When Indian Gaming exploded in economic development, the Hannahville Indian Community employed the “Banti Rooster” to design, develop and implement a budget process. The tribal government, of which I was a primary player, was beginning to gain local influence as a major economic player in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Willard Stanchina is one of the tribal members main supporters in the beginning of our wealth creation. He was not Indian, Native American or Indigenous but took me under his wing. He would teach me to learn basic accounting and finance management.
He was an little Italian man from one of the local cities but was all business and not much time for foolishness when it came to investing money.
His recommendation for the tribe was to establish an education program where tribal members who wanted to attend college or other training would be well provided for in their efforts. His idea was to provide basic transportation, housing and a living wage, if maintaining enrollment.
He wanted to see all tribal member, who wanted a formal education, get paid 15 dollars an hour with all basic needs provided. NO qualifications other than effort and attendance.
I spent many hours with Willard as we became very good work friends. We often played golf together as there were not many people interested in the game.
Many tribal members teased me and wondered why I chase a little white ball around.
Now the tribe has two golf courses and tribal members love the game.
Todays snippet is in memory of a very intelligent man and unspoken hero in the community.
Without Willard’s Stanchina our tribe would not be in such a great financial position or at least a great borrowing corporation the banks love.
I gave him a check for 325,000 from the Indian Housing Authority I had reestablished for construction services,
He began investing for the tribe and by the time he left the children had over 20 million dollars in a trust fund and many tribal programs for elders and children.
This is the type of history many governments probably have in their core. The unsung hero. The person who never lost sight of the goal.
Indian Gaming was about improving the lives of tribal members. Not increasing qualification and regulation.
Our financial strength is due to this person and tribal history should tell his story.
We both enjoyed golf and I found out his nickname at his home golf course was the “Banti Rooster”. That is another story to write.
Enjoy the day!