Stephen Cornell and Jonathan B. Taylor speak at the National Congress of American Indians Mid-Year Session in Juneau, Alaska on June 26, 2000. "Our remarks stand back a bit from the particular circumstances of any one state-tribal relationship to examine the overall state of those relations, the changes that are reshaping them, and the implications of those changes for Indian nations."
Created in 1998, the Coeur d’Alene Wellness Center promotes healthy lifestyles by offering programs in fitness, aquatics, physical rehabilitation, childcare and community health to over 2,500 Indian and non-Indian clients. Utilizing a whole-life approach to health and focusing on preventative care, the Center complements acute and chronic illness care provided by the Benewah Medical Center, which was created in 1990 through a joint venture between the Tribe and the City of Plummer, Idaho. Together with the Medical Center, the multi-purpose Wellness Center is the culmination of the Tribe’s goal to provide reservation residents with affordable health care.
Chartered under the laws of the Winnebago Tribe and wholly owned by the Tribe, Ho-Chunk, Inc. was launched in 1994 to diversify the Tribe’s business interests while maintaining a separation between business and tribal government. The general purpose company promotes economic self-sufficiency and creates jobs through its actively managed enterprises, joint ventures and passive investments, which include hotels, convenience stores, websites and an order fulfillment center.
Formed by tribal resolution in 1993, the San Carlos Elders Cultural Advisory Council advises the Tribal Council on matters of culture, conducts consultations with off-reservation entities regarding cultural matters and administers the cultural preservation activities of the Tribe. As a source of traditional wisdom, the Elders Council plays an active role in the Tribe’s governance by providing insight on diverse issues, including resource management, leadership responsibilities, environmental issues, cultural practices and repatriation.
The Grand Ronde Intergovernmental Affairs Department has achieved positive intergovernmental relationships by pursuing a five-pronged strategy of communication, education, cooperation, contributions and presence. By establishing a department whose primary function is to interact with other governments on a government-to-government basis and by locating it in Salem, the capital of Oregon, the Tribe has solidified its recognition as a sovereign with federal, state, local and other tribal governments.
Faced with a growing land base and population, ongoing economic development, an increasing number of visitors to its reservation and new pressures from outside interests, the Grand Traverse Band created a Planning and Development Department, which subsequently embarked on a comprehensive and participatory land use planning process. The process and its outcomes have been instrumental in guiding the Department’s diverse initiatives in public works, housing, public-interest building and regulatory standard setting and in establishing the Band as a respected partner in regional development.
Motivated by the idea that Navajos should decide how their culture is preserved and protected, the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department partnered with nearby universities to create two Training Programs for Navajo students interested in careers in cultural preservation. The Programs combine academic training with field experience and are successfully expanding the pool of Navajo professionals qualified to work in key tribal cultural resource positions. In doing so, the Programs meet important community needs and add new perspectives to the fields of anthropology and archaeology.
Responding to a rash of child sexual abuse cases in Arizona and a federally legislated opportunity to craft tribal solutions, the Navajo Child Special Advocacy Program was launched in 1990 to provide Western and Navajo therapy to children who have been sexually abused. With five offices on the reservation, the Program administers sand, art and play therapy, energy psychology and trauma reduction counseling, and provides services and referrals for traditional Navajo therapy. They also conduct forensic interviews. By effectively addressing a pressing but rarely discussed social problem, the Program is helping to create a safe environment that nurtures children and families’ physical, mental and spiritual well being.
Founded by a consortium of Native nations in the Pacific Northwest, ONABEN's mission is to increase self-reliance by promoting the development of tribal-citizen-owned small businesses and the diversification of reservation economies. ONABEN's programs provide financial counseling, business mentoring, links to tribal efforts, referrals to start-up financing, and access to a network of experienced teachers and business people. Its annual Trading at the River conference gathers together entrepreneurs, tribal leaders, and experts to trade information about small business development. Conference participants also make network connections that can assist entrepreneurs as they try to support themselves and their families while they also contribute to their nations' economies. As the ONABEN network continues to grow, its enormous value to both tribal citizens and its member nations grows as well.
Challenged to provide all of the pharmaceuticals needed by Band members and faced with an inability to bill and collect from third-party insurers, the Fond du Lac Human Services Division contracted with a private sector firm to implement a computerized billing system. The first of its kind for Indian Country, the on-line system interfaces with the Indian Health Service’s Resource Patient Management System, speeds and enhances the Division’s pharmaceutical billing capacity, increases Human Services revenues and improves the quality of care offered to Fond du Lac Band members.
The Pueblo of Pojoaque created the for-profit Pojoaque Pueblo Construction Services Corporation in 1993 specifically to generate revenues for and to oversee the construction and maintenance of the Pueblo’s non-profit Poeh Cultural Center and Museum. By blending cultural revitalization and economic development into a unique partnership, the Pueblo is creating new revenues and employment opportunities through its construction company, and is regaining control over its cultural future through the promise of a sustained funding stream for cultural and artistic activities.
The Small Business Development Program promotes the Mille Lacs Band’s private sector economy by providing technical assistance, training and low-interest loans to Band-member owned businesses located in Minnesota or within 50 miles of the eastern Reservation community of Lake Lena. Since its inception in 1996, the Program has provided loans to more than 30 businesses, including agricultural, construction, service, retail and home-based enterprises.
The Cooperative Land Use Program, which is based on memoranda of agreement and understanding between the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Skagit County, provides a framework for conducting permitting activities within the boundaries of the “checker-boarded” reservation and establishes a forum for resolving any conflicts that might arise. Since 1996, both governments have followed a common Comprehensive Land Use Plan and used similar procedures to administer it, exemplifying a mutually beneficial government-to-government relationship.
The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, a tribally chartered intertribal organization, negotiated a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Forest Service that recognizes and implements treaty guaranteed hunting, fishing and gathering rights under tribal regulations and establishes a consultation process for management decisions that affect treaty rights in four National Forests located within areas ceded by the Chippewa in the Treaties of 1836, 1837, and 1842.
The Two Plus Two Plus Two college transition program is a partnership between Hopi Jr./Sr. High School, Northland Pioneer College and Northern Arizona University that enrolls senior high school students in classes offering concurrent college level credits. Upon graduation, students can earn up to 30 transferable credits to any accredited state college or university. The Program is helping Hopi students attain advanced educational degrees and, in doing so, is empowering them with technological and academic skills that they can bring back to the rural reservation.
The White Earth Suicide Intervention Team was created in 1990 in response to an extraordinarily high rate of suicide attempts and completions on the White Earth Reservation. The all-volunteer team provides many services previously absent or lacking, including 24-hour support for the attempter and his or her family, encouragement of voluntary or involuntary hospital admission for all attempters, referrals to mental health services and suicide education.
The White Mountain Apache Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Program performs all wildlife conservation/management activities for the Tribe and operates a self-sustaining business enterprise based on the Tribe’s thriving recreation and tourism industry. The Program’s effective management techniques have allowed the White Mountain Apache to gain control over their wildlife and recreation resources and to manage these resources in accordance with Apache values.
The Louden Tribal Council created the Yukaana Development Corporation (YDC) in 1997 to address the concerns of environmental degradation and environmental justice, and to improve Yukaana citizens’ training and employment opportunities. The first tribally owned corporation in the State of Alaska, YDC led a successful effort to clean the contamination caused by a local military base, and has provided training and employment opportunities to over 100 tribal and community members in this rural region.