Promoting Old Ways
You can help us change the direction our Tribal Council is moving the Tribe from secrecy to transparency. It's very clear from the Primary results and from our discussions with Tribal Members, you want a new direction. The only way this can happen is a large shift in the Council's membership. We didn't simply choose the highest vote getters but met to determine whether or not we had common agendas. Sitting on Council and voting a certain way is easy, this is not what we plan on doing. We all understand the role of Councilors is that of legislation and we plan on changing the direction we are taking the Tribe through carefully thought out laws and resolutions. If we go in as a group with a plan we can make the change you've asked for.
If only one or two of us gets onto the Council any change will be difficult. So we are running as a group. Look at our common agenda listed below, if you agree with us please consider voting for all of us.
Each of us has our own platform you will find through the links at the top of the page. Although not complete yet, we identified a list of topics common to all of us.
Shanna, Tamara, and Fred
Transparency? Blocking citizens out of meetings where the Tribe's crucial decisions are being made is the core of our current transparency problems. In the past all of the Tribe's business was conducted under scrutiny of our citizens and closed portions of meetings were controlled by law. What is different? Over the last 8 years the Council has systematically moved operations of the government into corporate bodies that do not fall under the same scrutiny as our commissions boards and committees. They have also eliminated the Executive from any involvment or oversight with these corporations including our casino. This has effectively eliminated an entire branch of government from our revenue generating activities. If you want transparency, this has to be reversed.
How does the Constitution affect our job? The Constitution gives very specific authorities to the Council and prohibits them from exceeding those authorities. We intend on providing the new Council with Constitutional training tailored to our Constitution. This training similar to many board training but will very specifically look at our Constitution with special care taken to address ARTICLE I. RESERVED RIGHTS OF TRIBAL MEMBERSHIP and ARTICLE II. INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.
Constitutional authority? Over the last 8 years Council has taken several actions that moved administrative and management authorities from the Executive to the Legislative branch. Simply put Council is making a power grab. Why does this hurt us? It reduces transparency by using corporate structures to limit oversight. It eliminates the Executive branch from any management or oversight. Since there's only one branch of the government involved in decision making it has also effectively eliminated the Courts from seeing any disputes over the actions of our enterprises. We believe all three branches of our government should be involved in all our actions creating the Constitution's intended balance. And we firmly believe administrative authority rests entirely with the Executive and we intend on reversing this trend one law at a time. When Council is not involved in administration there are fewer reasons to conduct secret meetings.
Elder's funding? During the first debate we were asked how to stop budget cuts in the Elder's programming after the budget year has already started. This only happens with unrestricted funds that are set aside during the beginning of the budget cycle. This can be addressed at the very beginning of the budgetary process by establishing a minimum percentage for Elders funding. A more explicit and granular budget priorization format would minimize negative changes to their budget after the cycle starts. The same process can be used for Youth Services and Education.
Youth facilities? We can sit around waiting for the Executive to come to us with grants or we can set our priorities, sit down with the Executive and plan facilities (gym, pool, etc.) for youth activities and establish a time line for their completion. In this same planning we will develop a systematic method of coordinating and optimizing the services provided across the organization's different programs.
The Indian Child Welfare Act? Our Child Welfare Services need to be in alignment with our claims in the suit against the State. This is a complicated issue that will require direct input and action from our experts in the Child Welfare Committee that currently has little input. We will work directly with the committee to modify their statute requiring action, input and alignment with our federal claims.
Anishinaabemowin and the future? As we develop new Anishinaabemowin Instructors we need to start prioritizing places for them throughout the organization. One easy step is to begin requiring a language and cultural component in all grant requests. Long term to facilitate these activities we will require a small cultural addition to every building with a fire pit for traditional input in all our Tribal activities.
Tradition or religion? We will provide traditional ceremonies at the beginning of all Tribal Council meetings at the fire pit. To ensure we violate no one's religious rights we'll conduct ceremonies for those who wish to participate at the pit prior to the meetings. Over time we will request representatives from all the various religions practiced in the Tribe come in and share a prayer during these ceremonies.
Health? Health services are used by more and have a higher priority than most other Tribal expenses. Our Mina Mskiki Gumik (Health Services Building) is bursting at the seams. It's simply time to sit down with the Executive and plan a new building. We built the Government Center at Odawa Circle on program space cost expensing and there's no reason we can't do the same for a new health building. In it we will be able to accommodate a pharmacy, XRay and design the building for expansion.
Make Mackinaw a Class 3 Casino? They want a class 3 casino just to get liquor because it's under performing. No, just buy a state liquor license for it. If it still under performs expectations you need to align the original projections with reality for future performance analysis.