're going to do is we'll build the sewer line connecting to your sewer and water facility where it ends right now and let us extend it on to the reservation boundary and connect it to where we want to do our casino expansion at.' And we said, 'We'll build it to your specifications.' And they said, 'Yeah. Eventually we're going to want to build that and you're going to pay for it? Well, that's great. Let's do it.' And so we did. We got the EDA grant, extended the water and sewer out to our casino. And then, you know what? The tribe -- we're not water and sewer managers -- but you know what? The city's pretty darn good at it. So we told the city, 'Let us transfer the ownership of the facility to you at the reservation boundary. That way you can take over all...you've got the infrastructure in place already to manage those kinds of things.' So we did that, and so right now we pay the city a fee to maintain this. We didn't have to use up valuable tribal land to do that, and right now I'm happy to say the tribe just did groundbreaking again for further expansion. So here's a chance where we saw this intergovernmental opportunity with another tribe that helped us expand our economic infrastructure. But believe me, the good will that that created, the fact that we're fighting these 23 alliances and we said, 'See what happens when you want to play fair and you want to respect us as a sovereign?' Our sovereign ability allowed us to do that and the City of Lewiston was one of the beneficiaries of that.

Well, I've got to wrap this up, but some of the observations are that this isn't easy work. There's a long history of conflict that we need to overcome. We had to exercise kind of that sovereign attitude; do the due diligence. Where are those opportunities where we can have these intergovernmental relationships through cooperation and negotiation? And then where are those times that we've got to be -- like Billy [Frank] says -- it's time to be the warrior and draw the line? Both are hard choices, both are difficult paths to take, but the difference is in the outcome. And I've got to wrap up now and give a couple of minutes for questions and answers, but thank you for your attention."

Native Report: The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the City of Palm Springs

Producer
Native Report
Year

This episode of Native Report examines the unique relationship between the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the City of Palm Springs, California, casting much-needed light on the benefits of intergovernmental cooperation. (Segment placement: 1:17 - 8:44)

Citation

"The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the City of Palm Springs." Native Report (Season 5 Episode 2). WDSE/WRPT. Duluth, Minnesota. 2010. Television program. (http://www.wdse.org/shows/native/watch/season-5-episode-2, accessed September 19, 2012).