District I Representative Candidate: Norma Jackson
I have decided to run for Leech Lake Band Representative of Ojibwa District 1
Here is my take on how I think tribal government should work on our reservation.
I believe there are issues and duties that the president and treasurer are responsible for on behalf of our tribe.
The role of the president is to lead the tribe on matters of government, whether at the tribal, county, state, and federal levels with the consensus of the other tribal officers.
The role of the treasurer would be to make sure that the money we have in our treasury is equally available to help all members of the tribe or earns us more to help all members.
District Representatives should research what is needed in their communities, find out what is working and what is not working with respect to our Tribal Government programs or processes.
I believe that when we help meet the needs of all of our members, when we leave no one behind, we can begin the journey of prosperity and lay the foundation for our future generations.
We are a semi-sovereign nation. I say this because we depend on federal and state grants for funding that goes into the general fund and respective programs. Proceeds from the games are used to fund different tribal programs not covered by grants or added to some programs that require additional funding. We depend on those grants and those funds. We need to diversify our activities and businesses so that we are not solely dependent on games and grants.
I believe that education at all levels is very important and plays a key role in how we can improve ourselves and our families. Let’s see what and how we can improve all levels of the schools that serve our Aboriginal children. We also need more vocational education, we need native electricians, plumbers, masons, welders. These skills will be essential as the elders retire, we will need to place young natives in these positions.
I went to public school and felt like I didn’t learn much or whether the school cares about learning or not. This must change; we need to start paying attention to how schools in the region educate our children. I graduated from high school and after some life learning I entered Leech Lake Tribal College and got my AA in Business Entrepreneurship.
I can say that the most I have learned is through life lessons and experiences. I was below the poverty line, therefore I was poor. I realized that if I wanted something, I should work for it. I started a part-time job and learned how to make a product and found a market for it in the Lady-Slipper Designs cottage industry. I realized that I had the potential to change my life!
I learned how to budget by going to powwows.
We had to make plans, earn money, and budget for our trips to and from the many places in the United States and Canada that we visited. We went to many places to dance at powwows and dance in our fringed dresses. It was one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of my life. I will cherish the times spent walking the powwow trail, meeting many people and making lifelong friends.
I have worked in the education department for the past 28 years.
I started working as a youth worker, which was a seasonal job. I applied to the JTPA which is now called WIOA where I was placed in energy assistance. Upon successful completion, I was offered a position as a secretary and over the years, having had a good work ethic and good work attendance, I progressed to the position of office manager, prospector jobs, employment counsellor. I became responsible for the WIA program where we help with short-term employment and support services for those who need help to remain employed.
It’s rewarding work because I meet and help people who rely on the program to uplift them. It made me who I am today, if I hadn’t had this opportunity, if I hadn’t had this program that helped me, I would not have made the decision to run for your District 1 Tribal Council representative. I see the shortcomings of booking not being equal for everyone and where we need to improve.
Being a single parent and raising a child on your own is no small feat. I had family to support me, some young adults don’t have the level of support I had. We need to find ways to support each other.
We can’t rely on our tribal government for everything, and tribal government shouldn’t try.
What tribal government should do is help us get the tools and the resources so that we can start being independent. How about starting to make it possible to help all of us become productive members of our tribe, by providing a good living wage so that we don’t have to depend on programs to try and get ahead. Not having a decent wage and a good job prevents many of our fellow citizens from enjoying life and having the opportunity to be successful members of the Leech Lake Band.
Local councils know more about the community than one or two council members, their input would help bring out any needs or lacks, which will ensure that those needs are met for all of our tribal members. I believe in working regularly with our local councils so that information can be given to the district representative, which they can bring to the tribal council.
Only by working together can we improve the lives of our communities and our tribal members.
I will do my best to work with the other board members to move our booking forward.
Many problems plague our indigenous population, such as the lack of well-paying jobs, the lack of adequate and affordable housing.
Lack of incentives and rewards, such as promotions and raises to break out of the stuck cycle that keeps us from being productive, thriving and enjoying life. Remembering students who are educated and return to the reservation to put their education and training to work for our tribal members.
We need to provide training, such as work skills and life skills. Here are some examples:
How to know what kind of work you will like and want to do every day; How to budget and maintain a household, a car; How to maintain finances and obtain savings in an emergency; Balance the many aspects of life to be a happy and stable indigenous and tribal nation.
Find out what needs are unmet and plan to meet and accomplish goals, both on a board and personal level.
One idea is to start things small and eventually they will grow into bigger goals so everyone has the best life we can help them have.
We must enable members to become the best they can be.
I also want to give members the opportunity to have a say in what our tribal government has to offer, only then can we help our reservation thrive.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to participate in your tribal election process.
Humbly – ask for your support.
any comments and/or questions
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