Anthony Pico

From the Rebuilding Native Nations Course Series: "The Role of Bureaucracies in Nation Building"

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Native leaders discuss the critical role that bureaucracies play in Native nations' efforts to achieve their nation-building and community development priorities.

Native Nations
Citation

Giff, Urban. "A Capable Bureaucracy: The Key to Good Government" (Episode 6). Native Nation Building television/radio series. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy and the UA Channel, The University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. 2006. Television program.

LaPlante, Jr., Leroy. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. August 12, 2010. Interview.

Mankiller, Wilma. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. September 29, 2008. Interview.

Pico, Anthony. "Building Great Programs in a Political Setting." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 10, 2004. Presentation.

Urban Giff:

"Well, I once equated that to and compared it to the older customs of tribes, my tribe included as well as other tribes, in which the villages of the tribe were safeguarded by sentries and warriors that were away from the villages and they sounded the alarm in case there was danger and they were effective in safeguarding the tribe, the people, their assets. I equated that and compared it to the modern-day tribes. We still need warriors and sentries, but in the field of accounting, in the field of law, in the field of human resources administration, in the field of management, all the functions that a government has to operate under, and that we need qualified warriors in those areas and that's what will benefit the tribes. As the ancient warriors did and benefited their tribes, we still need warriors today."

Wilma Mankiller:

"When I think about developing communities in a real sense, not in an abstract sense, but taking a community and developing the economy, or developing water systems or community buildings or health care or whatever, what I think is that you have to have a strong enabling center to do that. The people who do community development and develop the economy can't go out and do good work unless they have a strong enabling center. And so, again, it's important to have a good accounting system, a good administrative system, and a strong tribal government in order to do that work."

Leroy LaPlante, Jr.:

"You gotta have that infrastructure in place because it's one thing to take a vision and philosophies in terms of how we want to be, but you gotta have the practical policies and infrastructure that get us from point A to point B."

Anthony Pico:

"As Indian nations increasingly take over management of social and economic programs and natural resources on our reservations, as we undertake ambitious development programs or government tasks become more financially and administratively complex, our government infrastructure becomes more essential to overall success. By infrastructure I mean those bodies and directives that help keep the fire lit while the hunters are on the trail. It's the glue that keeps things going when the leadership changes or there's a political crisis. It means attracting and keeping loyal employees and developing and retaining skilled personnel. It requires establishing effective civil service systems that protect employees from politics. It means putting into place solid personnel grievance systems and that decisions are implemented and recorded effectively and reliably. It ensures that businesses and future government officials do not have to reinvent the wheel or lose momentum, but rather are able to build on the success and avoid the failures."

Honoring Nations: Anthony Pico: Building On the Success of Nation-Owned Enterprises

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Anthony Pico, the longtime chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, discusses the larger purposes of economic development for Native nations, why it is important for nations leverage their gaming successes via the cultivation of other nation-owned enterprises and citizen-owned businesses, and why nations need to grow their governance institutions to keep pace with their economic growth.

People
Resource Type
Citation

Pico, Anthony. "Building On the Success of Nation-Owned Enterprises." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 10, 2004. Presentation.

Amy Besaw:

"Next up we will have Chairman Anthony Pico give some words and remarks on his experience as a tribal leader in Indian Country and also from their highly successful Viejas bank, the Borrego Springs Bank."

Anthony Pico:

"Good afternoon. [Can you hear me back there?] If you're a tribal leader, you've got to wear those arrow shirts because your own people want to clothe you [Laughter], unclothe you, and flock you. I'd like to thank the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and the Honoring Nations advisory [board] for hosting this impressive symposium and it's a humbling experience to be invited to share my thoughts with so many whose contributions are the foundation of the American Indian and Alaskan Native renaissance.

For me, whether we're talking about great government programs or successful business ventures, the key political issue is, and keeps going back to, exercising our sovereignty. As the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians moved forward on the path of creating economic viability, I have learned two important political lessons. The first is that sovereignty is the most important attribute that we have and the purpose of tribal government programs and enterprise is to enhance our sovereign right to self-government. The meaning and practice of sovereignty is learning. Learning how to get it, learning how to use it, learning how to keep it. Sovereignty is a shared sacred journey with my brothers and sisters and I'm honored to be sharing this journey with you this afternoon. It's a great pleasure to follow Mary Jo Bane.

I'm a great fan of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and I've read all the reports and had opportunities to integrate some of those within our governance and economic systems. I've often incorporated the outstanding Harvard research on successful business practices in speaking engagements, governmental policies and my own leadership goals. I'm also pleased to have a future leader, or a leader, a young leader, Myron Brown. I'm very impressed with him participating in this discussion. The key to building great programs in a political setting is to have strong and consistent leadership and we are fortunate to have youth willing to step up and begin the sacred journey along with the rest of us. I really appreciate that.

Generating jobs for our people and revenue for our government through gaming has given the tribes, many tribes -- like the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay -- the ability to exercise sovereignty. It has also tested and expanded our respect for the politics of exercising sovereignty. In the process of developing our entrepreneurial ventures, we have had to acquire new political skills both on and off the reservation. To me, sovereignty is the right to govern ourselves, control our resources, follow our respective traditions and customs, and create our own visions for our own communities and our children's future. It's the foundation on which our economic goals and achievements must be built if we are to create a life and not just make a living. Without exercising sovereignty, we are just one more special interest group hacking its way through the competition, fighting for jobs and income, but with sovereignty we create jobs and we create income.

Another surprise, that there was no taking our economic success or failures and hiding out on the rez, at least if we want to be equal to the task of acting as our own strong governments in today's world and in the future. The Viejas has had some advantages including strong tribal government that has been mentored by our elders. Sometimes you've got to be careful because it seems like they're going to spank us [Laughter]. Tribal leadership willing to break new ground and courageous enough to face the risk of failure, owning up to our responsibility, and wise enough to know that commerce will bring change and non-Indians into our lives, and willing to take the heat of forging new relationships in the outside world and the difficult task of balancing our culture and tradition with the new demands of owning non-traditional businesses.

Our councils constantly deal with the issue of which master our businesses serve. Is it the financial bottom line or tribal community? At the same time we have to placate political factions, as you know. They aren't the Democrats versus the Republicans and their divergent ideologies that we saw recently in the political conventions. Our political debates are between traditionalists who worry about the impact of changes and the price of economic success and the self-interest of family factions who elect our councils. The scales aren't always easy to balance.

I would like to share with you what we've learned at Viejas. To do business with our people one must understand our history and to respect how we make our decisions and our priorities one must be acquainted with our experience. To work with us, one must be sensitive to our culture and traditions and it's our responsibility to do the educating. We must offer an economic environment that inspires and motivates loyalty towards tribal prosperity financially, culturally and spiritually. We seek loyalty to a higher cause from our economic gains. Strong tribal governments and healthy Indian communities is that cause, and we must educate everyone who works for tribal businesses or partners with tribal businesses that they are working for a sovereign government. They are invited to benefit from achievements that go beyond making a salary.

Our patrons and tribal members alike know that they are investing in something that will change the world and live beyond our time. Our government must be able to relate to the world of business -- our own and others -- and other governments, and we must be able to do so in a way that is consistent, fair, stable, respected and acknowledged.

We invest time and resources in educating the public, our neighbors, politicians and the media about who we are and what we are. Creating stakeholders -- political, community and business alliances -- is a necessity for our survival. Shaping our futures will require not simply the assertion of our sovereignty -- a claim to rights and powers -- it will require effective exercise of that sovereignty. A challenging task we face today is to use the power we have to build viable governments and government programs. It's filling the void of dependence created by federal policy, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and others who have controlled our lives and resources. Moving from independence to governmental independence takes economic development but it takes more than money. It takes developing the capacity to govern our people and offer them a place and environment that is stable, supportive, nurturing, strengthening, safe and yes, even sometimes disciplining. It's a political, social and spiritual quest.

The challenge is to make sovereignty a political reality both on and off the reservation, to turn an abstract promise embedded in the federal policy of self-determination into genuine decision-making power. Then we have to back up assertions of sovereignty with the ability to govern effectively. It's one thing to have the power to govern, but it's another to govern effectively. The shift in governance from outsiders to self-governance puts the spotlight directly on the tribes and we can't blame our problems or failures on others, and by the same token we can claim and bask in our own achievements. Decisions tribes make now and the ability we bring to the task of self-governance is crucial to our children's futures claim to sovereignty. The success of our businesses depends on our sovereignty and not only our right to exercise sovereignty but how well we exercise that. And finally, sovereignty education is important because the mainline defense of American Indian freedom is in the court of public opinion and make no mistake, when push comes to shove the voting public may eventually decide the fate of Native America.

In 1960, when the federal policy shifted for the fourth time in 100 years to self-governance and economic self-determination, tribes have been able to work and plan more than just simply survive. The result has been the development of economic opportunities for some tribes. Today, an increasing number of American Indian governments have the best chance that we have ever had in over 300 years to participate in and influence our destiny.

At Viejas, our gaming business quickly surpassed our wildest dreams. The business growth outpaced our marketing management and our facilities. We had to make decisions by the seat of our pants. What did we know about gaming? All we knew was that we needed it. Just as we learned to play the game, the rules always seemed to change. It takes time to acquire the confidence and the experience necessary to manage a multi-million business and enterprises. It takes an attitude adjustment to deal with the thousands of employees and hundreds of thousands of guests milling around our reservation. Nobody was interested before; now everyone seems to be interested in us. Too much attention too soon creates other types of problems. We wasted a great deal of energy reacting rather than being proactive. Now we know the difference and now the task is to translate these experiences into future planning and policy that is effective. Gaming, for example, may raise the quality of life and may reduce dependence on the federal government, but it won't necessarily create a culture renaissance or strong government. Gaming success may in fact discourage or blind us to the need to rebuild and revisit our values. We may get so complacent making money, or so busy, that we fail to invest in building strong Indian governments.

Our current work is creating policy that allows new changes in leadership to build on our successes and avoid our mistakes. Diversification is an economic must; however, each new venture brings new issues and decisions, especially when we engage in off-reservation ventures. We have learned we need policies and programs to settle disputes and they must be fairly discharged and adjudicated. This applies to tribal members, employees and guests, business partners and tribal governments themselves. People must believe that the system is fair and this requires institutionalization and objective policies that are rigorously upheld rather than [subject to] random actions. People can't be fired at pleasure and personal politics needs to be kept out of the government relations.

Separating tribal politics from business -- this is an issue that each tribe must solve in its own way. Learning what is appropriate matters for political debate and tribal leadership versus what matters best needs to be left to those hired to run the business. This really depends on the issue and how the business and the tribes have organized the relationship. However, we have learned experience brings wisdom.

The first rule is that businesses cannot compete successfully when the decisions are made according to tribal politics instead of business criteria. This doesn't mean that the tribe must abandon control; it means the tribe must develop strategies and policies and execute oversight that guide the actions and decisions. The strategic question the Viejas council engages should not be who runs the mailroom, but what kind of society are we trying to build? What are our priorities as a community? What uses should we make of our resources? What relationships with outsiders are appropriate and necessary? Who can we trust? What do we need to protect and what are we willing to give up?

The most difficult decisions for me have been when and how to compromise issues of sovereignty and when to draw the line in the sand. When dealing with the federal, state and local governments there's the recognition of the need for compromise but always the haunting fear that an inch given leads to a mile stolen. Indian gaming and related hospitality and entertainment businesses have boosted tribes to new levels of purchasing power and economic growth and we haven't even begun to scratch the surface. Economic success has also given us an appetite for self-reliance. It also has given us a taste of what it means to once again sit at the Thanksgiving table as participants in America's prosperity and wealth. Two questions for Viejas [are] -- and I hope for you -- how to protect our seat at the feast, and how do we get more Indian people to the table? How can tribes with gaming operations help American Indian governments still trapped in third-world conditions access the resources to rebuild communities and economies? And how can we encourage individual Indian entrepreneurship? One answer is, buy Indian.

There's a spinoff economy of cottage industries and services that serve tribally owned casinos and related businesses. They are waiting to be explored and exploited by tribal entrepreneurs and tribal governments. Indian-owned businesses are not supplying to tribal governments, casinos and other businesses -- then we need to develop that capacity. Just as gaming tribes have created new markets, Indians can create Indian-owned businesses to fill casino and hospitality generated market demands for goods and services. By using the purchasing power, gaming tribes can engage, encourage large international vendors to invest in developing tribal franchises, partnerships, or setting purchasing contracts to reciprocate by buying products from Indian companies. Prosperity and stronger tribal governments create an increased demand for professionals, tribal educators, attorneys, architects, and marketing and management expertise. Each time Indian people fill the markets and supply the demand for goods and services our businesses are creating, we are taking the next logical step to developing a stronger national American Indian economy. Gaming tribes have the markets -- we also have the capital, the other necessity -- to invest in startup operations.

There are new opportunities for joint ventures and financial partnerships and we have help from new unexpected sources, our own banks. Tribally owned banks are a source of capital and growing expertise in accessing money for economic development. Bankers make solid financial partners and experienced advisors in accessing funds targeting and nurturing successful business deals. Banks are not in the business of providing loans; we are in the business of managing loans. The mission of Viejas-owned Borrego Springs Bank is to explore Indian ways of enhancing a self-sufficient and mutually reinforcing national Indian trade economy and profit-sharing network. There's money, markets, buyers as well as expertise in Indian Country to spawn a new generation of business development. In the words I heard yesterday from Chief Oren Lyons, he said, ‘We need only broaden our vision.'

The Viejas band has modeled partnerships among other tribes to increase investing potential and reduce risk. One partnership, the first of its kind in the nation, is a limited liability corporation (LLC) named Four Fires. Comprised of four tribal nations the first venture of Four Fires is a $45 million Marriott Residence Inn hotel opening this January in the nation's capital. Another tribal partnership we've created is closing a similar deal on a hotel adjacent to the Capitol Mall in Sacramento. Both deals mix tribal government investments with non-Indian investors and corporations.

Pairing with someone else also has its advantages in that tribes may not have the expertise to manufacture a specific product. We can hire the expertise. Hiring expertise is hardly new. Indian owned casinos have become expert in contracting with others. If a tribe chooses the right ventures and the right partners and exercises the right management, it can generate discretionary income for the reservation that eventually translates into increased entrepreneurial expertise and activity. Many tribes are also providing the money and expertise as investment and management partners of struggling tribes trying to break into gaming. Again, it's Indians investing in and building a synergistic economy.

Economic recovery at the individual level is a bigger challenge. Many Native Americans don't have the tools -- such as access to capital -- that would allow them to elbow into entrepreneurship and many who do and want to do business with tribal enterprises find themselves rebuffed. We must change this. One way is to create polices within our businesses that give preference to Indian-owned businesses and products. Let me reiterate that what we have here is governmental authority to create the type of work, places, and business enterprises that respect our culture and help our people. That's part of the sovereignty package.

There are obligations as well, such as balancing commerce with our culture, ensuring that the businesses and short-term desire for income and jobs doesn't control the government and blind us to creating a long-term vision for our community. To this end, we must exercise the right and the obligation to plan for our communities. It's hard with all the decisions and time that we must put into building and protecting our businesses, but we must not lose sight of the ultimate purpose of economic development, which is building strong governments and nations.

So how do we do this? We take time to involve our tribal community in envisioning the future, we talk to our children, we talk to our elders, we listen to our hearts and the land, and we sit again in circles to discuss what we want our nations to be like ten years from now, 100 years from now. We identify priorities for our gaming revenues that support the most immediate needs of our people and enable us to create whole and healthy families. We plan for the life of our community just as we research and study our business ventures. So how do we begin creating healthy governments and programs? We learn from each other, we mentor each other, we counsel each other; we have plenty of models right in this room and the Harvard Project has profiled a number of these.

As Indian nations increasingly take over management of social and economic programs and natural resources on our reservations, as we undertake ambitious development programs, our governments tasks become more financially and administratively complex, our government infrastructure becomes more essential to overall success. By infrastructure, I mean those bodies and directives that help keep the fire lit while the hunters are on the trail. It's the glue that keeps things going when the leadership changes or there's a political crisis. It means attracting and keeping loyal employees and developing and retaining skilled personnel. It requires establishing effective civil service systems that protect employees from politics. It means putting into place solid personnel grievance systems and that decisions are implemented and recorded effectively and reliably. It ensures that businesses and future government officials do not have to reinvent the wheel or lose momentum, but rather are able to build on the success and avoid the failures.

At the heart of the quest of self-governance is how should authority be organized and exercised? The task of governing institutions is to back up sovereignty and developing the ability to exercise it effectively. Where do these institutions come from? Should they be simply imported from somewhere else? As the Harvard Project of Economic Development has found through research and with successful tribal governments, the task of governing institutions is to back up sovereignty and developing the ability to exercise it effectively. Our unique societies, languages, worldviews and culture contain the heart and the identity of our people. They offer us a guidance and direction and a new way of solving old problems. They also remain one of the foundations upon which our constitutional, legal and political jurisdictions and governmental authority rests.

Tradition is the root of the tree, yet we must remember the tree is constantly sprouting new branches and uniquely accommodating itself to the environment and times. People are always creating tradition. There was a time when what is now accepted as tradition was bold and new and it was probably fearful and certainly criticized in its infancy. Indian culture is the living branches of the traditional tree. Like our vision of sovereignty, our culture must evolve, find its place in the sun, and continue to create, innovate and reproduce new versions of its self. Then we need to continue to take concrete steps creating not just an environment but programs that allow us individually and collectively to turn our visions into reality.

Cultural match is particularly difficult when interfacing with the outside world. We don't always match. We don't need to. But it's important that when the outside world looks in it can understand and respect what it sees. The idea that money alone is the answer to all of our problems is a fantasy and without sovereignty and healthy attitudes about the value of money it won't last very long. I know now that money is much easier to make than to keep. Building an economic base is important to self-reliance, but self-reliance requires more than finding financial investors. It means building a community in which people want to invest -- not just the capital, but their hearts and their lives. Economics that are not driven by a broader vision and values will eventually fail us.

When I speak of investors, I'm talking about more than just cash-rich joint venture partners, I'm also talking a tribal member considering a job with the tribal government or its tribal enterprise. These investors are people worthy of our utmost respect. They offer time, energy, ideas, skill, good will -- or dollars. They are the reason for economic development, but they will only bet these assets on the tribal future because they see a benefit for themselves and are invited to share in the vision.

It also means taking a critical look at how reservation politics may be hampering rather than contributing to the vision of self-achievement and satisfaction for the future of the community. The age of psychology, of scarcity, are over for some tribes. We must rid the bad habits of fighting over scraps created. We must get back to a vision of plenty, a vision of community, a vision of sharing and mutual support. And yes, we must unify behind a vision bigger than the next per capita checks. We need to see, feel and imagine and reinvent what Indian sovereignty is and we need to do this [within] each tribe and within all Indian Country.

There are different paths and future emphases for tribes. Some will strengthen sovereignty through spiritual and religious beliefs and practices, some will provide new models for strong 21st-century tribal governments and others will focus on economic development. I hope all will focus on healing the pain of the past and the psychological damage of poverty and social disintegration that haunts each generation. It's critical we become aware of our misplaced shame and find ways to free ourselves of the patterns of self-destruction, unrecognized anger, abuse, racism that drives so many to alcohol, drugs and suicide. We have to learn to live life again, not deaden ourselves to it. If not for ourselves, then we must seek to be life-affirming for the sake of our children and the next seven generations.

Asserting sovereignty is taxing. There are always new uncharted territories, whether it's employees, local government or neighbors, the federal government, or the resistance of our own people. California tribes had to overcome powerful political and financial obstacles and a steep learning curve in our political battle for economic parity. Our political victory would have never been possible had we not leaned on and trusted one another. There is no greater service than sharing the road of success with others. There is only one greater honor than to be of service and that is to pass it on.

Thanks to Harvard University, Honoring Nations, and all the great leaders who have chosen by words or example to bring our people from the depths of extinction to the cutting edge of prosperity. We all need a nudge, support from someone or something, to take that leap of faith into the future and this is a long journey that we are taking together.

Sometimes it's absolutely thrilling and sometimes it's terribly discouraging. But when I get discouraged, I think of the blood that runs through my veins came at a high cost of unspeakable atrocities suffered by my ancestors and yours. That same blood has blessed this country's soil, I will not let their suffering go unanswered, and I know that they are with me and they are with you when we make the sacred journey to create a place for that next seventh generation. Thank you."

From the Rebuilding Native Nations Course Series: "The Strategic Approach to Leadership"

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Native leaders discuss why it is important for Native nation leaders to take a strategic approach to leadership, stressing that the decisions they make must be made with the culture and values of their people and the next seven generations in mind. 

Native Nations
Citation

Briggs, Eileen. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Prior Lake, Minnesota. December 1, 2011. Presentation.

Lyons, Oren. "Rebuilding Healthy Nations." Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 27-28, 2007. Presentation.

Makil, Ivan. Nation Building seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. April 6, 2005. Presentation.

Pico, Anthony. Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project for American Indian Economic Development, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 2004. Presentation.

Russell, Angela. "Leadership and Strategic Thinking" (Episode 9). Native Nation Building television/radio series. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy and the UA Channel, The University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. 2006. Television program.

Oren Lyons:

"From our directions and from the instructions given to the leaders of the Haudenosaunee when they say -- among many other instructions -- we are reminded and the words are direct, 'When you sit and you counsel for the welfare of your people, think not of your children, think not of yourself, think not of your family, not even your generation. Make your decisions on behalf of seven generations coming.' Now that's an instruction on responsibility, a very serious instruction on responsibility. Peacemaker said that, I don't know, a thousand, maybe two thousand years ago. It resonates today. Today it resonates. Be concerned about the seven generations and how we are going to survive and we survive by doing on a daily basis."

Anthony Pico:

"The strategic question the Viejas council engages should not be 'who runs the mailroom?' but what kind of society are we trying to build? What are our priorities as a community? What uses should we make of our resources? What relationships with outsiders are appropriate and necessary? Who can we trust? What do we need to protect? And what are we willing to give up?"

Eileen Briggs:

"I think that there's a general receptiveness to the new ideas that come. I think the biggest challenge for ourselves is how we listen to each other, say what about, what have we forgotten. Because that's where our biggest challenge...and I have to say I don't know if the word is fight or struggle maybe, is that you have people coming in and saying, 'You have forgotten who you are because this is, look at how you're running this meeting. Look at how this is getting done.' And it's important that that auntie stands up and sort of reminds us and maybe scolds us about, 'Look at, look at the way things used to be done. And look at this.' And that's what, I think in my analogy, that's the message she's giving us, is remember who you are. What were and are the values you were raised with? And look at how we're behaving now and how we're getting this done, how we're approaching something, what we're open to, what can we bring to this, and not just swallow this idea from the outside, whole, and say, 'Hey, we've been successful. Because that's this idea -- we did the thing.' Did we do that at the compromise of ourselves? Have we stepped back and given ourselves time to say, 'Does that fit us? Is this right for us? Is how we're doing this work for us?'"

Angela Russell:

"Well, among our people, when we say leader we say '[Crow term],' which means a good person or a good man, and I think leadership is extremely important to all of our nations, and it's important not only for the leader to have a vision for his people, but as citizens of a particular nation, we need to be very supportive to our leader, but we also need to be participatory in a sense that we need to give some direction, we need to give support, we need to give encouragement. I think too many times it's easy to be very critical and to not look ahead toward the vision. You have to have goals, you have to have reachable goals, whether they're short-term or long-term. So leadership is very important, but it's a very, very difficult thing, because in the past our leaders were usually men who had many deeds, many accomplishments and that's how they became a leader. They were supported by the community, and today it's a whole different role, different dynamics, a different society we live in -- lots of challenges ahead for leaders."

Ivan Makil:

"And as leaders, that is one of the responsibilities you have, is to have that vision and to help to define a vision for you people so that there's going to be several paths that you can take but you want to define something that provides the kinds of things that your people need, the kinds of things that your people are looking for, the kinds of things that are consistent with the lifestyle and those values that are important to your people, the kinds of things that I call seven-generation thinking. Seven-generation thinking meaning very simply that when we make decisions -- and this is a traditional concept as well -- that we think about the impacts of our decision on the next seven generations. Our ancestors in the Phoenix valley two thousand years ago built a canal system and they did it with a lot of vision. They did it with a lot of thought. But interestingly enough, two thousand years later, at the turn of the twentieth century, the settlers came in here with all their technology and their engineers and they're going to lay out, map out this whole new system of irrigation for the valley so there could be growth and opportunity in the valley for Phoenix. So they started mapping this area out and you know what was so interesting? The areas they laid out for the canal system for the Phoenix valley were a direct overlay over the traditional hand dug canals that our ancestors built two thousand years ago, because it made sense, because it was seven-generation thinking, it was thinking about the impact on the next seven generations. And although that's a concept, just think: that system lasted for more than seven generations." 

From the Rebuilding Native Nations Course Series: "The Politics-Enterprise Balance"

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Native leaders and scholars share their thoughts about how Native nations can effectively manage the relationship between their governments and the businesses they own and operate. 

Native Nations
Citation

Grant, Kenneth. "Building and Sustaining Tribal Enterprises" (Episode 4). Native Nation Building television/radio series. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy and the UA Channel, The University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. 2006. Television program.

Jorgensen, Miriam. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Spearfish, South Dakota. April 19, 2011. Interview.

Morgan, Lance. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. January 14, 2008. Interview.

Pico, Anthony. Honoring Nations symposium. Harvard Project for American Indian Economic Development, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 2004. Presentation.

Record, Ian. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Spearfish, South Dakota. April 19, 2011. Interview.

Smith, Jerry. "Building and Sustaining Nation-Owned Enterprises." Emerging Leaders seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. March 26, 2009. Presentation.

Taylor, Michael. Building and Sustaining Tribal Enterprises seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, The University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. 29 March 2007. Presentation.

Ian Record:

"Separated model, in many cases, it's a loaded term. It's saying, 'We're going to separate this stuff.' And it's really, 'How do you manage that relationship? How do you strike that balance to where, you know, the nation is ensuring that the business entity has the best chance of success and then the business entity in turn is ensuring that it's advancing the vision of the people and its priorities for the future?"

Anthony Pico:

"We have learned experience brings wisdom. The first rule is that businesses cannot compete successfully when the decisions are made according to tribal politics instead of business criteria. This doesn't mean that the tribe must abandon control, it means that the tribe must develop strategies and policies and execute oversight that guide the actions and decisions. The strategic question the Viejas council engages should not be, 'Who runs the mailroom?' but 'What kind of society are we trying to build?'"

Kenneth Grant:

"There's a real difficulty in separating the roles with government-owned or tribally owned enterprises, people wearing multiple hats at the same time. And so you're a citizen of the tribe and yet you're also a part owner of the enterprise. A council member is a, has governing responsibilities, is also an owner, is also a citizen. That collapsing of the distance between government and business often creates a lot of role confusion for tribes that is difficult to overcome."

Michael Taylor:

"Dividing the business operations from the politics of the tribal council is perhaps not a panacea, but it's necessary if the tribes are going to succeed with their development. And all the years that I've worked on reservations and I've worked in the tribal facility always, I've always worked directly for the tribe, the struggle has been how to figure out ways to deal with this problem. We need to develop our resources, we need to pay attention to taking those resources that we have and maximizing [them] for the benefit of our people and creating institutions that last, both governmental and business."

Miriam Jorgensen:

"You know, the challenge I think about the most, because I think it's the place that has the greatest fears raised for tribal council folks, for, you know, the political leadership, is the fear of just not knowing what's going on at that corporation. And that just means that there have to be mechanisms in that separated model for information flow, and a lot of times, initial documents that create corporations specify some of this information. It may say, you know, you have to have an annual report to us, and that annual report, you know, has to happen on such-and-such day, or the third council meeting of the year or whatever, but I think the most contemporary learning on this suggests that that's not really enough. What tribal councils need is some assurance that they're going to get information more frequently and probably a little bit more intimately. That doesn't mean that they've got the right to go in and ask the CEO of the corporation or the board of the corporation lots of questions every day all the time, but rather that the corporation has to have mechanisms that are both formal and informal for communicating adequately with tribal council to sort of say, 'Here's the stuff you need to know, and we'll give you more detailed information at our annual report time' or whatever. Different nations have handled this in different ways. I know that you've spoken with Lance Morgan, who is the one who told us what I think of as one of the best examples of this, is just offering the tribal council training for new councilors. Anytime somebody is newly elected that they get to learn about HoChunk, Inc. through a tour and an orientation. There are also tribes that require say quarterly reports that might be much shorter than say the annual reporting-in, but just to sort of update on here's where things are at. So whatever's going to work for that tribe that's not micromanagement and too much oversight, but actual good communication back that maintains the balance."

Lance Morgan:

"Well, managing a relationship between the business side and the political side is a very big deal. We've been doing it now for, I guess, almost 12-13 years. And when we started off, we had a formal set of rules. This is basically, the tribe would do this and the board would do this. And what's happened is that, as issues emerge, as we evolve as an entity, we continue to give more information. I mean everything's kind of slanted towards more sharing and more information rather than less. We still have to maintain certain differences, certain walls, you know. Things like keeping the tribe out of personnel issues and things like that -- just base, functional things that we have to do as a corporation. But in terms of the relationship, everything that we have done has gone towards more sharing and more information. And I think that as you do that, that's very helpful as long as you maintain the core differences, the core separations that allow you to continue to function independently."

Jerry Smith:

"The first lesson I learned is that maintenance of the separation of tribal governments and businesses is a very delicate balance. For example, tribal membership's demand for per capita could definitely affect you as a business. And, given the hands of people in a tribal governance role, they may have an agenda to get more money out of you. And from a business standpoint, we can only give what we can afford to give to the tribe. And so, political factors can come in and wipe you out. We don't go promote ourselves and sell ourselves as a service to anybody because, in my opinion, we're still learning how to do this, and if anybody tells you they're an expert at it, I'd like to meet them. I really would like to meet them. But what we continue to try to do is help when we're asked to help. And we've had tribes come to us and ask for help to do this, and the biggest challenge that I've run into in trying to help those tribes is the issue of control, and government does not want to give up that control, especially in tribes that already have ongoing gaming operations. And so, they'll commit to the idea of doing it, but once they understand that they can't go in and fire the manager tomorrow or go in there and do the things they're used to doing, they don't like it. So, you have to manage that every day. I mean, it's something that I have to manage every day. The governor doesn't have an authority to come in and take any actions within the operations on a day-to-day basis, but everybody knows that when the governor shows up on any one of our properties, I need to know immediately and we have somebody there to make sure that he's seen, he's getting what he needs. So you've got to manage that. You have to recognize who the owner is. And so, again, that's a delicate balance." 

Patricia Ninham-Hoeft, Anthony Pico and Sophie Pierre: What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office (Q&A)

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Patricia Ninham-Hoeft, Sophie Pierre, and Anthony Pico address questions about how to create and maintain a foundation for effective, sustainable leadership within Native nations.

Resource Type
Citation

Ninham-Hoeft, Patricia. "What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office (Q&A)." Emerging Leaders seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. March 25, 2008. Presentation.

Pico, Anthony. "What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office (Q&A)." Emerging Leaders seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. March 25, 2008. Presentation.

Pierre, Sophie. "What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office (Q&A)." Emerging Leaders seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. March 25, 2008. Presentation.

Audience member:

"I know that many of you, all three of you, have eluded to it, but I'd like to hear what you have to say about continuity of the historic information that is within a tribal government so that new leaders can understand what happened in the past and why these decisions were made. And if that is considered important enough, how do you do it?"

Anthony Pico:

"It's important because again, we just talked about continuity of leadership. There were decisions that were made hundreds of years ago, maybe longer, and because of genocide, many of those decisions are no longer even known why they made those things. But as we continue to move and continue to re-establish ourselves -- actually reinvent ourselves sometimes in some areas -- but to know how and why the decisions were made before comes from a long line of not only our blood and our genes, but geography has something to do with it, our own tribal laws from the past have something to do with it. And they came from hundreds sometimes thousands of years of why people made certain decisions to cause harmony within the community. And so that's why I think that they're important. But also another way to do that too is to make sure that there's somebody continues to be elected on a tribal council that was there before that can guide the new people as making decisions or a mentor somewhere that is established along somewhere in there to say, "˜Hey, we made this decision a long time ago because of this reason.' And those are good decisions; that's why they made them. Sometimes they were made through trial and error, sometimes they were made and it cost them blood too. But to not I think consider that and why decisions were made, you're inventing like the wheel all over again.

Audience member:

"We have a tendency to forget the old wars. And because now, it seems like we're all -- the federal government is supporting whatever we do -- but we have a tendency to forget the 1950s, when people were being terminated. And that's one of the reasons why I think that it's really important to discuss why it is that those decisions were made and because so many of our old leaders are, younger peoples question them and say, "˜Well, they were bad leaders because of this.' And that's why I...that's what you're eluding to and I think that that's really important."

Sophie Pierre:

"If I could just add to that; maybe I need one more slide that says, sustainable leadership means that we must become the authors of our own stories. And I really think that that's what it is. We have everybody else telling our stories instead of ourselves. And that's really what we need to do, and to insure that that is passed on from generation to generation."

Patricia Ninham-Hoeft:

"I think in Oneida, we have several projects that are going on where people are videotaping elders and then replaying that throughout the year at different events. And especially now with Oneida, we have sort of this resurgence of people wanting to get involved in tribal government -- people who've never lived on the reservation or participated in community events and they're coming back. And they have no clue as to how the tribe came to be. They have no clue when tribal elders -- like an Amelia Cornelius or a Loretta Metoxen -- stand up to say something, they don't get the recognition anymore from the audience because they don't know who they are. And so this video project, this storytelling project is supposed to help reconnect people to the past. We also have a good minute taking or record of minutes where we capture meetings verbatim and tape recordings of those too that we're hoping to make more available to tribal members too but we don't have a real formal way of doing that. I think that's a good idea."

Joan Timeche:

"If I can just add to that; one of the, the storytelling and telling our own stories is actually an excellent project for our youth. It's a way to introduce them to what's happening within tribal government. And all of our students, all of our children have class projects that they have to do, whether it's History, whether it's English, or whatever it may be. And when they get into those levels...our kids are so technically [savvy], technology savvy, they can come in, they can off their cameras videotape things like that, put it into little short stories. There's a lot of things that can be done very inexpensively because they can do it as homework or extra credit or a report for us, but we capture all of that data. We'll take one last question then we have a couple of announcements before you leave the room."

Audience member:

"I have a question and it has to do with term limits. I recognize that a lot of Native Nations have tribal leaders who have been in office for many, many years. And also hear a lot about wasteful spending and frivolous spending. And I think that that wasteful spending is a good indicator of people being in office too long. And maybe term limits would be useful because then the council or the leadership would change and it would always, there would always be a fresh batch of new leaders with new ideas and new, maybe even more, education depending on what the situation is. But do you think term...but then again, if you look at tradition, leaders a long time ago were pretty much appointed for life. So if you...what do you guys think about term limits? Would it be useful or hurtful to Native nations and do you think wasteful spending is a symptom of not having term limits?

Anthony Pico:

"I think that has to be determined by every tribe because every tribe is unique, every tribe has their own unique economic situation, every tribe has its own unique way of making decisions. Even the topography and where you live will make a difference. And so each tribe will have to take that upon themselves whether they really... Take for example if Tribe A, there is considered by the majority of people that there's wasteful spending. If that is a fact and you can back that up by facts, then maybe you do need to do that. But there are many tribes who have people that are advising and have been there for a long, long time. In my personal opinion, I think the longer they're there the better. That's what I think."

Sophie Pierre:

"Well, having been, like I said, on council for 30 years I think you probably know where I'm going to be going with this. I really believe that it's not, it's not a problem; it's not an issue of the limit of the term. What it is is if you've got frivolous spending that is, it's not a problem of the term; it's a problem of the governing structure that the people have let occur. Because there needs to be, what you need to be working on, is more of a system that is transparent so that the leaders are talking about how they're going to be spending your tribal dollars before they spend it, not after they've spent it. Like in our community, when we do our, when we're getting together -- like we just did this a couple weeks ago -- we bring our annual budget to the membership and then we bring the audit in the fall to the membership and we make sure, we almost force, the people to read it. Like, "˜You've got to read this. This is really important stuff.' So it's really the process of government. It's how you organize your government, not how long your term is. Because really it's like Anthony said, "˜It's depending on each nation,' and it goes back to that whole business of cultural match. What is it that your people, what is it that makes your people who they are and have that cultural match? Maybe it is somebody that's a chief for their entire lifetime, but it's how they report and how they serve their people. [Because] first and foremost, you've got to remember that's what a leader does, is serve the people.

Patricia Ninham-Hoeft:

"I agree with Sophie and Anthony. I think it just depends on your tribe and the problem that you're trying to solve. I don't know if term limits is what would solve decreasing or preventing wasteful spending, and I think it is the system."

Anthony Pico: What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians Chairman Anthony Pico reflects on his experiences as leader of his nation, and stresses the importance of Native nations strengthening their systems of governance in order to protect and strengthen their cultures and ways of life. 

People
Resource Type
Citation

Pico, Anthony. "What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office." Emerging Leaders Seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. March 25, 2008. Presentation.

"First of all, good morning to all of you here! It's an honor and a privilege to be here before you, because I know that there literally has been 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 leaders that have come before you -- if you think about the history of your people and your Aboriginal histories. I'd also like to thank the Tohono O'odham Nation for allowing me to be here on their land. And I'm very grateful to Native Nations Institute, the University of Arizona and Ian Record for inviting me here today. And I'd also like to thank my people -- the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay -- and our tribal council and the honorable Bobby Barrett -- our chairman -- for making it possible for me to be with all of you. I'd like to introduce to you the Vice Chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay, the honorable Raymond {Coy) Hyde. Also, my good friend and childhood friend and one of the ones -- he and his mother approached me many years ago to run for tribal chairman. I remember that. (You're going to get it.) And I wish to express my deepest appreciation to the University of Arizona, the Morris K. Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, Native Nations Institute and its founders and directors and its staff for their continuous and social and economic progress for America's Indigenous peoples. I'd like to particularly extend my gratitude to Manley Begay, Stephen Cornell, Joseph Kalt, Miriam Jorgensen and Joan Timeche and others who have tirelessly advocated for tribal sovereignty and self-governance.

I recently recalled with a friend, the early days in Viejas -- at a time when about 152 impoverished citizens shared the land with an equal number of dogs and cats and frogs and coyotes. There was little economic development then on the res. And for young men and women -- mostly young men I guess at that time -- without a job there wasn't much to do except play baseball and pitch horseshoes. I remember at nighttime, with a star-filled sky, and you could still hear the clanging of horseshoes on iron pegs. I served more than two decades as the elected leader of my people and there were many on the reservation who contend my greatest accomplishments during those days was my ability to pitch horseshoes in total darkness. As in the case with many American Indians, I was raised poor in an abusive and alcoholic family, and were it not for res adoptive parents -- and this was before the Indian Child Welfare Act -- and the support of a nurturing spirit of our community, I'm convinced that today I'd either be dead or I'd be wasting away in some prison, as was the fate of many of my contemporaries. I eventually received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane letters from Long Island University in New York, but I wasn't a good student in my early years. I was continually put in remedial classes, and halfway through high school [I was] still in those remedial classes. And I was really convinced that I was stupid. But there were exceptions, in the fourth grade and the seventh grades, I remember the teachers who expressed an interest in me and my grades soared from Ds and Fs to Cs and Bs. And so I learned then, in retrospect, that such is the power of the caring spirit. I battled alcoholism from when I was a young man, and it's a struggle that continues with me today. It's a struggle that I will continue for the rest of my life, but I am surviving this and I even thrive under those conditions. And why am I so sure? Because I've always been a firm believer of the strength of the human spirit; I've always maintained that the Creator instilled in every man, woman and child the ability to rise above the fray and to succeed where others have failed and to achieve what others may view as unachievable.

Leadership, in my experience, is defined and created by adversity; and I know this to be true. I saw it in Vietnam when I served as a paratrooper in the United States Army infantry, where I witnessed young and normally docile men who in combat reached down deep within, and grasping the courage that they never dreamed that they even had, overcoming fears and leading our comrades to victory or safe haven. And I've seen it here in the United States with American Indians' struggle for social and economic justice and the protection and preservation of sovereignty and self-governance. Our tortured history since European settlement is, of course, a saga of loss and struggle, death, poverty and disease, war and suppression, misguided federal policy, racism and neglect. We've been able to hold onto what little that we have only through the courage of our elders and our ancestors who rose above the turmoil and reached down deep within themselves to surface as warriors and scholars and diplomats and prophets. They were all leaders.

The title of this seminar is 'What I Wish I Knew Before I Took Office.' Who thought that up? Huh? Where is Mr. Kalt? I had some difficulty with the topic, largely because I'm not at a place in my life where I harbor any great deal of regrets. I can say, however, that I went through a transformation of sorts. It occurred later in my second decade of my nearly 24 years as tribal chairperson. I was not so much groomed for leadership as I was influenced by the caring spirit of my people at Viejas -- citizens of Viejas who freely gave of their time. And it's the Kumeyaay way to share and to care for other people as it is I know for your people. Even when we were poor in finances, we were and are rich in spirit and our sense of community of family has always been strong. That's why I've always given freely of my time. As I said earlier, were it not for the community of Viejas I would be dead or in jail, I have no doubt about that. When tribal leaders in 1983 asked me to seek public office, my response was of course to say 'yes.' They knew me. They saw me growing up as a boy to manhood. They had confidence in me, and suffice to say their belief in the human spirit was perhaps greater than mine. And the fact is that they really pulled me up out of the gutter and asked me to lead them.

Our tribal government budget deficit at the time was $3,000. My elders wanted me to create an economy there at Viejas and that was my focus for the first 15 years as elected tribal leader of my people. Viejas is recognized today for its success in creating a strong and diversified tribal economy. We have of course a casino, we own our own community bank, a shopping center, two RV parks, an entertainment business, and we created tribal partnerships in the development of the Marriott Residence Inn in Washington, DC -- a block and a half from the capitol, from that museum, and actually on the capitol mall in Sacramento. And one of our partners is Oneida. And we today are planning to build an $800 million casino resort. I can't take the bulk of the credit for my success. The strategies and policies that paved the way to progress on Viejas was largely the achievement of a competent staff under the direction of able leadership from the Viejas tribal council and our general membership.

Viejas also benefited from the leadership of California tribes during the gaming wars of the 1990s that resulted in landmark ballot initiatives in tribal-state compacted gaming. And again, it was adversity that brought out our leadership qualities of Indian tribes. When we were fighting the gaming wars, California tribal leaders walked in lock-step unity. We knew how to manipulate the press and we were savvy in our public relations. We learned the political game and played it like a drum and we were a formidable coalition. When the war was over we became complacent; we forgot what made us so formidable. With the leadership of four tribal governments rose yet again in referendum success earlier this year and that allowed us to expand the casino operations. It was late in the gaming wars of 1990 that I went through a transformation as I mentioned earlier. Danny Tucker, my good friend and mentor and chairman of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay hired a brilliant tactician -- former chairman Larry Kinley of the Lummi Nation -- to assist us in developing strategy in our ongoing political confrontation there in California. The Lummi and other tribes of the Pacific Northwest fought the landmark legal battles with Washington State and the federal government over the fishing rights. The battles resulted in the victorious 1974 decision by U.S. District Court Judge George Boldt affirming tribal rights to 50 percent of the salmon and the harvest of Washington State. The landmark Boldt decision was later upheld in the United States Supreme Court. The Lummi later were among several tribes that adopted newly elected federal policies of self-governance, embracing self-determination -- independence from the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Lummi Nation has never accepted money from the federal government paid to them for their land and despite crippling poverty and desperate needs, it sits in a bank untouched. To take the money, the elders taught, would be an erosion of their sovereignty. The Lummi have never signed a treaty and to this day they say would be a violation of that sacred right. I've always embraced a vague notion of sovereignty and its importance to Viejas and other tribal nations.

The Lummi Nation taught me that sovereignty was the journey -- it was a long and never-ending trek. That through a hurricane of rival interests, competing political agendas, and a greed for power, the Lummi ignited a fire in my belly and it still burns to this day. It's not economic progress that will sustain Native America for the next seven generations and beyond; it's sovereignty and the strengthening of our governments that will insure that future generations will continue to live what you consider, a Native way of life. That is in fact, what is put forth by Native Nations Institute -- that only by strengthening our governments and non-economic institutions can we build a foundation for long-term economic and social progress.

As you know, times have changed. Tribes are changing. Our children are changing, subject to the influence of the modern world in which we all live. Our languages are dying and so are those who practice and teach us the old traditions and values. We need to see, feel and imagine and reinvent Indian sovereignty into what it is. And we need to do this within each tribe within all Indian Country, and there are different paths and future emphasis for tribes to take. Some tribes will strengthen heir sovereignty through spiritual and religious beliefs and practices; some will provide new modern and strong 21st-century tribal governments. Others will focus on economic development as they build the infrastructure. I hope the tribes will focus on healing the pain of the past and the psychological damage of poverty and social disintegration that haunts each generation. Each can and will carry us to a new place if we continue to share and learn from each others' experiences and examples. It's critical that we find ways to free ourselves from the patterns of self-destruction, the unrecognized anger we have, the abuse and racism that drives so many to alcohol, to drugs and suicide. We have to learn to live life again not deaden ourselves to it. If not for ourselves, then we must learn to be life-affirming for the sake of our children and those children that aren't born.

It's an incredible challenge to break new ground in Indian Country. It's an ever greater challenge to find and forge a path that preserves our roots while accommodating the demands of today's world. The moment has come to exercise and claim such a place for modern Indians. Can we seize this opportunity and create a renaissance for our tribe and people in the present? What we and our elders and those of us before have struggled so hard to hold onto, our sovereignty and our right to self-governance, we can so easily lose. The greatest and most important legacy that we leave our children, grandchildren, and those generations to come is the opportunity to live a Native way of life. We can only keep that promise if we grasp our sovereignty tightly and not let it gradually slip away as grains of sand through a clenched fist.

Am I worried about the future? No. There will be struggles, there will be adversity, but the struggles will make us strong and diligent. From the seeds of adversity will grow our future leaders. Struggle and adversity can bring the best in the individual. I know this to be true and it can do the same for tribes. I have a concern and it rests with the United States Supreme Court and its ability to strengthen or erode sovereignty and our right to govern our own lands. This is where our focus must be, in my opinion, in protecting our shield of sovereignty from attack by the nation's highest court. I have a wish that tribes embrace transparency in governance, openness with both tribal citizens and non-Indian governments. Truth is our most important and powerful ally and I strongly advocate that tribes look carefully at their image with the non-Indian public. How we are perceived by the public and elected officials and policy makers will define our future. We are increasingly being perceived not as nations and governments, with a stalwart and culturally rich past, but as businesses and corporations, purveyors of gambling and that is a dangerous trend. Openness in public relations is an arrow in our quiver, which we have not successfully used. We must sharpen it and aim it to where it does the most good. Make no mistake, I believe -- and I've been criticized for saying this -- but I firmly believe this: when push comes to shove, it's the voting public of this country that will determine the fate of Native Americans.

I'm in the autumn of my years now; my days in public office are over.* But I look over the audience today -- and speaking to others while I've been here at today's and tomorrow's leaders -- and I take great pride and comfort knowing that the future of Native America is in competent and capable hands. I will not chart your future; that's for you to decide. You must look to yourself, to your tribe, to your Creator and just as important, to your ancestors who have gone before you and communicate with them, through prayer or however ways you can do that. They are there and they're willing and they're able and they will listen to you. And in conclusion, never, never forget the blood of our ancestors have blessed the continents of North and South America. That blood runs in your veins right now as I speak. To not do the best that we can and are capable of would be an insult to the suffering and their pain that they had to endure. Fight as fiercely and as wise as you can and deliver Native America to the next generation. Thank you." 

* Anthony Pico was elected to another term as Chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay in December 2010.