Last month, I realized that giving my full report at Tribal Council Meetings was not working well enough to get the information out to the people. So, I made the decision to start putting my monthly reports on the Chairman’s Blog for everyone to access. I also want to be able to give a little more detail and explanation on what is being done. I know that I always wanted to know what the Chairman was actually doing, and not just “attended many meetings”. What does that mean anyway? Someone could attend a bunch of meetings and never say anything, or don’t bring anything back, which does not help the Tribe at all. So here’s my month of November report, to you.
· ITCN- I have been the appointed President for the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada for a couple of months now. The Washoe Tribe has the most votes on this board (5) and we fill all seats. ITCN is in a re-building stage and I provide leadership to assist in getting them back on track. Many of the Tribes in Nevada still rely on ITCN services that they cannot provide for themselves.
· Truckee Meadows Land Management Act- This is the new Washoe County Lands Bill. The old bill died a couple years ago and our current Senate representatives are bringing it back to the table. It is very important that we stay current on this, because we have the opportunity to reclaim lands that are original Washoe Territory, and have those lands put into Federal Trust. There is no actual bill put in place just yet, but we are working closely with Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto’s office to be kept up to date on what is happening with it.
· Executive Working Group- One of the first things I noticed at the beginning of my term was that the Tribe had no Economic Development in place. It was not in any job descriptions, nor was there any team to go over our business structure. So I created a small team composed of our Executive level positions, who have decades of experience in business and economic development, to go over the many opportunities that the Tribe may choose to move forward with. This team is going through the due diligence process and getting answers to these basic questions: Are any proposals would even be worth looking at? What would work best for the Tribe? Is the Tribe going to make money? We have also created a job description for an Economic Development Director position, which I hope to have approved by Council at the December Tribal Council Meeting.
· WaSheShu Casino- I have been in talks with the Poarch Creek Band of Indians (PCBI) about the Casino which we partnered with them on. It has taken me a little while to learn the complex structure that was put in place to resurrect the Washoe Development Enterprise (WDE) and is making more sense as I learn. I am in talks with PCBI to start a plan for the Washoe Tribe to take full ownership of the Casino. I understand that this was the idea from the start, but there was no actual plan in place. We are now formulating that plan and hopes to be in agreement very soon.
· Native Youth Conference- I gave an opening speech at the Native Youth Conference earlier this month. This conference is put on by our own Education Department and Staff. I think it’s very important to continue to provide our youth these types of opportunities to learn things that are outside the curriculum of the school walls. It also gives youth the opportunity to hear about holistic health and learning in other ways. I also want to note that the Washoe Tribe is one of the few who actually put on these types of youth events. They have become rare in Native communities.
· Budget Meeting- Tribal Council had an open Budget Meeting this month, to show where we stand as we start to close out 2019. I brought up a couple topics that may have made some people mad, but when I see money being wasted I am going to bring it up. It is my job as Chairman to address the areas that will affect all Washoe Tribal Members, and I will not remain silent when I find out the truth of things. I fully understand “common practice” and “that’s how we’ve always done it” mentality. But I didn’t run for Chairman to continue old practices that have kept us stagnant for decades.
· NNDA- Northern Nevada Development Association. This is an organization that the Tribe has been a part of for a few years now. I am using their resources to know what’s going on with regional development, recruit high level candidates for jobs, and network with the existing businesses in our area. Their annual meeting was at the Nevada Governor’s Mansion earlier this month. We made some good contacts and found resources that will help in implementing future organizational goals for the Corporation side of the Washoe Tribe.
· Housing Deeds/Titles- Home conveyances and receiving Titles for paid off homes has been an ongoing issue for the Washoe Tribe. I have been working with our Washoe Housing Department, BIA, and Congressman Amodeii in getting this fixed. The voice of the Washoe Tribe was so loud in Washington, DC that the Congressman came down himself to assess the issue. There are many fingers that can be pointed, but that doesn’t concern me. I just want the problem fixed and we are now very close to resolving this issue that has haunted us for decades. Home Titles should start coming out by early next year.
· Monthly Managers Meeting- Every month the Tribal Administrator holds a “Managers Meeting” that consists of all management and above employees within the Tribe. I attend most of these meetings, but not all. My role is to give them all an insight as to what to expect, and how to prepare for changes. Since being seated as Chairman, I do not conduct business in the same manner as was being done before. We are striving for higher standards, accountability, and enforcement of policy. Next year I also plan to start conducting “Leadership Trainings” for employees. We want to keep good people and provide more opportunities for Tribal Members.
That is November in a nutshell. I am aiming to have better forms of communication real soon. Be on the lookout for a new Tribal Newsletter in your mailbox. And I am creating an email to allow everyone to voice your opinions and get your specific questions answered. I want to know how you think we’re doing. That’s myself (Chairman), Tribal Council, Community Councils, Administration, Everyone. I can’t fix a problem that I do not see. Be ready for those and I can’t wait to hear from you.