As I mentioned in other articles, I helped restore HUD funding for the tribal government after over 20 years of being non compliant. The process was very educational for me but I also realized I was playing politics on a much higher level than the baseball diamonds I was used to as a young man in Florida.
I kept my goal of helping other tribal members.
In the end a large white man named Paul Bird stood up for me at a meeting in Chicago. This is where the regional headquarters are located for Indian Programs. It was a very special meeting for me but the person I had to send my reports to was pretty upset. Mr. Golden was my main contact at HUD, region V.
Mr. Bird delivered the tribes recover after I took a home video to the meeting. This video showed the dilapidated housing conditions many children were living under. The video stirred him as he witnessed the holes in floorboards that revealed the flooding basements below.
He was very upset and said to the group, “Why are we not helping these people!?”
I was very thankful for that large white man that day.
To me, it is not a race thing but a tribal member thing and Mr. Bird understood me that day.
The tribe received a 1.5 million dollar grant soon after this meeting.
I was making 9 dollars an hour to make application for the new funds. Never got a raise or congratulations from my Chief.
The hard part of this job was the survey I performed where an old Indian elder told me he knew my dad because he was the one who gave him the gun…
I probably should have went back to Florida at that point.
People use this against me here and it really is an uphill battle I will never win.
Where to go now?!
Keep writing I guess.