"I believe that Indian Country is developing an attitude of “I have mine, the rest of you are on your own”. I’m not saying it runs to every tribe, every leader, every Indian, because I think that some understand that no tribe is an island and that if we don’t look out for our brother and sister tribes we may be left standing alone someday, when they come to attack our tribe. But others are so busy reveling in their new found wealth and power they have forgotten the number one rule of the warrior; never leave a comrade behind on the field of battle. In the Powwow World there is a ceremony when a dancer accidentally loses a feather. The dancing is stopped and some Veterans perform a “pick up dance”. A Holy Man or Women may pray over it. The individual who lost it may offer gifts to those that assisted. The reason this is done is that the feather is analogous to a “fallen warrior” and we don’t leave fallen warriors on the field of battle, no matter their importance in rank or stature. We don’t leave them behind.
I have written in this column many times on the issue of what the wealthy tribes can do to bring the less fortunate tribes along for the ride. Until the wealthy tribes, as a whole, develop a strategy for “partnering” with less fortunate tribes so they too can find a niche in the good fortune, the apathy we are witnessing may grow. What can we do together to help the less fortunate tribes build lasting economic impacts on their homelands? The answer is a strategy which gives the less fortunate Tribes and individual Indian owned companies the ability to create jobs on the reservation by tapping into the “supply chain” that serves Tribal
Governments but also Tribal Businesses. How do we do that? We do it by making every source from which we purchase comply with our Indian preference policies and Tribal Employment Rights Ordinances (TERO). In other words, doing something we should be doing in the first place, enforcing and following our own laws. Tribes can legally require that every vendor or service company to submit an Indian Preference and/or TERO Compliance Plan that requires a certain level of hiring of Indians as well as sub-contracting with Indian owned sources. Can you imagine the number of jobs that we forego because we don’t do that? It is in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands. We are creating jobs that our people cannot access. The wealthy Tribes should be the leaders in such a movement. Right now they are part of the problem."
Get the Story:
Harold Monteau: APATHY IN INDIAN COUNTRY CUTS BOTH WAYS
Ray Halbritter: Shame on Indian Country for
ignoring bigot speech