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NNI Indigenous Leadership Fellow: Jamie Fullmer (Part 1)

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Native Nations Institute
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Jamie Fullmer, former chairman of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, discusses the importance of the development of capable governing institutions to Native nations' exercise of sovereignty, and provides an overview of the steps that he and his leadership colleagues took to develop those institutions during his tenure in office. He also stresses the need for Native nations to fully and specifically define -- and distinguish between -- the roles and responsibilities of elected officials and tribal administrators.

Ian Record:

"Welcome to another episode of Leading Native Nations, a radio program of the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management and Policy at the University of Arizona. I'm your host, Ian Record. On today's episode of Leading Native Nations, we're lucky enough to have with us former chairman of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, Jamie Fullmer, who since he concluded his second term in office is now serving as Chairman and CEO of the Blue Stone Strategy Group, a company that works with a variety of Native nations on diversifying their economies. Jamie, I'd just like to open with giving you the opportunity to introduce yourself."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Thank you, I appreciate that. My name again is Jamie Fullmer. I'm the Chairman and CEO of Blue Stone Strategy Group and we work with tribes doing economic development and growth strategies. As was mentioned, I'm also the former Chairman of Yavapai-Apache Nation located in Camp Verde, Arizona, and very proud to have served my nation and have completed my terms in office with the term limit in our constitution. And since then I've founded and am the chairman and CEO of Blue Stone Strategy Group."

Ian Record:

"So Jamie, I'd like to start off with just a very basic question, but a very critical question for Native nations across the United States, Canada and beyond and that is, what is governance for Native nations in the 21st century? What does it entail?"

Jamie Fullmer:

"That's a very good question. It's the question that we as tribal leaders ask, and in the modern sense I believe the ideal of governance has grown for tribal nations. The reality of governance as a tribal chairman or tribal president or governor is that you not only have to take the responsibility of being the head man of the community or head person of the community, you also have to take the responsibility of really running an intricate government with all of the nuances of any other municipality or state or federal government system. With that said, governance is really exhibiting the responsibilities of that nation, expressing the sovereignty of the nation and also finding ways to meet the challenges of the community itself."

Ian Record:

"The work of the Native Nations Institute and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, its sister organization, has really revealed what tribes are facing these days, what Native nations are facing these days and really the governance challenge is a complicated one. As you say, it's a complex one that involves various entities that transcend reservation borders and among other things -- as the research has shown -- that it's not really about just reclaiming your rights, but what you do with those rights once you have them. It has less to do with what rights you claim than with what kind of nation or community you want to be, really enforcing that or creating that strategic vision of where you want to go as a nation. For instance, it has less to do with other governments than with your own, the sense that it's up to us to shape our future, it's not up to the federal government. We can't wait for them anymore. And then finally, it really has no endpoint. The rights that are lost or won are fought for or defended when challenged, that challenge never stops; the governance never stops. It is a constant task. So those are some of the key findings of the Native Nations Institute and the Harvard Project, and I was wondering if you could speak to that in your own experiences with that challenge at the Yavapai-Apache Nation."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure. The transition from the private life of a citizen of the community to the public life is a challenge in and of itself. Then the ideal of governance is learning, 'What does that mean?'

The tribe itself has been around from time eternity as we believe, and our ambition as [leaders] is to play a role in that continuance and that existence continuing on long after we're gone. With that said, governance and the challenges that are faced is based on what are the current challenges within the community itself, focusing attention on finding ways to help the people grow, to help the government stay stable, to help create economic and social resources, to maintain our future, and also to provide opportunity for our young people to be educated.

And so governance and the idea of what we claim versus what we express are important challenges because sovereignty is an unwritten rule; it's there. You express it by what you do to grow, and within that, though, what you claim is based on the structures that you develop. So in the modern sense, as a nation moves forward, the process and the ideal of sovereignty is, 'We are here, we express ourselves, we accept the challenge and responsibility of governing and seeing our own path forward.' With that said, we also have to interact with not only our community and our own issues and our own priorities and cultural concerns, we also have to face that as a dependent sovereign and in the United States we have some rules to abide by that aren't our own.

We have the United States federal government laws that govern the relationship in Indian Country that we have to address and deal with in our own communities. We also, being, a lot of times, neighbors with other regional municipalities not in Indian municipalities have to learn more about how to interact with the non-Indian communities so that we can protect our sovereignty through positive relationships and interaction and communication and dialogue. So the expression of our right of sovereignty is really one where we not only have to support what's been done in the past, what leaders have fought for and what our people have sacrificed in order for us to be sovereign in the 21st century, but we also have to recognize it's our responsibility to educate those around us.

And so really one of the roles of governance or expression of our own sovereignty is sharing with others what that means because in the mainstream systems not everyone really understands ever in their lifetime what a tribal nation or a Native tribe [is], what the relationship is with the federal government, the uniqueness. A lot of times we're placed in the same subset of a minority group, where in reality there's a constitutional relationship that predates all of us here and that relationship is bound in treaties and it's re-bound in the formation of individual constitutions that each tribe may have developed or within those trust and treaty relationships there may be a traditional government that's been formed and people have carried on the torch and forwarded down the road. And with that said though, because of that we look at the modern challenge of, of course, protecting our unique way of life, finding ways to create a safe and prosperous future for our community members and then also looking at, 'How do we continue to move forward with economic growth and expansion so that we can create a revenue base to maintain ever growing governments?'

And one of the challenges going back to my own leadership time, one of the challenges and key challenges I faced was that once you start offering services and you start offering programming, the demand for those programs and services never go away. And so you have to find ways to meet the increasing demands while at the same time manage and create a sense of accountability in how you spend the money. And so I would think that that challenge is universal for tribes and in my own tenure as chairman I saw that we would...we were growing. Our young people were growing, the population of our young people was beginning to outpace the adults -- the 18 and older population -- and that's a very positive thing, because we know that we're a nation that's growing, but with that said, the challenges and the responsibilities in the programming were changing. In other words, we would be...there were more requests for supportive programs around education and daycare and prenatal care and just a lot of other young familial issues, whereas there were still the ongoing demands and need for the elder care and providing job opportunities and resources for the adult population. And so governance is providing services that meet the needs of the people while at the same time the challenge is recognizing that there is a limited amount of resources, financial resources.

Most tribes don't have tax bases and so their resources, like my own tribe, were gained from...the primary revenue stream came from gaming, from our casino. And so with that said, a growing community, growing needs, growing programming, pretty set amount of revenue streams coming from the gaming facility. The other challenge then of governance is how do we develop economic development systems and how do we manage and create an accountability of our existing enterprises? Those two things I think are a critical path -- dealing with the realistic social issues and the ever-changing population needs and at the same time managing the expenses and finding new ways to create revenue streams. With that said, there's also an important process in there and that's the political process.

The political process in Indian Country is sometimes very complex, and a lot of times the challenges in that process are based on cultural values, they're based on priorities that have been not necessarily asked for but given to us because of federal laws and circumstances and financial limitations in circumstances, and so the political wrangling within our internal systems becomes one where we deal with trying to meet the social needs, trying to also address the governance needs, but also creating a new body of law that represents the modern time. And so many councils and leaders in this...as we move very strongly into the 21st century are facing a multitude of program differences, the challenges of a social...creating a childhood program is different than an elder program. The challenges of creating an economic base is different than managing the existing enterprises. They're still all responsibilities that lie within the role of governance.

There's another, I think, challenge and that is many tribal leaders when they come into office, they're expected to make change and they're expected to make change fairly quickly. That's maybe what ticket they ran on or what their constituents supported them on were new ideas or changing some of the old ways of thinking or making the system more accountable, and yet they're just one of more than likely a group of five or ten or sixty council delegates that might need to make the decisions. And so there's an important process in there where leaders...young leaders or fresh leaders, new leaders coming in need to take on the responsibility of learning their role as a legislator and learning their role as a community planner, but also limiting their...the natural tendency to move into trying to micromanage because that doesn't benefit the system in the long run and in fact there may be negative repercussions from that. You might lose good people, you might question areas that are really not based in fact, but are more caught into a rumor and so it's really important for tribal leaders to investigate, but to also recognize and define their role as a councilor or as a tribal leader. That is another challenge I think in the world of governance: it's making the laws and institutionalizing the laws, but also following those laws. And so that's another challenge, is that there's usually a separation between...within the government and understanding that separation and how it works is a critical path as well."

Ian Record:

"There's a couple quotes from fellow tribal leaders of yours that always stick with me and one of them is, "˜The best defense of sovereignty is to exercise it effectively.' And the second is, "˜Sovereignty is the act thereof -- no more, no less.' And really at the crux of those two quotes is this issue of building capable governing institutions, and I was wondering if you could talk just a little bit more about that."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure. Building capable governing institutions involves a lot of hard work. It really involves several different levels of hard work. The first one is examining the existing institution. And a lot of times when you're thrown into a leadership role, you've gone out and spent your time campaigning on issues and priorities and then when you get in, especially for new leaders, there's not really an understanding of what body of laws or what body of institutionalized policies and programming are in place, and so there's really a critical path of understanding that needs to happen for, I believe, to have sensible governance. With that said, you're asked to do that with a team of other political leaders. And I use the word 'team' because for effective governance to really take place, it involves the entire team. That's not to say that everybody and every leader agrees on every issue, it's to say that if you've chosen a republic style of government or a democratic style of government, that once there's a vote and there's a confirmation of the vote or it's voted down, that everybody respects that. And so I think governance from that level is a critical path: the actual focus on the system and the act of sovereignty, the expression of sovereignty.

One of the critical portions of that is defining sovereignty. We've always heard sovereignty...in our Indian communities we've heard 'sovereignty' -- that word -- a lot and we've heard it in a lot of different scenarios. But there's also a legal terminology of sovereignty and there's also an expression of that sovereignty. And sovereignty is indeed the act thereof, but it is also understanding that it's important for us to redefine it as time allows us. There are things that we as Indian tribes and nations couldn't do 20 years ago that we can do now because people were willing to exercise and express the sovereignty and push the boundaries. And really those leaders and those tribes that took on those challenges, those spearheads, allowed the rest of us to be able to stretch our own boundaries. And so in a sense, sovereignty of a tribal nation is really being able to govern ourselves, to define what we consider to be wrong or right, to create laws to govern that, to find ways to protect and support our people and our way of life, and also create laws to protect that.

And then I think the idea of defending sovereignty is ongoing, because even as we move forward there's always attacks to our way of life, there's always attacks on the fact that we have the sovereignty in another sovereign nation and it's challenging for many people to understand that. They don't see how or why Indian tribes have that unique relationship and it's not for us to see how or why, it's for us to express it. And so moving forward, the idea of defending sovereignty is if we create quality set of laws to govern ourselves that people understand both internally and externally, that's one way, because sovereignty is really a legal expression.

Another way that we express our sovereignty is by pressing our boundaries of what we consider to be our rights as Native tribes and as Indian people in our...both in our reservation communities and in our ancestral homelands. There might be principle-based battles that we fight in the name of sovereignty. It's not on our existing trust land, but we have an ancestral connectivity; many of those battles are fought in the sacred realm, and we have to fight legal battles to protect our religious artifacts and our sacred land spaces or air spaces. And so those are ways to express sovereignty as well.

Finally, in closing on the idea of sovereignty is...sovereignty I believe is best expressed when we ask not what we can do, but why can't we do it. The question we can ask is, "˜Why can't we do it?' We're not asking, "˜Well, can we do that?' We're asking, "˜Why can't we do that?' Have others prove us wrong and not have to prove ourselves wrong first."

Ian Record:

"You've been quoted in the past as referring to your nation, when you took office, as "˜having the form of a jellyfish.' Do you recall that conversation?

Jamie Fullmer:

"I do."

Ian Record:

"Essentially, that your nation was like a jellyfish and that it needed to gain a backbone. And I think this really crystallizes what you've been talking about with this issue of building capable governing institutions. I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about what you meant by that and how your nation came to gain a backbone during your time in office."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure. The idea...it was a...the way I could relate it to myself is our nation has been around forever. It has...it's full of life, it's real, it's there, but it's also caught up at the time with the waves and the currents of whatever was coming at us. And so from that point of view is that we were a reactive-based government and the idea of that is that we are very strong still to this day at reacting and handling and managing crisis, but the movement that I likened it to was going from a water creature that had to react to the flow and the ebb to this jellyfish type of flowing -- kind of being tossed and turned at times -- to a land animal that had a backbone. And the idea for me of a backbone is that structure, creating a formal structure that would help to stabilize our government while at the same time still allows us to be very fluid and withstand the things that go on. So in a sense, my explanation of that backbone had to do with formal structure, moving from a very informal system, which I think is important, and so I definitely don't want to downgrade that part of who we are, but the idea of a formal structure as a government protects our sovereignty in a number of ways, both internally it helps us to be more accountable to ourselves and externally it helps other people to understand that we're very real, that we do have it on paper, and that we do have a process for accomplishing the things that we want to accomplish. And I think the final piece to that is that the idea of that structure also allows us to move into the next stage of development as a nation, which was really looking toward the future and planning. If you have a solid structure, you can make plans to help move that structure. If you are more based on personality-driven systems, then when those personalities aren't there the structure doesn't move the same way. So I think that's a pretty clear way to express what I meant with that concept."

Ian Record:

"You stole my thunder with this next question and I really wanted to focus in on this issue of strategic planning, that when you gain that backbone as a governing system, you move...it helps you in a tremendous way in moving from this kind of reactive mode of governance where you're kind of constantly fighting fires and in crisis management mode to a kind of proactive thing where you can...you've got this basis from which to operate. Is that the experience you had at Yavapai-Apache Nation?"

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure, and I definitely will not take credit in having any of those thoughts first and foremost. That thinking and that type of leadership had always gone on in my nation. I think what had happened at the time that I came into office is that we had gone from a major transition of a long period of extreme poverty to a decade of having, generating an initial wealth to grow. And so we had kind of like popcorn. I always...the way I express it, you have the corn on the pan and when it gets hot enough it just pops. It's no longer that small kernel of corn, it's a big piece of popcorn and I think that's...when you have that, it's really hard to manage that type of growth. So you move from 30 employees to 250 employees in a relatively short period of time. So the idea of creating the structure and the goal setting was really to help manage the ongoing, day-to-day efforts of the programming while at the same time giving us the opportunity as leaders to really take time to vision what we would like to see the future of our community. With that said, before I had gotten in office, there was an initial planning process that had taken place where the community had been involved and there had been a lot of time and effort taken to develop that, but it had gone...it didn't take hold and the plan itself was tabled. And so when I initially got into office, because I had taken part in the planning and in my role prior to being the chairman, I felt like it was a good document and it was a good foundation for us to really begin to hone in on what should be our main priorities as we look towards a long-term future. And so we moved from a long-term, 30-year visioning process to an annual and multi-year planning process with action plans and objectives to reach and a process to get there. And that included the financial goals to meet with that, so that while we were moving forward that we were also dealing with and looking at what were the financial costs of executing these plans? And so I think that for nations that are moving towards growth or have been in gaming for a while, the next natural movement or actually the next important movement is taking on the responsibility to do diversification planning and then also growth strategizing for both the long term so that the community can kind of get out on paper and on the table their priorities, and the short term so that leadership can work together to find common ground and then also common purpose in moving forward."

Ian Record:

"And also isn't it about to a certain degree the...when you have that strategic plan in place, when you've gone that community...when you've had that community dialogue about where you want to head as a nation, as a people, as a community it gives you a lens through which to make decisions?"

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure it does."

Ian Record:

"So it provides, in a sense, provides you that context because what we've seen with a lot of nations is they experience this tremendous growth particularly in revenues through gaming or some sort of other enterprise and then they're making decisions with what to do with that revenue essentially in a vacuum because they haven't done that visioning process. I was wondering if you could speak to that a little bit.

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure. There's a fine balance there in the community perspective as well. The challenge of the community perspective is a lot of people in their own worlds and in their own thinking, they don't take the time to look at the big picture, and yet that is the leader's responsibility is to take that time. So the individual might think in their minds, "˜Why can't we build a substance abuse clinic here,' which is a great question and it's a great challenge. The answer to that is, "˜We probably can, but it will cost this, it will take this much time, we will need to have these structures in place, these laws to govern it, these management objectives in place,' and so there's a whole list and cadre of questions and planning that needs to happen for that to take effect. The idea of that as a vision is an important thing because that can be done over time, the planning, setting aside the land, the building of the building, creating the processes for that to happen; this is one example. That can happen through a visioning process with the community. Breaking that down with the community is also very important because the community should understand that everything that you're doing takes time and it takes money and it takes resources -- human resources and sometimes physical resources and maybe land space resources. So there's opportunity cost to doing whatever you do. But involving the community at that front-line thinking process gives them the opportunity to hear the responses to some of these challenges that they raise and it also I think along the process allows them to either vent historical frustrations or create current challenges or make current requests based on what they see their own needs are and then as a group what the needs kind of come out as. There's an important balance that needs to be stricken there or that needs to be weighed out in that process, and that is that you can also turn those ongoing meetings into just dialogue, running dialogue. And so you might have meeting after meeting where you have nothing but dialogue and interaction and yet there's nothing that goes beyond that. At some point, the leader, the leaders in their seat of authority need to say, "˜We've heard enough. We've taken it all into consideration. We need to start moving forward with actually making some of this happen,' because you can actually get so much on your plate that you can't accomplish any large amount of it. I found very quickly in my term in office that I...when I initially ran for office, I had 10 goals to reach for on behalf of the tribe and I shared those goals as I was out in the community. When I got into office, I quickly found that I could not accomplish all 10 of those goals and I refined that to five goals. And I worked on those five goals my entire time in office."

Ian Record:

"And as you've pointed out before, those were goals and not promises."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Those were goals. The idea of promises is that as I said, you have to work with an entire team. It's a very big challenge as a council member, especially because you're only one vote in a group of nine or 19 or, as I said before, it could be larger, but you are a decision maker with a body of...a group of other people. As an executive branch head, you have the challenge of not only do you have to work with that team of legislators to try and get passage of budgeting and support for initiatives, but you also have to manage the government to make certain that you have the resources to reach those goals once you've set them. And so that's the...the kind of the separate challenge of the executive branch versus the legislative branch is that you have to interact with not only your team at the leadership level, but you have to interact with your team at the management level as well, and you have to find some way to get those broad, large, encompassing goals down into a management system that handles the day-to-day movement towards reaching those goals."

Ian Record:

"I want to backtrack just briefly because we've been essentially talking about, how do you manage growth, how do you ensure that growth moves your nation forward according to its own design. And the reality is that for so many nations across Indian Country because of gaming, because of other economic opportunities that they've capitalized upon, the growth that they've experienced -- particularly in the area of economic development -- has been astronomical over the past 15 to 20 years. And the challenge that a lot of them face is, "˜How do we ensure that we capitalize upon these revenues, that we move these revenues through our system into our community in a way that does in fact promote self sufficiency, promote independence not only of our people as individuals, but our people as a collective instead of simply promoting dependency, continued dependency.' I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that, about that sort of challenge."

Jamie Fullmer:

"That challenge is I think the most difficult one that leaders face, because as a political leader you find out what the community's wants and needs are and you try and promote yourself to being able to help solve some of those issues. That might be the ticket that you run on. And so when you get into office the people might say, "˜Well, we would like to have more cash distributions. We'd like to see more funding in certain areas,' and yet those areas might not be -- when you look at the system institutionally -- they might not strengthen the role of the government or the role of the family. I think the challenge that I faced is...I have a background in social work, I have a Master's in social work. And as a social worker, part of that field was community development and in the ideal of community development you want families to come together and work together to grow and to face challenges together. What happens, and what I've seen happen, is that a tribal government wanting to share the wealth, so to speak, that has been created from gaming and other resources creates programs that take the place of family. And the challenge in that is, yes, it's warranted and the people want it, but where's the role of the family in the process?

And so, in a sense, the government is taking on the role of the family member, and at times that's a positive thing and at times, I believe, that's a negative thing and that's a balance that every leader when they get into office has to strike is, what is positive? Yes, it is positive that people have more cash in their pocket to do things, to pay bills, to go on vacations, to spend more time with family, but that also can be seen as a negative because some people might view that as their way of life now. "˜I don't need to take on some of the challenges and responsibilities of self-sufficiency because I can rely on the welfare system of the tribe.' And so I think that's an ongoing challenge and every tribe is unique in its characteristics. Some tribes are more independent natured and want their people to be independent, and others are more communal in their thinking and they want the people to be really spend time in communal settings, and others are work-minded and they want to create jobs and create a working class citizenry, and other tribes are culturally based and they want to spend a lot of their time protecting and sanctifying and expressing their cultural values through ceremony and through song and dance and through commitments in that way.

And so the balance of a leader is, 'Where do we lie in that spectrum? Where do we spend our time and energy as a government and where do we spend the people's money in that? Do we spend it on making the programs bigger, do we spend it on making the programs better, do we spend it on both of those things, do we spend it on developing future economies by investing the money, do we invest the money into passive investments with just a return to protect the wealth and to grow the wealth, do we take that wealth and use it diversify our economies?' These are the real challenges of maintaining the integrity of the tribe's monies through the fiduciary responsibility of leadership. And there's no one right answer and even the answers that you think are right might end up wrong because, for example, the economy itself, the greater economy affects us and now we see slumping areas of...in business across the board, whether it's in the mainstream or in Indian Country. And so those are challenges that we have to face, too, is we don't completely have the control over it that we'd like to, and we as leaders, we listen and we learn and then we have to act. And we may look back in time and say, "˜I would have done that differently if I would have had more information, knowledge,' but that's what life's about is learning from that kind of thing."

Ian Record:

"A lot of your thoughts so far have really focused on this issue of elected leaders needing to understand the big picture, to be in a position where they can take a step back, understand the spectrum -- as you mentioned -- of everything that the tribe has going for it in terms of assets and not just financial assets, but human assets, cultural assets, natural resources, etc., and understand that big picture better than anyone else and then conveying what the options are to the people so that they can then in turn decide on a course of action that the leaders can then implement. And that's really hard when you're down in the trenches every day fighting fires or perhaps micromanaging a program."

Jamie Fullmer:

"It is really hard. The challenge of leadership is exactly that -- it's a lot of times when leaders come in they feel as though they need to know it better. They don't necessarily need to know it better, but they need to take the time to know it and they also need to trust the experts that they have on board to help guide them through some processes. That's another challenge is we need to utilize the resources and at times we need to look outside of ourselves and bring in third-party, unbiased opinions so that we can hear it as an unbiased point of view as opposed to a political point of view or a community point of view. Looking at best practices, internally it's a challenge because each of us think that what we're doing is the best way to do it, and yet if we heard it from somebody outside of us who's looking at us from the outside in, they might have a completely different idea of what we're doing and how it might make better sense to do it differently to make it more efficient and effective.

So I think the challenge of leadership is we get that feeling that we need to know it better than everybody else. I don't believe that at this point in the game, and as I look back and reflect I think it was really relying on the people that we had in place to do their job and to make certain that I was communicating the desires and the priorities that leadership developed and then also that I was executing my role of governance and management of the tribal government and tribal enterprise oversight. And inclusion was really the best tool for success in some of the things that we were doing, inclusion of the tribal council members at the governance level, at the decision-making level, and then setting the boundary of, 'We've made the decision, we've agreed upon it, now it's my responsibility to execute it using our resources.' And if we don't have the resources, reaching out and bringing in resources that understand this and do know how to do it so that we can make certain that it gets done on behalf of the people.

So the people play a major role in that the people vote in who they think are going to help that process or change that process and that's where they have the ultimate control. Then, once the people are voted into leadership roles, they have a responsibility to take action and part of that responsibility is the challenge of defining the role that is both positive and respectful of the institution. And it is a lot funner to go in and micromanage a program than it is to develop a commercial code. It's more...you get more...it's more tangible results. You get to see people move and you get to see action happen, whereas creating a body of laws that's going to impact the entire future might take months and months and months of discussion and debate and it's all in legal terminology and it's long days and hours sitting reading and discussion and debating why that law is valuable."

Ian Record:

"And not only that, but the results of it may not be seen immediately."

Jamie Fullmer:

"The results may not be seen immediately because that body of law might not even get done until the next set of leaders come in and say, "˜Let's finish this off.' And so that's the challenge of leadership is long-thinking, creating and supporting growth, and enacting laws and governance structures that will protect the nation or tribe long down the road while at the same time facing the day-to-day challenges of the fire drills and the crises that come up and the community expectations and the social and cultural priorities, and doing that in a balanced approach that respects the people's view of you as a leader, but also respects the institutional rules that have been set up for you as a leader. That is the ongoing leadership challenge."

Ian Record:

"Yeah, and it's a difficult balance. We've heard this from a variety of tribal leaders from a variety of nations talk about the position you want to get yourself to, one of the major reasons that you go through this arduous -- as you've just described -- arduous process of building these capable governing institutions, building these laws, these codes, these policies is to get yourself to a point where you as a nation, you as a group of elected leaders are sending a different message to your people about what leadership does, what it cannot do, what you, for instance, as a councilor or as a chairman are able to do for them and what you're not able to do for them. So when you say 'No,' for instance, to a relative that comes to you with their hand out for a job or something like that, you can say, "˜I can't do this for you. We have a policy in place. It's not personal, but this law, this code, this resolution says that I can no longer act this way because it's against the best interests of the nation as a whole.'"

Jamie Fullmer:

"That's a challenge in itself because it's a lot easier said than done. It can be written on paper and you can say, "˜That's the best practice,' but when the family, the individual, the group is in your office, you have to make a decision then and there. And I think that's another challenge of leadership, because leaders themselves as politicians have been voted in to make some decisions that they maybe have made promises on. And so it's just like everything else: if you give your word on something, you want to be of your word. So that is the challenge and it's an ongoing challenge, it isn't going to go away, it doesn't just happen in Indian Country, it happens in every political seat in every...at every level of government in every country in the world. And so that, I think, is unique...the unique status of it in Indian Country is most of the larger municipalities and state and federal governments, you've got a lot of buffers to go through to get to the decision-maker. In Indian Country you only have...the only buffer is usually the door, and usually the door's open and they walk in. And so that I think is a critical path that -- once you institutionalize policy -- that you also are able to follow through with that policy in a respectful way. And sometimes you need to make a crisis-call decision that goes against the policy, but that should be the exception not the rule, and it shouldn't be based on just the ideal of nepotism or the familial relationship, it should be on the merits of the problem.

There might be a crisis where...I'll give an example where something that came into my office, I'm sure it came into a lot of them. An elderly couple, tribal member -- they have no money for gas. They need to travel to a ceremony. They come to the tribe for that and you think about it and you're like, initially you think, "˜Well, why aren't you going to your family'. Well, you know that their family has no resources either. And then you're saying, "˜Well, part of our responsibility as a government is to respect...we've been promoting cultural advancement and protection of culture.' Here's a perfect example of that. So the recommendation to them might be, is that something that you can give from the cultural program since that's a cultural, I can see that as a cultural thing. If you can get the support of that director, I don't have a problem approving it, that...kind of saying that you don't have a problem, because in our particular system you had to have a director's approval and then the chairman would sign off on it. So in that kind of scenario...and it can go across the board to a child, a mother without resources. They've just moved back home, they've been away, they have no place to stay, they'd stay at the parents, but the parents already have another of their siblings and families living there. You can go from one end of the spectrum and every scenario and the challenge, and I think the reason that you become a leader is to make that decision. But those are the exceptions, those are not the rule. The rule is, "˜Well, we've got a policy for that. Here, I can help you. Let me call the director and have them come in and meet with you and then they can take you down to the right office that you need to be at.'"

Ian Record:

"A lot of what you've shared about the tremendous growth at Yavapai-Apache Nation has really culminated in changes in the community for the better, essentially translating the resources that have been generated, the financial resources generated through gaming, your other initiatives, your economic initiatives, and translating that into real-life quality of life changes at the community level. And I was wondering if you could talk about how Yavapai-Apache Nation has approached using economic development as a tool to better the quality of life for your citizens."

Jamie Fullmer:

"I think economic development is one of the critical responsibilities or arenas within the ideal governance, that as tribes grow and as tribes have the opportunity and the responsibility to develop economies that economic development within the tribe itself is one of those processes that really needs to take a priority within the tribal mindset. The end results of that are obvious on a number of levels. The first one is that when a tribe takes time to build the economic avenues within the community that creates job opportunities. And so you have opportunities for the people to take...to get work, to create their own lifestyle based on their commitments to working. And that's an immediate opportunity, but then as well once a tribe is also able to start to create a strong management of its financial resources and begin to diversify and to invest those dollars, it creates opportunities for tribes to grow and protect wealth. Now that's not say that everything that you invest in is going to be successful, and in our nation we had successes and we had failures, but I think the one thing that our nation and many other nations have been able to do is learn from those mistakes and find ways to make better systems the next time we do it. I think the key there for leadership is being willing to have the courage to try again if you fail. In every tribe, in every particular avenue there's been a failure in something.

For our particular nation, we've been fortunate in that most of what we've done in the last decade has been...we've at least had the opportunity to create jobs locally, create revenue streams to diversify from gaming and then also begin to, 10 years into this and right now we're at 13 years into it, out of the beginning of gaming, begin to diversify and to build other opportunities and other businesses. With that said, the revenue streams can also help the tribe to stabilize the infrastructure. Once an infrastructure's put in -- I'm talking about your basic piping and utilities and water systems and waste systems -- now you have an opportunity to build upon that. Once you have infrastructure in any area, you have the opportunity to begin looking at can we create a commercial corridor here? Is there opportunity to build an outlet or retail mall? What can we add value to our own...to our gaming enterprise by building? What kinds of things can we create for the membership so that they can build their own businesses? And so there's a lot of positive results that come from economic development.

The challenge is obviously always the same as the rest of the governance responsibility; what do you do today and what do you try and establish for tomorrow and how do you strike the balance between the current demands and hopes of the community with regards to developing and what do you have to really plan well for because it involves a lot of moving parts? Economic development is very challenging because you have to reach out and do a lot of planning and the planning takes a long time and people grow impatient with that. And then when you begin to build larger types of businesses or even buildings, those take years to build and so that's just the initial stage. Once you actually do the development locally, you have to look at, 'What challenges are there within the framework of the laws and the lack of laws and what kind of policies and protections are in place for a business?' So I think those are some of the challenges of economic development.

I think the other arena of economic development is trying to create revenue streams coming into the reservation community. What kinds of things can we do to not only generate wealth, but keep the wealth locally? Examples would be grocery stores and shopping stores which the tribal members themselves can use and maybe they've earned money by their job for the tribe, the government or one of the tribal enterprises, and now they spend that money in the community, which creates more jobs. And so that compounding effect is something that I believe tribal leaders need to understand from an economic point of view, that's not to say that everybody needs to be an economist, but it's to say that what's going to add value to protect the wealth that we've established, to generate more opportunities, to diversify so that we're not relying so heavily on one revenue stream. And in many nations, my own nation included, gaming is the primary revenue stream. And everybody that I've talked to in the back of their mind has the idea that we believe that gaming can't last forever. What can we do to begin taking some of the pressure off of the gaming as the main and only revenue stream? A lot of tribes these days are looking at not just building locally, but buying and acquiring businesses off reservation to start to bring that revenue stream from a different place into the reservation community and on the tribal nation's lands. And so those are very important processes for tribes to learn more about and actually very, very carefully plan and develop execution or strategic plans to actually make those things happen."

Ian Record:

"You mentioned, you touched on the importance of tribal leaders in particular again taking a step back, looking at that big picture and seeing in building...systematically building an economy, one of the things we have to attend to is the need for us to create on-reservation outlets for spending, which as you mentioned not only creates jobs, but keeps those dollars circulating within the community so they don't automatically go off reservation to the nearest Walmart or something every time you have a payday. And one of the things that your nation did recently was I thought very interesting was the creation of discounts for tribal citizens, to encourage them to spend their dollars in on-reservation, nation-owned ventures, and I was wondering if you could explain a little bit about how you went about that process."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure. A couple of things: because we're not an immensely wealthy tribe from gaming and gaming basically helps us to kind of run the government and take care of some of the social needs of the community and it doesn't take care of everything by any means, but one of our thoughts when I was in office was, "˜Is there a way that we can provide value to the tribal member and then also at the same time provide that same value to the tribal system?' And what we thought about was is that on our tribal membership cards we ended up putting on a magnetic strip on the back and so with that the member can use that and get a percentage reduction in fuel at the tribe's own convenience store or even the membership verification allows them to get a discount on the restaurants in our...that we own and even down to getting discount on the cement products and on some of the other enterprises that are owned by the tribe. With that said, the value is that for membership, that because you share in the value of ownership you should also be able to get some of that value back. And that's a challenging thing when you don't have enough resources to do everything for everyone, you can at least try and find ways to try and provide some sense of value to the membership."

Ian Record:

"Among the most successful nations -- Native nations across Indian Country that we've seen in terms of achieving not just their economic development goals, but their community development goals, their priorities as a nation -- among those nations you typically see or in many cases you see leaders who understand that they're not just decision makers, that their job when they come into office is not just to make decisions but then also educate their citizens about why they made the decisions they did, also engaging the citizens to make sure that they're making informed decisions that respects the community's position on a particular issue. I was wondering if you could talk about the importance of that and how perhaps you tried to implement that during your time in office."

Jamie Fullmer:

"It's definitely a principle that I believe in. I believe that the challenge for it is the amount of time that it takes to do it. As a leader -- as you pointed out -- you don't have just the responsibility of leading, but educating. And to educate the masses, it's a challenge at times, and at what level and how far in depth you go to do that is really another challenge. But while I was in office, one of the things that we instituted was a quarterly report where we would share the government's goals and objectives, the tribal leaders', the council members' goals and objectives, how we were doing with regards to creating a chart that showed our expenses of the government, talked a little bit about each of our enterprises and where we were at in the growth process with those. And the idea behind that was that at least we could share to the best of our knowledge what was going on and that information sharing would be helpful for the community so they felt they were informed. We would also hold community meetings and we'd go and present those reports. I'm proud of the new leadership that's in place now because they're still continuing on with even more assertive types of community presentations. I think they're doing it monthly, which is very good for the community and it helps them stay informed.

The challenge is always going to be that as you get enough initiatives going and moving forward that really there might be times when not a whole lot is going on because you're in a hurry up-and-wait mode and so you're not reporting anything different and then the people think that you're not doing anything. And that's some of the challenges, especially with community development and infrastructure development and when you're doing planning and law creation. A law isn't a law until it's on the books. It might take you eight to nine months, a year, a couple of years to create that law, but if it's not on the books, it isn't a law and so the people will say, "˜Well, we thought you were working on this law.' "˜We are.' "˜Well, it's taken you a year, why aren't you done?' Those are some of the challenges of what and how you share that information. But the process is still a very valuable process, because at some point you pass the torch and you hope that you've at least laid enough groundwork that if the leadership that takes over doesn't understand what's been done, at least your employees and your community understands where your community lies and maybe helps to create the expectations for the continued movement forward."

Ian Record:

"So following up on that, there's really...in building these capable governing institutions like Yavapai-Apache Nation's been doing for the past decade plus, perhaps even longer..."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Probably longer, yeah."

Ian Record:

"...There's a process of education that has to take place after those governing institutions are built, because essentially a lot of those laws, codes, rules are either filling voids in the current system of government or in the pre-existing system of government or they're overturning something that was pre-existing in that system of government and essentially, there's changing things on the books and then there's changing things in the political culture that's been long at play in the community. I was wondering if you could talk about that challenge."

Jamie Fullmer:

That again is another...you're really raising a lot of the important and difficult challenges. The institution itself has...for example, our nation has been in place since the IRA days, 1934-1936, in that period and was around before that. And so...but once the nation and the tribe had accepted and acknowledged the constitutional government and started to formulate law and create written law, there's a whole body of law that's maybe almost a century old. Some of that law is outdated; some of that law has never been utilized or worked itself into the framework, not because the tribe didn't want it to because they voted it in at some point, but because it got lost in the shuffle. I think that in this modern setting that it's important for tribes to maybe take a look at using technology as a tool to help gather information and store information. Moving from a paper system to saving information in data files that can be brought up so that during council meetings there can be a cross reference immediately to say, "˜Is there a law on the books that has to do with water rights that we've passed in the last decade and if there is, what is it?' and maybe be able to answer some questions that new lawmakers or lawmakers that have come into office recently don't have an understanding on. So I think the challenge of that institutional knowledge is that there's not a good firm grounding in communicating that institutional knowledge and sharing that institutional knowledge and transitioning that institutional knowledge forward as new leadership takes hold and takes steps to move into place. And so that challenge I think can be met by utilizing technology. Not all tribes are ready for that, but it is a tool that can be used to start storing, saving and creating collection systems that can categorize the laws so that it can be done more rapidly and in real time as opposed to, "˜We'll get back at that at our next meeting or next set of meetings or somewhere in the future.' So those issues can be addressed while they're hot, as opposed to waiting for them to go cold or transition into new leadership and it's been left out without being completed."

Ian Record:

"How important is transparency to the effective exercise of governance?"

Jamie Fullmer:

"I think transparency is a very important portion of it. And again, I always get to the idea of the piece of, how much do you share? And it's not a matter of withholding information, as much as when you give too much information it's overwhelms people. When you give the details of a process that's taken years to encompass, you've got years' worth of information to share. And so I think that in some respect, you have to look at, how much information do we share to make sense and how much information do we share to inform the community, while at the same time a lot of decisions are sensitive to the tribe itself and they don't want them open to everybody. So how do we share that in a way that is open and yet private from people that the tribe or the membership doesn't want to have included in the information chain? That's another challenge that tribes often face. And so what happens many times is bits of information gets shared in the spirit of transparency and that information can get twisted and it's just like when you go around the table and you tell one person a secret and it goes around the table and it comes back as an entirely different thing. That happens in every political system as well. And so it's important to have information, to be clear about it, to be concise about it, but also to make certain that you're protecting the tribe's interests."

Ian Record:

"And it's not just a question of how much you share or what you share, but also how you share it."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure."

Ian Record:

"You mentioned community meetings and that sort of thing, what other ways does the Yavapai-Apache Nation ensure transparency in government in relation to the people?"

Jamie Fullmer:

"Well, I would think that...well, when I was in office and I'm certain that they're still working on and through this, not only the community meetings, but the chairman and vice chairman share in our tribal newspaper their issues and then in the council meetings themselves, they're all held and members can go and get that information, can request a copy of the transcripts of any of the general sessions. And I think that part of that is internalizing that mechanism. Another part of it is defining how often, how much, and what kind of information gets shared. I mean, there are a lot of, not speaking of my nation specifically, but there are a lot of opportunities now with technology to share basically everything...the tribe's history, I've seen a lot of tribes have really creative websites and a lot of information on those websites that really help people understand who they are. And I applaud those tribes because I think that's an important way to do it and it seems like these days that's something that people do. They go and Google© or search, look through search engines to try and find information so that they feel well prepared and are respecting...if they have a meeting with the tribe or want to reach to them. And a lot of tribes have members that are distant from the community but still want to stay involved at least in the information-sharing process."

Ian Record:

"So from what you're saying transparency and openness in government is not just important for a nation's citizens, but also those outsiders that the nation chooses to do business with or chooses to, for instance, enter into some sort of working relationship with?"

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure it is, and that's where the struggle of tribes that are private and confidential happens with regards to...being confidential is not the same as living in a vacuum. There's still information that you have to share, especially when you have outside business relationships, especially when you're looking to partner or to find ways to find funding for projects, and so those kinds of things...as well as safeguarding your relationship in the region that you live in. That information might be shared in a way so people understand and know what you're doing so they themselves don't get concerned of, "˜What's going on over there, they're so secretive they must be doing something wrong.'"

Ian Record:

"And that sort of mentality prevails within the community too when you're not actively educating your citizens."

Jamie Fullmer:

"That's a human issue, that isn't...I don't think that's focused on one race or another. That is the human element. We always look to the idea that if people aren't sharing it there must be something wrong with it."

Ian Record:

"One of the most important governing institutions or perhaps policies that came about at Yavapai-Apache Nation recently and that is the development of a code of ethics. Maybe give us an overview of what exactly is included in your code of ethics, the process by which the nation adopted that code and how it's played out so far. For instance, how is it enforced? What's the reception of the community been to it? How has it come into play perhaps?"

Jamie Fullmer:

"The code of ethics was really developed because it's written in our constitution that the tribal council can create a code of ethics for the policing and how the tribal council conducts itself in leading the nation. And so back again in office, this has been a couple of years ago now, we worked on building a code of ethics that included a lot of things such as conflict-of-interest issues, the discussion of how a tribal council member conducts themselves when representing the nation, the idea of information sharing, raising issues of concern when they're brought to their attention if it's about or with regards to another council member. So really it was a means to try and protect the integrity of our nation's leadership and at the same time give us a way to be fair with one another and then also show the community that there was that fairness and equity and that we were doing tribal business in a legitimate fashion. And so the code of conduct was established as a means for the tribal council to identify areas that were concerning, that had been brought up by constituents from this date all the way back to whenever it was being brought up, that were considered concern areas that tribal council shouldn't be engaged in or should be concerned about or that other tribal council members should be made aware of if that was to happen.

And so by doing that, I think that again -- since I'm not there in the last six months -- I'm not quite certain how it's working for them now, but in that first year of putting it in place, we were able to deal with a lot of issues that had come up in the past where there weren't answers and we were able to deal with them in an upfront fashion using our code of ethics to determine, "˜Is there a violation of the code of ethics?' We would let our attorney general review it if it was a legal discrepancy or if it was a conflict-of-interest issue, we would let there be a review by the attorneys and separate it from us so that there was a third-party, unbiased point of view on it, and then we would follow through with that, the recommendations on that depending on the level of severity if there was one could lead up to removal from office, but it could be a suspension, it could be just a discussion and being made aware and clarifying. The code of ethics, I think in the long run, will really help maintain the integrity of the tribe. How it was viewed by the people, I think the people, the reason that we put it together I think was a response...in response to the people's request to have some way of assuring fair government."

Ian Record:

"And I assume part of that code of ethics covered the interference by elected officials in, for instance, program management."

Jamie Fullmer:

"That's correct. It prevented micromanagement. Council members weren't allowed within the code of ethics to go and address a director. They had to do it through the executive branch using the chain of command that has been approved by the council. The organizational chart in our system is approved by the council. So they had to actually utilize that organization chart and the chain of command in order to address the issue. It doesn't mean the issues don't get addressed, it means that there's a respect for laws that leaders have put into place and structures that leaders have voted in as acceptable structure to follow through with. There are...definitely one of the goals was to prevent ongoing micromanagement if there was any. The ethics code really helped to minimize that."

Ian Record:

"We see a lot from the top down the impact of micromanagement in terms of...for instance if an elected official micromanages nation-owned enterprises, particularly for instance if it's forestry or something like that, transforming the business from one built on profitability to one run as essentially an employment service."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Sure."

Ian Record:

"We've seen that in a lot of places. I was wondering if you could talk about the impact of micromanagement by elected officials from the management end, from the program end, and what messages does that send to those people who are trying to manage the nation, who are trying to carry out those programs and those services when an elected official walks in and starts trying to run the show."

Jamie Fullmer:

"I believe that from that point of view that one of the protectors is not only the code of ethics, but the structure. Part of micromanagement comes when there's a lack of structure for people to really understand, what is your role and so they have...everybody has their own belief about what a certain director role should be doing and if there's no clear job description or policy of how that program or department runs, then it leads to, in a way, the micromanagement coming up because people are saying, "˜Well, I don't believe that's part of your authority or your responsibility,' and so that oftentimes leads to it. So one side of it is the management side, that there needs to be that structure to help everybody be on the same page. On the flip side of it, back when I was a director, the concern issues weren't so much...they didn't so much have to do with people coming in and making their complaints and making their requests as much as when a decision was made, if that decision was reversed or if a decision was made and that decision was trumped. That is very hard to run a solid program if your decisions aren't supported at the leadership level. So from a management position, if you don't have the structure in place from the management side, you're going to assume that you have certain authorities over your department and program based on your experience in running departments and programs or lack of experience in running departments and programs. So of course you develop a boundary that you think that works. What happens is you might overstep that boundary unknowingly or someone else sees that boundary as either being bigger or smaller. And so I think the challenge for management, when there is micromanagement from leadership is, should I even make the decision or why should I make the decision? If I make the decision, they'll just reverse it."

Ian Record:

"So they tend to sit back and cool their heels and not come up with innovative answers or solutions?"

Jamie Fullmer:

"I would think that's one of the challenges. I can't say that I did that. I would always move forward with the idea that I have a responsibility to run the programs as I see fit based on my ethics as a social worker, but with regards to that, if I made a decision where I told someone 'no' and they went around me and went up into leadership and that was reversed, there's not much I was going to say because that's the leader's prerogative. The challenge was is that if you're running a system and you're getting that from eight or nine different leaders that are saying, "˜Why did you do that?' "˜Well, because the other leader did that.' And so you get caught up as a manager in a political struggle or can get caught up in a political struggle and I don't believe that many managers at any level want to get caught up in that or they would have run to be political leaders themselves. When they're a manager, they just want to manage their program, do the best job they can and try and help serve the community at whatever capacity they can in their professional role."

Ian Record:

"Ultimately they want to do the job they were hired to do."

Jamie Fullmer:

"They want to do...most people that I've ever met in a professional role, they want to do the very best job they can. But without rules to do that job, there are people that make up their own rules and there are people that don't do anything. It just depends on the personality of the individual."

Ian Record:

"While we're on the topic of programs and services, the all-encompassing bureaucracy of the nation, you've stated to me before that one of the major challenges that you faced when you first came into office was kind of this unmanageable bureaucracy. And we see this across Indian Country, where a tribe's bureaucracy over the course of several decades is essentially, just this collection, this kind of assortment of programs; there's kind of this horizontal structure. We call it the 'silo effect,' where you have all these individual silos; a lot of these silos may actually duplicate services that the other one's doing. I was wondering if you could talk about what that looked like when you came into office and what you guys did about it."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Well, when I came into office we had a lot of program directors and a lot of programs. I know it was over 40, I think it was up there. The problem with that was exactly what you pointed out. There were silos. It was ineffectiveness and inefficiencies in some of those areas. And these are critical path areas: health care, human services, police and public safety, trying to find ways to provide better housing and community programming for the tribe. With that said, when I first got in office, I worked with our tribal council to try and refine the organizational chart and the tribal council was in agreement that it was too...spread out too wide and we looked at, 'Well, how do we make it more like a pyramid, like a true organizational structure?' And so we limited those program directors and brought our programming into five major programs and within the five major programs, we put all the other programs under those departments. And so now we had accountability, we had a chain of command and we had also a program where there could actually be built into it a set of policies and procedures and guidelines for how people do business. So we created the administration, the public safety, housing, economic development, and finance and everything fell under those five processes. And we did that to match our own system. They could have been...we could have called them different titles and different processes and we put some in other areas because there were better fits individual-wise not necessarily programming-wise. So we tried to make certain that we made those fits without completely disrupting the existing course of business. But it did take a little while to get used to and there was a challenge initially because people that were directors now became managers and they weren't necessarily happy about that. But in the best interest of the tribe and how business was done within the government, the bureaucracy of the government, it made things more sensible. We could call on one person and they could deal with their issue within their department as opposed to maybe there are four or five. Before, you'd have four or five people coming in to represent a case or an issue that was brought to the council. Now you had one person and it was their job to bring in who they saw fit to deal with the issue, but the council and the executive branch and the administration were only dealing with the director."

Ian Record:

"So it sounds like overall it helped to eliminate waste and make the operation of government more efficient."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Well, definitely that was our goal. Our goal was efficiency and accountability within the government. And I believe we did that. We were able to come under budget all the years in office."

Ian Record:

"And isn't it at some level about reclaiming your government because a lot of those silos...that silo effect is so often created by federal grants coming in from the outside and the sorts of requirements that they have and the structures that they mandate and that sort of thing."

Jamie Fullmer:

"And a lot of people don't recognize it, but in a way creating programming and utilizing everything under grants, you're really giving the authority to the granting party because most of those grants say, 'You have to do this, that and the other,' and when you sign the documents you've acknowledged that you're doing that. So yes, the answer to that is yes, you do get the authority back and one of the principles that we established there is that we don't create programs based on a grant. If a grant fits our programming, we'll go after it, but we're not going to create programs based on a grant. There's another key piece to this and I want to bring it up because it has to do with efficiency and that is that in our government we had a three-branch government. And so we had a court system that still, even though they were separate, they still had administrative responsibility to be efficient. And so we would still challenge them not on any of their court cases or anything like that because that was totally in the hands of the judges and the appeals court, but the way the system would run. They got a budget just like the rest of the government and they would have to tell us why they needed the funds that they needed and how they were working towards accountability and efficiency."

Ian Record:

"So you touched on it without actually saying the term, but in terms of this bureaucratic reorganization, this streamlining, this creation of accountability within that structure, this issue of kind of a wholesale shift away from the 'project mentality,' as it's sometimes referred to, to program management where a nation's programs, its bureaucracy is predicated on finding the next grant and if we have to create another program, let's do it and that's how that silo effect is created. So you were...it sounds to me like you were trying to get away from that, consciously."

Jamie Fullmer:

"Consciously, it was one of our goals is to reduce the amount of reliance on grant funding that didn't make sense or didn't meet our needs. And so we restructured our grant program to only reach out to grants that would fit in some requirements that we established. The other part to that I think as well is that when I left office we were working on...we had moved through stages of development within that and we were actually working on accountability-based budgeting, so the goals of the department would match the budget and so that there would be an accountability of you would know whether or not a department was doing well by their reporting and how it matched their initial goals that they wanted to achieve before the end of the year. I'm not certain if they're still moving in that direction, but that was the direction we were taking in 2007." 

Honoring Nations: Justin Martin: Enhancing Government-to-Government Relationships

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Justin Martin, Former Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at Grand Ronde, discusses his nation's relationship in previous years with the state government, and how Grand Ronde was able to build and sustain success over time in the state's legislative arena.

People
Resource Type
Citation

Martin, Justin. "Enhancing Government-to-Government Relationships." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Sante Fe, New Mexico. February 8, 2002. Presentation.

Andrew Lee:

"Our last morning presentation is from a man who's always on the go, Justin Martin, who's the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. He's done a fantastic job and I know working with Kathryn [Harrison] and his team and Nicole [Holmes], they've just done a great job and being recognized as a sovereign and just making a ton of headway with state and federal interactions, so Justin Martin."

Justin Martin:

"Thank you, Andrew, for that kind introduction and thank you all for having us and being here today. I'm going to talk not so much about my program today, I'm sure you've all read about that in the report. Today I'm going to focus a little bit on state-level politics and our journey through the past five years with the state-level government and how we were able to build some success in that level. I'm actually going to talk specifically about some numbers today, because I've approached this from a very general perspective over the past couple days, and then talk a little bit about what got us to the level that we are today with respect to being able to effectively promote our sovereignty.

First, before I go into that I'd like to take a quick moment to, as Andrew mentioned, to thank Kathryn Harrison, who as I went through this journey over the past five years, I've been fortunate personally to work with several mentors. Some of the best lobbyists at the Oregon level; a man that's been in the building for 45 years, one of the best public relations/public affairs persons in the Pacific Northwest. And then finally Kathryn, as a mentor to me, I have been able to learn from your vision and your guidance and your commitment, and most of all, Kathryn, your perseverance. And those are lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life, so thank you very much for that. It has been a blessing to go through this journey with you for five years. Also I'd like to thank my sidekick, my partner in crime, Nicole Holmes, who is the other half of the Intergovernmental Affairs Department -- a whopping number of two employees in that department. We were able to steal Nicole from a state representative, which I wouldn't recommend to a lot of folks, but he was a very big fan of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and realized her value to this tribe. So, Nicole, thank you for all your help and all your work over the past three-plus years.

So with that, a little bit about this journey. I am a tribal member and how I came to be in this role is in 1995, a state representative went to the tribal council and asked if there were any young Native Americans interested in coming to work for a state representative in the legislative process. My grandfather was on the council at the time and gave me a call and said there's a man in Salem that's interested in having somebody come and work for them. So I saw this as an opportunity within my curriculum at school to go and do this. As I mentioned yesterday, my background is public policy and public administration. So that's what got me into the legislative process. It was a generous offer by a state legislator and one that allowed me to start to create some of those personal relationships at the state level that in turn wound up getting me to Grand Ronde. Another nice side of that is I was able to then, when I went to work for the tribe in '97, to create a relationship with my grandfather who I did not have a relationship with growing up. Him and my grandmother had been split up for the 26-some years that I had been alive so that also in and of itself has been a wonderful experience. He is retired from council and moved on but again, I've been able to build that relationship; a relationship with some of my culture and heritage that frankly, I didn't pay much attention to growing up. The Grand Ronde Tribe was a tribe that was terminated in the ‘50s. So for the first 14 years of my existence, the tribe did not exist in terms of federal recognition.

So, a quick kind of history of Grand Ronde: 26 bands originally were moved to the Grand Ronde Reservation in the 1850s. That was originally a 69,000-acre reservation. Through termination, that went down to two-and-a-half acres in the 1950s and then again, through perseverance and commitment of some of our elders, we were able to be restored in 1983. Kathryn was a big part of that, also Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse, who wasn't a congresswoman at the time, played a big role in that. We were recognized in name only and did not get any of the reservation back until 1988, a separate act of Congress. The 1988 Reservation Act in which we got about 9,800 acres of contiguous timberland back in which to sustain our government. So from that time until the onset of Indian gaming in 1995, that is how we operated. So with that onset of Indian gaming came all kinds of new issues with respect to the state.

So as I told you a little bit earlier, I'm going to talk specifically about some of the state-level programs that we've been able to get involved with and have some success with. Right before 1997, we signed a permanent compact with the State of Oregon for our gaming facility that opened up several avenues and several concerns. So in the 1997 legislative session when I came aboard with Grand Ronde, we saw about 39 legislative measures that had some potential impact to Native American tribes in Oregon. Out of that 39, about 19 of them were considered damaging, what could have an adverse...a potential adverse affect on the tribe. So we went to work and we went to work trying to educate elected officials to let them know exactly how this would impact the tribe and we were able to successfully defeat all those.

So in the time between 1997 and 1999, this is the nice part of what we've been able to do, we can actually start to quantify some of the success of government relations, which is very, very difficult to do. In the '99 session, we saw only three potentially damaging measures. So that went from 19 to three in about a two-year period. Well, how did we make that happen? We hit the road, we started educating elected officials. This is kind of where my program comes in, we started communicating, we started educating, we started cooperating with the communities, we started making contributions and yes, those are political contributions in the form of dollars, but again those are other contributions in the form of being community members getting involved in the community making things happen there. And then finally we started to create a presence, a presence where people knew if they were dealing with Native American issues, they were going to have to talk to Grand Ronde and the eight other tribes that existed.

So now we can kind of follow this journey again and quantify it even more so in the '01 session and in the '01 session we did see about six measures that were potentially damaging. So you might say, ‘Well, Justin, you went from 19 to three, that's quite a remarkable feat but then you went back up to six potentially damaging pieces of legislation in ‘01.' Well, we've also been able to widen the scope of legislation that we have tracked. So on a percentage basis, it's about the same percentage of damaging legislation that we saw in '99. But the really effective number that I think, out of those six potentially damaging measures that were introduced in the recent '01 session, not a single bill got a hearing. And to even keep something from even creating a public discussion or some public sentiment is truly a win in and of itself. I would rather have 10 potentially damaging measures that don't see the light of day than even one that could create some kind of public swell. Not only was that the effective part of the '01 session, but we saw something that we hadn't seen in Oregon I don't think ever.

We were able to pass, and I say we, this is not just Grand Ronde, I like to believe that all the tribes working collectively were able to pass six pieces of positive legislation. So you look from 1997 where everything was negative, negative, negative and how does this affect...we were able to effectively make a complete turn, 180-degree turn and now we're passing positive legislation. And one of those, for a quick background, Oregon, I think, is a real progressive state. We have had a progressive governor that has looked at creating state-tribal relationships that go beyond just the everyday legislature and just beyond everyday state-level programs. There was an executive order in 1996 encouraging state-tribal relations, and that included one summit every year, that included individual cluster groups for tribal agencies and state agencies to start working together. Some of those cluster groups are natural resources, environmental resources, public safety, health, education and finally economic development -- a wonderful, wonderful program. But what happens when the current governor is gone? So we looked at that collectively as tribes and said, ‘Why don't we do something about this executive order? Let's pass some legislation and put this into statute.' And that's exactly what we did. Senate Bill 770 passed the legislative session this year essentially guaranteeing that we will continue that government-to-government relationship throughout the future no matter the administration, whether they're Native friendly or not. Again, just a landmark piece of legislation, one that we're very proud to have passed. Some of the other pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 690, a Native American Teaching License Certificate Bill, which allows elders to go back into not only Native schools but public schools and teach the language. It effectively took away the barrier that said you have to have this college degree and this teaching certificate because we don't want to lose what these elders can offer at this time. Just a wonderful bill. Some of the other bills, both a statutory bill and one that sent a message to Congress was the deletion of 'squaw' language from Oregon geographic board names. We passed that both in statute and within our memorial, just a wonderful message to Native Americans throughout the state. And then finally the creation of local mental health authorities on reservations in areas that even the community, non-tribal members don't really have access to mental health care. Now they can begin to get those services and also look at some alternative funding methods combined with tribes, again, in those areas that are outside of the metropolitan areas.

So how did we do this? How did we get to this point where we were able to totally turn a negative situation to a positive situation? And I've heard from some other folks that other states aren't quite that progressive and that, obviously, is understandable. And some of the questions on the panel yesterday talked about kind of volatile environments, how do you start to make a difference? Well, what Grand Ronde did, what the vision of the tribal council did is said, ‘We need to be involved, how are we going to do that?' and then went and they worked with outside professionals. We went and we hired again that best lobbyist, we went and we hired that best public relations manager, we hired the best marketing firm, but council said, ‘We're not just going to do that and we're not just going to put that in the hands of somebody that doesn't understand the Grand Ronde way, doesn't understand what the Native way of life is all about. So we're also going to take from these people what we can in the way of education and experience and we're going to start to create it for ourselves.' And that's where I have personally been fortunate to be brought into that. But that also carries over in every department within our government. So we've been able to utilize that external expertise, not only utilize it out there, but to utilize it internally to learn from it and become stronger and in the future we'll be able to do that for ourselves. Now, when you go out and you look to contract with somebody, make that a part of the deal because, you know what, we've got a good issue and that's something that professional lobbyists or professional public relations persons, that's something they want to work with. You as a tribe will be a feather in their cap as far as a client. That's out there. Do it on your terms because you're the one that's ultimately responsible for protecting that sovereignty and again, effectively promoting it. You're not giving up jurisdiction, you're not giving up your sovereign rights, you're finding a more effective way to deliver that message because some of these external professionals open doors that we would never have had a chance to open five years ago. Get that in, start to create those relationships at the grassroots level and you're going to be that much more effective.

So that is some of the success that we've had at the state level. I've also been having some side conversations with folks. What are some of the other really successful things that you've seen? What we have been able to see is sentiment that says, ‘Okay, the Oregon State Lottery provides...it's about $900 million per biennium for the state.' But every voter that sits in those rooms wonders, ‘What do they do with the money? What are they doing with the dollars?' But, what we've seen, almost two out of three voters in these focus groups is Grand Ronde. What have they been able to do with the dollars? What have they been able to do within their community? As soon as you ask them about, ‘Well, what about the other gaming that goes...? What about the other gaming product in Oregon? What about Indian gaming?' and the first thing you hear is, ‘Well, they're giving something back to the community. They're delivering dollars. They funded LifeFlight, they funded OMSI', which is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. ‘They work in conjunction with the Oregon Food Bank. Those guys are going it right'. And when you hear that your government, a small tiny tribal government is doing things the right way, that's when you know you've been effective, that's when you know you're changing public opinion, that's when you know the grassroots has taken effect, that's when you know you've been able to sway public opinion because, you know what? We're all on the right side of a good issue. We're not pushing anything bad here and once you educate people to that fact, and I've seen it a million times, it clicks. 'Why don't they tax...why don't Indians get taxed?' 'Well, we're paying for services outside. We contract with Polk County, we contract with Yamhill County. We don't have our own water; we don't have our own sewer.' It clicks. People go, ‘Oh, that's why'. Or we seeded LENA. ‘Oh, that's why. I didn't think about that 'cause that's not what I hear in the newspaper.' So get out there and educate, grassroots. It sounds simple and easy and it is because again it's getting down to the lowest level of building personal relationships. Once you find something in common -- and I think we can all find things in common with other folks -- you can make it happen.

So with that I'm just going to close by telling a little story. Again, I think, Kathryn, when I first started, I was about three months on the job and Kathryn wasn't feeling well and she was to give a speech about the Grand Ronde history in front of a bunch of state agencies. She said, ‘Justin, I'm not feeling very well, can you do this?' I thought, ‘Oh, my god. Okay, you've got Kathryn Harrison, who's again a model of perseverance and understands and has been through that, and then you've got Justin Martin, an urban kid from Salem that has been working for the tribe and really doesn't have a grasp about that. What the hell am I going to talk about?' And so I went over...on my way over and I started trying to formulate this speech, which I was going to give in about 40 minutes and started thinking about, ‘What can I talk about?' And I looked to the right to that two-and-a-half acres when the tribe was terminated and thought about my grandma...my great grandmother who I was very fortunate, again to be able to spend about 21 years of my life with before she passed in 1992. So I started thinking about her a little bit and I turned left -- and if you guys have been to Grand Ronde, you eventually come up on the casino, which is huge and then I looked at that and I thought, ‘Boy, that's really impressive'. And then I kept driving a little bit and I started thinking, ‘Well, boy, I wonder what my great grandmother would have thought, my Grandma Cora. Boy, she would have really been impressed by seeing that building.' But then about 15 miles down the road I started thinking, ‘Would she really have been that impressed? Well, no, would the bright lights or that great big building have impressed my grandmother? No. Would the five restaurants with all the fancy food or all the money and all the fancy machines, would that have impressed my grandmother? Well, no. What would have impressed her?' And so a little further down the road I started thinking, ‘Here's what would have impressed her. We've been able to do something at Grand Ronde that hasn't been able to be done in that area. We're starting to bring people back home, people that had to leave the reservation because of assimilation, failed assimilation policy. We're able to bring them back home. We're able to start turning their lives around through programs in health care and education and housing and elder pensions and elder care. We're able to bring back that community, we're able to make our members more self-sufficient and best of all we're able to give them some hope.'

So thank you all very much for hearing me today. And again, you can make a difference at the state level, you can make a difference at the federal level, and you can make a difference at the local level, just get out there and meet some people and make it happen. Thank you very much."

Miriam Jorgensen:

"We've got a few minutes to take maybe a couple questions for Justin if you have them so let's go ahead and take a few."

Audience member:

"I'll restrict my 50 questions to one, Justin. Could you talk about your relationship with other interests in the state, being a small population group in Oregon? Undoubtedly you need additional support in order to get your legislation passed. And also there are a lot of issues in the state that aren't specifically native issues, but which affect Native interests very much. I imagine employment policies or health policies or TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] policies and so on. So what's you're relationship with other lobbyists and interests beyond the Native community?"

Justin Martin:

"Great question. Thank you for asking. We start to see...I think you start to see a spread and this gets to where my program really focuses on presence. So not only are we a government presence, but now we're starting to be a presence in the business community, now we're starting to be a presence in the non-profit and the charitable community, and we're able to utilize not just political contributions to our advantage. So say we start to build some partnerships in that community, we start to build partnerships in what we call regional problem solving where in Yamhill County, Polk County, the tribal government, and then the local governments start to work together in a consensus fashion to be able to make those things happen. That also happens like I said in the business community. You start garnering support and you start working side by side with some of the big business interests. So okay, it's not just Grand Ronde, a small tribal government. They've got that right, they've got...we need to give them that respect. It's also Grand Ronde, the largest employer in Polk County. So okay, we don't have a lot of votes to deliver say in an election or we don't have a lot of individual contributors to certain programs, but look at our workforce. And they're going to go out in their communities and back to their homes and spread the work about Grand Ronde. So it becomes...again it's kind of this groundswell of grassroots, but it's also in other areas that we would never have thought possible and that's not just politics, that's employment, that's in natural resources, cultural resources. People start to look to the tribe as experts in each and every one of those areas."

Jamie Fullmer: Taking a Strategic Approach at Yavapai-Apache Nation

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Jamie Fullmer, former chairman of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, discusses how his nation developed a strategic approach to tackling its nation-building challenges during his time in office. He stresses the importance of Native nations and leaders conducting comprehensive of the state of their communities and people in order to engage in informed, effective decision making that yields positive, lasting results.

People
Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Fullmer, Jamie. "Taking a Strategic Approach at Yavapai-Apache Nation." Emerging Leaders seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management and Policy, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. April 12, 2007. Presentation.

"My name is Jamie Fullmer. I'm Chairman of Yavapai-Apache Nation. I'm President of Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona and this is my second term in office.

As the Chairman of Yavapai-Apache Nation, I understand what all of you as tribal leaders are going through. We go through some strange and unique times because we come in with dreams and goals and commitment to doing great things and then we get hit by the reality of what goes on in our communities.

I had been graced with the idea and the fortunateness of working with my tribe as the Health and Human Services Director and I got to see what was really going on. I know about the drug problems in our communities. I know about the young people having babies in our communities. I know about the hard fact that some of our people don't have education. I know about the reality of the difficulty of finding jobs. And I think one of those things that...all of these things really connected to me and it helped me as coming into the chairmanship that I needed to do some things that were very important, but I also needed to be realistic. And I think that's the one thing that I'm very grateful for today is that my experience in social work and working with people helped me to be realistic.

It doesn't mean that we can't have dreams and hopes. It means, though, that as tribal leaders and as people working for our tribal governments that you take an honest look at what's going on in the community. I heard one time a tribal leader that said something that hit me home because I didn't agree with it, but out of respect I listened. He said, ‘I like to think that we don't have any problems in our communities,' when I was the Director of Health and Human Services and I knew full well what the problems were in our community. But I think that the important part of what we're learning in these sessions and what we're learning through NNI is that we have to be reality-based and we also have to be based in understanding or learning to understand what is it that we have.

And I guess the challenge for us all is to take a look and do a survey. In my community, I do an annual survey on a couple of different areas. And before I get to that though, Manley [Begay] had represented the idea that when I got into office I knew that I needed some help. I knew that I needed some ideas. I knew that I needed expertise. I knew what we had internally and I knew we needed more, because sometimes the outside words of wisdom are listened to a little more clearly than the inside words. And I think we all face that in our own lives and in our leadership roles. So I reached out to the group down here, NNI, Native Nations Institute and I was pleasantly surprised and I'm very appreciative.

And we did...originally we had worked out a 30-year comprehensive plan. And when I got into leadership I thought that 30 years is a long time. In this pace of reality, 30 months is a long time. Things change so fast and so I asked that they come back and we did another work session where we narrowed our 30-year vision down into a three to five-year increment because I felt like that's manageable, that's something that all of us can feel. I can say, ‘We can accomplish this in 30 days, in 90 days, in one year and we can put actions behind the words.'

When I got into the office I got into a very...somebody was talking about a corner office. I have a corner office. But when I walked into that office there was a bookshelf and it was full of books and every one of those books was a master plan. And these were plans from 1975, 1985, 1992, 1994 and believe it or not I read through them all. But I understood why the leaders couldn't accomplish what was in those plans. Because they weren't realistic and they weren't...I heard the word earlier...they weren't culturally matching to our community.

So when I challenge people to do a survey of your community, I'm not only asking how many people do you have? I know in Yavapai Apache Nation we have 2,020 tribal members. We just enrolled a handful more and we're growing and we're proud of that. I know that half of them live in the community and half of them live off the community. I know that of that half that live off the community, a majority of them live in Phoenix. I know those things about our community based on our demographics. I know that we have a young people, that 1,000 of our people are 18 and under. I know that we have only 60 of our very important and critical resources, which is our elders over 60 years old. I know these things and because I know these things, we plan around that. How do we utilize our human resources? And I'm not talking about human resource...some of you are probably human resource for employees, but as a leader we need to look at what are our human resources in our community.

I'm very proud to say our people today, we have 240 tribal members in a college or higher education. I'm very proud of that. But then the next step of that is how do we get them to come back into our community? It was talked about earlier, brain drain. What is it that we can provide for our community that will give them a commitment level to want to come back? In my case in coming back it was more of a spiritual thing and I know that not everybody is driven by the spirit in their young lives but they become more driven by the spirit as they grow older. But how do we get people to connect to the important part of our culture, which is spirit. I think those are the challenges that every one of you as well as myself face in our leadership roles and in our management roles.

Because one of the things we heard earlier was colonialism. I've heard that a lot over...I guess I'm still young. Some people say I'm not a spring chicken anymore. This colonial ideal: how do we as traditional people living in traditional ways move forward with this colonial system? We adopt constitutions; that's not our way. We adopt European laws; that's not our way. And then we have to put inside of that the parts of our culture that maybe sometimes don't fit. So at times in our modern-day systems, we have pieces that don't naturally fit. What is it that leaders need to do to be able to mend that or create that weaving or that tapestry that will connect those pieces? Those are the questions that every one of you are asking or you wouldn't be here for the last two days. Those are the questions that we need answers to that we can pass along to our people.

Because I'm proud of my people, but my people challenge me. They challenge me all the time. And as a tribal leader, you may be thinking about a big decision, ‘We need to create policies for commerce and economy, we need to create laws that will govern the future of our people,' and still you'll have an elder come in and say, ‘My transmission's broken and you need to fix it.' And I'm going to tell you what, if you don't treat those two on equal grounds, you're not going to be in the seat very long as a leader because they are just as important to our people. Or when a young person dies in the community and yet you're considering and you're thinking, ‘I'm developing an economy for the future. I'm developing things for the future.' All of you as leaders know that in your heart you're crying about the young person who's died in the community and yet you have to be the one to stand strong so that your people can rely on your strength. I think those are the critical pieces that we face in the modern world as tribal leaders.

I'm fortunate to live in a time as we move into the 21st century, well into it now, as we move into it, we are in a time where we have the most...from the 20th century to now we have the most political freedom that we've ever had. Believe that or not. We're still oppressed, but we have the most freedom that we've ever had. And how do you exercise that? How do you exercise sovereignty in this world? Some people would argue, ‘Well, when you waive limited sovereign immunity you're giving up something.' But you know what, if you don't, if you don't acknowledge that you have something, how can you give it up? You have to acknowledge that you have something. That's what sovereignty is, in my humble opinion. There are challenges to that and I respect those challenges. Every community is different and every one of you have different priorities in your community. I respect that.

I think that one of the biggest pieces that I see now as we move into things is that as we're all here trying to figure out how to govern our societies, how to create economy, how to do important things for the people, and yet at the same time still be close to the heart, still be close to the earth, still be honest about the social problems, because we can have giant dreams but if people don't buy into the dreams, it doesn't go anywhere. I think that that's probably the biggest challenge for leaders, for those of you working for tribes. The leaders care deeply about their people. They wouldn't sacrifice their personal lives to lead if they didn't care deeply about their people. But yet your job as management is to understand their vision, learn from them, and use your skills to help move the system forward. These are the challenges that all of us face and I know that and I respect you for facing that.

As we...as I talk a little bit I'm going to go over just a few areas and then I know it's time for dessert so you'll be ready for some carrot cake or...Torry, did you cook dessert, too? We move forward and we have to look at the reality of it is that everything we do in this modern world that strengthens our government or strengthens our society is in some strange way connected to our financial resources. And this is a hard thing for us. We saw earlier the very powerful speaker, Professor [Robert] Williams. We heard about him and how the trade was governed differently, how the thoughts were governed differently. But I know very well in our community, and I pray about it -- I'm a prayerful man, I live in that world -- and the answer always comes back that if you have strong ties to culture, if you have strong ties to spirit, and you can learn to respect and understand finances, you will be successful and last a long time as people. Those things are critical. Even though I'm not a man that's tied to finances in my own thinking, I understand that you have to respect it in order to strengthen it. Just like with everything. You have to respect yourself to strengthen yourself. You have to respect your people to strengthen your community. Those things go together.

And so as I look at this, I think there's some important things and you're taking part in one of them and that is council training and learning how to teach one another to be a team. The one thing about council is that we are in...as leaders we're in oppositional seats at times because we have to fight one another to get where we're at. That's part of the politics. But when that's over and the battle's over and that's won and you've organized your group, it's in the best interest of the people to learn how to work as a team. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have your opinions, that doesn't mean you shouldn't debate, because I also believe that strong and powerful debate makes for strong and powerful decisions. So you should debate, you should argue, you should do all those things on behalf of your people but at some point you have to say, ‘This is where we need to stop the debate and move forward with action.' And so I think that's a critical link.

The other thing as a tribal leader and as the head of my executive branch -- many governments are defined differently -- but one of the things that I look at is the organizational structure. The organizational structure has to do a couple of things: it has to help you as leaders and managers govern your programming and it also has to help the people that work for our nation, that work for our community, understand and learn to respect our system and if the system is, what's the word they used to use in that political or flip-flop or wishy-washy, 'some way' is the word we use. If it's 'some way,' if it's not consistent, then you don't get good quality movement from your people, from your staff. And so I think one of the critical things that I've noticed in my government is make the policies, and this was brought up earlier, make the policies and stick to them.

I've taken a lot of criticism for that. ‘You're doing things the white way.' And I'm like, ‘Business isn't a white concept.' Business is a worldwide concept. Discipline is a very important concept to my people traditionally, very strict discipline. We live very disciplined lives, so if they say that's not an Apache concept, they're completely off the track 'cause we did live very disciplined lives. So if we can keep that as a cultural thing and say, ‘This isn't a white concept or a non-Indian concept, this is a concept that we embrace.' That's how the organizational structure should work.

The other thing I'd like to point out is that there needs to be...when you create your chain of command, it needs to be an honest chain of command, because again people will try to go around the structure and the structure is what creates the strength. If you're like a jellyfish...relatives from right off the coast here. If you're like a jellyfish, you go like this. You kind of float around, you don't have the backbone. For us that live on the ground, we need a backbone to move forward.

The other thing is, I think this is critical and I know it's been brought up a little bit, but you have to have your financial house in order. You have...you don't necessarily have to be an accountant or finance wizard or anything like that, but you better have people in those positions that you trust. You also better get...we focus on ours, we created an internal audit so that if our leaders have question or our people have question we can go audit ourselves and take a look at it and give a response to them. That way it's dealt with and if they don't believe that then they can wait until our annual audit comes up by the outside auditors. But I guess what I'm saying is that for this to work, in my opinion, this is only my opinion, but you have to have the financial house in order and you always have to keep your eye on the money. Not to say that you have to be so scrutinable that you forget everything else but know your financial position, know what needs to be in place. These are things that are challenges for us, because not a lot of us are financial wizards. I trust the people that work for me and if I don't, then I can't rely on them to do the things that the tribe wants us to do.

Finally, I think as we get ...am I okay on time? Is everybody okay, you want me to shut up and get down? Sit down, shut up and get out. Finding a balance in the priorities as leaders and as managers and I think...I'm going to talk a little bit for you tribal leaders because again, this is only coming from me and what I've seen, but I've been fortunate in my I guess middle-aged life now to see a little bit in Indian Country and I think that we're pretty consistent in that we've all faced the same struggles. No matter where I go I'm like, ‘Wow, that sounds just like home.' I'm like, ‘That is so strange that coast to coast we're so similar and yet we have so much difference,' and I respect the difference, but I also think that we have to appreciate the similarity in our worlds. We've seen the historical perspective. We've all faced oppression for hundreds of years. So right now when we have political freedom, when we have a way to express our sovereignty, we need to look at a couple of things as leaders. We need to look at and set priorities to our legal...we heard earlier, what codes do you have in place? What guides do you have in place? What policies and procedures do you have in place to govern, which in my mind is leadership, governing? Those are critical things to work on.

Right now in our community, we're definitely not where we need to be, but we're very aware of what we have gaps in and so we're working on it. It takes a long time to put in a judicial code because it impacts all of your kids, or excuse me, a juvenile code. It impacts all your kids. It takes a long time to put in a commercial code, because you're not only considering yourself, you've got to look, what's it going to look like 50 years down the road. These are big decisions and so leaders who take your time, I appreciate that, but at some point you have to get through the discussion and make it a law and live with it. I think that's the big part about the legal piece that comes into play because I know we can debate, we're good debaters. In the Yavapai-Apache Nation, we like to debate. But you can debate so long and then at some point you have to just draw the line and say, ‘This is where we need to stop and if the future leaders want to change it, they have that right but at least they have a baseline, at least they have ground to walk on.'

The other is the social issues. I always look at that. I'm very proud of our people who are getting educated. I'm very proud that we have been able to get resources through our gaming to begin to expand our economy, but there's still social problems. This crystal meth in our communities -- and I don't know how many of you are afflicted by this plague -- but it's terrible and I don't know the answer. We've made our laws stronger, we've increased our police force, we've increased our treatment services, we've done educational, and the only thing you can do is keep doing more so that you never give up on your people. And I guess that's the big thing about social programming is that you have to keep doing more and never give up on your people.

Cultural: this is one unique area for our tribe because we have the Yavapais and we have Dil zhę̨̨́é and we have Apaches in our community and each of them over time we've grown together and we call ourselves one nation 'cause we live together, but we have distinct differences in our historical culture. So how do we embrace that, what I'll call 'ancient history' with our more recent history in that we've been a nation together for 100 years? How do you make that bridge in a helpful way or a healing way and some of you may have those issues with traditional and non-traditional, people who live in the old way and practice our traditional value system and people who have adopted the Christian viewpoint or whatever other viewpoint out there. How can we embrace that and still be one people? It can be done, but it takes a mature...it takes mature leaders to teach people to be mature about how we can be separate but equal.

Economic, very proudly...we were one of the poorest tribes in America before we got our gaming. Gaming has changed us in that we have been able to begin to create economy, but you also have to look at your economy as what are you doing? We talked about that this morning. What are you serving, what purpose is it serving? So there needs to be some evaluation in that is our economy just to create money or should it create jobs or can we do both. Is it on reservation, off reservation, in Arizona, out of Arizona, in America, out of America? The world is our playground now so we may as well use that.

Sovereignty is an important thing. We're very proud at Yavapai Apache Nation because we appreciate partnering with other tribes and expressing our sovereignty through tribe-to-tribe relations. We've helped four other tribes build casinos and we have a partnership with an Alaskan Inupiat company for constructing buildings. And we've also...right now we're in a partnership...

And believe me, I'm not saying this as a bragging thing. I just think it's an important thing to express that I don't just say this before you and walk out of here...'I really pulled the wool over their faces,' but it's not that way. We do...we say it and we do it and we do it and we say it. We're proud of what we do...what we do, what we say we're going to do. That's cultural. I'm sure every one of you are that same way in your cultures, but some of these things are important because we've got to bridge a gap that was created between us as Indian people. This whole federal government got in the way and said, ‘You guys can't do anything on your own. We've got to be your big brother.' We seen earlier the river, the wampum belt with the river. That's how it has to be. It's not...we don't need a big brother. We need partners, we need relatives, we need friends, we need things that are going to go a long way together. We don't need a big brother anymore. We're all grown up. We never did need a big brother.

So I think those are important things, but we also have to respect that there's that mindset there. We have to be honest and I think that's the important thing is be realistic and that's a difficult one because I would like to...I'd be like that one that said, ‘I'd like to think that the federal government, the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] and IHS [Indian Health Service] and all those are out to help us.' I'd like to think that but my eyes that don't deceive me, they tell me the truth. So if that's the case and I hear them saying, ‘Oh, we're giving all the help that is humanly possible,' but my eyes see that we still struggle because there isn't that help. What can we do? How do we embrace it? And I think that's where we're at in the modern sense is we're in that place of questioning. We're in the place where we have to be careful about the challenges. Because as was brought up earlier, the swipe of a pen in 1875 we had a...Yavapai-Apache Nation in Camp Verde was 800 miles, was the original reservation, and with the swipe of a pen Ulysses S. Grant completely wiped it off the face of the earth. So it can be done with the swipe of a pen today and so we have to be careful about that but we have to be strong in our assertions.

We also have to be science-minded in a sense. We have to...brought up earlier, demographics. Understand your needs, understand your community, understand your natural resources and your cultural resources and how to protect the integrity of your society. I think that's a critical piece to it. What are the faux pas and the 'no nos' and the 'yes yes' and everything else? Feasibility and market studies; get your experts to analyze things. To me, I think it's worth paying the $30,000 to prevent a $5 million loss even though we can debate all day long to say, ‘Why do we need that feasibility study and why do we need to study this, we already know it's going to work.' But if it doesn't work, would your people be more angry at the $30,000 expense for the study or the $5 million loss because of a bad investment. I'll take the heat for $30,000. I'm not going to take the heat for $5 million. So that's important too as leaders and as managers: realize that you have a fiduciary responsibility of your people's financial dealings. I think that's an important part of this. Put yourself in the same boots because you're walking for your people when you're out there. You're walking and talking for your people.

Also I think...I brought this up just a touch, but I'll get into it a little bit about the political landscape. Right now in Indian Country, we're in a difficult political landscape around us. We've had some negative vibrations come to us. And so how do we as people need to be...how can we be public and create relations with our local communities around us so that it isn't so bad of a taste? You go to the east over there and they're all crazy right now. This, that and the other, we need to change all the laws against gaming and it's kind of mind boggling in a sense but then you have to go home and say, ‘How do we keep ourselves stable at home? How do we protect home?'

And then not only your external landscape, but your internal landscape. Are you in an oppositional system or do you guys fight a lot and is that your customs? That's fine, but can you get agreement on some things so that at least something comes out of it? All of us that have term limits have a limited time to get things done. And I think that's the important thing too as leaders of things. What kind of compromises can you make and what ones do you need to stand by? And I think that's an important thing, at least for me. There are things that I'm willing to compromise to make the bigger picture work. There are things that I won't because it's in my heart not to and I think as people we need to take personal integrity inventories to decide...I guess it's an internal code of ethics. What drives you and how...what drives your other fellow leaders and how can you work together?

And I think one of the discussions that was brought up, Joan [Timeche] you brought this up, and it's about the community readiness. One of the things that we really have to understand is what is our community ready for. My Indian name is [Apache language], which is 'Jumping Lizard,' because my people say I'm always jumping around. And I think that's the biggest thing that you have to look at is what is the community ready for? Because some things get exciting and then some things get scary and then some things feel overwhelming. I think that's one of the important facets to this and that's. What these sessions help with is taking little bites out. We're all going to hopefully eat this carrot cake when it comes but can we...some of us, like me, we'll put it all in and eat it and some of us got to take it one bite at a time. And I think that's an important thing that...I know that I've been...one of my challenges is being able to see and instead of asking, ‘Why aren't you ready?' asking, ‘What can I do to help you be ready?' And it's a simple question of change, but it's a hard one for someone who says, ‘Everybody should know why we should be able to build more, bigger, better, faster-moving machine.' But not everybody feels that way. Some people like to go slow. Some people like to think through things and I respect that.

Just in closing, I really appreciate the concepts that have been brought out because this is really what we need. We need to have leaders coming together because again today I hear all of these important questions coming out of you obviously important people and they're the same questions that I'm asking at home and I'm like, ‘Gosh, this is a good day and age because we're growing, we're doing important things,' but now we've got to have a change of thinking. We can't think about what is the world around us going to give us. We have to think about what in the world can we give ourselves and can we give that to others as well. And it's our time. I really believe that it's our time, that we can do good things with one another like's being done today by learning together. We can do good things with one another by teaching together. We can do good things with one another by creating fantastic, amazing businesses together and we can do a very important thing which is, as was brought up earlier, about teaching Americans, teaching the Indians how to be Americans. We can teach the rest of the world how we are and they can learn to respect us as we learn to respect ourselves. And so I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you all today. It's an honor and it's a privilege and thank you, [Apache language]."

Sheila Morago, Jill Peters, and Theresa M. Pouley: Some Tools to Govern Effectively (Q&A)

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Sheila Morago, Jill Peters, and Theresa M. Pouley field questions from the audience concerning lobbying, the importance of public education about tribal sovereignty and development, and how the Tulalip Tribal Court deals with fetal alcohol syndrome and its effects. 

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Morago, Sheila. "Some Tools to Govern Effectively (Q&A)." Emerging Leaders Seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. March 26, 2008. Presentation.

Peters, Jill. "Some Tools to Govern Effectively (Q&A)." Emerging Leaders Seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. March 26, 2008. Presentation.

Pouley, Theresa M. "Some Tools to Govern Effectively (Q&A)." Emerging Leaders Seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. March 26, 2008. Presentation.

Audience member:

"This is a question for Sheila. What's your feelings on the effectiveness of like short DVDs in lobbying? I testified at a language bill and this other tribe brought in a short DVD and it had their elders interviewed, their children, and it's talking about the impacts of learning the language in the schools. And it seemed to be very positive, pretty short, but do people spend time to actually watch them?"

Sheila Morago:

"Actually they probably do, especially if it's an issue that's coming up and is very relevant to something that is going to get voted on. What I would say that if you're going to do that, you don't want to show it while you're sitting there unless it's really short. Sit there, encourage the person that you're talking to to watch it. And especially if it's something that has your elders, your children, a group consensus of how this is going to affect you, all of that works. Again, they want to see how it affects the tribe itself and those tribal members. So absolutely any, [because] the last thing they want to see, to be real honest with you -- Jill working in Senator McCain's office -- is someone walking up and handing you a stack of paper this big and say, 'Here's the background on this. Can you read that before the vote tomorrow?' It goes shoo! right back there. So one of the things, that is a quick and easy way for someone to get all their listening, seeing and being able to get that very quickly so that's a great idea.

James R. Gray:

"I wanted to ask a question of [Jill]. If you had...I know in one case on our reservation we have a grocery store that's owned by the tribe. And it's a good case study on how to deal with something in kind of a crisis moment because we had bought a going concern from a non-Indian business owner who was going to close his business so we took it over. A significant number of our tribal members lived in that town but it was serving everybody there. And one day the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture walked in and did a survey like they always do on that store owner's maintenance of the WIC [Women, Infants and Children program] and food stamp program. And we were carrying out that contract within our tribe, but at the grocery store level it put us in a completely different role. And in that circumstance they fined us. Not because we were charging too much for the program, we weren't charging enough. We were cheapening our own business. For some reason, it was just a mistake on our end at the management level, but we ended up cheating us. But they said, "˜Well, we brought this to your attention on four different occasions and your manager never fixed it. So now we're going to have to fine you.' And as embarrassing as that was, we said, "˜Well, can we apply the fine in the form of a payment for contracted services?' Because what we didn't have in our tribe was a health department of agriculture that was going to do this anyway. Had we had that, we would have provided that assistance, but since we didn't have it we entered into an agreement with the State of Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to pay them to come and monitor that program. Because the Daily Oklahoman made a big story about this and put it on the front page of the newspaper that Chief Gray and the Osage Tribe were kicking out the State of Oklahoma off the reservation for being cited for health department issues, which created a freak-out among the community that something was wrong with our grocery store. And so they never corrected it of course, but we entered into this agreement where rather than accept jurisdiction of the state into our grocery store, we just paid them to come on and make sure that those programs were running right and everyone got to save face. And we left the jurisdictional fights for other bigger issues [because] you didn't want to get into a big court fight over something that you didn't do right, but because the issue of jurisdiction would never have been heard properly in the right context. So the suggestion I wanted to ask, maybe you could speak to is, could you talk about how important it is to pick your fights and ways in which you want to advance your interest as you're protecting your rights as well?"

Jill Peters:

"Sure. And I think that's a very important point, because you're going to have a whole range of issues that will be coming before tribal governments. And some of those may be some of these, I don't want to say it's a small issue, but at the same time you're going to have bigger issues dealing with the state, that you're going to have to deal with on that and are going to really have long-term impacts. And that really is going to be a balancing of the tribal leaders' responsibilities. You really have to set priorities and when you're developing your agenda you really have to think forward. "˜Well, these are the issues that we're going to deal with and we want to address.' And maybe on a very large or overarching level, part of that is to say, "˜Well, we need to look at where we are lacking in our resources. Where are we lacking? Maybe we don't have that State Department of Health. So we need to look at well, how are we going to fill that gap?' So part of that may be a bigger policy type of approach where you decide, "˜Well, let's talk to the local [government] or let's talk to the state and maybe we can try to develop that cooperative approach.' So that way, again it comes down to the tribal government kind of determining priorities. And I think you also have, in some ways it helps to have someone who can handle your PR [public relations] in a way that can help manage those messages as well. So when you have these kind of like little fires that come up, they can help the tribal government sort of help manage so that the wrong message is not being communicated to the community members who are out there who don't have the privilege or knowledge of what the tribal government is doing. So again, it's probably not going to be a very simple reply or answer to that, but again it's a matter of the tribal government determining what are the priorities, looking at areas where maybe they're lacking in resources and trying to see how they can make up for that in resources. And some of that may be a little preemptive. You may be thinking ahead about problems that you may not have at this point in time, but you have to look at, "˜Well, if you have checker-boarded lands and you have checker-boarded jurisdiction in your community, what are some of the issues that may come up as a result of some of those conflicting jurisdiction issues.' So it's not a very uncommon issue. It could be a gas station, it could be something else. You may have a gas bill. How do you deal with that? It's an individual owner and you have checker-boarded land and then -- you want to be able to kind of anticipate some of these issues. So some of that may be looking ahead, being a little more proactive, rather than reactive. So and again it comes back to the tribal leaders determining some priorities, having some good planners, having a good PR person. Some of those things can help manage some of those issues. And again it may just be looking for other avenues of resources that are out there. What are the tribal communities doing maybe to kind of help address some of these issues? I don't know if that directly answers your question or if anybody else has anything to offer on that particular issue."

Audience member:

"Yesterday, Sophie Pierre mentioned that tribes must be the authors of their own stories and also, Chairman [Anthony] Pico said tribes must be more transparent and project a better image, because ultimately it will be the voters who decide the fate of many of these Indian issues. My experience is that tribes could do a lot better job here in this area especially in engaging their local communities. You've talked a lot about engaging the political structures, and particularly in Washington. My experience again, when tribes do engage public relations, it's often an outside firm that has little knowledge or understanding of Indians or of the local community, and that few tribes actually take the time to explain what they're doing with their communities on their websites. So my question to you is what can tribes do more to better tell their own stories, particularly with local communities and with local citizens who will decide many of these issues for us, like it or not?"

Sheila Morago:

"PR is something new for tribes and it's really difficult for them to make that transition. We're taught very quickly, especially -- I work in the gaming parts, so talking about how much money you make, what you're doing with it, how your charitable contributions are being made -- to be real honest with you, that's very tough. We're taught not to brag and that's kind of bragging. So one of the things that we do a lot, especially here in Arizona, you have to be pretty transparent. Chairman Pico's right. A lot of this, especially when it comes to gaming, is voted on by the people. We just went through our referendum in Arizona in 2002. California just went through theirs just recently and before that. One of the things that we do particularly is we publish an annual report -- and they're actually out on the table right now. Every year Arizona does an annual report that tells how much money we made, statewide -- not individual tribes. We tell how much money went to the state and one of the great things that one of the tribes does is TGen, they give some of their money to TGen, which is great. We have to work with local communities. Those people are going to be the people who are voting on our particular issues if it comes down to a gaming issue. So if you're asked to speak at community meetings, you go. If you can be part of any type of cities and towns forum, you go. You want to be the resource. So you want to have an intergovernmental relations person that is within the political structure of the governor's office or the state legislature or your representatives. Anytime that there is an opportunity to speak, you speak. Anytime you have a reporter call you, you answer. That is one of the biggest things that really that you'll see in any type of newspaper article. All attempts to contact a tribal representative were not answered and you're like, 'Kch!' So it's difficult because --especially if you're dealing with something that's bad -- you really don't want to be the front person. And as we all know, it's very hard for anybody to be the one spokesman for the tribe. And that is something that has to get done on a tribal level that the council and the tribal leadership actually gives that responsibility to somebody. And that's a difficult issue, too. Everybody is in different parts of that in developing all of that. But once you get very good at it, you'll realize the benefits that happen with that. All of a sudden you're not the bad person. And sometimes you can spin it to where you're the hurt person in the deal and it helps a lot, especially when you're dealing in intergovernmental relations and doing cross-jurisdictional things. The more people know about you, the easier it is for them to understand where it is you're coming from when you're dealing with that stuff."

Jill Peters:

"Yeah, I know intergovernmental relations, when I talk about it, it sounds a lot easier than I think, in practicality, it is, and for a lot of reasons. And I think one of those main things is information and sharing information and it really is a hard thing to do. And tribal governments, as Sheila mentioned, are sort of now just coming onto par of actually having web pages and putting things on their web pages, sending out press releases. A lot of tribal communities that I work with do have newsletters. So they send out newsletters, but these may be only quarterly or something else. So they don't include -- it's very limited information. So, as Sheila mentioned, it is helpful to have someone who can be working on PR issues for you and be able to give information out, especially to neighboring communities. I work in Phoenix, so one of the issues that is constantly dealt with are the communities that live within the city boundaries of Phoenix. So you have a community where one road separates Scottsdale from a tribal community. I mean you literally walk on one side you're in a tribe and you walk on the other side you're within the city. It's taken many, many years, but these two communities have learned to work together. And it's not always easy, but I think they do a lot of information sharing as well. I can't speak to exactly what that is, but I think at least they know who to call if they have questions. So there's a contact person. Also, some communities establish working groups with other jurisdictions so that they meet on an annual basis -- or what other type of regular basis -- and they just share information and they share different areas of priority that they're working on and see where different areas of -- they match where they might be able to work together. So I think there's a variety of ways that you can deal with that issue but it's just again, it may be that there's not someone on the ground whose taken that responsibility, or is not assigned that responsibility, or there's not resources to deal with that issue. But communication really has to be a key part of tribal government for a lot of reasons. Again, if you don't know what's happening in your neighboring community, they're not going to know what's happening in yours. And so if you keep operating in that mode, chances are someone's going to take an action that's going to negatively impact you or vice versa. So I think really it just has to be a priority again at the tribal level. Someone has to reach out, whether it's the tribe or the local community. If you're working with the other community reaching out really is the first step."

Gwen Phillips:

"I have a quick comment. It's just exactly what you're speaking about here. Chief Sophie [Pierre] had to leave the room because we have reporters asking about a purchase of land and did we support it and all this other stuff. So I was madly looking for support for her, as a director, to give her. So my job as a staff is to make sure I've got all of that information and then to feed it to her, in a timely manner and a concise manner, so she can do her job. My question is actually for Theresa, Judge Theresa. I was the Director of Education for our nation for ten years. And Sophie had alluded to our having done a full Psych Ed assessment of our school-aged population in the early 90s. And we had assessed, at about, 40 percent-plus fetal alcohol syndrome; fetal alcohol affects. We had a very intensive program operating for a good dozen years addressing fetal alcohol affects, but we repeatedly and continually -- in all systems out there that are designed to assist individuals in growth -- come up against brick walls all over the place. Not our own brick walls, of course, but those of the institutions that we have to deal with. And I'm wondering what approach, if any, that your nation has taken in addressing this, because these are the ones that are the circles?"

Theresa Pouley:

"Well, there's a couple of really important issues. One of them is fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol affect. And Tulalip does a great job about this. And it's the judge's job to make sure the state court thinks we're doing an okay job from a due process perspective, but Tulalip has taken the position that unborn children belong to the tribe. So if you are a substance-abusing mother who's in the court system, there is some possibility you may sit out your pregnancy in jail because it's our responsibility to those children not to have them be subjected to that. That's a pretty hard line and that's a hard thing to do as a tribal council person. I don't want to sort of minimize that, but there is this huge recognition of that. Wellness courts themselves, which institutionalize a structure -- weekly meetings, weekly reporting -- actually that works great for people with fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol affect. So for our clients that have those particular issues, it's working really well. And the sort of last one is how do you get it started. I think Tulalip is sort of like the perfect example of anywhere you want. The chief of police took the resolution to the board of directors -- not the tribal court judge -- the chief of police. The chief judge was doing it on the ground already. The board of directors passed a resolution. It is a most amazing thing when you can empower your judge to invite people to the table, because if the judge invites you to come sit, lots of people come and sit. So it's kind of a surprising tool that you can use to be able to orchestrate that. So I hope I got all three of your issues."

Gwen Phillips:

"Yeah. I'm just -- the reason I'm saying that is because we're in modern-day treaty negotiations. So we have the federal and the provincial governments that we're negotiating with. And we had tabled with them our intent to strike both within our liquor control legislation and our child protection legislation, the very thing that you spoke of. And they were just freaking out big-time talking about the charter of rights and freedoms and da, da, da, da, da. So exactly like you say, once the woman has made the choice to keep that baby, that baby belongs to us. So I'm pleased and will probably be in touch with you to figure out how we work it out systemically."

Joan Timeche:

"Thank you very much."

Theresa Pouley:

"If tribal court judges have a job, that's it. We have to figure out how to put a Western-style justice system face on remedies that are tribal. So that's our job and we take that job real seriously. Now we'll see, we may have Roe vs. Wade in Tulalip Tribal Court any day and I'll let you know how that comes out." 

Indian Country must put more effort in public relations

Producer
Indianz.com
Year

While sipping my morning coffee I began reading a White House document titled “2014 Native Youth Report.” As with every other tribal member, I am aware of the long-standing socio-economic quagmire we have been enduring.

The fact that we are still alive and well is short of miraculous and thought provoking. In this enclosed Lakota biosphere of ours, we have life fundamentals that should be public knowledge. However, we rely on outside entities to provide skewed numbers or statistics relevant to language, education, and population.

We have a severe need to develop and establish our own data regarding areas of public concern. Such statistics will be local, accurate, and up-to-date...

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Star Comes Out, Ivan F. "Indian Country must put more effort in public relations." Native Sun News. January 22, 2015. Opinion. (http://www.indianz.com/News/2015/016202.asp, accessed July 21, 2023)

Effective Tools for Communications and Leadership in Indian Country

Year

A thirty-six page toolkit, this NCAI publication outlines the tools, tactics, and strategies from tribal communications experts. The toolkit aims to help tribal leaders and Indian Country advocates in ever changing media and communications landscape.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

National Congress of American Indians. "Effective Tools for Communications and Leadership in Indian Country." National Congress of American Indians developed in partnership with Pyramid Communications. Washington, D.C. 2010. Toolkit. (http://www.ncai.org/news/tribal-communicators-resources/NCAI_ConferenceB..., accessed April 11, 2023)

First Nations Communications Toolkit

Year

The First Nations Communications Toolkit is a unique resource jointly developed by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, BC Region, and Tewanee Consulting Group. This Toolkit was designed explicitly for First Nations communicators and is based on input from First Nations communicators and administrators working for First Nations organizations. It offers information on many topics, including communications planning, publications, events and media relations, from a First Nations perspective. The best practices and practical lessons learned that have been included in the toolkit are drawn from Tewanee Joseph's experience working on communications projects with over 30 First Nation communities. Input into the toolkit came from rural, remote and urban First Nations throughout British Columbia and included a survey as well as research on First Nation communications initiatives. Additional input on the Toolkit was gathered at a First Nations communication conference in March 2007 in Calgary, Alberta, which was attended by individuals from First Nations in British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon...

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (BC Region) and Tewanee Consulting Group. "First Nations Communications Toolkit." Published under the authority of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians. Ottawa, Ontario. 2007. Toolkit. (https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1100100021860/1614352707074, accessed May 5, 2023)