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Tribal record doesn’t earn confidence


Houseboats at Keller Ferry and abandoned mills near Omak serve as grim reminders of Colville tribal council’s record of inept spending and intuitive planning. I am not optimistic that council’s approach will maximize use of settlement monies, not during my lifetime, despite observations and opinions of Yvette Joseph et. al. Tribal supported programs have served to justify use of contracted and tribal funds but lasting outcomes are questionable. In fact, a lot of intuitive planning eliminates outcome focus and stresses process. Program staff members scurry around but progress is futile without documented outcomes.

The attitude among some “elected” council is “trust us, you elected us.” rather than, “tell us what you need, you are our client.” “Money,” as Yvette emphasizes, appeals (to these folks.) Some have never held positions with minimum qualifications. Upon election they receive regular paychecks for a job with no distinct compensable factors. Their published reports consist of subjective trivia and are not client focused.

I would like to see use of Qualitative Analysis leading to critical council decisions, where the membership assumes the role of “expert.” This approach would ensure use of valid and genuine statements of need by the tribal member-client. The wisdom of our ancestors regarding education seems to evade us as long as we do not learn and use established planning theory and practice. It then serves no purpose to proclaim “my grandfather, uncle, and aunty always told me to go to school and use education to better the tribe.”

Until a new approach is taken by council, I’ll sign your petition … show me the money!

R.C. Covington

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