2017 is now history, and we’re faced with the challenges of 2018, which hopefully will initiate and reflect hope and opportunity for the betterment of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) and our future generations.
Food for thought…
We have become a microcosm (smaller version) of our nation, and in some respect, the world. At the very least, we’ll be impacted by national and global affairs. To maintain relevance and survival, we must now exercise intellect and empowerment to bring about significant and measurable change for the betterment of CRST and our people.
First and foremost, our Lakota language, culture and existence are paramount. We are reliant and obliged, out of necessity, to mainstream ideology, monetary, material, resource and technological needs. This has caused an imbalance and disharmony amongst our people and jurisdictions comprised of local demographic diversity in ideology, life choices and the ever-present need for change and adaptation. Basically, we are allowing our differences, influenced by modern mainstream society, to divide rather than unite us.
Consider these points…
• Be ever vigilant of our treaties with the U.S. Government. We not only should ensure our rights and entitlements, but ensure that we achieve sustainability utilizing congressional enactments of self determination and self governance designed specifically for tribal governments.
• Elevate ourselves to be motivated, assertive, intelligent, experienced and skilled to conduct intellectual round table discussions of relevance utilizing our own people. Quality leadership consists of high standards: one must be visionary, literate, exercise sound judgment and fairness with moral and ethical values, and always be mindful of leadership responsibility.
• Expect representation of equality and justice from our tribal government, elected representatives, tribal programs and tribal workforce. We should no longer accept substandard services as normal. Contributing factors to a failed and dysfunctional tribal government are long term ineffectiveness, repeat and unqualified elected representatives, territorial programs and directors, poorly budgeted, failed or unsustainable tribal programs and business entities with a unskilled, under educated and inexperienced labor force and other debilitating factors.
• We are a small based population of people that creates discord, disruption and conflict amongst us. We exist in a multidimensional quagmire of dysfunction. A multitude of integral dysfunctions must be addressed collectively to bring about change. We overlap ourselves in many ways that are detrimental to our people who desperately seek assurances of development and advancement for themselves and future generations.
• Tribal government mismanagement and corruption; along with waste, fraud and abuse of fiduciary responsibilities are rampant. Constitution manipulation is suspect. Self-governance lacks integrity that is often displayed publicly. Acts of impropriety result in little or no consequence as well as perpetuate the pattern of dysfunction and corruption.
Change and betterment for our people and our future generations, demands an intellectual, comprehensive and strategic movement by referendum from the people for tribal government reform. An initial step would be to conduct a fact finding investigation using internal, external and forensic audits for waste, fraud and abuse of fiduciary responsibility by tribal elected representatives and officials.
We can ill-afford to spend another year of a continual voice speaking to deaf ears of tribal elected representatives about the devastation and deterioration of our people and communities.
Complacency, acceptance of the status quo, indignant, illiteracy, defiance and opposition will only produce the hopelessness and lost opportunity that we experienced in 2017 and have been experiencing for decades.