Education vs. Experience


Working in government gives a person a whole new perspective on how the leadership values one thing over another, but in the next instance will change its values to retain power.

A lot of us started work in Hannahville by showing up to submit your name into a hat for jobs available that evening. Sometimes you got lucky, sometimes you didn’t. We made about 35 dollars a night with decent tips if the right customer won or you were just quicker to get to the person claiming bingo!

It really doesn’t seem that long ago but in order to work there you pretty much had to be living on the reservation. That was just the way things were then.

Our leadership decided to grow our business and add table games to the selection. The majority of our leadership had little higher education and no table gaming experience but had the entrepreneurial spirit needed to succeed and learn how to operate these games to create additional jobs. Dealing Blackjack, Poker and Craps took those of us fortunate enough to work there to a whole new income level we were not accustomed to earning. It was a great time because we all were learning together and it did bring some sense of belonging and unity.

Then the revenue really hit us when we plugged in the slot machines. It was a pretty chaotic time. There were little to no real written operating procedures but it did not seem to matter because there was so much revenue. We finally learned and started to implement some operational guidelines for ourselves. The funniest thing happened then, someone decided we couldn’t perform unless we had the proper education.

I am all for education but when you start to eliminate experience through policy to promote social change the intent of providing jobs first is lost to those for which it was intended.

We can never forget the experience and knowledge of our people. We must find a better way to bring out that experience and knowledge with less demands on those for which the intent was meant for in the first place.

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