The Chief and I: “If it is not your idea”


In 1994 the tribal housing construction program, of the Hannahville Indian Community/s tribal government, completed a brand new government building to house tribal operations.

This building was quite an upgrade as out first facilites were trailer homes, the first having no running water or sewage services. The Hannahville Health Center (Indian Health Service) was across the road and was the main building for bathroom facilities. The nurses were never happy in the mornings.

The building was the idea of the Tribal Chairman, who runs the tribal government and its business for the trial council.

The third building that houses Hannahville Indian Community Government Operations

After moving into this new facility the resources and bank deposits began to grow. The finance director soon approached me as the Casino board chairman and wanted procedures evaluated and improved as one of the class II games were underperforming and losing on a consistent basis.

I met with the Tribal Chairman and Tribal Adminstrator to begin disscussion about the matter.

The meeting was a flop and unproductive.

The Chief left the meeting because the topic was about accountability and casno managers were closely related to him.

For several years previous my ideas were being funded before the Chief or Tribal chairman projects. It began to infuriate him and he cooperated little with me, as we competed for tribal resources.

This meeting was no different as he exited the discussion with the comment to me.

“Leroy, you know what I think. You think if it is not your idea than it is not a good idea.”

We never reached an accountable government structure and it seems we never will realize a dream of tribal members determining their own future and fate.

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