Category Archives: Blog

The Chief and I: Tribal Sovereignty

On a blistering winter night the Chief and I made our way to Lansing, Michigan during a frigid ice storm. The Chief did an excellent job navigating us to our hotel but we had to drive very slow. This gave us an opportunity to get to know each other a little better and talk about dreams and goals in life.

It was strange with us at times because we knew we have become adversaries but we still communicated with each other often.

As I reflect I understand his motivation. I was in control of the casino at the young age of 23. I was too green to understand the politics of everything but soon came to realize relationships are a means to an end in politics. In other words friendships are temporary and have no trust factors. In my opinion of course.

Anyway to make a long story short, the subject of “what we wanted to be” came up. I felt like I was 15 again and talking about being a fireman or police officer.

I told the Chief I wanted to be the Tribal Chairman one day as I had recently became chairman of both the Casino and Housing boards. He looked at be kind of puzzled and chuckled a bit.

I asked him what he wanted to be and the response left me speechless for a good hour. The ride just got longer for me after I heard his reply.

The Chief says to me, while looking straight forward, “I want to be a State Senator in Michigan”. I almost chocked. All I could think was, ” Your the Chief of an Indian tribe than has a special relationship with the Federal Government, isn’t that like taking a step backwards?”

Well we tribal members got a memo from our Chief today supporting Governor Whitmers decree or EO.

I guess Chief has fulfilled his wish to work for the State of Michigan!

I am feeeling a little disgusted today.

My Chief has still not asked me my opinion.

I suffer from anxiety cause by years of child abuse and cruel forms of punishment but that makes me the minority and now I am ostracized from my own community.

Are you people qualified?

Tribal governance on the Hannahville Indian Reservation began to gain strength and grow tremendously in the early 1990’s as Indian Gaming was introduced as an economic means to improve tribal member lives with employment and housing opportunities.

It also provided tribal government with an opportunity to control the population as well.

The tribe hired an assistant prosecutor from a neighboring county to replace the outgoing tribal member attorney from Bay Mills Indian Community. I knew him as “Mickey or Mick”. He was one of the silent champions of the tribal gaming compact negotiation with the State of Michigan. He moved on to become the Presidsent of the College on his reservation.

His replacement became nothing but a challenge to opportunities I thought belonged to tribal members. One of these was making decisions about child welfare issues occurring within the boundaries of the reservation.

Our tribe used to elect community boards every year and I was honored to have served on the Child Welfare board for one year. During that year the new tribal attorney became an adversary as we disagreed on regulatory control. In order to receive more “free funding” from the State of Michigan we needed tougher or more stringent guidelines than the Federal guidelines provided by ICWA.

I was not in support of this and felt it was taking away authority from the Child welfare board. When I questioned the new attorney about this her response was, “do you think you people are really qualified to make these descions?” I was immediately insulted as a member of that board.

I made an issue of this at our next meeting and the board decided to make all the decisions in regard to taking or leaving tribal children in homes that were experiencing dysfunctions compared to other communities. The attorney and child welfare team gave me some real nasty looks that day but for that year, the board was qualified to make decisions on its own merits, following guidelines provided by the federal government, not state.

Our resources were growing at an exponetially huge rate and budgeting needed to be established. I had to remove myself from several boards and concentrated on housing and gaming development.

Soon after the child welfare team and the attorney took back authority and implemented state standards which severely restricted tribal control of adoptions and other child welfare issues.

Tribal control was lost to implementing higher standards and the only people “qualified” were largely non-tribal people.

All for the “free funding”, our control was given over to non-tribal members again.

The child welfare board is still in existence but is merely a mouthpeice for the state of Michigan and its standards for Indian people and their children.

The political money (tribal member resources) games continue on the reservation as we continue to “disqualify” tribal members for jobs and governmental positions.

Tribal governments will never grow to protect tribal members if they continue to believe they are not qualified.

Political corruption is alive and well here, that is for sure.

Alternative information

Not sure about much anymore but the sites like these provide good information.

These types of site do not fit the narrative held by mainstream media and propaganda.

All governed people should take back their consent to corruption.

Enjoy these alternative views.

Max Igan

youtu.be/5yo_uALpJYQ

The Dollar Vigilante

https://youtu.be/9ID6fNN5Urs

My Dad Wilsey

My tribe allowed me to be adopted by the Wilsey Family in the mid 1970. The entire affair gave three “Indian” children a spotlight in the legal arena. My earliest recollection were rumors that “my people” were looking for the three of us, as we lived out of suitcases for a brief period of time. Eventually the tribe awarded “us three” to our cousin’s family on my mother side, she was a white Swedish women. I remember her as an angel.

Former Court house where adoption took place

Anyway, Dad Wilsey had to make plenty of personal sacrifices for us and the strain was a lot for his family. It literally has taken a lifetime to have an appreciation for the real fear he felt for losing us. Many nights he would sit the three of us down, by himself, and literally cry. He would let us know we worth all the trouble in the world.

Today I remember my Dad Wilsey who was a highly decorated war veteran of the Korean War, which left my father skeptical of government but he maintained his allegiance to the country.

I have many stories of “Pops”, and as I approach my final years I have a greater appreciation for the sacrifices he made for three children in need. I am proud to call him Dad. Without him and the guidance from him and his family, I would not be able to form my own opinion and be able to stand up for that, even if he did not agree.

He taught me to stand up for myself and learn to take care of myself because as he said “no one else is going to do it for you”.

Happy Father’s Day Dad and thanks for the confidence.

Happy Father’s Day to all men who make sacrifices for our children’s comfort today.

The Chief and I: The Water Tower

After completing the water tower portion of the Home-ownership project in 1993, the Director of HUD, Region V Indian Programs, sent me a congratulatory letter on achieving the task of resolving compliance issues and the success of our building project. I immediately shared it with my direct boss, the tribal administrator and the Chief of the Council. They seemed fairly happy for me but after a few years it dawned on me that I had started a competition of sorts. Not my intention but that is how it was between the three of us from that point forward. The tribal-administrator became my first, “go-tween” communicator, as the Chief and I began to cement our rivalry.

The HUD funded water tower was constructed to service BIA school and the housing project. The tribe would match the program with a portion of my salary which was about 8 dollars an hour with full benefits. The IHS (Indian Health Service) representative invited the Cheif and I to take a tour of the newly constructed water tower similar to the one located at our golf course.

Tribal infrastructure services local Michigan township in Bark River

We met at the empty water tower. After entering the access area I immediately started to climb up the ladder, no saftey gear at all. Soon the Cheif and the IHS contract adminstrator were behind me as we ascended up the ladder, unsecured. I was pretty young and dumb, did I mention that fact?!

I wonder why they followed me to this day and often assume it is an internal drive to compete or something becuas it sure was dangerous.

On the descent my hand became very sweaty half-way down but we all made it down.

Too bad we did not film this lack of safety.

More later…

The Chief and I: Low-Rent Housing Program

I mentioned earlier the Chief and tribal council government of the Hannahville Indian Community hired me to manage and resolve compliance issues with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in order resume housing construction programs for the tribe.

Several federal programs were available, such as the section 8 voucher or another low-rent housing program. The board and I chose a rent-to-own program called the Mutual help Homeowner Opportunity Program, which provided housing at a discounted rate. Another income-based housing program but one the resulted in owning the housing unit for the tribal member. Another lesson in local and family politics in this process too, but that is another story as well.

The director of Region V, HUD Indian Programs was a Choctaw man, and very insistent on rule and regulation enforcement, even when the project was over 20 years old with dilapidated and rotting housing units, he still wanted 30% of tribal member income collected as rent to fund housing operations. If done successfully this would resolve compliance issues and grant status would be restored to the tribal entity.

Re-certification or Certification is a process where household income is evaluated and rental payment are based on the adjusted income. The Chief live in one of the 15 units of low-income housing project from the 1970’s. I computed his payment first and found out the amount would be quite high. He said he was not paying that much for a house in the condition he lived in at the time. I agree with him but he wanted the program reinstituted but did not want to pay his rent. It made my job more difficult and also created a negative relationship with him and the director. At this point I felt both were making my job harder. I just wanted to see some Indian people get housing.

Hence, my very negative political career began. I was very young and gullible to the world. I thought everyone played fair. I should have known better after seeing many “trustworthy” people take advantage of my Dad Wilsey.

Tribal entrepreneur performing routine maintenance for tribe.
Ty doing the prep work

The board (tribal government leaders) and I eventfully resolved the 20 year compliance issue and won a new contract for 1.4 million that funded a 10 unit home ownership project with water and newer infrastructure.

More later…

Vote for yourself next time

My experience as a tribal politician began when I learned that being insecure in any race, will cost you the “win”.

The first time I decided to “run” for a leadership position in tribal government I ran against the current Chief of the Tribal Council and lost by one vote. My inexperience and sheer lack of understanding of competition cost me the chairmanship of the Tribal Gaming Board in 1991. A few people really teased me a lot but the following year I did vote for myself and managed to secure the postion year after year until the late 1990’s

Organizing any business after business has already started is a challenge in any industry, the gaming industry presents many challenges as the inventory is cash.

When our tribe first “turned on” our slot machines, we had no management plan or controls to make sure people were not taking “excess inventory home with them. In the beginning we had no surveillance cameras and “leakage” was a major issue.

Eventually the board established depositng procedures and contintued to work on internal processes in terms of cash handling.

After 15 months the board improved deposits by nearly 200%. Not bad for a governmental unit. Eventually the deposits normalized to produce many tribal government programs, like housing, childcare, youth services and overhead costs to administer tribal government programs.

Overall it was a pretty successful government-run operation the tribal members had allowed their tribal council to participate in starting with car bingo in the 1980’s

Tribal operations had grown immensely since that time and now employs roughly 200 people to manage and govern operation funded with gaming revenue.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

I recently acquired a business degree, cost-benefit analysis is a major factor in evaluating business health.

Let me demonstrate from a personal level.

Yesterday, I attempted to do some gaming where I normally lose about 100 visit. I want to win of course but I know I am supporting some kid or parent in having a job and I go about my business after losing my shirt.

Now I am no longer allowed in the gaming establishment, my “public administration” builing or the Indian Health Service with out a mask.

Who is paying for all this if they are refusing long term customers like me?

I figure it cost the tribe for my refusal of service.

Young person to tell me I can not enter is paid 10 bucks an hour, while constuction is taking place about 100 yards away. Not only is that young masked fellow getting paid to turn away business, we have a room full of accountants out back smoking cigarette after cigarette with no masks on or praticing social distancing. Let just say they all get 10 bucks an hour. We are looking at about 100 bucks and hour to tell me no plus the 100 I normally lose.

The House just took a beating.

I still have not paid top management officials averaging 90 grand a year.

COVID is a killer of business too. No testing for that one.

Blame the children?

Speaking ones mind does come at a price. May be this is natural wind damage too.

Well blame the kids of course, we had a party 2 days ago.

The children respect this greenhouse as they helped and watch me build it after my third stroke.

Wind Damage?

I am not intimidated but feel pretty sad.

The children will be to blame or wind damage.

Political Corruption

I sympathize with the families and ethnic groups that suffer from racism, I am a half-breed but you would not know to look at me. I have been verbally assaulted in many scenarios throughout life involving race, as I am often labeled a “Wetback”, “Chico”, and other assortment of name calling from all races. All designed to make be feel ashamed and most never know I am a half-breed “white guy” (Swedish mom). To look at me one would think I am of Mexican descent. These comment can come from any race, person or “sexual orientation” people. None care about how they talk to others they do not know.

Understanding and living with racism is difficult enough, I have arrived at a point where I do not recognize when people are treating me different, based on my skin color. It often frustrates me because I forget it is a real factor in our society.

As a person who has suffered racism and reverse racism from my own tribal members I know it is an issue but not as important as Political corruption in governments.

Yesterday I published an article about activties involving Michigan Governers standards for tribal casinos to open in Michigan. I also pointed out how tribal politics has already started with this mask wearing business.

The article led to information about tribal leaders or tribal government officials action in regard to use of Federal resources. Not even a day passed and I start getting contacted by tribal government officials asking me to not talk about things from 20 years ago…uh this incident was a few days ago, not 20 years ago and it is not about me.

I guess the tribal government is worried about how they treated me over the past 20 years. I tried to resolve the matter with the tribal government represetatives. They told me to go to the work rehab program. They additional spread community rumors that I went there because I was not getting what I want.

I want fair play and equal treatment. If they want to talk about how I have been treated over the past 20 years and not last week that is OK too.

I have to talk on here though because I am not masking up for anyone to meet them in person.

God would not want me to be ashamed myself. Besides mask wearing is just a new form of discrimination already being practised quite efficiently

That is the my side of the story. Maybe they should publish their side of things, like firing me because people just can not get over me calling them in a black out drunk 20 years ago.

Have a nice day.

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