The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde

Grand Ronde Community of Oregon Constitution

Year

Location: In Yamhill and Polk Counties, Oregon

Population: 5200

Date of Constitution: 2002

Key Facts: Terminated in 1956; restored in 1983

Topics
Citation

Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. 1984. "Constitution of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon." Grand Ronde, OR. 

Enhancing Government-to-Government Relationships (Grand Ronde)

Year

The Intergovernmental Affairs Department has achieved positive intergovernmental relationships with federal, state, and local governments by pursuing a five-pronged strategy of communication, education, cooperation, contributions, and presence. Since the Department’s creation, the Tribe has raised public awareness, built coalitions, and forged partnerships with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the US Forest Service. By establishing a strong presence at the state capital, forming a skilled team of tribal advocates, and developing a legislative tracking system that informs the Tribal Council of important bills and initiatives, the Department is now in a position to take a proactive role in state and federal Indian affairs and to earn credibility and respect for the Tribe amongst all governments.

Resource Type
Citation

"Enhancing Government-to-Government Relationships". 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. 

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.

ONABEN: A Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network

Year

Founded by a consortium of Native nations in the Pacific Northwest, ONABEN's mission is to increase self-reliance by promoting the development of tribal-citizen-owned small businesses and the diversification of reservation economies. ONABEN's programs provide financial counseling, business mentoring, links to tribal efforts, referrals to start-up financing, and access to a network of experienced teachers and business people. As the ONABEN network continues to grow, its enormous value to both tribal citizens and its member nations grows as well.

Resource Type
Citation

"ONABEN: A Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network." Honoring Nations: 2005 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2006. Report.

Permissions

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

Honoring Nations: Using Partnerships to Achieve Governing Goals

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

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

Resource Type
Citation

Anderson, Neily, Theresa Clark, Lori Gutierrez, Heather Kendall-Miller, Mark Lewis, Justin Martin, Mark Sherman, Miranda Warburton, Don Wedll, Cheryl Weixel and Nicholas Zaferatos, "Using Partnerships to Achieve Governing Goals," Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Sante Fe, New Mexico. February 7, 2002. Presentation.

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"It's my pleasure first of all to be an advisory board member. Coming from Alaska, oftentimes, we have our focus on our specific issues. And it's been so wonderful and so educational for me to be on the advisory board and to learn about all the wonderful things that are happening throughout Indian Country. The first advisory board meeting that I participated in I just walked away totally stunned and wowed because there is incredible stuff happening in Indian Country, as you've been learning these past several days and you've been sharing. So I'm really excited to be here and participate in this because as usual it's been eye-opening in many, many respects. Maybe what we'll do, while Andrew is passing out the name tags, is to offer our panelists an opportunity to introduce themselves and also to talk a little bit about the award-winning program of which they are here representing. And once we each have a chance to introduce ourselves then I'll begin to pose some questions. So why don't we begin over here with you, Justin."

Justin Martin:

"All right. Sorry I was late. Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Justin Martin and I'm with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde where I'm the Intergovernmental Affairs Director, as well as a tribal member. I have a background in public policy and public administration, as well as working as a legislative assistant within the Oregon State legislature. Our program, Enhancing Government-to-Government Relationships deals exactly with that. We have, basically, a five-pronged strategy or approach to that that includes communication, education, cooperation, contributions, political as well as community contributions, and presence. All topics that we all have been sharing over the past couple days and I look forward, again, to sharing some more of that with you and this panel. So thank you very much."

Don Wedll:

"My name is Don Wedll. I'm with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. I've served as the Commissioner of Natural Resources for 18 years and also Commissioner of Education. I'm talking about today partnerships in regards to natural resource activities."

Theresa Clark:

"My name is Theresa Clark. I'm from Galena, Alaska, the Louden Tribe, which is a federally recognized tribe for Galena. Every village in Alaska is a tribe. I run Yukaana Development Corporation, which is a tribally owned business of the Louden Tribe and we've used partnerships extensively in developing our business."

Mark Sherman:

"[Native language] My name is Mark Sherman and I'm the Director of Planning and Development for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa [and] Chippewa Indians. I was really glad that I was chosen to participate in this particular panel discussion because I really believe in partnerships in achieving governing goals. In our department we knew what our mandate was and what our governing goal was. When we got started, we didn't know who our partners were. But the important thing that I wanted to say about our process and how it relates to partnering is that number one, when you have partners you have to start using the word ‘we' instead of ‘I' or singular uses of pronouns. And so it's been a great privilege of mine to develop these partnerships and accomplish our goals. I took inventory last week about some of the things we've accomplished over the last several years and who our partners were. I spent a lot of time analyzing it, categorizing it and listing it in different ways. Finally I came to the realization that there were too many to list, too many to talk about. And so what I wanted to stress today, as we get going further along here and get a chance to talk about our process a little bit, you'll come to understand that what's important is that we developed effective partnerships, not only externally with contractors and consultants and government officials and various other entities, but more importantly we developed an internal partnership with our own membership, with our own government. And these things really set the course and made my job much more fun. Thank you."

Nicholas Zaferatos:

"Hi. I'm Nick Zaferatos and I have the pleasure of working for 20 years with the Swinomish tribal community in Washington State and with Chairman Brian Cladoosby, who asked me to speak today because he had to catch a flight back home because general elections are being held tomorrow. The Swinomish have been involved for about 20 years, almost 20 years now in Principle #4 that was outlined today, which states that a strategic orientation matters. It was concerned with addressing chronic problems on the reservation dealing with the loss of control over the reservation territory that hadn't occurred since allotment days and brought about a lot of interest from outside governments that were making decisions about how the reservation ought to develop and a realization that none of that was benefiting directly the tribal government. So employing, developing a strategy, it looked like it had several ways of approaching that including and primarily regionalism, one of opening up dialogue and relations with a broader region, county, local government, state and us reasserting tribal interests in matters relating to land use control and development. The centerpiece for the project was a land use planning program that was begun in mid 1980s, but it also included all aspects of reservation development, water supply, sewer control, public works and the web of cooperation between the Swinomish Tribe that's been employed through this cooperative program really affects just about every jurisdiction that has an interest in operations in Skagit county. So it's a regionalism approach, it's one that's been tested for about 15 years now and it's still operating."

Miranda Warburton:

"Good afternoon, I'm Miranda Warburton. I work for the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department. I'm the Director of the Flagstaff, Arizona Branch Office of the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department. And I started that little office up in Flagstaff some 15 years ago and I would like to say that first of all it's been a tremendous honor and privilege to work for the Navajo Nation for the past 15 years. And the goal of doing this was to really set up a program to train Navajo students who were interested in cultural preservation, to give them the opportunity to do practical work on the reservation, and to learn more through interviews with Navajo elders, with knowledgeable people, to really be out in the field while they were working on their academic degrees. So our partnership was really between the Navajo Nation and Northern Arizona University. And I would say that the greatest example I can give you of the success of our program is that after 15 years, I'm quitting in October and a woman who is with our program, a Navajo woman, Davina Begay-Two Bears will be taking over. And as I speak, the reason that she's not here is that she's supposed to be turning in her Master's thesis this afternoon. So Davina is a great example of our program and I'm thrilled that I'll be turning it over to her and I'd also like to acknowledge someone else who's here, Reynelda Grant, who is the San Carlos Apache Archaeologist, tribal archaeologist. And Reynelda was part of our program too and that just like is a great feeling to be able to sit here and see Reynelda doing such a great job and speaking so well and setting such a great example. So again another example of what this partnership has done."

Lori Gutierrez:

"Good afternoon. My name is Lori Gutierrez. I'm from Pojoaque Pueblo and I'm the Assistant Director for Pojoaque Pueblo Construction Service Corporation. Our project that was awarded by the Harvard Project was the unique collaboration and partnership between Pojoaque Pueblo Construction Service Corporation, which is a for-profit tribal corporation and the Poeh Center Cultural Center Museum, which is a nonprofit arm of the Pueblo of Pojoaque. And the unique collaboration being that the corporation was first established to not only build the Poeh Center at cost but to, reduce the construction cost, but would do work both on and off the reservation as generating revenues to go back to build the Poeh Center as well as to sustain it through its long term goals. Thank you."

Cheryl Weixel:

"Good afternoon. My name is Cheryl Weixel. I'm the Wellness Center Director for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and it's an honor to be here and it's also an honor to work with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. 10 years ago the Coeur d'Alene area, or the Plummer and Worley area, didn't even have healthcare, hardly any. And even with the non-Indians and the Indians in the area, we had to go 40 miles to get healthcare. So the Coeur d'Alene Tribe partnered up with the city of Plummer and built a medical center and from there they decided to start changing lifestyles and the only way they could do that was to help people with exercise in Spokane, which is 40 miles away. So they saved money from third-party billing, grants, just partnering up with the city of Plummer again, got a HUD grant and built a $5 million debt-free wellness center and hopefully...we've been there four years now and we're changing lifestyles one person at a time and it's a great opportunity to be there and it's just very rewarding."

Neily Anderson:

"Good afternoon. My name is Neily Anderson and I'm here as the chairperson for the White Earth Suicide Intervention Team. I know...when I...I was so honored that we had gotten honors and I went around and was telling my friends and family that we received high honors from Harvard from the Governing Honor of Nations and they're like, ‘But you're a suicide prevention team, what does that have anything to do with Harvard?' And so it was kind of like we had to go through in depth and explain that the team was started by grassroots community members in 1990 and it was developed because there was a very high rash of suicide completions and attempts that year. So what they did was they formed...they did some forums and let the people talk and the tribal council really kind of hung themselves up and sat and listened to what the people had to say. Not just about the suicide attempts or completions, about everything else that was going on as well. And what they did recognize was that something needed to be done and so they signed a resolution stating that we needed a team and developed the team. And the team, like I said, is grassroots and it is community members. So it's not social workers coming in, saying, ‘Well, I'm a social worker and I'm here to help you'. It's, ‘I'm a community member and I care'. And that makes all the difference in a crisis situation and for Native American people. We just recently got a...received a grant and are working on getting some more funding because the team...the WESIT team, the suicide intervention team is a nonprofit organization. There's nobody paid to be on the team. There is 26 on-call volunteers that go every two weeks; there's a different set of three people on call. They go out all hours of the night and volunteer their time. And again, when you're talking about people in crisis or Native American people, knowing that these people are here because they care, not because it's their job to be there, not because they're being paid to be there and they have to be there to maybe please their grant makers or whatever. They're there because they want to be there and that makes the big difference. So as a grassroots organization the people volunteer their time, whether it's night or day, whether it's during work or out of work, and with the tribal R2C behind us 100 percent, we're allowed to leave work. If we get a call and we're on call, we're allowed to leave work and go wherever we have to go to respond to that call. The partnership that we have is mostly with the counties, the police department, the hospitals, facilities subject to our home facilities, things like that. We have partnered up with them basically. They have finally recognized us as a value to them, something...someone that they can use to actually lessen their job. We get a call through the dispatch system just like the police department does; we carry radios and get our call. And when we respond to a call, we basically get the information from the police officer; they make sure the scene is safe when we get there and they kind of turn it over to us. We're not allowed to sign 72 hour holds if that is needed, but the police officers are. And so our doctors as... but they're more willing now to go ahead and sign a 72 hour hold or what has been happening most recently is, they have the information, they know that this person needs a 72 hour hold, but they're calling us to see what our opinion is and same with the hospitals. We get more calls from the hospital where a family member has brought an attempter into the hospital; it's not done through the police department or the ambulance service. The family member brings them into the hospital and the hospital's calling us, they're calling our dispatch. We have a tribal dispatch, they'll call our dispatch and we'll be dispatched out. So it's a real grassroots...it's people who care and that's what I've seen a lot while I've been here is these may be our jobs that we do but they're just an added benefit. We do what we do because we care and that's what I've seen here. You people...the people that I've been surrounded by for the last two days are here because they care, they want to help their people expand, grow and accomplish things that they may not accomplish on their own and that's the job that they have. It's not that they're politicians, it's not that they're a tribal council member, they're there because they care and that's how I see you people here and the people that we have on call on our team."

Mark Lewis:

"Good afternoon. My name is Mark Lewis. I'm from the Hopi Tribe and I'm from the Third Mesa area, Hotevilla Village on the Third Mesa area. I am pleased to see a couple Hopis. [Native language] I'm an eagle clan so I wanted to say that since there's a couple Hopis in the audience. My mind's really spinning now because I had an introduction that I was going to do but I'm kind of worried about how it may come out after listening to Neily. I'm really concerned so if you bear with me I'm kind of going to tinker with it and I'm not meaning to offend anybody, but this is really how I was thinking I was going to introduce this. I was going to just make a remark that I'm in a rather unique situation here today because I've been asked to be on this panel as the...representing the Hopi High School. And as I was introduced they have Mark Lewis, the Hopi Guidance Center, and that is my job; I'm the Director of Behavioral Health and Social Services. And so given that I was going to make kind of a quick joke that I was relieved that I was introduced as representing the Hopi Guidance Center because I would feel much more comfortable speaking about the Hopi Guidance Center, but I'm not here to speak about that. I'm here to speak about Hopi Junior/Senior High School. The problem with that is I've only been...I've been elected to school board and I'm only on my third week and the reason I'm up here is because some of our more senior veteran board members were just unable to make it to Santa Fe today. And so what I'm a little nervous with my new friend here is I was just going to kind of make a remark that I am a professional social worker, I have my undergraduate and master's both in social work. I'm very proud of that and I was going to also say that I was thinking of the lady from Minnesota who I know very well, some of the negative perceptions of social workers throughout history. I was going to say I'm very proud to be a social worker and so should you and we should never not feel proud about being a social worker. But also I'm nervous too because I've just been elected to school board and that's very political in Hopi and I've been accused of being a politician. So I'm both now a politician and a social worker, but I'm also a community member and I do really care. So anyhow, the good thing going, my strategy was to...I was really relieved. I was excited coming here; this is my very first school board trip. I was really excited to come and meet new people, new professionals in other disciplines such as yourselves and then...but I got a call this morning around 8:00 from Mr. Glenn Gilman who you'll be hearing from shortly. He's our junior high principal, a very good, wonderful junior high principal. And he says, ‘Hey, just want to let you know that you're on a panel this afternoon and you're going to talk about 2+2+2'. And I says, ‘Well, that's because our board member called in late and was not able to make it', so that just kind of added to the excitement and nervousness I had about meeting a new flock of people. But as soon as I came in I saw Dr. Stephen Cornell and my colleague and friend Cecelia Belone of the Navajo Nation, my colleague, counterpart, and friend from the Navajo Nation, who I work a lot with in social services area. I also work with Dr. Stephen Cornell in the areas around TANF reauthorization, nation building etc. So I'll focus on you so I'm not as nervous talking about 2+2+2 at Hopi Junior/Senior High School. So I'm glad that you sat right there. I feel much more comfortable. I'll just pretend I'm talking about social services issues and maybe I won't sweat so much on my folder. 2+2+2 essentially it is partnership, it is partnership between three academic institutions, Hopi High, community college, Northland Pioneer College and Northern Arizona University and it was a partnership from the get go and I can talk more about that as we move on but it was genuinely a partnership from the get go in an effort to achieve one governing goal, one of the many governing goals that I know that we are working on. I'm learning more about the board and that was to try and do what we can to improve and prepare young students for academia beyond high school by giving them a boost while they're still in high school. And I can talk more about that but I don't need to get in too much detail because Mr. Glenn Gilman will be telling you more about that true partnership between community college, university and Hopi High. So again, thank you very much for allowing or asking me to be up here and allowing me to be up here."

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"Thank you, panelists for those introductions. Partnerships; each of you have given us examples of the partnerships that your tribal governments have formed in the process of implementing your vision. What interests me is, in some cases, some of you have been forced to develop effective partnerships and relationships with state and county governments, even federal government, and as Lance so articulately told us, we all as tribal people have experienced the hostility that is oftentimes focused on tribal governments by state and county governments. Given that history of hostility, how do you begin to build an effective relationship with an agency or another government? Justin, you want to begin again?"

Justin Martin:

"Sure. Well, I think that there are several layers to partnerships and as we heard from the panel, there are many wonderful partnerships on many different levels. When starting to work with what can sometimes be seen as hostile governments or governments that one, do not have an understanding of Native peoples or even tribal governments, I think it's very important and very critical to first of all understand their government, understand where the government that you're looking to work with is coming from. Whereas, we want folks to understand and respect tribal government and to learn how we elect our officials, how we operate our communities and governments, we should also make an effort to one, understand where they are coming from. And then I think it steps back even further and it looks to the personal level. Let's start to build some personal relationships while we are educating them to how our tribal government and how our people operate and conduct themselves. And that can be handled in many, many ways, but I think once you do that, once you get to know people, once you put your face with your name that's on your business card or the name that is seen in the newspaper or even your tribal newspapers, people start to understand where you're coming from. So it's basically a very basic relationship, find out who the people are, what makes them tick, even if it's outside of what you're both working towards. If you can find some common ground or a common goal, you can start to nurture that relationship. One other important point, I was talking to some folks earlier in the day, I think is, don't expect to make those top level relationships the ones that really get the job done at the end of the day. And I want to say this without offending tribal leadership and I've been very blessed to work with Kathryn Harrison and our tribal council who gets this. Those top level relationships need to happen out of mutual respect for a tribal government or a state government or a federal government, but at the same time, the ones doing the ground work, the ones trying to understand the tribal issues, and the ones that are going to be dealing with you on a day-to-day basis are the staff. And I think it's critical to involve staff at all levels. And from my own personal experience in working at the state legislature, I can't tell you how many times my state representative, who was new at the time, outside of his expertise area would call me as a staffer into his office and say, ‘Justin, what are we going to do?' Those are the people with the vote. So if you get to that staff member, create that relationship at those lower levels, then you begin to work up into the upper levels. Again, those are the solid foundation relationships. And who knows? I think in a lot of time within the tribal system and within state government and federal government, a lot of time that staff moves on to be that elected official or that leader. So to begin to lay that ground work in educating people to your government and also learning and being able to understand their government and where they're coming from is certainly an excellent tool that I feel needs to be utilized in every day relationships."

Don Wedll:

"Maybe to follow on that a little bit, one of the things that we saw that was very effective in negotiations and partnerships is that if you eat with someone, have lunch with them, it makes it much harder to fight with them a little bit later. You actually get to see them in a little different light than if you're in trying to negotiate and ultimately where you want to, after you've settled negotiations and you start building that partnership, a meal, that type of thing, is a very effective way to bring about a good partnership, get to know people on a very personal level and be able to discuss things and have trust in people that what they're committing to and the partnership that you're developing will grow and create a good forum for the types of things that you are working on. So that's my suggestions."

Theresa Clark:

"Yukaana itself does not have inter-government relationships. Our owner, Louden Tribal Council does. We separated government, politics and business so our partnerships, Yukaana's partnerships are business partnerships, whereas the government, inter-governmental relationships are left to the tribe or the politics are left to the tribe. I can go further on that, but I'd much rather let Louden tribal council do that because that's politics.

Mark Sherman:

"In our planning department we have forged a number of partnerships with county and township governments, worked a little bit with some state officials. We'd like to do a little bit more in that respect. Our relationship with our state government needs some improving. We've reached out to them on a number of times for a number of different reasons and for some reason, we have a situation where they prefer to minimize or should I say minimize that acceptance or recognition of the fact that we do exist. I think as the future goes forward that this will improve. It's got to come to a place where both sides have some common goals to work on. It's not always an adversarial situation and if it is an adversarial situation, you can usually accomplish more by searching for things that are...that you have in common rather than focusing on those points that are controversial. I found from my own experience in dealing with non-tribal government officials it's always better to listen than to talk. And if you hear something you don't like, you're better off rather than to argue the point, rather just to repeat the point, let them hear how ridiculous it sounds. It's not all give and take. Sometimes tribal governments have to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘This is our position'. And we've had to do that a few times too. Once they understand your position, whether they agree or disagree, they come away from the experience with a lot more respect for your organization having a clear understanding of why you made your position and why there's no room for compromise. And so you have to use every arrow in your quiver, you can't just go with one standard approach."

Nick Zaferatos:

"I think for Swinomish cooperation was a result that began by using confrontative tactics. That is, with the tribe being in business, as usual that was carried out for a really long time by county or other governments in making decisions on the reservation and where the tribe asserted its interest. And when that occurred there was a reaction and the reaction was the status quo was being disrupted and there were kind of two paths to consider. One was a path of conflict, litigation, problems, costs. And the other was a better understanding of what's the root of the change in course, talking, education, lots of education and a need for some kind of mutual benefit because cooperation does require a commitment of resources of time and money and people to engage in that. And when there's a perception that there is something to gain, I think that's almost always necessary in order to get the commitment both on the tribe's part as well as the government. The tribe entered into about a dozen separate agreements over the course of about 15 or 16 years with almost all of them the same kind of situation was presented where the tribe saw to disrupt business as usual and assert some kind of an interest and a receptiveness on the part of the other governments to at least begin discussing ways of cooperation, mutual gain. With all of them, it was formalized politically in terms of entering into some kind of an agreement, which then allowed the business of government to take place, which is almost always on a staff level on a day-to-day basis. And that's when the culture of cooperation really starts to take place. When you start dealing with lots of little itty bitty issues on a regular basis and you solve problems, it leads towards developing a more positive culture or at least more faith in working together to resolve problems. Sometimes political meetings are necessary, sometimes even litigation is necessary, and Swinomish has been more recently involved with some litigation, which the tribe views as okay because after you've exhausted the time of talking and trying to work things together through things at the staff level or even at the policy level, some things just really can't be agreed to and that's after all what the courts are all about. But even despite litigation from time to time, most issues with respect to land use development affecting the reservation do take place on a day-to-day basis, mostly in an administrative bubble, sometimes at a policy level. But there is an overall perception that there's a mutual gain in the long term by investing and keeping the doors of communication open, and in the process of doing that there's an awful lot of learning when the tribe understands the culture of the county or local governments and those governments understand a lot more about what the interests of the tribes are. And what we found is that the visions between those two governments were really not that far off and in fact, we were able to be brought together into like a unified land use policy. So there really wasn't a difference in terms of the vision."

Miranda Warburton:

"In our program we're really talking about a partnership between the Navajo Nation and Northern Arizona University and so there are some differences, it's not city or state governments. But I wanted to say a couple of things in that regard and first of all, to my colleague from Hopi, that if there's anything worse than a social worker politician, it's an Anglo anthropologist working for a tribe. So I kind of felt like I had this real uphill battle, but I think that there are a lot of people within the Navajo Nation who would like to see people like me replaced and I wanted to see people like me replaced as well. So in order to do that, in order to have an effective program, I felt that there really had to be a tremendous amount of cooperation between the Navajo Nation and Northern Arizona University. And I would just sort of reiterate some of the things that other people have already said. One, the long haul; people have to know you're there for the long haul. It's taken 15 years I think for me to feel like this program is really a success. I have three students who are getting master's degrees this year who I think all are going to go on to great things, but people have to know both within the tribe and at Northern Arizona University that you are there for the long haul and that there is a real commitment, that you really do care, and that if things get rough you're ‘not just going to sort of run away and abandon the whole thing; that you really are there and you really care about it and you really mean it. And I think what you just said about something to gain. I mean, NAU doesn't really care about our program, and this is like being the most sort of practical reality based statement but it brings in Native American students. So if I can convince them that it's worth having this program to recruit Native American students for their head count, they'll realize they have something to gain. The Navajo Nation definitely has something to gain because Navajo students are getting degrees, undergraduate and graduate degrees and anthropology or other social sciences and in many cases are returning to the tribe or to work for them or if they're not coming back to work for the tribe, they're going off into other places and setting a really good example. So the whole idea of something to gain and I think a personal commitment to being there for the long haul makes all the difference in effective partnerships."

Lori Gutierrez:

"We at Pojoaque Pueblo Construction, we have agreements with large business for outside business opportunities and I remember when we first started negotiations, there was extensive negotiations when dealing with sovereign immunity. Large business did not know structures especially dealing with small entities like Pojoaque Pueblo, with tribal enrollment of 320. It was really difficult to explain to them how you go about it. It turned out that they ended up hiring an Indian attorney so that they could get a better grasp about a tribal nation. But I think in order for a partnership to flourish or even to have longevity and continuity, it's important that during this time that there's mutual benefit because without that mutual benefit it doesn't exist. But I think it's important that during these negotiations that you keep in mind what that mutual benefit is and use that as your focus because I know that during these extensive negotiations we would get off on that and it was always a constant reminder to keep going back to what it is that we were doing this partnership for."

Chery Weixel:

"I think what was an important aspect to the medical center, Benewah Medical Center, and also the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Wellness Center came afterwards, was the fact that both there was a need out there and then there's a common vision. Everybody needed healthcare in the area so they brought the partners in, they utilized each other's strengths and built from there and then they took the weaknesses and built them up. And in that they had a vision and that is a better healthcare for the whole area and also a chance to change the future generations and provide fitness and exercise for the young kids so that they'll want to be healthy and they'll hopefully one day rid diabetes and heart disease from that area or at least control it. So I think if I go back, I think this strikes on the weaknesses and a common vision and a common goal is really what we needed. And today I can say that just from people telling me stories from the past that when they decided to build the medical center, they had the Indians and the non-Indians saying, ‘No way will I go in that building with an Indian', or ‘No way will I be in there with a White person'. And I can honestly say today that side-by-side there's Indians and non-Indians working together, playing together, sitting side-by-side in the waiting room together and actually talking and communicating for the first time, which I think is a tremendous accomplishment, especially in that area."

Neily Anderson:

"First off I've got to get some things straight here. Being the chairperson on the team isn't my job. I'm also a social worker. But the team...when the team started, we started out with a goal. We weren't quite sure how to get to that goal. We knew what we wanted to do, we knew we had to do something and we knew that we had to do it now and that was kind of what we looked at. And so going in we...the only thing that we had that could link us to any attempts that maybe the police department had or any calls that the police department had about attempts or completions or whatever the case may be was our tribal dispatch. That was our only link at the time when we started. And we're going on 12 years now and we used to meet in the back of a restaurant, a local little restaurant and talk about what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. And it was there that we realized that we needed to partner up with some people. We need to start going out and doing some in services and letting some people know what we were going to do. So we started going out to the hospitals and letting them know that, ‘this is where we're at, this is where we want to be in a year, can you help us get there? These are the people that we have on board. These are the caring people that we feel the community members will react to.' So it was the hospitals that we went to first and it was...it took years, it took years. And we're going on 12 years now and I would say in the last four years we've finally got...we still don't have 100 percent backing from other specific agencies, but in the last four years we've got...our policy is to, if Menominee County Police Department has a call, they call the tribal dispatch. Well, they know where I work so they were kind of skipping around things and calling me right at work. And the reason we had that policy was so that when we went out on a call it was the same for them. I have a radio, they have a radio. Our radios are our lifeline and if something was to happen to me, my dispatcher knows where I was, what I was doing. So next it took the police department. We were showing up at calls, the police department was looking at us like, ‘What are you doing here? You're interfering with the law.' We got a lot of that and so it took a lot of in services with the police department to say, ‘We can help you. We can work side-by-side. I'm not here to do your job. I'm here to help you make the situation better for a family', because with a police officer coming in and saying, ‘Okay, we're taking these people, we're putting them on a 72 hour hold', they never really took a look at how that affected the people that were left behind. So the next thing that we did was we went to other agencies, tribal and non-tribal, our tribal mental health programs and the non-tribal mental health programs, because we figured, ‘okay, we've got this person that's attempted suicide.' Now if they were to call and try and get an appointment, a lot of times the mental health field, to get an appointment it's really backed up. So what we would do then is, ‘Okay, I can get you an appointment tomorrow. I can make sure that you have transportation to get there. Is this what you want?' And so it got...now it's to the point where all I have to do is to make a phone call or another team member...all we have to do is to make a phone call and we can get that client some services immediately instead of having to wait two or three weeks down the road. The schools, we also work with because when, with the adolescence and the rate of suicide that we had at the time... In 1990 when we started, we were 50 percent lower, 10 percent, excuse me; we were 10 percent higher than the national suicide rate nationally but we were also 8.5 percent higher than the Native American rate normally was. So on our reservation we had a big problem. So in the schools when we had adolescents attempting or being placed on 72 hour hold, the parents not wanting to give up information when the school calls and says, ‘Where's your kid? Your kid isn't in school. Your child isn't in school. They're truant, they're tardy. What's the situation?' Then the parents really having a problem telling the school system that, ‘My child is on a 72 hour hold,' without the school system or without the family members feeling that the school system is looking down on them. ‘Oh, you must be bad parents if this is what's happening to your children.' So those were some other partners. The main partner that we have that we rely on is the tribal council backing us 100 percent in whatever direction we go, whether it be...like with the grant, we just applied for a grant. We just, before I left, we just got word that we had received the grant. We have received the grant, now we have to go forward with that. So it's the tribal council that has backed us and said, ‘run with it'. They have opened their arms and realized the fact that this is something that they cannot fix as a tribal council member. This is something that the community has to help themselves to do and with a little bit of organization. So with those things, those partners we would not be able to be a team, we would not be able to work as a team and that's why we come up with the name Suicide Intervention Team because it takes more than one person to fix the things that are going wrong with our people. It's a team effort whether it be...when I say the Suicide Intervention Team, I mean not just the people that are on call that go out there in the middle of the night, not the people that have to leave their jobs or get up from the table during dinner because they've got a call from dispatch, I also mean the police department, the mental health services, the hospitals, the tribal council, the schools. They're our team and we all have to work together as a team or else we will not exist. That's plain a simple. It took us a lot of years to establish that team but it was something that we realized right away that needed to be done. That was one of the things that we worked on right away and with our patients and I think what really kicked it off was we were there. When there was a call, we were there, somebody showed up. Whoever was on call took the call and that's what I feel really made the difference. It wasn't, ‘Well, I'm eating dinner right now', or ‘I'm sleeping and I've only been sleeping for a half hour and I don't want to get out of bed to go on this call', ‘I don't want to get up from dinner and skip dinner because I have a call. We got a call, we went out. It didn't matter what we were doing, who we were with. We took that responsibility when it was our turn to be on call, that was the responsibility that we took and not because that's our job. It was because we care about the people, about our people and what they are doing with their lives."

Mark Lewis:

"As for the Hopi High 2+2+2 program, you're going to learn that it is a partnership between a community college and Northern Arizona University. It involves interactive television; it involves a new satellite campus being built on the Hopi High school grounds and facilities. And what that really means is that...that meant that the Hopi High took the initiative to work with the state systems and other systems in order to be able to develop this program for the future needs of our kids and for the current development of those kids so that they can achieve success academic-wise in the math and sciences after they leave high school. And what I've observed and what I've noticed and in talking with my colleagues that I've worked with, I think that approaching a hostile government if you want to call it that, there's a lot of leadership that's involved with that, approaching that kind of a situation. I think in the case of Hopi High I think you had some real important dynamics that happened there. One of them, the board was made up of very experienced leaders within the Hopi Tribe in a variety of areas and it was also headed by former chairman of the Hopi Tribe, Ivan Sidney. So I think already Hopi High was in an advantageous position because there was already influences and relationships that had been established by that board. And so that leadership didn't think twice about worrying about government. They had already experienced working with these people, had already relationships established with these people and all they really did is capitalize on that, but that takes leadership and initiative. And so I think that that's one of the ways that Hopi High was successful in developing this 2+2+2 program, and as well from the former governing board, I think a lot of credit goes to them for being very proactive and for being very interested in taking the initiative to do things to improve upon Hopi High. One of the main things they did there is to get away from the Bureau and move into a grant school. And after that it was by rather than just, as somebody mentioned earlier today, by just kind of continuing to operate things as usual as the way the Bureau and as the way IHS has taught us, they weren't going to...they weren't satisfied with that. So they were very proactive and they went and developed an administration. Glenn Gilman is a wonderful example of somebody who had many years teaching and worked on his own principal-ship and those things were allowed to be developed because of the leadership of that board and being proactive and outreaching and going to get good administrators rather than just doing things as usual, doing an advertisement and selecting from whoever shows up at the door. So I think those are the kinds of things that are under...the underpinnings of the ability of the high school to be able to successfully develop partnerships with the state system. In my own experience, as an administrator, we are involved in a number of intergovernmental agreements with the State of Arizona, with entities that are regulated by the State of Arizona and without a doubt we have to work with the federal government as contractors of the federal government. And so my view about that is that...and part of it's probably just being a young administrator. You're allowed to be kind of stupid and risky and my view is to kind of approach these situations as not even thinking that I'm dealing with a hostile government or a resistant other entity, but rather expending more energy and time thinking about how can I best establish the rapport with these people because we need to get something accomplished. So that's been one of my experiences as far as developing partnerships is expending more energy on finding creative ways and skillfully and thinking strategically like the gentleman from Winnebago about how I'm going to make this thing happen, what can I do to make the relationship develop but also too having a little...enough savvy to say, ‘Well, what do I do if they're not resistant', and that's just a matter of holding people accountable. And so those are some of the ways that I think that you develop good partnerships with people is you're going in knowing that your mission is to produce a result, not to be expending so much energy on worrying about how hostile they are or how much they may not want to work with you or whatever. And the lady...the presentation at lunch brings up a very good point because I think that if we continue to see governments as hostile or if we continue to see states as ‘us vs. them,' if we continue to see and feel and believe that we're not respected, then that's how we're going to approach these situations. And oftentimes what happens is we just simply do not approach that situation, but if we're more proactive, if we feel and believe ourselves as equal partners, if we truly believe in and embrace sovereignty, I think that's how you're going to be successful in developing the kinds of partnerships that we're talking about here today."

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"Thanks. Well, listening to you I'm struck by the similarity of things that each of you have shared with us. It's obvious that in the work that goes into building relationships and building partnerships. There's obviously some core characteristics. I hear building personal relationships and the importance of those personal relationships. Communication, open communication both ways; communicating to others about tribes, tribal governments and then being open and listening to being educated about the needs and concerns of other agencies, state governments, counties or whatever. There was also lots of emphasis on common goals and finding ways of building upon what are going to be mutual benefits. That seemed to be fairly critical in establishing relationships and partnerships. Joint problem-solving; that was interesting that once those relationships are made that it takes an evolution of actually sharing in partnering in solving problems; education, respect, common goals, personal relationships. We've only got about five to 10 minutes left and so I'm going to ask you to keep your final comments fairly short but I'm intrigued about now that you have built these relationships, now that you've worked at establishing these partnerships, how do you maintain them? Do they become institutionalized? Do they become static or are they fluid? Do the relationships change as the tribal council changes? How does the continuity of these relationships continue? Again, I'm sorry to suggest that maybe you keep your comments within two to three minutes each and then we can quickly wrap this up, thanks. Go ahead, Justin."

Justin Martin:

"I think you kind of hit the key concept right on the head when you said institutionalize. And I think everybody here has worked very hard to institutionalize their program, especially once you find that vision or that clearly defined objective and you're able to go out and in a grassroots type of method start to educate staff, general public, your own membership as to what good governance is all about, then you start to institutionalize that. So then it becomes Grand Ronde, not Justin Marin. And then five years from now, what if Justin Martin or what if Neily Anderson isn't in that role? Well, the program has been built over time by grassroots through education, through communication, through cooperation and it becomes an entity in and of itself and I think the key is institutionalizing these programs so they do co-exist with that long term vision the tribal council can provide.

Don Wedll:

"In Mille Lacs's particular case with...ultimately our agreement with the state Department of Natural Resources was institutionalized through a number of things, court rulings and ultimately the setting up of schedules of annual meetings usually in January and July to re-discuss where things are at, set limits, and then there's actually some physical things that are happening as to what are safe harvesting of particular resources, those types of things then drive the partnership because neither side can arbitrarily make a decision on their own, they have to do it jointly. And so those are some examples in our particular case and how that partnership gets institutionalized and because of the physical harvesting of resources, there needs to be joint decisions about the amount of those resources that can be harvested and that I think binds that partnership and will bind it for as long as people are harvesting those resources."

Theresa Clark:

"Our partnerships are a little different because they're business partnerships and our business partnerships are through like joint venture relationships or teaming relationships and other businesses that have gotten us to where we are today. So I think ours are probably more short term. We partner on projects, completed the projects, and then the joint ventures are terminated or dissolved because the contracts have been completed. But we do maintain relationships with them, personal contacts or whatever for future projects. We may not be capable of doing a project or may not have the financial resources or whatever and we may be able to partner again in the future so we do...I do keep in contact with all our business partners that we have terminated joint ventures with."

Mark Sherman:

"Maintaining our relationships? The simple answer is we have to sort out our relationships and keep them differently. We do a lot of our work through contracting sources when it comes time to actually implementing the plan and one thing that has worked very well for us in our department is that when a contractor knows that we're releasing a plan for bid, they know that they'll be treated the same way they were the last time and the process is consistent in its fairness and that it's de-politicized and that all players in the process have equal opportunity at the table and that's essential in dealing with outside business entities because they will only play the political game one time and then you get a reputation in the neighborhood so to speak and so it's a good idea to maintain a sense of consistency and fairness. And then we try to reinforce our relationships, the ones that really matter as we go along you have certain partners that become more essential to your process and maintaining a frequent relationship and just not taking day-to-day matters for granted or assuming that everything is going to be smooth. Don't be afraid to just pick up the phone and call them even on problems that require simple answers because when you're calling them and they're calling you, that reinforces the relationship and makes them feel like there's a good reason to maintain an ongoing relationship in the future."

Nicholas Zaferatos:

"The agreement-making and relationship-building activities are part of this first generation experience for changing a hostile environment into a cooperative environment. I think that our honorable speaker from Hopi really expressed it very well by saying that the next generation should just simply come to expect that we operate in a cooperative environment and that's an ideal state that all of this work that we're mining right now will take us to, that this is the preferred status quo, this is the way people behave and nations behave and governments behave."

Miranda Warburton:

‘I agree. I guess in our case what I would like to say is that it was a long struggle to become "institutionalized," to develop some kind of institutional standing so that now we actually have a place, a space, physical space, at Northern Arizona University and we actually have funding from the Navajo Nation for our students. But once that's in place, as I see myself stepping down on October 31st and Davina [Begay-] Two Bears taking over, there's a certain amount of training for her that she needs to do but way beyond that, I just hope that whatever my vision was is done and that her vision, whatever she chooses to have happen, to make it become a truly Navajo program that that really happens and that that just really evolves in a wonderful way and I have every confidence that it will. So while the structure and framework is there in an institutional sense, whatever she chooses to have happen and whatever the next person who takes over after her chooses to have happen and how that evolves and I hope that none of us can envision what that's going to be. I hope that it just exceeds all of our expectations."

Lori Gutierrez:

"Maintaining our relationships, our established partnerships; we have concrete contracts in place. However, times change, our business changes, our needs change and I think it requires a constant evaluation of the partnership, evolving the partnership, making modifications, if necessary, to adapt to new needs and concerns."

Cheryl Weixel:

"Well, it's like any relationship with the special businesses that we keep the lines of communication open. I think that's very important for us and then also, not assuming something that we don't know from the other person. Ask those questions, get the facts and then make decisions based on that."

Neily Anderson:

"Well, with us and the team, to talk about suicide on our reservation was something that was thrown in our face, it was something that was chronic there, something we couldn't get away from. On other reservations, I've talked to several different reservations who want to start up a team on their reservation, and on other reservations this is something that is hush-hush, this is something that you don't talk about. Well, on our reservation, with the attempts and everybody being open about the attempts, about the completions, about the ideations, everybody who sits on the tribal council or sits on the team is or is in some way affected by somebody either completing suicide or attempting suicide. So everybody has been affected by it in one way or another. Even if the WESIT team or if WESIT was gone, I don't think that the people would settle with that. I think if I was gone, if the people who are on the team as on call members were gone, I think that the community would pick it up and run with it. We do have a resolution in place stating that this is the team and this is...we're going to keep this running one way or another, but even if we didn't have that, I don't think the people on our reservation would self-manage."

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"Mark, the last word?"

Mark Lewis:

"That's a tough one. I just started these relationships. I haven't had enough experience yet to maintain them. No. As a social worker and as a social work administrator but I actually began my career as a mental health provider for Hopi. And so one thing that I've learned, and also as a member of the Hopi Tribe, one thing I've learned is that collaboration, which is needed, a prerequisite for partnerships, it's a very profound word, it's a very strong word, it's embedded in our Hopi values that we teach. But as a mental health provider I've learned something that it's...the word is profound but to actually apply it and practice it is very difficult. It's not an easy thing; it doesn't just come natural for everybody to collaborate successfully. And what I mean as a mental health provider, I think that there's a mindset that goes with that. I think there's a condition that goes with collaboration, an ability to approach things to produce an outcome, ability to approach things healthy, healthy-minded and the skills necessary to collaborate successfully is a result of development, a fully or better, best developed kind of individual and people can be trained of course to be successful at collaboration. So I guess to maintain partnerships to me is to have...is to hopefully ensure you have good leadership that will continue to produce people that have that great unique skill of being successful collaborators and to ensure that those people are in those positions that make those decisions to maintain those partnerships. So that's the one thing I would say and as this conference notes here, leadership of course isn't something that is new, certainly not to Harvard, but I'm pleased that it's beginning to come in and infiltrate, if you will, Indian Country. Because I think that in this new world we have a lot of knowledgeable and intelligent people, but leadership skills, that's something that is...can require a lot of training and, at least for my tribe and I would bet for your tribe, is that we need to develop the leadership qualities in our tribal leaders because they're knowledgeable and intelligent, but to be an effective leader requires high level skills in practice. And so that's what needs to continue to happen and continue to develop in Indian Country. And I hopefully won't say anything more but as a tribal administrator, as a chairperson on several committees and now...I do this when I take my staff or a group or a team of Hopis to different meetings or symposiums but certainly without a doubt as a governing board member now it's very important that I support those people that do that work. And I do this with tribal administrators but I just wanted to be able to recognize the Hopi staff that really do 2+2+2 that have come along here; Glenn Gilman, you're going to see him in a moment, a wonderful speaker so he tells me, and Mr. Stan Bindell, one of the wonderful faculty you've seen around with a camera way in the back, he's...it's great to have a local reporter as well. He's a faculty member but also does a lot of work for the local newspapers and it's very important for Hopi for him to be able to come back and share this event with Hopi, the Hopi public and Stan's responsible for that. I'm very pleased also because what this is about is now you have these people like us jabbering but the people who actually do the work, that doesn't get enough attention. And Mr. David Logan who just walked in here, he's actually one of the teachers in the 2+2+2 program, if you can just kind of raise your hand. And we should be paying attention to these people so I just wanted to show my support as a governing board member. Thank you."

Heather Kendall-Miller:

"All right, thank you very much. Unfortunately, we do not have time for questions. We are out of time and we nee dto move on with the next speaker. So I want to thank all of our panelists very, very much for sharing with us your experiences and your insights. Thank you."

Honoring Nations: 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."

Honoring Nations: Tom Hampson: ONABEN: A Native American Business Network

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Former Executive Director of ONABEN Tom Hampson presents an overview of the organization's work to the Honoring Nations Board of Governors in conjunction with the 2005 Honoring Nations Awards.

People
Resource Type
Citation

Hampson, Tom. "ONABEN: A Native American Business Network." Honoring Nations Awards event. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Tulsa, Oklahoma. November 1, 2005. Presentation.

Tom Hampson:

"It's a great privilege and an honor to be here. My name is Tom Hampson. I'm Executive Director of ONABEN, a Native American Business Network. I want to thank the Harvard Indian Economic Development Project Honoring Nations, but particularly Amy [Besaw] and Jackie [Old Coyote] and the site review team of Jonathan Taylor and Joan Timeche. One of the most unexpected outcomes of this process was the fact that you guys were so professional as both counselors and cheerleaders and colleagues and now friends that as we work on projects together I'm sure in the future that this has been a real exciting process for us. [Thank you.] We'd not be here if it were not for the support of the guidance of our board of directors, who believe in our mission. Of course we would not be here at all if it had not been for the opportunity to serve Indian people as chartered by the sovereign nations that we serve. I'd like to list those: Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Confederated Tribes of Siletz, Umatilla, Warm Springs, Colville and Cowlitz and some ten other tribes that we have done programs and associates with. I'd like to recognized Chairman Dolores Pigsley of Siletz who is here in the audience, Board of Trustees Chairman Antone Minthorn of Umatilla, Colville Business Council Chairman Harvey Moses, Jr., Sal Sahme of Warm Springs Economic Development Department and David Tovey of the Coquille Tribe and Umatilla enrollee. Dave is also a former ONABEN board member and represents the Economic Development Corporation of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, and ATNI itself is the mother ship, which has been a very important and critical strategic partner for us as ONABEN has grown.

The evolution of ONABEN over the last 14 years represents a mix, a mix of opportunities, of Indians, of non-Indians, of tribal leaders and entrepreneurs, of technocrats and hundreds and hundreds of wonderful people and those of the Native American entrepreneurs, or as we have corned the term "Indianpreneurs." It is a mix that mirrors that marketplace in which we all must participate and in which we all must compete. ONABEN was chartered in 1991 by a guy named Mitch Connelly, who at the time was the Director for the Spirit Mountain Community Development Corporation, or Economic Development Corporation, for the Grand Ronde Tribe. And Mitch persuaded four Oregon tribes that it was in their interest to integrate their economic development strategy to include the kind of diversification and energy that can only come from creating a private sector on the reservation. And thus, the coalition of tribes was born in Oregon with the mission to enable Native Americans to realize their dreams for a better quality of life through owning and operating a small business, to strengthen Native American communities by building Native American confidence in their abilities to start and run businesses, to create comfortable and safe environments in which people can explore their dreams, to foster relationships which increase business survivability, and to contribute to the well being of the Native and non-Native communities around the area. That's an expansive and a very integrative kind of mission for an organization. And it was -- as you might think in the pre-gaming era -- a time in which discretionary income with tribes was very scarce and yet those tribes chose to make an investment not only in an intertribal organization, but most importantly in the creation of a small business center on their reservation, which was a prerequisite for joining the organization.

The organization has a service delivery model that is simple in concept, but very complex in operation as all intertribal organizations are. It features a network of...a small network staff to provide curriculum, provide expertise and support services to tribally run and operate its small business centers on the reservation. Over the years, we've discovered a number of principles that we think any Indianpreneurship program ought to have: that we need to provide services at the local level to match the entrepreneurs in that economy, in that place, in those industries and at that level wherever they are, given their level of aspirations, given their level of expertise, meet them where they are and provide environments in which they can explore their ideas, whether it's home-based businesses, expanding businesses, high-growth businesses, artists to engineers, contractors to inventors. The whole notion is to build a community around the entrepreneur and to integrate the tribe's economic development program with the individual private sector development. This all puts a lot of pressure on the network to make all of those forces happen, and because it comes down to building relationships that transcend these boundaries.

At the network level we are a content provider, a bridge builder, a product and service innovator and policy advocates to the tribes. Our classes are taught by entrepreneurs, independent business owners themselves from the local level that are selected by and in concert with the local tribe. These folks are local bridge builders to the local economy. In most recent years, we have focused our efforts on curriculum development for all levels of entrepreneurship and we're very proud to announce that as of November the 15th when we hold our annual conference Trading at the River, we are going to unveil our "Indianpreneurship: A Native American Journey into Business," our own branded curriculum based upon the stories of ONABEN clients. We support small business center managers in the tribe in evaluating and developing the most appropriate support systems for their private sector. We scan the environment for the best ideas and help the tribal managers apply them if it's appropriate to them. We bring federal, state, intertribal foundation, private sector resources to these collaborations.

So what has changed since ONABEN has been around? When I first came to the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation in 1972, it was just after a grand economic development plan to utilize the land claim settlement money for tribal enterprises had been thoroughly trashed by the electorate in favor of disbursements to per capita payments. The confidence level by the people was very low in the tribe and in themselves to pull themselves up by anything, bootstraps, moccasin ties and let alone an economic development plan. But as a student of my mentors, I listened to the stories of the prosperous times before contact and even into the early reservation period where rich traditions of trade and economic gardening supported the people. We went to work to recreate in some modern form the prosperity of those days. Visionaries like Antone [Minthorn], planners like Mike Farrell and project managers like Dave Tovey and hundreds more like them across the country went to work and sustained this renaissance for the last 30 years.

There were very few small businesses on the reservation in the 1970s when we started, but that began to change as the tribe's prospects began to change and I'm sure it's the same where you come from. As the more the tribe has succeeded, the more the confidence is built, the more you see people going into business for themselves. The length between tribal economic development and individual private sector hold the next key to this renaissance. We believe that organizations like ONABEN, the Lakota Fund, Oweesta, Four Bands, all represents opportunities to play an important part in foraging these linkages, individual entrepreneur to tribal enterprise to local, regional, global marketplace. I think...but we got to do it I guess by going back is the other thing that we have discovered and I think Bill Yellowtail, who will be a speaker at our conference this coming in November says it best. He says, 'It is only circling back to the ancient and the most crucial of Indian values and understanding that the power of the tribal community is founded upon the collective energy of strong, self-sufficient, self-initiating entrepreneurial, independent, healthful and therefore powerful individual persons, human beings, Indians.' We exist to celebrate the accomplishments of these Indian business owners, their enterprise managers and the tribal councils that support them.

Trading at the River embodies the philosophy that we can look back to go forward, we can listen to stories from people like Mike Marchant who can talk about the collection of salmon at Kettle Falls, the drawing and bundling of those fish and the transportation over to the Buffalo Country, to stories from Antone and others about the berry fields of Mt. Adams, the fishing platforms of Celilo, where people met and traded and made connections that lasted forever. Trading at the River allows us to come together and ask the difficult questions of how we can move forward. At Trading at the River, we dedicate ourselves to the question that Antone has asked for the last 30 years of 'what is an Indian economy? What is Indian economic development? What does that mean?' We don't know the answer to that question, but we know the people who will and those are the entrepreneurs, the tribal leaders, the enterprise managers. Our role is to keep the conversation going, to disseminate knowledge, and to keep the magic of the network alive, vital and growing. Our job is to help build a community of traders, people of commerce, Indian entrepreneurs. The journey has been going for a long time and we are looking forward to the next stage and we want to share it with you. The people of the Harvard Project have affirmed our work, your recognition has humbled and inspired us. Thank you very much."

Amy Besaw:

"We'll have a few minutes of question and answers. As we're doing the question and answers, if Flandreau would come up here and join us at the side of the stage that would be great. Thank you."

Elsie Meeks:

"My whole career and life and work has been about supporting entrepreneurship and allowing Natives to become entrepreneurs, and at the same time I really feel like it's important that through this there starts to be changes made at the local level in a real, systematic way. And my only real question about ONABEN, and I'm very familiar and you guys work really hard and you've done really good things, but how rooted in the community and how much difference does it make at each tribal level, and I guess the other kind of question around that is how much ownership do the tribes feel to this or is this just a regional organization that serves tribes?"

Tom Hampson:

"That's the essence of the question, I mean that's the essence of our management challenges, and it's true for every network kind of organization, 'cause there's always the natural tension between the intertribal network and the individual members of that network and how much autonomy does each one have, and so it's all about relationship building. And there's no question that just like business development or economies in general, they vary from place to place. We've had extremely positive and strong relationships and support at say for example the Grand Ronde Tribe, and then as inevitably happens, you get the winds of political change, bring a new council with new priorities and some programs are favored and some are not. That program was completely terminated about three years ago at the tribal level. We maintained our relationship with the tribe to provide the same classes and counseling using the same people actually as a contract basis, and we're seeing the Grand Ronde tribe's interest in that program rekindle and we see cycles like that all through Indian Country. The most critical part of that is that, and this is why if all we're doing is just putting on classes to whoever asks us to put on classes or send out workshops consultants or whatever, is to insist that the tribe make the investment in creating a small business development center of its own. Now those folks, they do all kinds of things. They just don't counsel entrepreneurs. They inevitably get drawn into, based upon whatever department they're located in, into the priorities of those departments and the priorities of that tribe so the small business center manager Kathleen Flanagan at Umatilla is working on a small business incubator program. She's doing cash-flow analysis for an enterprise for Wild Horse Resort. So she'll split her time as directed by the tribe. And so the ONABEN programs in entrepreneurship are only a partial priority but most importantly though they are a priority and sometimes it's lower and sometimes it's higher. Our job is in a diplomatic way as possible to try to encourage those tribes to elevate those priorities and that's what we've seen. I think more lately what we've seen the power of something like Trading at the River to do is to get in the policy makers' heads the importance of entrepreneurship as a tribal economic development strategy not just as a bunch of individual businesses that are always harassing them at council meetings about not getting enough tribal work. So we're seeing a change in that perspective at the policy level. But as you all know it's a very delicate walk to take."

David Gipp:

"Dave Gipp here. I had a question. What distinguishes ONABEN's efforts from other regional, tribal or even state strategies toward successful economic development? What makes your project and your strategies distinctive I should say compared to other regional or tribal or even state strategies?"

Tom Hampson:

"I think it's that process that we've just described. The metaphor for that process is or the catch phrase is Walking the Talk. Because we don't staff up, there's only four of us in the central office, sometimes three, sometimes five depending upon our funding sources. We have to depend on independent contractors to provide the bulk of the services and the tribal centers and so we have to facilitate a relationship between an instructor, for example Lou Blake, an MBA, Stanford MBA, ex-entrepreneur, sold out his company, moved from Seattle to Matheau on the Colville Indian Reservation, now drives over three mountain passes to teach classes at Nespelem. Lou represents an individual in a marketplace and another culture and a whole body of knowledge that he brings to that place, to those people and a whole new perspective. If he were a tribal employee, if he were our employee, he would not be the same person, he would not bring the same perspectives, and I think that's one of the unique factors. The other factor about that is from just a pure survival point of view has an organization is if our funding sources are reduced, we reduce the number of independent contractors we use and the number of classes that we can provide. So we can flex up and down and I think that...we try not to build empires, we try to build relationships and strategic alliances so we get the work done. We do a lot of work...it used to be that the small business development centers in Oregon particularly didn't serve Indians at all. And now when we go into a community like at Coquille, Coos Bay, Southern Oregon, we will immediately contact the SBDC, have them help us hire instructors, get them to co-sponsor our classes so that our constituents know that they have a whole group of resources that are available to them. So we try very much to walk our talk in terms of boundary expanding as well." 

Great Tribal Leaders of Modern Times: Kathryn Harrison

Producer
Institute for Tribal Government
Year

Produced by the Institute for Tribal Government at Portland State University in 2004, the landmark “Great Tribal Leaders of Modern Times” interview series presents the oral histories of contemporary leaders who have played instrumental roles in Native nations' struggles for sovereignty, self-determination, and treaty rights. The leadership themes presented in these unique videos provide a rich resource that can be used by present and future generations of Native nations, students in Native American studies programs, and other interested groups.

In this interview, Kathryn Harrison, former chairwoman of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, shares her tribe’s struggle to achieve federal recognition, her experiences as the first woman elected to lead her nation, and how she helped secure the tribe’s gaming compact with the State of Oregon. Preservation of her people’s history is her core commitment.

This video resource is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the Institute for Tribal Government.

Resource Type
Citation

Harrison, Kathryn. "Great Tribal Leaders of Modern Times" (interview series). Institute for Tribal Government, Portland State University. Portland, Oregon. 2004. Interview.

Kathryn Harrison:

"Hello. My name is Kathryn Harrison. I am presently the Chairperson of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. I have served on my council for 21 years. Tribal leaders have influenced the history of this country since time immemorial. Their stories have been handed down from generation to generation. Their teaching is alive today in our great contemporary tribal leaders whose stories told in this series are an inspiration to all Americans both tribal and non-tribal. In particular it is my hope that Indian youth everywhere will recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by these great tribal leaders."

[Native music]

Narrator:

"No series of Great Tribal Leaders would be complete without Kathryn Harrison herself, the host of this series. Harrison, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde in Oregon, served on her tribal council for 22 years and was the first woman ever elected chair of the tribe. Harrison has been profoundly influenced and inspired by members of her family including her aunt Molalla Kate. Harrison's mother, Ella Fleming Jones, was born in Alaska to an Aleut mother and Russian-Italian father. Her father, Harry Jones, was a full-blooded Molalla Indian who was the valedictorian of Chemawa Indian School's class of 1910. When Harrison's parents died in the flu epidemic of the 1930s, she was 10 years old. She and her siblings were separated and she was sent to foster homes. She then attended Chemawa Indian School where she excelled, made new friends and especially loved writing book reports. But she was always lonely for her brothers and sisters. Harrison then married and had 10 children. In the middle of raising this large family she felt she needed skills and went to school. She was the first Indian to graduate in nursing from Lane Community College. Always deeply spiritual she attended a gathering of tribes in Oklahoma in the early 1970s that helped invigorate her faith, especially in her own worth and what she might do with her life. At this point Harrison had been separated from her tribe for a long time. Members of the Grand Ronde had been widely dispersed in western Oregon after the tribe was terminated in the 1950s. In the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, the move to assimilate Indians into the dominant White culture eliminating federal trust relationship with tribes gained tremendous momentum. Termination for tribes meant that all treaty-guaranteed rights they had possessed were abolished. Reservations were terminated, health benefits abolished and tribes lost their best lands. Children in terminated tribes of Oregon could not attend Chimawa Indian School in Oregon. Numerous Oregon tribes were terminated but tribes were organizing in the 1970s to get termination reversed to get their tribes restored to federal recognition. Kathryn Harrison decided to return to Grand Ronde to rediscover her people's history and to join the movement to restore her tribe. Beginning as an enrollment clerk for the Grand Ronde she then became a community organizer. She spoke for the tribe before local governments, historical societies and churches. She became skilled in political craft working with members of the Oregon congressional delegation. When she spoke before Congress in 1983 on behalf of the Grand Ronde Restoration Bill, she was so convincing that the tribe asked her to be their chair. Harrison has represented the tribe's interests in numerous state and national organizations such as Oregon's Legislative Commission on Indian Services, Native American Rights Fund and Spirit Mountain Community Fund. She assisted the tribe in obtaining a gaming compact with the State of Oregon. Harrison has represented the tribe at several White House events and has received numerous awards for her work with tribes on women's issues and historic preservation. She received a Distinguished Service Award from the League of Women Voters and was named one of three Women of Achievement in 1995 by the Oregon Commission for Women. She has received the Tom McCall Award for service to the State of Oregon. A mother of 10 children, a grandmother and great grandmother of many more, she considers her greatest achievement to be her family."

Kathryn Harrison's parents and her Aunt Kate were the major inspirations both in her private life and her public work

Kathryn Harrison:

"Far back as I can remember they were always telling me, ‘we don't have to worry about you. You're named after Aunt Kate.' Not really knowing what they meant, I kind of carried that. ‘I can't make a mistake now because I'm going to hurt this Aunt Kate.' And we used to come and visit her too and she was elderly already and had the age spots. But we always brought her Royal Anne Cherries so for many years I thought she got those age spots from eating Royal Anne Cherries. I think maybe they...all the things looking back now it was almost like they were preparing all of us for when they would leave us and that was one of them. I know she had strength and I would always look at her hand because she was the basket maker and a beader."

Before her parent's death, Harrison attended public schools in Corvallis, Oregon, where her parents were active in the school

Kathryn Harrison:

"We were the only Indian family in school and I can remember in first grade my father going down arguing with the teacher that, ‘If I wanted to use my left hand, by gosh let me use it.' So I'm left handed to this day. But the other thing was there was tryouts for a play for Goldilocks and the Three Bears and I tried out because my father and mother were both musical and we had to sing to try out and I got the part as Goldilocks. I said even then, I thought, ‘Well, way back then my only claim to fame was probably the first Indian Goldilocks they had in the United States.'"

Harrison and her brothers and sisters were painfully separated after their parent's death. She lived in foster homes before going to Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon

Kathryn Harrison:

"My two older brother and sister were sent to Chemawa and the four younger were sent into a foster home right there and they were Indian people, an Indian couple that didn't have children. And then my brother and younger sister both got sick and they took them to the hospital there too. So that just left my sister and I. From there we were sent to another foster home and ended up at Chemawa. But when I went to Chemawa I always like to say, ‘I thought I'd died and went to Indian heaven,' because ran into some of the people I had known earlier when my parents were still alive. It was just like a big family reunion and having been deprived of the social part in those foster homes I learned to lose myself in reading. So I read a lot so by the time I got to Chemawa part of the lessons were to make book reports. And so I used to make book reports for my classmates cause I'd already read all the books that they were trying to read and was willing to read more. And I still do that to this day, try to read a book a week. I think one of the things I always thought the last day when I graduated myself, I can remember standing at that window again hearing that train. I think I said a prayer that said, ‘God, I'm so alone, don't let me be alone the rest of my life.' So here I am. I have 10 children and a lot of times people have told me, ‘You're the grandmother of this tribe.' So here's my family and I'm not alone anymore."

In the middle of raising her own large family, Harrison went to Lane Community College and became a nurse. She had been separated from her tribe for a long time

Kathryn Harrison:

"I kept in contact with people here, most of the elders that knew my parents and it wasn't until I got at Coos Bay and was working there but by then I'd worked in Lincoln County, Lane County and Coos County. I was in the Coos County Council on Alcoholism and was down to two children. Even then there were the monthly trips at least up here to Grand Ronde and would send things up here for their raffles and attend the general meetings and knew they were trying to be restored again. So I finally just made the break and came up here, moved up here."

While working in Coos Bay Harrison heard of a spiritual gathering in Oklahoma with tribes from all over the country. Her urge to attend was so strong that she would have been willing to lose her job if she hadn't been granted the time off

Kathryn Harrison:

"There were tribal people from all over that all came there with their own special problems. And so it was during one of the times that it was my turn, they were asking, ‘Well, why are you here?' You know you always say there's people next to you or run into somebody that has worse problems than you and here I was just feeling so bad because by then I just hated the kid's father so much that it was just...I might as well still been with him cause every day and it was eating me up too so that was the reason I knew I had to go. I just had the feeling I needed to go and pray with some other people. So I got a chance to tell other people and here there was a lady that lost her son but couldn't accept that he was gone, a young married couple that begged me to stay to watch, they wanted to have their marriage blessed and be remarried by the spiritual leaders there. And I thought, I thought I was bad off but it seemed like my problems were not near as big as theirs. So by the time I went in, went in to the ceremony in the sweat lodge and asked for the help that I wanted and then came home. But there was something that happened when I came out and they put the water over you and I guess I must have had this certain look because one of the spiritual leaders said, ‘Well, we didn't say it was going to happen right away, but it will happen.'"

From the spiritual gathering Harrison gained a clarity about her life that served her well as she developed into a leader

Kathryn Harrison:

"Well, again I thank my parents because they were always there and I think because I lost them so young it's always a continuation of, ‘Are you proud of me now? What you taught me, I remember all you taught me now and I remember it and I carry it with me.' After I did each one of those things I would wonder, ‘Now I wonder what they would want me to do.' And they gave good examples."

Harrison decided to return to Grand Ronde. She began working with the tribe in its campaign to be restored to federal recognition

Kathryn Harrison:

"Well, I moved up here without a job and applied for one and was first hired as an enrollment clerk because restoration had started and we didn't know where our people had gone. They left home after termination and so our job was to look for them and we had in mind to start a newsletter. But there were already people here that had started the restoration efforts and so I just joined that team and went door to door actually with some of the people locally here to get them to enroll and help actually enroll for them, just fill out the papers. And then from there I went and got the Administration for Native American Grant even though I didn't come under that but that gave us a full force to go into the restoration effort. I became the community organizer then and they applied for different grants for me to...I think it was three or four grants but I still got basic wage. But it became my job and responsibility to educate other people around the country of what we were trying to do and why they should support us in what we were doing. It became a justice issue. And I was so surprised to find myself out speaking to audience after audience, churches, colleges, high schools, libraries, historical societies."

In the early days of the campaign fundraising was very grassroots

Kathryn Harrison:

"Oh, there were a lot of different ways. Bake sales, always bake sales, had a pie social one time, had a basket social and turkey shoot, those are some of the things...turkey shoot had before I came. But there was always raffles, we always had a raffle to draw the people in I guess. But here you were like they said with the bake sale they just bought each other's donations but they were willing to do it. I think a couple of times they passed the hat for postage to send out letters and eventually they got around to a newsletter and we just kept applying for grants. I think those things you look back and everybody sat around after we got the newsletter together and mimeographed that, then stapled it together and we hand addressed every one of them. And even during those days, maybe 2:00 in the morning we'd be finishing up and say, ‘One of these days we're going to have all this and have a machine.' We have that, somebody else takes care of our newsletter, it goes out twice a month. We just prepare or make the news."

The challenge was to let people know the story and the history of the tribe

Kathryn Harrison:

"Well, we felt the main thing was to let them know we wanted to be who we actually are. You always hear the statements from the tribal leaders in the past that said, ‘In order to go forward we have to reach into the past and take what's the best part of that.' And learning about how our people had lived here and the harmony that was there then that on the most part after we got here that...and have the entitlements. We weren't asking for a handout, we were asking for what we were granted in those treaties that were signed by our people and having made that awful walk from Willamette Valley in a massive military roundup, we had a duty to come through with what their vision was so that walk would not have been made in vain. And I think having our little walks by the cemeteries, by those tombstones, sometimes you felt pretty guilty and wanted to just kind of sneak by them because there they were and had given their all and thinking that here we were still a tribe."

Non-tribal groups and individuals began participating in the campaign. Restoration coordinator Elizabeth Furse encouraged Harrison to make the tribe known to Congress

Kathryn Harrison:

"We had Elizabeth Furse who later became a congresswoman. We had her as our restoration coordinator and she just had such great foresight that she was the one that said, ‘Well, we need to make some of these trips just to let the congressional people know we're coming,' let them know what we're doing cause we knew they had never heard of us. Everybody thought then the Grand Ronde was in eastern Oregon. And so we would make, I think I still have notes that she made of the trips her and I went to and of course those days it was with, stayed in hotels I guess or what you'd say small hotels with people that were Quakers. You had to make your own bed and there was this nice granola for breakfast and all that. We were grateful then too and I think we walked a lot. I remember Elizabeth doing that. One day it was so hot in the summer we got in front of the Capitol and she said, we still had to go see Lester Coin, she said, ‘Would you like to sit here in the grass in the shade and I'll run over to Lester Coin's office?' I said, ‘Oh, yes.' So she took the message and took it over to Lester Coin's. I could see his building across but it was just so hot and we were so tired."

Harrison reflects on her development as a leader with the Grand Ronde. Her work with the Siletz Tribe, which was restored to recognition in 1977, had been useful experience

Kathryn Harrison:

"Even still today I have to stop and think, whoever thought I'd be in this position. I never thought I would. Looking back I can see and I still say today at restoration that working with the Siletz gave me the kind of a tailor made to come and help my own people but I didn't realize it at the time. So helping my own people here was just like the frosting on the cake. Looking back and talking to some of the people that are still around, I don't think we ever thought we wouldn't win and maybe it showed, maybe we had that feeling because when we went back to testify it was three members of my family including myself, my oldest son, my youngest daughter and myself and of course Jackie Whistler and Marvin Kemsey. It was just like, I think with Elizabeth first too, we just all got to encourage each other I guess and I think faith too. It was a justice issue. This was what we were supposed to be, this is where we're supposed to be, this is taking our rightful place among the family of Indian nations and that's what we were going to do. So to have somebody against us and I know there were a few but that just meant extra, an extra meeting, go on out and try to reeducate them because lack of communication and I think the stereotype of where they always put us. I think the Cowboy-Indian movies didn't help either because we always lost. So I don't ever think of us ever thinking that no matter who it was that was against us...and we didn't expect everyone to support us. Well, I guess we did in the beginning but after awhile you figure you can't...there's always one or two. But I think even those have eventually come around when they see that we've kept our word in giving back, help us and we'll help this whole community."

The many meanings of sovereignty, or tribal self-government

Kathryn Harrison:

"Well, to me that's what we've been exercising all these years, even through the 29 years of termination there was always the effort here to hold meetings, to keep track of the deaths and births and to keep the language going, that's sovereignty, and knew where the people were. And when we all came back together for the restoration effort the first thing we did was look for our people. And we know who our people are and then after that of course there was new births and people that were not enrolled, teenagers and people up to 29 years old, that's all they knew was termination so we had to find them. And we put together the constitution saying who was going to be our tribal members, that's sovereignty. We knew where our place was, where our reservation, the land that was given to us. We designated where we wanted, that we needed land. The whole effort, we spoke for ourselves and for our people and held up our right to those entitlements that our ancestors had fought so hard for and that was promised to us in the treaties. That's sovereignty. No one else can speak for you, you speak for yourself and for your people."

On dealing with the complexities of tribal leadership and the inevitable conflicts

Kathryn Harrison:

"Well, you have to, otherwise you're not you. You have to come forward with how you feel because maybe your idea is better but you have to be open to say, ‘Well, maybe yours is better too and I'm willing to listen,' because you get the respect that you give out, that's the same that you get back. I think that's the best way to deal with conflict and then there's no conflict once you agree. It's got to be teamwork and with nine people, first it's hard to get everybody together at the same time and then how do you expect us to all agree at the same, on the same thing. You're not human beings if you do. But ours, as a council we have to keep in mind our pledge that we're here to bring up a better quality of life for our tribal members so that's your guiding sign I guess cause you took that pledge."

The restoration of the tribe in 1983 had many impacts

Kathryn Harrison:

"Oh, it is a wonderful change. Look around...when I come to work every day I just have to kind of take a deep breath and think, ‘Wow!' We had that one little office, that was our office and our borrowed coffee pot and our outside water faucet, outside bathrooms and look what we have today. Each program office has their own little depart...well, they do have their own department but not only that the tribal council has their own office. But we've graduated now I think, from that little office to the depot, the train depot, we were all crammed into there but we still...even that one room office where we started. We held USDA food; we gave out the cheese for the county. We always...I don't think we even worried about confidentiality then and our desks were side by side. No compartments or no divisions or anything."

Harrison reflects on the dangers of prosperity for the tribe

Kathryn Harrison:

"Oh, yes, there's...especially I think for our young people and something that's on our minds a lot as a council is how do we keep our children in school when they have this money coming in that's being set aside for them. Cause even my own grandson says, ‘Well, how much money do I have now grandma?' We have to prepare them for the future when we won't be here so they can take care of themselves and this tribe. It's quite a concern but also I think those of us my age and maybe a little older or younger, we learned how to work in the fields and I think that's the mistake the State of Oregon made was taking the children out of the fields to harvest the crops because not only did you...you got your fill every day and had a healthy life but you learned how long it took to make a dollar so you were able to better manage your money. And to this day I don't gamble. I think I've got $10 in our casino and I think $5 of that was given to me by my daughter. It's too hard to part with that money cause you know how hard earned it is even though we're pretty well paid here now compared to where we started with a little bit of money and the struggle we made with the different grants. We usually had to comply with those grants to have it coming in the next year."

The tribe decides in the late 1980s to start a casino

Kathryn Harrison:

"When the timber prices went down and we went and looked at other tribes to see how they handled, how they diversified their resources we found that they had Bingo and also casinos so we visited the tribe in Minnesota. They're about our same size and all that and they offered to help us. But we knew then we had to put together a corporation, a corporate board and had some good experiences on that. I think it was the third one around we finally kept and that was only because we had a tribal member that was interested by then. During the restoration effort he had come into our little office there one day and said, introduced himself and said, ‘I'm going to law school and I hope someday to come back and help my tribe.' So he showed up and was really interested in what was going on. It was him that we finally said, ‘Well, why don't you be...' He said, ‘If you'll trust me,' he first said, ‘maybe I can do this.' So we said, ‘Okay.' So that's how Bruce Thomas came into our lives and he had gone as a corporate board member to different trips we had made. Of course from then on he went on other trips and educated himself on what was going on but he was already an attorney, practicing attorney and so the different things that he put together then, what he learned he would come back and present to the tribal council and we had different management companies come and present what they had to offer. But they all wanted so much percent of our earnings and here's a tribe that passed the hat for postage. It's too hard to give away any amount of money that you're going to be running yourselves. And so in the end when Bruce felt he could do it himself and put together his own management company that's where we went with. And so we started the building and we ran into a problem right away even though we'd already had groundbreaking that the land we had chosen had not been put into trust. So we had to go back and find...cause according to the National Indian Gaming Association it has to be part of the original reservation and it has to be in trust by 1988. So we had to go and make sure that one part there was in trust where it is now."

The programs of the Grand Ronde Tribe of which Kathryn Harrison is most proud

Kathryn Harrison:

"Well, next to elders I'd have to say education because I think that's something that we have found our place. We have to take our place among our community and humanity and that in order to get along nowadays you have to have an education with the technology as it is and then we have people come to us that wanted to be educated, wanted to go to school and they couldn't. And even the Chemawa School to me was a great loss for our youth not to be able to attend, it's changed too. It's not like it was when we were there, going to school half a day and vocational training the other half. But I think education to me if you can educate your people that's certainly a better quality of life and then next to that I would say the elders to be able to like say not today they're trying to decide where they're going to next month. They've had to count their pennies, still support us all these years and to be able to say, ‘Yes, now you can go where you want to go.' We established a burial fund early on too because as any elder anyplace else they never wanted to be a burden to their children or their family. So that was one of the first things we did and now we offer that same burial to bury their spouse too if they're not members. So I think those are the two, of course I could go on. Next would be the housing. We have housing for our elders too and a lot of the ones that wanted to come home and we have to remember those that wanted to come and never made it because we had a water issue and it took us awhile. But once restoration happened we had people calling, ‘We want to come home once...' but there was no houses and there's no jobs. So I think those are the ones that mean a lot to me. And then of course the buildings I think. Having the education building, that's going to be great."

How she balances public and private life

Kathryn Harrison:

"Well, nothing hard about it at all, I'm still me and I'm just amazed that they think I've done something cause I think all I've done is live by what my parents taught me to not only...of course the Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you'd like to have them do unto you.' How can you go wrong and I'm just grateful and I've often said I don't know what people do that don't know how to pray or that don't have faith. And I know there's...I worked in the alcohol program again down in Coos Bay and it wasn't until one of the clients asked me, ‘How come you didn't become an alcoholic?' I just, ‘Why would I?' He said, ‘Well, look at your life, your life's worse than mine was.' So there I could say because of my parents. They already instilled in me that I don't care how far people try to knock you down, I'm still me and I'm a human being and I'm worth something. I think I told him once that somebody didn't want to wait on me in the store. I said, ‘I don't care, I'll stand there until 5:00 for closing time until they wait on me cause that's their job and I deserve that.' I'm amazed at what they think I've done. I think I've just lived my life under my best choices. I've taken my share of punishment because I think in my testimony early on some other places I think with all the teachings and the Christianity and religious, when I lost my parents I hated God but I was only 10 years old. And I can remember like I said how they carried out their faith giving helping hands to whoever came to the door, taking their children to church, that was their doing, it wasn't mine. But they were instilling us then no matter how little you have you share it and look how good you feel. So to me that's all I've been doing. But I've had help along the way with different ones being there to say, ‘Yeah, you can do it.' And I think being knocked down for so many years as a woman, my alcoholic husband, I really didn't think I was much and that's what can happen to women that are in abusive situations. You have to have something to reach back long enough to get the courage to say, ‘Yes, I am worth it and I am somebody and my children deserve better.' I think I said a couple of times to somebody, ‘When I meet my Maker, the first thing I'll say is did I live up to what my parents taught me? Are you proud of me now?' And then it would be maybe by the grace of God they'd say, ‘Okay, yeah, you did okay.'"

Some steps the Grand Ronde have taken to strengthen their tribe

Kathryn Harrison:

"I can't speak for other tribes. I just think...with our tribe I think we had foresight I guess or people in place that we could turn a negative into a positive. I wouldn't like to see other tribes terminated but sometimes you have to lose something before you appreciate what you had and I think that's what happened to us. We always said our elders, ‘We'll pay you back whenever we can,' because they was always there for us. They brought the food, they brought their beliefs to us. I don't know, some of the other tribes were terminated the same time. And we were recommended to get to know our state legislative people better. Well, we know them and the second recommendation was to get a lobbyist. Well, we have a lobbyist that's a tribal member and have had one for awhile. And I think that comes from being a terminated tribe to have to go to your community and say, ‘We want your help,' and there again with that statement of, ‘Help us. Help us to help ourselves by helping us and helping this whole community.' We learned how to get along. I think a lot of tribes make the mistake of thinking the Bureau of Indian Affairs owes you or has to provide everything. Ah, they do to a certain extent but you need to stand on your own two feet too and that goes with our casino. We know the casino's not going to be here forever so we try to diversify our resources. Of course we have the timber and with that we made a 20-year agreement to not, we can't ship overseas. And that was 1988 so we're going to be out of that pretty soon but who knows where that's going with the prices like they are."

Harrison's most gratifying achievement

Kathryn Harrison:

"My family. I'm not alone anymore. Yes, my children."

The most important task for the tribe's children and young people

Kathryn Harrison:

"First of all, know your culture, learn your language and who you are and go to school and stay in school and it's a given to go to church. Shouldn't have to tell our people that."

The importance of educating non-Indian American citizens about tribal history

Kathryn Harrison:

"I don't think you should ever stop educating people on your history and the Indian law and all those things because I went through that when I was going to school at Chemawa. We put on dancing, there were seven of us. We went out and sang and each one told our history and then I went to school, got married, stayed in the house for how many years, then when I come out here and get in the politics again it's the same thing. So it's just an ongoing, by the time you get your point across and explain who you are, I know the next generation is going to have to do the same thing. I think until we get the media, it's more being able to include more about our history and who we are and I think until they can be on the same level with us and the movies I think it's going to be an ongoing issue all the time of educating people on tribes."

Wisdom Harrison would impart to other tribes from her tribe's experience

Kathryn Harrison:

"I think good communication. We set up that line of communication telling our story to say why it was a justice issue on the termination and I think the same could be used for any subject. Meet them face to face and be there to answer their questions. But I think along with that you have to say teamwork, you're working together and that's what it is, teamwork whether it's communication or negotiations or grievance, it all has to be teamwork. I think don't be afraid to give and take. I can truly say our council, we've been blessed with what our people have reelected. I know we have a new election year coming. I just hope and pray they put the right people in and when you educate them that's what they'll do."

Her tribe's position on who is an Indian

Kathryn Harrison:

"That's part of the sovereignty is naming your own, who can be a member of your tribe. I know in the beginning and it still is with the Bureau you have to be one quarter but our people voted and they chose one-sixteenth and I think we made a mistake in the beginning that we would take one-sixteenth and then whatever the blood quantum over another recognized tribe. Well, we got...we started having many people coming and wanting to change over to our tribe so now you have to have...we changed that, we have a constitutional amendment and our people voted that you have to have a parent on the roll at termination and you have to be one-sixteenth Grand Ronde blood. So to me that's going to keep our blood line going but even in the long run I hope we don't terminate ourselves again. And to be able to say that, each tribe has to designate their own. We've come under criticism because our blood quantum is so low but look at us, it works for us and they can't speak for us, we can't speak for them because that's sovereignty with the tribal Indian nations."

The legacy Harrison would like to leave

Kathryn Harrison:

"I think for me is if you live your life where any part of it when you're asked about it if you can tell it and tell it truthfully and where your parents and the good Lord, the Creator would be proud of you, how can you go wrong. That's what I'd like to leave. That's what I tried to do. Whether I did it or not that was always my goal and I know early on I learned to speak how you feel. Sometimes people didn't like it but they always know how they stand with you and if you're telling the truth and speaking...after I got into tribal business you're speaking on behalf of your own people to keep in mind that you want them to have a better quality of life than you had. No matter what the changes are you have to go with changes that's better for your people. You can't go wrong. But I think if you pray on everything, that's what I've done, God will answer your prayers. And if it doesn't come right away just hold on, it'll come."

She speaks about aspects of the tribal vision that would benefit the nation

Kathryn Harrison:

"Balance and harmony. Balance and harmony in everything because that's what we learned from our ancestors that when you take something you've got to still leave enough to carry on the species whatever, the salmon, or elk and we try to tell that story early on. There was something that they used every part of the deer for so how could there be waste to leave, how could...if you used all the salmon and took it in the right way and you knew you were going to drink that water, your children were going to drink that water, how could you pollute it? And the same goes with the air. If you're living everything in the right way. And it's a God given gift that you're supposed to take care of it and that's how tribes look at things. This was given to you, this land, this air, these foul, these animals to take care of, let alone their people. Then take care of it and that means balance and harmony."

How Harrison has persevered and kept up momentum for her work

Kathryn Harrison:

"I think I've just been lucky to be in the right place at the right time with the right people, the right parents who knew how to pray. I think there were times when I wanted to give up. I don't say that ever occurred to me. I know one time I was leaving here early in the morning and I was going to go to Washington D.C. with Elizabeth and I stopped at the tribal office to get something and here I had my little, I called it my termination car, and I was driving down that straight driveway and I was thinking, ‘Ah, I'm going on the most important trip of my life, there's nobody here to tell me goodbye or say good luck or anything.' And then I thought, I could see all the...back in those days there was a lot of wood stoves yet and I thought, ‘Oh, they're up,' cause I could see the smoke coming up and early in the morning the smoke would go straight up, it doesn't curve yet. I thought, ‘What's wrong with you? Gosh, you're not by yourself, you can always pray and I know those elders are up, they know I'm going and I know cause they always say we prayed for you.' And I'd say, ‘Oh, I just came... Oh, yeah, we know. We prayed for you.' So I got looking around and I thought, ‘Gosh, you're not alone.' And I think that's the greatest thing I have to offer and what always pulled me through. But there have been times I've been just...Elizabeth got sick on that trip. We stopped and ate seafood at the airport. I don't know what restaurant it was but she got sick on the plane and she came back and told me, ‘You might have to go to that first meeting by yourself.' And I, "Ah, I can't! You'll have to get well.' So the stewardess kept coming back and telling, ‘Oh, she's feeling better. They made her a bed, she's laying down in the back, open up some of those seats,' because in those days as soon as we got off the plane we went to our first meeting. Now we can go and be rested up one day and then go to a meeting but then we had so little money. But she got well or well enough to go to that meeting with me. There were times when I wanted to go back and shake her and say, ‘You've got to get well.'"

Her work will not rest after her retirement as chair of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. She is committed to keeping the history alive

Kathryn Harrison:

"Oh, it's quite a responsibility being a council member and being a chair. I kind of stepped back already on some of the things but I still enjoy traveling and I still don't mind doing the history. I think it's something that...I've been asked sometime in February to come here to some group and tell the history again. She said, ‘Somebody said you had a good story.' I said, ‘No, it's not a story, it's history.'"

The Great Tribal Leaders of Modern Times series and accompanying curricula are for the educational programs of tribes, schools and colleges. For usage authorization, to place an order or for further information, call or write Institute for Tribal Government – PA, Portland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, Oregon, 97207-0751. Telephone: 503-725-9000. Email: tribalgov@pdx.edu.

[Native music]

The Institute for Tribal Government is directed by a Policy Board of 23 tribal leaders,
Hon. Kathryn Harrison (Grand Ronde) leads the Great Tribal Leaders project and is assisted by former Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse, Director and Kay Reid, Oral Historian

Videotaping and Video Assistance
Chuck Hudson, Jeremy Fivecrows and John Platt of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

Editing
Green Fire Productions

Photo credit:
Kathryn Harrison

Great Tribal Leaders of Modern Times is also supported by the non-profit Tribal Leadership Forum, and by grants from:
Spirit Mountain Community Fund
Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs
Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, Chickasaw Nation
Coeur d'Alene Tribe
Delaware Nation of Oklahoma
Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe
Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians
Jayne Fawcett, Ambassador
Mohegan Tribal Council
And other tribal governments

Support has also been received from
Portland State University
Qwest Foundation
Pendleton Woolen Mills
The U.S. Dept. of Education
The Administration for Native Americans
Bonneville Power Administration
And the U.S. Dept. of Defense

This program is not to be reproduced without the express written permission of the Institute for Tribal Government

© 2004 The Institute for Tribal Government

Honoring Nations: Tom Hampson: Native Asset Building

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

ONABEN Executive Director Tom Hampson discusses the resilient entrepreneurial spirit that exists in Indian Country, and how it can be a key to transformative change in Native communities. 

People
Resource Type
Citation

Hampson, Tom. "Native Asset Building." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 17, 2009. Presentation.

"That was really inspiring and educational. How entrepreneurial is that approach? And so it underscores the thing that I've noticed in coming here, which is that there are so many threads that are weaving in and out of the conversations here. And I want to try to capture some of those but first I have to admit that I was a little bit unnerved about coming here. It's a long plane ride -- it's five hours -- gave me plenty of time to work. In fact I was looking through my remarks and Sarah Vermillion Echo Hawk looked and said, 'What, are you writing a book?' And she said, 'You're worse than Mike.' And she was talking about [Mike] Roberts. I said, 'Oh, no. Please don't say that.' [Because] Mike Roberts is deathly afraid of something, which is that both our mothers are from Grant's Pass, Oregon, and he's so scared that we're related somehow. I'm doing genealogical research as we speak to determine if in fact I have something that I can hold over him. I expressed my reservations about what I might say today to Jonathan and he said, 'Oh, just tell stories.' And I said, 'Well, okay, I'll do that.'

So here's a little excerpt from a story that is in our second curriculum, called 'Indianpreneurship: Growing a Business in Indian Country.' It's designed and being beta tested now at Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation and it's designed as a peer mentoring, coaching and educational experience for existing business owners and we are writing the chapters as we speak.

Autumn Rainmaker was the dreamy type. She never planned anything. She just let things happen in her life. She just did what she fancied and let life take care of the rest. 'Being open to the universe,' that's what Autumn called it. Being a free spirit is how her mom described Autumn. Space Cadet, that's her dad. That was before culinary school. Autumn decided on culinary school the way she decided on everything back then. She didn't pick it, it picked her. Autumn had just been dumped by Dallas Brings Yellow. She was walking back to her apartment from school thinking that his name should be Dallas Leaves Yellow when she turned the corner and saw this group of people about her age standing in front of the culinary school having a smoke break. The students were gathered in small groups with their white coats and aprons. They all had tall white chef's hats on and thermometers in their pockets. Autumn liked the hats. A young man named Jeff was standing in the middle of the sidewalk. His curly red hair was sticking out of the sides of the chef's hat. Autumn slowed down to move around him and then she just stopped. She looked up into his piercing blue eyes. Tears began to well up and she tried to hold them back by concentrating on the thermometer in his pocket. She recovered quickly. 'Hi, could I bum a cigarette?' That's how it started and now she was in her third year of being the proud owner of Raindrops Catering. Much has changed in the last three years that Autumn had been totally open to. Jeff didn't last long. He left culinary school to become an electrician with his dad. Autumn was totally okay with that. She quit Jeff on the same day she quit smoking. It wasn't something that she planned to do, it just seemed like the right thing to do, get up in the morning, say goodbye to Jeff and bad breathe and start a business. That was her dream, start a business. It quickly became an obsession.

Now Autumn's dilemma is discussed in the curriculum with a series of questions, and then there's a conclusion at the end of the chapter. We use these stories in our curriculum just as we use -- and you'll notice that I'm doing little 30-second spots here -- that we do in our DVD, which are actual vignettes of real entrepreneurs from reservations in Oregon and Washington, and these are four- and five-minute conversation starters. We created these so that the entrepreneurs could also use them as files to put on YouTube or whatever other marketing devices they have. I may just set that up here. No, it'll fall.

It's an incredible honor to be asked here. It was an incredible honor to be honored by Honoring Nations in 2005 and then to be invited to come to speak to you. It's very special since when I walked in the room I saw lots of good friends, some very old-time colleagues, not old colleagues -- speaking of Antone Minthorn -- and even family. Robin Butterfield is married to, is a first cousin, I'm married to Robin Butterfield's first cousin. That would be my wife. And I see Robin left, you know, family, you can't pick your relatives. But as soon as I walked in the energy and the camaraderie was really, was palpable and I felt immediately comfortable and I think we all owe that to the spirit that Honoring Nations staff and board bring to this event. And I want to thank Megan [Hill] and Amy [Besaw Medford] very much. It's very special. [Because] it doesn't always happen to me when I walk into a room, especially of Indian people.

But I'm struck with the notion of these threads, as I got back in, just the things that we learned today from this panel about the entrepreneurial way that these social enterprises are approaching what they do to serve the community. I also learned that in this group all you have to say is 'shack up' and you get an immediate rise, so I've learned that so I'm trying to find a story that has shacking up in it. I guess I did. Actually I did, didn't I? Some of these concepts that were introduced by the structure of the symposium itself, and then what we've heard since are really quite incredible, the way they weave together. It underscores the importance of gathering together to see how these threads would weave in and out, how they connect and how they divide, how they might be woven together to create a basket or a blanket of ideas we might take from here for our own use.

The metaphor of the blanket reminds me of Pendleton, and Pendleton reminds me of my second, and in many ways, my adopted home, the Umatilla Indian Reservation. And as I flew over that territory yesterday, I was reminded of many things. But this week, this week, I was particularly reminded foremost of the Pendleton Roundup. Antone is laughing as we speak. When I came to the Umatilla Indian Reservation to work as the fourth tribal employee and its first non-Indian, it was 1973. It was not far from the 60s -- protests, Black Panthers, AIM [American Indian Movement], peace and love, and contradiction. It was a time of activism in which many people seeking transformation in themselves, in their institutions, in the world. It was that, with that kind of lens as an activist-oriented person, that I first viewed the Pendleton Roundup. The impressive cowboys and Indians, the Indian encampment next to the rodeo grounds, the Happy Canyon Pageant, which is if you have...How many have seen the Happy Canyon Pageant? It's a Wild West extravaganza with real horses, real cowboys, real Indians, white people dressed up like Chinese coolies tiptoeing like chipmunks with made up buck teeth and squinty eyes. The locals at the rodeo leaving the stands to go to the leather buck room when the Indians came into the arena to dance. The year before -- on the basis of the complaints from the Humane Society -- they had enlarged the pens for the rodeo stock and took the space out of the Indian encampment. The irony of the insult was not lost on the Indians, but they were willing to put up with a lot to be part of the show since its inception in 1910.

There's a very charming story about the founders of the Pendleton Roundup who had invited the tribes from the Umatilla Reservation to participate, Antone's great-grandfather. And there was some doubt as to whether they would show up. Their arrival was announced by looking to the east and seeing a great cloud of dust as the tribes road their horses to the event. As one tribal member opined in the Confederated Umatilla Journal, 'I think about the magical appearance of a large Indian village that was built in one day. From the beginning the Indians liked the idea because it was a place for them to show and compete in roundup events.' Now, not to say that there wasn't a lot of grousing about the roundup. In fact, when I was there, in fact there was even some occasional rebellions and as legend has it, or as Donald Sampson would have you believe, the legend, he and his brother Curtis departed from the script one night and rode a horse back into the arena and routed their enemies reversing the storyline, if only for one glorious, intoxicating and probably intoxicated moment.

Well, many things have changed, including my attitude towards that event. I found myself spending four days, all four days at the Roundup supervising soccer players, selling Cokes and watching my children play in the band and showing off the event in all its Wild West contradictions to visiting friends and families. As Wes Greeley, a pioneer descendent and Roundup board member said, 'For years, the Pendleton economy has driven the tribes. Now it's the complete reversal and turnaround.' He praised in the article the leadership of the Confederated Tribes and admitted it was now the tribes that drive the economy of the county. The Confederated Tribes has been honored here in this forum a number of times. Their successes for their innovations have become economic development legend that we all hope will continue, including joint venturing with Accenture, the casino and the resort, the Umatilla Basin Project which brought fish back to the Umatilla River under Antone's leadership that required a lot of negotiation with non-Indian farmers and ranchers. And so as the years pass -- and this is why I'm belaboring this Roundup story, it's a long event, four days -- and as the years passed, the evidence mounts for what Harvard and Native Nations celebrate as effective tribal government development. I come back to a very uncomfortable truth: that a large part of the Umatilla story at some level has something to do with that damn Roundup. Why? Because if I were to make my own list of what are critical elements to effective tribal government, it would be the number one on that list, would be the extent to which the members and leaders are willing to engage and learn from what organizational development people call boundary spanning but we call walking in two worlds.

The Roundup, near a hundred-year-old institution now, has built traditions and most importantly relationships. Armon Minthorn, board member and religious leader, says, 'It's important that we continue to support the Roundup because we share the same tradition with the people of Pendleton. It doesn't matter what race of people we are; tradition is tradition.' Admittedly, it took money and the acquisition and assertion of sovereignty and power to bring these transformations in behaviors, and notice I say behaviors and not attitudes, but CTUIR [Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation] at Confederated Tribes has reclaimed its position of authority in the region by being effective boundary spanners, negotiators, listeners and watchers. The last 35 years has been quite a rodeo. It has been truly transformational and the changes that I have seen in this time span in tribes all across the country has been an inspirational but also excruciatingly painful. And I think many tribes have entered a new and potentially even more transformative period as we speak, one that has planetary consequences. And believe me, I wrote this before we had Chief Lyons and Manley's comments, but I was so delighted to be affirmed in something, that sometimes I'm accused of being overly optimistic or romantic. Because what I often say is that the future of the planet is in the hands of the Indians, because of the principles common to Indigenous societies that hold the interest of the land, the water and all creatures is generally equal to people's interests.

Native American models for economic development hold great and probably the most promise for long-term sustainability. Indian Country has the unique opportunity to develop new economic forms and systems that combine communitarian value systems with capitalistic competitive forms of commerce. It's truly a transformative time or the potential for this. So what does Indian Country have to do to live up to this awesome responsibility? Well, first of all, tribes and communities don't have to do anything. Since when did such a daunting challenge fall upon those who had so little to do with our planetary fall from grace? And yet, Chief Lyons talked this morning about the challenges that we have faced before us with global warming. And said that it will be up to our generation. Let it not be our generation upon whose watch the world crumbles, or more accurately drowns. We need a lot of help. Global crises require extraterrestrial assistance. Manley Begay challenged us with a question about how do we integrate spirit, the spiritual into the revitalization process. The notion is a very important test of our capacity to be a planetary savior. There are many similar tests we could all pose for measuring effectiveness for this role. How do we educate? How do we treat our elders? How do we treat our fellow species? These are all good tests.

Here's another one and finally to the point of my presentation, how do we reclaim the marketplace in the name of the Indian trading sector? That is, Indian trader sector? How do we treat the entrepreneur? That is a good test for a tribe's potential to write their ticket to the destiny on this destiny train. The entrepreneur is called in private sector, small business owner, citizen-owned business traders, independent scallywags -- call them whatever you like -- they're used to all of it. The entrepreneurs have a very special role to play in Indian Country. They are the bridge from the past to the future. I love the story about talking to modern elders about the notion of living in the pueblo, the notion of going back to go forward. Entrepreneurship was culturally, socially and economically a part of the fabric of the community, inseparable like the first strands woven into the structure of a basket, built to hold roots or berries or dried salmon. If we are ever going to have a world that is in balance again, the entrepreneurs have to play an important part in achieving and keeping that balance.

So how do tribal governments and tribal communities support entrepreneurs in the community, especially the Autumn Rainmakers of the world, will be one of the key tests of how Indian Country will be able to transform ancient and enduring values and visions into viable and sustainable economies. If Indian Country can rebalance things, it can truly save the world. So entrepreneurs, small business owners, traders -- whatever you call them- the orneriest ones that come to council meetings, are pretty important. And it's quite frightening when you think about it that the future of the world might be in the hands of such scallywags. Mike Meyers, my favorite Seneca philosopher, has issued similar challenges for us. In reclaiming the marketplace, he says we must infuse enterprise with spirit, for spirit is the source of all innovation, all creativity, the spirit of enterprise. There is much to be gained. Small businesses, primarily family business, extended families with a basic cultural, social and political units in Indian Country, no matter how problematic they may be. Small business ownership is shown to be a very effective way of accumulating assets. Therefore support and growth of family-owned business strengthens the fabric of the society. Small business owners are the reservoir of what we now call social capital.

As you know, in pre-contact times there were all kinds of clans and systems to create events to support culture, to support the doings of the work of the people. Many of those institutions have been destroyed. We're now seeing in transformational way through the creation of chambers of commerce, the organization of entrepreneurial activity, a renewal of that kind of social capital. Unfortunately, from the entrepreneur's point of view, the focus has been on tribal enterprise, often at the expense of citizen-owned enterprise. There are many good and poor reasons for this. Our job is to help tribal policymakers more informed choices in creating their economic mix. There are many useful distinctions about what is appropriate for enterprising endeavors for tribes and for citizens and the Harvard Project has gone a long way in helping make those distinctions meaningful and outline the choices. But it's clear to me that without a vibrant trader sector we are at risk of being just another economic engine just running on fuel or on fumes, as Manley was talking about, subject to the irrational marketplace hanging by slim margins to competitive advantages that are not necessarily of our own making.

Now I have no quarrel with tribal enterprises. Tribes -- first, last and always -- and tribal enterprises are the critical element in making the transformative changes that have to occur in tribal economies in partnership with the small business sector. The social enterprise sector is another critical element. It's not about profit, it's about entrepreneurial; it's about the spirit of enterprise in all that we do. I think we're entering an incredible, as evidenced by our panelists, incredible era in which we're seeing joint ventures and collaborations with Native and non-Native institutions. The CDFI example was a perfect one or the, I'm sorry, the new market tax credits. Boundary spanning must incorporate reservation and urban populations. We're seeing a trend away from, thank God, the old res/urban Indian dichotomy and one of the boundary spanning activities that is making that bridge a reality is entrepreneurship and the desire for entrepreneurs to go back to their home reservations and to create economic opportunities between the centers. We must get past the old boundaries and collectively build Native assets throughout the territory that can be used in all of Indian Country, keeping the homeland, nurturing and healing and growing it but exporting the spirit of the homeland and importing the capital and using that to develop new forms of tribally controlled capital.

And I'm out of time, so I'll make one other editorial comment about the notion of capital, and Sherry [Salway Black] said it so well, is that the essence is not the nature of capital; it's who is controlling the capital. And it's up to Indian Country to create their own definitions about what capital must look like and act like. It can be human capital, it can be debt capital, social capital, equity capital, non-cash capital, but ultimately it has to be Native capital. And the CDFIs are wonderful things, but they're sort of being promulgated as an intervention institution rather than growing up from the source on the community level. They can be an important tool, but they have to be managed by Natives changing the name of the game. We can only make transformational change with words and ideas that cause us to change our points of view and usually that means by tapping into spirit.

All of these stories that we tell at ONABEN are stories that tell us who we are and what we might gain and what we might lose. We have lots of stories to tell. Maybe some of the stories that will be passed down from generation to generation can be about how our generation saved the planet. We can only hope. And in the spirit of Roundup, let's go forward and 'let her buck.' Thank you."

Honoring Nations: Tom Hampson: Native Asset Building (Q&A)

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

ONABEN Executive Director Tom Hampson fields audience questions about ONABEN's work and strategies for cultivating entrepreneurship in Indian Country.

Susan Jenkins:

"I'm Susan Jenkins with the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. I wanted to ask Tom a question. You have, with your Indianpreneurship been working with a lot of CDFIs. Can you give us an idea of what is emerging as far as new businesses that you're seeing?"

Tom Hampson:

"Indianpreneurship is... She's referring to the curriculum that -- as a social enterprise -- has become a significant part of our mission and our revenue stream. In fact, it is critical to our survival as a social enterprise. We also do training and curriculum sales. Thank you for asking that question. Actually, this comes back to what I was saying about CDFIs, or community development financial institutions, as being sort of introduced notions, by virtue of the fact that they are generous ideas about carrying capital to a place that needs capital with a lot of inherent structure in that program. And what CDFIs promise is debt capital in communities to support entrepreneurship. The reality is that, especially at the start up phase, debt capital is a very inappropriate kind of capital to finance an early stage business -- although entrepreneurs do it all the time, credit cards, friends and family and associates -- but still it's not the most desirable kind of capital. And so we're exploring -- by using the World Bank model, for example -- a way of creating equity capital injections into promising ideas using a business plan style competition that's based on the Alaska Marketplace model, which the Alaska Federation Natives manages in Alaska.

And fundamentally, what that does, where I'm getting to is that the reality is that by injecting capital into anyplace doesn't necessarily generate a particular stream of business or deal flow. That has to come out of the entrepreneurial spirit and the opportunity analysis that they do at the local level, and then that needs to get financed. And so generally,what we're seeing is the tail wagging the dog on the CDFI movement in the northwest. We are collaborating with Shore Bank Enterprise -- cascaded to service CDFI -- to help tribal CDFIs create an entrepreneurship development system and they're doing the back office part of the loan servicing and financing. And there's like eight different CDFIs emerging, there's lots of capital around, but the deal flow is what's lacking. It hasn't generated a lot of new businesses but the businesses that are there -- the mom and pop retail outlets, the gas stations, the hair salons, the woodcarvers and other artists. They're all there in the community and our challenge is to match and marry capital to their needs, and we hope that the CDFI can be a part of that solution."

Mediator:

"We have a question over here."

Mary Lee Johns:

"Hello there. My name is Mary Lee Johns and I'm with Rio Tinto, Senior Advisor on Tribal Governments and Native Communities. My question is to the gentleman. I'm curious about your response to supply chain activities by identifying like... I think that we really missed the boat when it came to the casinos. The fact that those casinos all over Indian Country are being supplied by non-Indian operations and I think that we have to be prepared to begin to develop our supply chains to these... I mean that's where the action is, that's where the cash is and yet we seem to -- as Indian, Native people, Indian people -- we don't look that far down the road. We look to the casino for providing us jobs but we don't look to the actual supplying. We should be the entrepreneurs developing our businesses to supply the casinos or any other business. You're talking about the rodeo. I'm sure you have an Indian contractor who... I know in South Dakota we have all these Indian contractors who have rodeo, they do the rodeo contracts; and so not only do they provide the bucking horses and the bulls and all that... But those are the kinds of things that I think that we as Indian people need to start looking at and I'm just wondering what your response is to that."

Tom Hampson:

"It's an incredibly complex and interesting topic. We have an annual conference, Trading at the River, that; it's a lot like this in terms of its tone and flavor which is thoughtful discussion and talking about how traditions of commerce from the pre-contact can inform new ideas. And that issue is a constant workshop topic every year. We beat it up constantly over and over again. The person that can best address that from a business model standpoint is John McCoy -- sitting next to you -- because there are incredible, the dilemmas that... One of the things that is a very amazing and complex problem is the fact that the business model for a casino, for example, is almost requires a business model for supplying it that is mega in proportion that does not favor an entrepreneurial approach. It might favor a tribal consortium, of which there is at least one now that is trying to be launched that tries to address the enormous capacity problems that Cisco Systems -- or what's the other major food supplier? -- they have solved those problems by being mega corporations. And so the entrepreneur, the efforts for the entrepreneurs to break into those purchasing systems is very complex but it can be done, it just depends on what scale you approach it. It's a whole topic in and of itself."

Mary Lee Johns:

"Well, the reason why I'm asking you that is because there is a model."

Tom Hampson:

"Oh, good. I'd love to hear it."

Mary Lee Johns:

"Well, it's not so much the entrepreneur, but it's based upon a tribal model. These friends from Canada may have heard of Diavik, it's our diamond mine, it's Rio Tinto's diamond mine in Northwest Territory. And what we did was -- we have an agreement with six communities -- and what we did as a company is that we saw an opportunity to help develop a sustaining economic there in Northwest Territory. And so we went in and assisted the communities in developing trucking, which is the ice road truckers, the Tlicho government; we also helped to develop an airline that supplies our, flies our workers in and flies our workers out. So there are some models out there and I'm one that I really believe that this model has to be done in other areas so that when a company wants to come in and do business with a tribe, then we need to be able to participate in the supply chain of that particular business if it's on our reservation. And that's why I say casinos is a perfect model for those kinds of things. Granted, it's becoming more of an older business model, but if we're going to begin to be developing anything else on our reservations, we need to begin to think about the supply chain because that's where the... When you're talking about asset building, that's where asset building can be developed."

Tom Hampson:

"I completely agree but what I'm saying is that... Actually, I would disagree at one level, is that casino may not be the best example. But there are other tribal enterprises over which the tribe has a lot more control over the price points that they have to pay in the marketplace that could be, that we are seeing are much more fertile ground for tribal enterprise and entrepreneurship relationships. The casinos are a little bit different problem but they're still an opportunity."