These are some “side-effects” of the Drug and Alcohol Policy
- Marijuana users turn to harder drugs to avoid detection times
- Increased Alcohol use leading to other health problems and death
- Increased use and abuse of legal drugs
- Increase in criminal activity to obtain prescription pills
- Increase in needle use to inject prescription drugs
- Increase in birth defects and addiction in newborn babies from legal drugs
- Unfair application of the policy
The single most negative effect of this policy is the inability to Provide Tribal Members with meaningful employment.
In 1992 our tribal community had a 95% tribal member employment rate which was instrumental in the Tribal-State Compact negotiations and provided tribes with a very legitimate reason to conduct gaming on reservation land.
In 1996, our government implemented the Drug and Alcohol Policy reducing the tribal member employment rate to about 60% tribal member employment.
This represents a total decrease of 35% in tribal membership employment.
Although the Policy was designed to “improve” social responsibility and accountability it has only lended itself to creating more “professional” type jobs, which most tribal members do not qualify to hold.
Tribal members who struggle with addiction, depression and suicide has only increased since the introduction of this policy.
We need to establish a program to help us with these issues but we do not need a policy that prohibits employment of tribal members.
Our number one policy of employing tribal members has fallen along the wayside and is no longer the #1 priority.
If tribal members are working this leaves less time for use and abuse of any drug or alcohol.
Let’s get back to employing our own! First, the rest will work itself out.
Being a proponent of shared power and authority has always been on the forefront of my own political agenda since I became involved with Tribal Government in 1990. It is every elected officials, duty and responsibility, to recognize the people and their inherent right to know what the government is doing with the sovereignty we entrust it with and utilize this sovereignty to strengthen the interests of the people first and not the government, outside contractors, the court, employees (other than tribal members) or other organizations.
Many tribal members have been kept in limbo in our court system, simply because they will not accept plea deals from the prosecution. They are being denied due process and are not only infringing on personal rights and freedoms guaranteed by Indian Civil Rights Act but hurting others by holding up due process. All people want is a day in court to resolve issues so life can move forward for themselves and others involved in these cases.These members are being prohibited opportunity that we expect our government to protect and preserve for the tribal members, due to the court exercising the sovereignty and discretion we allow them to use on our behalf.
The court and law enforcement are also being used for political gain by those we trust to make sure processes are fair and consistent. This should not be tolerated by our government but it is because certain elected officials do not want other influences on current policy and practices. If they allowed other influence then the process of sharing power and authority would be utilized to better inform our people and protect their interests in sovereignty.
How do we rectify this issue when the top leaders are unwilling to even address the issue? How much help is the Federal Government willing to help those whose voices are not being heard by its Tribal Government?
We must organize and confront these issues together so that no one person should have to fear repercussion or reprisal from asking questions and look for answers and resolution to our problems with the government and its operations.
Our top leaders need to stop protecting power and protect its people.