Reflected colors by Ann Fisher “How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” – John Burroughs Ann took this …Reflections on Fall Color
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When one does not have experience in workforce restructuring and the “emotional factor” people bring to managing resources are not considered, the process is a challenge indeed.
The best intentions of management can bring out some ugly behavior in people that feel unappreciated for the efforts. A lesson learned when I was the Chairman of the Gaming Board/Commission. In those days many tribal government workers, like me, wore many different hats.
This created a huge conflict of interest in both tribal government and tribal business enterprises that continue to exist.
One of the areas the board and I developed was the human resource and marketing department. As a manager I was handed a gift from a marketing point of view.
I had an employee with the last name “Feathers” but they were in charge of the human resources. I wanted this person as a representative of the casino. He was very popular with the women as well!
I proceeded to get approval for some of the changes I made and terminated some underperforming management staff.
This left open a Marketing Director job which I felt was more appropriate being led by the Human Resource Director. The person was a perfect fit.
He was a former military person and presented himself well. He was Indian with the last name Feathers.
How much more “Indian” can you get than that?
I forgot about what he felt!
Mr. Feathers accepted the Marketing Manager job but had a few choice words for me. I did not mind, I may have been upset too.
Later Mr. Feathers explained to me how upset he was with me but after a few years he had to admit it was one of the best jobs he ever held.
Of course my Chief will never remember this and my resume makes claims only he can verify.
Tribal nations and communities enjoy a special relationship with the federal government and the HUD Indian Programs are result historical treaties and agreements made well before this writer was born
Part of this relationship requires Housing Agencies funded on Indian Reservations, to give preference to tribal members and their children.
In 1995 I was the Director of Housing programs in the tribal community. Part of my job was to explain regulation and tribal law to applicants.
One day a “white women” (blond like my mom) came in to apply for our recently approved home homeownership programs designed to reduce cost for tribal member purchase.
She asked to apply for housing and was very cordial when i handed her the housing application.
I then explained that her chances are greatly reduced as the award process gives preference to enrolled tribal members across the entire US territory.
He face reddened and she hollered, “Don’t you think that is RACIST!”. That is the mild version.
She stormed out and was never seen again.
The smart “white women” are supported very much if they have enrolled tribal children.
That is a tribal policy I supported and has been abused by many.
Tribal sovereignty and tribal members have not much in common today but we house and support many white women who bear our children.
This done with all funds from Indian Gaming, Federal, State and tribal government enterprises.
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!