tribal administration

First Peoples Lost: Determining the State of Status First Nations Mortality in Canada Using Administrative Data

Year

We present the most comprehensive set of estimates to date for status First Nations mortality in Canada. We use administrative data from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to establish a set of stylized facts regarding status First Nations mortality rates. Between 2010 to 2013, the mortality rates of status First Nations men and boys are highest in nearly all age groups of status First Nations considered, with the exception of status girls between the ages of 10 to 14. On reserve, status boys between the ages of 15 to 19 have mortality rates nearly four times that in the general population, while status girls between the ages of 15 to 19 have mortality rates five times that in the general population. We demonstrate substantial regional variation in mortality rates. Finally, we document that there has been no improvement in mortality among status women and girls living on reserve in the last 30 years and relative mortality rates for all status people on reserve has not changed in 40 years.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Donna Feir & Randall Akee, 2018. "First People Lost: Determining the State of Status First Nations Mortality in Canada Using Administrative Data," Department Discussion Papers 1802, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.

Dr. Karen Diver: Indigenous autonomy is the way forward

Producer
The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)
Year

Dr. Karen Diver spoke at ANZSOG's Reimagining Public Administration conference on February 20, as part of a plenary on International perspectives on Indigenous affairs. The Native American tribal leader and former adviser to President Obama, said that Indigenous communities had been inexorably changed by conflict, and needed to design systems to protect rights and land. She said that autonomy had been shown to be the best way to generate economic growth and address social issues. “Co-design, co-management only works when the other side follows through. Co-ordination needs to give way to autonomy, give us big buckets and freedom to solve problems our own way,” she said. “If the problem is juvenile delinquency, then we know the kids and their families, we know the schools. The solution that we might come up with acknowledges the broader picture.” “The solutions we design are the ones that work.”

People
Resource Type
Topics
Citation

Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). Feb. 21, 2019. Dr. Karen Diver: Indigenous autonomy is the way forward [video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmYfuhK9JzA&t=2s

Transcripts are available upon request. Please contact the Native Nations Institute for a transcript of this video: nni@email.arizona.edu

Kenneth Hall: Rising to the challenge of self-governance

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Councilman Kenneth Hall was elected to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation tribal business council in 2012 and represents the largest population in the north segment. Councilman Hall is Hidatsa, of the Knife Clan, and great-grandson of Chief Dragswolf, the last chief of the Hidatsa people. Hall reveals his experiences on the process tribal governments go through to administer changes in constitutions and governance.

People
Resource Type
Citation

Hall, Kenneth. "Kenneth Hall: Rising to the challenge of self-governance," Interview, Leading Native Nations interview series, Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ,  December 09, 2015. 

Danielle Hiraldo:

Welcome to Leading Native Nations. I’m your host, Danielle Hiraldo. On today’s program, we are honored to have with us Councilman Kenneth Hall. Councilman Hall was elected to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation tribal business council in 2012 and represent the largest population in the north segment. Councilman Hall is Hidatsa, of the Knife Clan, and great-grandson of Chief Dragswolf, the last chief of the Hidatsa people. His parents are the late William Jake Hall and Allison Dragswolf-Hall. He’s a graduate of the University of Mary and began graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma. Councilman Hall, welcome.

Kenneth Hall:

Thanks, it’s good to be here. Thanks to the Bush Foundation for hosting this important interview and I’m looking forward to it.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Good to have you with us today. I’ve shared a little bit about who you are but why don’t you start with telling us a little bit about yourself. What did I leave out?

Kenneth Hall:

I’ll tell you what, I’m glad to be here because of the history with our tribe that we have and of course you talked a little bit about lineage. We all come from a long line of chiefs and this is a proud moment for our family when I got elected to the office. Because on my mother’s side there was…I think the last one in our family that served in this kind of role was our chief, Chief Dragswolf. So it was a proud moment but nonetheless a humbling moment to be elected into this office. It is an important office; I take it very seriously, and I ran on transparency, accountability, responsibility and vision. Obviously that resonated with people. They wanted a new face, they wanted some changes and hopefully that’s what they’re getting.

Danielle Hiraldo:

So what led you to run?

Kenneth Hall:

Well when people approach me, it’s not like our ancestors. A lot of time people would talk to them and want them to be their leader. It was a consensus. In a way, its similar but – I’ll give an example of my great-grandfather, Chief Dragswolf, the people wanted him to be their leader and he accepted because of his bravery and because of his courage. He went to battle as a young lad when he was only 12-years-old and so the people saw the bravery in him and the courage and wanted him to be their leader. Fast forward to my election, a few people approached me and had asked if I would consider. I’m a praying man and I will seek guidance from our lord and savior and our creator and I did. I fasted and prayed. What kept coming was, ‘It’s not about you or who you’re running against, it’s about what I’m trying to do for your people.’ So that was loud and clear to me, that I’m not running because of the position, of what it entails, because of the authority, I’m running because there’s a lot of needs here that need to be addressed and I’m just one vessel, one instrument that can be used. That’s the approach we took and it was a very confident campaign team and rallies. It was a close race but in the end it was something that sometimes you know that you know you’re in it for the right reasons.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Can you talk about maybe some of the challenges you’ve faced as a leader within a native nation?

Kenneth Hall:

Well, when you talk about a tribal government, you know, you’re talking about…in our case we’re an IRA tribe – the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Our people actually voted on it and I think I shared it with you that the vote was 366 to 220. 366 in favor of and 220 that opposed it so they were torn with this new approach. It was kind of like a one-size-fits-all approach. It has failed miserably. We know that we’re all unique in our own way – every tribe is. In our case, the Federal Government looks at us as the three affiliated tribes, which is the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara people. Even our three tribes have three different languages. There’s three tribes that have their own customs. Even within our three tribes, we have our own uniqueness about us individually. You’re talking about a long history that’s been there and then of course the amendment process, which a lot of administrations have tried to revise and amend certain parts of the constitution. We all known, I for one, can say that it needs to be a whole new constitution – it needs to be rewritten because we’re in the 21st century. It’s a new day. There’s a new way of doing business. There’s a youth movement in Indian Country, young leaders are coming to the forefront and that’s a good thing, I think. A lot of people embrace change and a lot of people resist change. Not everyone accepts it but I think we have to realize it’s a new day with new leadership, new ideas. Those are the challenges, try to find that happy medium with the IRA constitution…the federal government mandated it and then to try and fit our needs at the same time. That presents challenges in itself.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Great challenges. You talked about this a little bit but maybe discuss a little bit – what does the MHA indigenous constitution look like? You said each tribe has its own custom and traditions; from your perspective, what do those rules or any type of roles and responsibilities…what did that look like customarily?

Kenneth Hall:

I can speak mainly for the Hidatsa, which I am. Hidatsa, we are very sophisticated people. Everybody had their roles and responsibilities and their clanships. Everybody understood their role and their duties and their responsibilities. The men had certain roles, the women, the children, the elders, which you got most of your advice from…the wisdom from. They were always the prayer warriors of the villages and so it was very defined and everybody fit their role and knew exactly what their roles was. Of course our values. Our values were instilled. Generosity, honesty, integrity, sharing… all of that was a natural – it was a part of your DNA. People just did it. We took care of each other. We looked out for each other. We protected each other. The men provided, they would do the hunting. The women did the roles of preparing the meat and the meals for everyone so it was well defined. It was a part of who we were as a people. I think a lot of those values that our ancestors had, our ancestors implemented into us need to be a part of this constitution, or a new one or a rewrite. Those values need to be instilled into everything that we’re doing if it’s codes, ordinances that we’re establishing or codes, those values need to be a part of that because we can’t scare away from who we are as a people. Any document that’s before us, in this case if it’s the constitution, if it’s the law of the land then those values need to be a part of that. That’s the direction I think we need to go, that’s the direction that we have to go for us to survive, for us to prosper and be resilient like we are and to be sustainable for generations to come. We need to go that direction.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Do you see any of the structural roles, traditional roles and responsibilities actually in the government structure today? Do you see any of that play out or do you think, like you said, that that’s something that needs to be implemented in the future?

Kenneth Hall:

I think it’s something that needs to be implemented in the future, but I think individually as a governing body we have our own values. Individual values that we can create into some of our codes, our policies, our ordinances we’ve established. We can actually do that. We are a sovereign government. I think going forward on the constitution I think those definitely need to be a part of that and a part of that process and a part of the implementation.

Danielle Hiraldo:

So you talked a little bit about the roles and responsibilities, you mentioned how your great-grandfather was chosen as a leader. How were laws enforced traditionally? How were they made and enforced?

Kenneth Hall:

Well, there’s custom laws, right? There’s customary laws and those weren’t actually written but it was kind of in good faith. Of course our ancestors – I know my great-grandfather didn’t speak English, he had an interpreter but he was a very wise and powerful man. Those were kind of unwritten rules, if you will, unwritten laws that people understood. So they were customary; based on your custom, that was the law. So customary laws were very part of who we were and they were passed down to the next generation.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Speaking of today, how does MHA relate to other people and other governments?

Kenneth Hall:

Ok, we are a sovereign nation, like I said earlier, we are a nation within a nation. We have a government-to-government relationship with, say the state of North Dakota, it’s in good faith and with mutual respect. With the federal government and the president of the United States, it’s a nation-to-nation relationship. We always want to talk face-to-face, I think like when we talked about a new day. Another thing is a lot of tribes are getting familiar with is the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, which this President, President Obama, endorsed in 2010. Not all tribes understand it or know what it is but it’s a tool. It’s an instrument because when you talk about forced legislation or when a government comes and forces their laws on you, those are human rights violations. It’s a human rights issue. When you talk about the UN declaration of rights for Indigenous people, article 32 talks about free prior and informed consent. Before anything happens to you as an indigenous people, they have to get your free prior and informed consent before they do anything. If we go back in time, before the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1851, we were 12.6 to 12.8 million acres was our original territory and it was forced upon us, the treaty, a peace treaty. But, we didn’t consent, there was no free prior and informed consent. We start there. Then you fast forward to the Allotment Act, the Homestead Act, the Pick-Sloan Act… flooding of our lands… even to taxation, which we’re dealing with now. Those are all human rights violations when you talk to the United Nation’s human rights experts, those are violations of your human rights. Those were forced upon us. Nonetheless, of all the injustices that take place, we are still here. We’re not going anywhere, we’ve been here and we’re going to remain to be here. We’re becoming an economic power as well as a political power with being involved with the oil play, the Bakken Oil Play. We’re gaining steam, we’re gaining momentum and we want to get back to how our ancestors used to live, where they were very prosperous and healthy people. That’s our goal, that’s our mission: to get back to where we’re prosperous again, we’re not just surviving, but we’re prospering. That’s where I know me, as one individual in the government, that’s my mission is to get back to where we’re being prosperous as a people.

Danielle Hiraldo:

So you mention a couple of things, developing codes for taxing or the problems and challenges to face with taxation in Indian Country. Then two, development and corporations, things like that, all things that make up nation building. How do you define nation building? What does it entail?

Kenneth Hall:

I think how I define nation building is taking control of your own destiny. You know, you’re empowering your own people. You’re becoming business savvy; you’re becoming economically sustainable. You’re thinking of the next generation. What we’re told by our ancestors or what’s in our DNA is that we think seven generations ahead, we think of the unborn. So nation building is about empowering your own people to take control of their own destiny by creating community development corporations with their own autonomy and making them to a place where they’re self sustaining, where they can continue to build and where the governing body, the political process, is not a part of it. You remove the political process away from the entities so they can survive and they can be self sufficient. I’m elected to govern. I’m not elected to get into business or to micromanage everything that I see is wrong. I’m elected to govern, and create laws and legislations and change legislation that suit our people, that fit our people. That’s what I’m elected to do and business is business. You just try to keep them separate, keep politics away from business and I think that’s what we’re doing in our north segment community where I’m elected. We got a community development corporation where they started from a value of zero to now they’re worth $20 million in a matter of three years. Missouri River Resources are tribally owned and own a gas station where I serve as chairman of the board. It started just with an idea a few years ago and now they’re drilling their own wells. They’re going to become a multi-billion-dollar industry in just a matter of ten years. That’s nation building. Those are two examples that I can give you that we took the nation building approach, which works in Indian Country, and that’s what the direction all tribes need to take so we can become economically sustainable but also become an economic power. Also, be a political power as well.

Danielle Hiraldo:

So I’m fascinated with this community development corporation example that you’ve given; can you talk a little bit more about that? What the thinking was behind – like you said it was initially started from zero and then to what it is today – how did that play out within the community?

Kenneth Hall:

Well I think that we talked earlier before the interview was about a lot of these ideas, even with constitution revisions, where they become a working document. When a change in administration comes, it sits on a shelf and collects dust. When you talk about administrative change – you know, federally, the state and tribal – a lot of things change. New ideas come; a new approach. I know we have a lot of great ideas that are on paper collecting dust and this is one of them that was a community development corporation that was on the shelf collecting dust. We dusted it off and brought it back to life; had an election, created a board of directors, they have their own charter, they got a mandate from the tribal business, they have their own bylaws. They meet once a week and talk about community projects. We purchased lots on Main Street and they’ve bought… excuse me, fee land because the tribe is really financially able to do that – buy properties. Now, they’re not only creating businesses on Main Street for enrolled members, but also they’re into housing, building housing for the community members…elder housing for the community members. They’re looking at building business on the truck reliever route, which a new road was built just north of town and so that’s all undeveloped. They’ve done really well under the leadership of a young gentlemen by the name of Elgin Crowsbreast, who’s a former leader, traditional man and has a good grasp of this nation-building approach. And he’s done a great job and I really commend him and his board, under his leadership, that they’ve taken my direction and they ran with it. From a value, like I said earlier, of just an idea to being worth $20 million today in a matter of three short years. And that’s everyday their value grows because they’re purchasing land, they’re purchasing properties, they’re being partners into business and I would say in a matter of 5-10 years, they’re probably going to be a multi-million-dollar entity.

Danielle Hiraldo:

These are things that can be replicated, right? In different communities? It’s not like it’s a miracle?

Kenneth Hall:

Yes. I mean, we have models out there like the Ho-Chunk. The Chickasaw industries, the Southern Utes. I mean, there’s examples out there, there are models out there. But not when you talk about the Bakken. This is a global play. It’s a global play. I think – and I’ve said this from day one of this play – that if we get our arms around this as a government, as a people, this could be a model that the rest of the world can use for indigenous people in any part of the world. You’re talking the Republic of Congo, you’re talking Africa and Australia; anywhere where there are resources and there’s indigenous people, this can be a model for the rest of the world.

Danielle Hiraldo:

I think it’s really, really really neat and interesting. So you talked a little bit about your constitution earlier and some of the things you’d like to see in it, can you discuss maybe the history behind the IRA?

Kenneth Hall:

Well, there’s been a few, there’s been a few. 1934 of course, the Indian reorganization act and we adopted it in 1936 by a vote which I shared earlier: 366 in favor of and 220 who opposed it. It wasn’t unanimous, I mean it wasn’t overwhelming. It is an 80 plus year old document, let’s be frank, and so there have been amendments. A few, I think changing the boundaries or the segments was one. Reducing the number of council members to our current size of 7. Lineage was one of them, they reduced it to 1/8  when it use to be a quarter. Actually, they reduced it to lineage for almost two years – about a year and a half to two years – and we’re probably around 21 or 2200 individuals enrolled at that time. Then they brought it back to 1/8, which it’s currently at for your blood quantum, 1/8. But as a far being on the council now or being an elected leader, you have to be one-quarter at least.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Oh, so there’s different requirements for the council?

Kenneth Hall:

For elected leaders, correct. You have to be one-quarter to be an elected leader of the tribe. As far as enrollment, to be enrolled in the MHA Nation, that’s 1/8 degree of Indian blood of MHA.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Do you know the history behind the difference between elected leadership versus just enrollment? If not, it’s ok.

Kenneth Hall:

But with some of the amendments they reduced it and brought it back. Just briefly I think it was in 2006, they spent three years on revising the constitution. They had elders on there, they had attorneys, community folks and had quite a group that was on this committee and spent three years on the draft but never went to vote. There’s one of those documents collecting dust, it’s on the shelves.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Was that a product of administration turn over as you said earlier?

Kenneth Hall:

Yes. Part of that was, part of that was. And part of that was, as I told you about the vote to adopt the constitution, not everybody sees eye-to-eye in Indian Country, as you all know. There’s always factions and there’s always opposition. The opposition thought well that was their committee so… and I think we have to get past that. We said earlier, it’s 2015. That’s all you got to say sometimes. I think it’s about our future, it’s about the next generations to come. If we can get past some of our personal concerns and think about the next generations, I think that’s where we need to go and I think we’ll get it done. It’s just a matter of time, we’ll get it done.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Can you talk about some of the process with this three-year constitution reform? What was some of the citizen engagement process? What did that look like?

Kenneth Hall:

We have secretarial elections through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and we have to abide by their rules and process so there is notices that are made. Our committees form to push this forward. A lot of the times this has been politically driven. Like I said, every chair person in the last few administrations that I’ve known of have ran on constitution revisions, that’s their platform. Not everybody succeeds at it and gets it done. I think they’ve tried to piece mill, if you will, a few amendments. If it’s downsizing your government or if its recall. If it’s those kind of things…I think those are amendments leading up to it. We have to follow the Bureau of Indian Affairs process, which is there are registrations, you know you have to register to vote. They do the outreach, of course, through the media: your local newspapers, your radio station, notices in public, venues and then by mail, mass mail to get the notices out. Then they have the outreach like I said to inform people what the amendments are, what they mean but not everybody participates. That’s the problem. Not everybody is engaged in this process, it’s always a low turn out. But with the federal government process, they just require 30% of the registered voters.

Danielle Hiraldo:

And these are registered with the BIA, right?

Kenneth Hall:

You have to register to vote in the secretary election. There again, if you don’t register to vote, then you don’t vote period. But you register…not only do you register but then you gotta go vote on the voting day, right? Which, there again creates low turn outs. Not everybody knows, not everybody gets the information, not everybody understands the information, and not everybody knows the importance of it. ‘What does this mean to me?’ ‘How does this affect me?’ The process is very…I think if you simplify the process it’s better. We’ve always heard, ‘keep it simple’. I think the direction the federal government is going is they want the tribes to have more control of their own elections, their own secretarial elections. I, for one, would be in favor of that. We determine when the secretarial elections are going to be and how that process is going to be. I would fully support that because with the majority of our voting base probably being the youth, 18 to early 30’s, those folks need to get engaged. I think with the social media today, we had the Obama movement in 2008, we can learn from Canada when a movement happens, things change. We need to create tools and equip the youth on a simpler process, if it’s electronic voting or whatever it may be to make sure they get engaged in the process. They’re the next leaders, they’re next generation, they’re the next tribal leaders. The sooner we get that done, the better we will be as a nation as well.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Councilman, so you talked about the 2006 constitution assessment process, when your community went through this process, what did you find did and didn’t work within your current constitution?

Kenneth Hall:

Okay, I think part of that process, like I said it was a three-year process, and a lot of the people worked really hard to really have a diverse group of people. Like I said, elders, community folks, youth, attorneys…it was a really diverse group and really hard-working individuals. Unfortunately, it didn’t come to pass. Of course, there’s always opposition when you take on these kinds of things…well that group, and we’re not a part of that group, becomes cliquish if you will. The other thing is the turn over in administration. Any time you have a turn over in administration, you have new ideas and a new approach. There again it was unfortunate that those amendments or that revision of the constitution didn’t come to pass. Some of the surveys that the people wanted was of course – all the people wanted a separation of powers, they want checks and balances and they want accountability. They want transparency. These are some of things – and fiscal responsibility as well, a balanced budget and those kind of things. They’re really all good points that the people wanted and I think they still want them. They’ve always talked that our current government is in the authority of a few, authority lies in the hands of just a few. We need to make that a reality, the time is now and it’s been now and it’s always been the right time. We had to get past these challenges, get past these cliques that we have in our communities and make it about the future. Once that happens, I think you’ll see a revised constitution.

Danielle Hiraldo:

So, what was the process of finding out that this was what the community wanted? Did you go to each of the communities and hand out surveys? What did that look like?

Kenneth Hall:

I think it was a little bit of both, I think it was the outreach, of course, and also mailing. The membership had an opportunity to voice their concerns and what they wanted. Some of the things I shared with you earlier is what they wrote back in the surveys.

Danielle Hiraldo:

So, how is the current structure, the current governance structure?

Kenneth Hall:

The current government structure? Right now, we have six communities because of the Pick-Sloan Act and the Garrison Dam, the flood. They flooded our lands, which we had the most damage, it was 155 acres of river bottom where we had our fertile grounds for gardens, agriculture. We were less than 6% unemployment rate before the flood and so we’re still recovering ecumenically from that devastation. The Garrison Dam flood divided our communities and divided our reservation geographically, basically right in half. We have three communities on the east side of the lake and three communities on the west side. Each elected official is elected by their constituents from their community and our chairman is voted at large, which make up a seven-member governing body. Our executive committee is the chairman, vice-chairman, executive secretary and the treasurer that makes up the executive committee. We also have sub-committees, which there’s a judicial committee, natural resource committee…which is broken up into two parts, one is natural resources and the other one is oil and gas because of the Bakkan Oil Play. We also have a health and human services committee, education committee, as well as economic development committee. Each one of the councilmen chair one of those committees and we select within our governing body of who serves on these committees. Also, the executive is selected within the governing body as well. Those are some of the things of how it’s currently structured now. Of course, we establish our own codes and ordinances and every resolution that we pass at a majority of the government, a majority vote, is law. We have a seven-member government and it takes five to establish a quorum, five to establish a quorum. We can call special meetings; any three council members can call a special meeting. That’s kind of our current structure right now we have in place.

Danielle Hiraldo:

So, in the survey results when they were asking for separation of powers, did they describe what those would look like with some of those results?

Kenneth Hall:

Well, some of them wanted a three-branch versus a two-branch government, legislative, judicial and executive. They wanted a three-branch government. Of course, separation of powers like we mentioned. Accountability, transparency, all of those things. I’m all in favor of that. Like I said, we are elected to govern and that’s what we should be focusing on.

Danielle Hiraldo:

So, you talked a little bit about how that’s your role, to pass law to pass legislation as a tribal council official. How are laws made? You had the committees – are they sent? Is the resolution sent and then submitted to the committee? How does that work?

Kenneth Hall:

Our process for any new ordinance, if it’s a code…right now we’re working on our probate codes and we’re getting really close to the end. We have an individual or an attorney or a group of people that work on these, like if it’s an ordinance or a code. Of course, it has to go through its reading process and public comment period and once you get to the third and final reading, public comment. It usually goes through a committee, one of the committees; say if it’s probate, it probably goes through the judicial committee and get vetted there and then on up to the tribal business council for maybe the second reading. And then, before it gets fully implemented and by our resolution attached, the full council votes on it and then it becomes law after that. Once the full council approves on it, it becomes law.

Danielle Hiraldo:

From your perspective, from prompted MHA to go down the reform road? Why did you go through the three-year process of looking at your constitution?

Kenneth Hall:

Well, I think one of the reasons is because we know it’s an outdated document. It’s pretty vague, it’s kind of up for interpretation, if you will. I think the general public and the people want basically a new constitution, something that fits us today, something that they’re pleased with, like we talked about earlier, some of our values are implemented. I think that’s kind of their stance on it. They want a new government with a new rules and new regulations, new direction. I think those were attempts made in the past with that being their goal but the unfortunate part is that it never got passed or implemented. I think their reasoning behind it is good. I’m all for everything that we’ve talked about and like I said, it’s going happen, it’s just a matter of time. Those are all good reasons to have constitution revisions or to amend your constitution or to rewrite your constitution.

Danielle Hiraldo:

That actually segways into my next question, when you were going through this constitution revision process, you were starting from a whole cloth. You were looking at drafting an entirely new constitution versus piece mill. Do you know the discussion behind that? Why they just wanted to get rid of what you have now currently?

Kenneth Hall:

Well, I think all of the things that the people listed in there were reasons why we needed to go that direction. Like I said, it was a three-year process and had good people on there, really educated people; attorneys, elders, really people with good intentions. It’s just unfortunate that it didn’t get implemented. But, they’ll be another time. Like I said, it’ll eventually happen. We’ll get there. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Danielle Hiraldo:

What were some of the efforts used to engage? You talked about going to communities, you talked about the surveys. Were there any other forms of engagement during this process?

Kenneth Hall:

Well I think anytime you start something like that you use all your resources you have available to you. And again, there are challenges, you are in a rural area so radio, newspaper, mailing. People use flyers sometimes and put them in public places. Of course, now we have social media which is quick access and you can use that. Even in our own community, we have our own Facebook page for our community. We have a Twitter page; we do YouTube videos for update. We use the media to make sure people get the right information. These are just ways that our community uses the social media. We have town hall meetings we’ve implemented in our community. Those are just some of the things that you can utilize to get your people engaged. I think in Indian Country we’re always trying to overcome apathy. That’s always the challenge; to get our people out of that state of apathy, to get engaged, to get them involved and get your kids involved. Get the next generation involved in the process. That’s how we can make positive changes in communities, in governments. That’s some of the messages we’re sending out as well to get people engaged.

Danielle Hiraldo:

A couple of years ago, you passed a few amendments that you talked about a little. What are the next steps now? You have this new constitution, you’ve gone through some amendments, what do you foresee in the future?

Kenneth Hall:

Well, I think it’s a little premature right now. I know there was an appeal from an enrolled member and that was in a stay position for a year, year and a half with the IBIA. That individual has taken a step further and filed in the U.S. District Court. There still has to be things that this administration has to look at: budget issues, office space issues, those kind of things so there’s still a lot to iron out before it’s fully implemented. I know the last administration had a resolution, they put on the table, where it was submitted to the IBIA as well that they want to call for another secretarial because of some of the discrepancies, some of the low turn-out, all that. But, it didn’t meet the requirements of IBIA or the BIA so nonetheless it was illegitimate secretarial election under the BIA requirements. There again, the individual has taken it to the higher court and so it’s really premature to think about implementation yet, so I’ll leave it at that.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Do you need to change the political culture to meet some of your constitution hopes in the future? What does that look like?

Kenneth Hall:

Well, I think that, like I said earlier, most of these constitutional revisions and amendments were politically driven. We can learn from our past. I know that if we’re going to fully implement – rewrite a constitution it’s got to come from the people. It has to be the people’s constitution; they have to take ownership of it, they have to get engaged and they have to know the importance of it. Once it’s theirs, once they take ownership of it, then I think you’ll see a new constitution being established. I don’t think it can be politically driven, we’ve tried that and it really hasn’t worked. I think it needs to be from the youth, maybe a youth council that’s established that they rewrite it with involving some elders and a few community leaders. I think we’ve tried going through the approach politically and maybe it’s time to switch gears and try a new approach.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Councilman, I think that’s all the questions that I have. Do you want to leave us with any words of wisdom or any words to consider?

Kenneth Hall:

Sure. Well, first I’d like to thank the Bush foundation for hosting me on this video and that I think that the message is loud and clear: we need to change the way we do business in Indian Country. We need to do a new approach and that’s the nation building approach. It’s been successful, it’s been tried, it’s been researched and this is the approach that we need to take. But I’d like to end with a little article here that my good friend, Dale Brown, from North Dakota gave me the other day and it kind of fits what we’re talking about. It says, ‘From 1607 to the present time, there is no question that the American Indian has been the most mistreated, cheated, neglected and forgotten ethnic group in American history. Yet, the three words they have patiently waited to hear, ‘We are sorry,’ has never officially been spoken by the government of the United States. Of the 370 treaties that were ratified between the Indians and our government, the U.S. proceeded to violate provisions in every one of them. That’s a perfect record of shame. The 19th president of the United States, Rutherford Hayes, was bold and honest enough to speak the truth when he said, ‘Many, if not most, of our Indian Wars have had their origin in broken promises and acts of injustice upon our part.’” Dale Brown ends with, ‘I’m deeply sorry for unfair pain, injustices and burdens your tribal nation has had to carry for far too long. To move from victim to victory, you must be educated, disciplined, united, committed and respectful to one another. Please never give up on your fight for justice.’

So, I’d like to end with that and thank Dale Brown for sending it to me, it was a timely article and it fits well with what we’re talking about here.

Danielle Hiraldo:

About self-sustaining and maintaining who we are as a people.

Kenneth Hall:

Yes. Correct.

Danielle Hiraldo:

Well thank you. That’s all the time we have on today’s episode of Leading Native Nations. To learn more about Leading Native Nations please visit NNI’s Indigenous Governance Database website, which can be found at www.IGovDatabase.com. Thank you for joining us.

Trust Resource Management (Salish and Kootenai)

Year

For more than three decades, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) have been building capable governing institutions and taking over management of resources and programs previously managed by outsiders. Recognizing that self-management both allows the tribal government to determine its own priorities and has positive bottom-line effects, CSKT is a leader in incorporating tribal values into natural resource management and in delivering first-rate services to its 7,000 citizens.

Resource Type
Citation

"Trust Resource Management." Honoring Nations: 2003 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2004. Report.

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

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Land Title and Records Office

Year

With the ultimate goal of seeing a time when Native people and nations once again own and manage the land within the boundaries of every reservation as well as those lands that are culturally important to them beyond reservations, the Tribal Land Title and Records Office keeps all records and verifies titles pertaining to the status of trust lands. Having the ability to produce reliable trust land documents and provide clear titles quickly, the Office increases housing options for citizens and enhances their opportunities to secure loans.

Resource Type
Citation

"Tribal Land Title and Records Office". Honoring Nations: 2006 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2007. Report.

Permissions

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

Fond du Lac's Pharmacy On-Line Billing Initiative

Year

In 1995, faced with rising pharmaceutical costs, limited Indian Health Service (IHS) funds, and an inability to bill and collect from third party insurers, the Human Services Division contracted with a private sector firm to design and implement a computerized pharmacy billing system. The first of its kind for Indian Country, Fond du Lac’s on-line system not only increases the Division’s revenue stream, but also updates prices automatically, interfaces with the Indian Health Service’s Resource Patient Management System for health record-keeping, and warns of drug interactions. This initiative and its spin-offs at Fond du Lac (in dentistry, for example) demonstrate the Tribe’s capacity to direct complicated technological innovations that significantly improve existing management information systems. The initiative is also noteworthy for the changes it augured in IHS policy and for the partnership it created between the Band, the IHS, and the private sector in searching for monetary support that went beyond the sources of tribal health care funds.

Resource Type
Citation

"Pharmacy On-Line Billing Initiative". Honoring Nations: 2000 Honoree. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2001. Report.

Permissions

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

Tsigo bugeh Village (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo)

Year

Restoring communal living through Pueblo-style housing, the Tsigo bugeh Village offers "traditional living with a modern touch" for Ohkay Owingeh citizens. Designed to honor a sense of community and place, Tsigo bugeh addresses Ohkay Owingeh’s urgent housing demands with 40 units for single and multigenerational families, all in a modern design that echoes millennia of traditional Pueblo living.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

"Tsigo bugeh Village." Honoring Nations: 2008 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2009. Report.

Permissions

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

Puyallup's Institutionalized Quality Improvement Program

Year

Following a major tribally-initiated restructuring in the early 1980s that created a quality improvement committee and a flatter organizational structure, the PTHA has increased patient access for urgent care visits, reduced "no show" rates, created clinical objectives, increased dental treatments, and incorporated the use of traditional healers into health care delivery. The Puyallup Tribe's Quality Improvement Program has enabled the PTHA to effectively address many of the health care needs of the community that were previously unmet under the Indian Health Service's management. With six full time physicians and a staff of 210, the PTHA has become a model for other Indian nations seeking to create and sustain health systems that meet the highest standard of excellence.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

 "Institutionalized Quality Improvement Program". Honoring Nations: 1999 Honoree. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2000. Report.

Permissions

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

Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board

Year

Serving tribes in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) was created in 1972 to increase tribes’ ability to exercise control over the design and development of tribal health care delivery systems. Governed by tribal government delegates, NPAIHB facilitates intertribal coordination and promotes intergovernmental consultation. A leader in data collection and advocacy, NPAIHB also administers the first and largest tribal epidemiology center.

Resource Type
Citation

"Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board". Honoring Nations: 2003 Honoree. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2004. Report.

Permissions

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

Muscogee Creek Nation Reintegration Program

Year

Although the state of Oklahoma has one of the largest prison systems in the US, it provides released prisoners with little post-incarceration support. Many struggle to find their way on the "outside" and are eventually re-incarcerated. In the early 2000s, the Muscogee Creek Nation set out to tackle this problem. The Nation’s Reintegration Program works with tribal citizens before and after they leave prison, paying attention to everything from jobs and housing to counseling and spiritual needs.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

"Muscogee Creek Nation Reintegration Program." Honoring Nations: 2008 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2009. Report. 

Permissions

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