As we pray during this special time for all our families, friends, neighbors and all people, the New Year is also a time of remembrance and when we can set new goals and reaffirm our tribal initiatives for the future. This past year we shared tears and memories with families who lost loved ones, and we rejoiced in the birth, marriage and love of new family members. I hope everyone can carry forward each loved one’s memories to share, and we can all create new, positive and beautiful memories throughout the year.
Our Nation is in an era never experienced before with this Covid pandemic. We must strive daily to stay healthy and to protect our people’s health and well-being from all threats. The decisions we make now will impact generations to come. Each decision needs to be considered from current impacts and long-term implications.
In 1934, the CSKT were the first in the nation to adopt the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) as a tool for the survival of this great Tribal Nation. We have gone from owning an estimated 30 percent of the reservation land base in 1935 to now owning over 62 percent. We are a deliberate, driven people who can accomplish anything when we establish and strengthen our nation building goals.
This same dedication and perseverance enabled the CSKT to conclude a landmark water rights settlement. The CSKT have the largest and most complex water settlement in the country. Many, many Tribal leaders and countless Tribal staff made that happen. Our organization is in transition in an effort to carry out the legislative agreement and to meet the obligations of the compact. The work has just begun.
The newly seated Tribal Council is ready to work. We have the heart and vision to govern now and for the future. We care about the land, education, health care options, mental health, children, elders, kindness and integrity. We have the heart and desire to serve others with the highest standard of honesty, transparency and respect.
The Tribal Council will continue to support a resurgence of cultural skills, traditions and experiences as it is our history and tribal community that feed our souls. The tribal initiatives we now have set reflect a renewal of languages and connection to those important cultural values.
I call on all Tribal employees to serve others with diligence, kindness and integrity. Our obligation to serve others is not just from 8 am – 5 pm. The call to service requires that we go above and beyond in every instance. Our national reputation reflects our employee’s hard work. We will strive and accomplish many great things together working in support of our homeland and aboriginal territories.
Last year our Tribal government experienced stress, confusion, and high levels of emotion, that leads to disfunction and lack of productivity. I ask every Tribal member and employee to be a role model who works hard, stands against bullying, discrimination and any other behavior which offends and belittles others. Act with kindness and integrity and show respect towards all others. Reach out to your neighbors that are in need and be willing to do more and do it as often as possible. Our work in the service of others reflects the character of our nation and our people. The rewards to be in the service of others cannot be overstated.
For all of those who voted, thank you. I am proud to represent all of you and I vow to work with honesty and integrity. For those of you who are seeking positive solutions, I thank you. This is the time to answer that call, a new start for completing our initiatives and doing the work hard to accomplish them. Each of us must use every tool in our tool kit to accomplish our goals while acting with integrity and kindness. We are a powerful deliberate people and we can accomplish great things together. I am looking forward to our success and the honor to work for the membership!