Working for a tribal corporation

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BackwoodsIdaho, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. BackwoodsIdaho

    BackwoodsIdaho Well-Known Member

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    Anyone have any experiences being a non-tribal employee or contractor to a tribal corporation? Interested in any experience, good or bad. Especially interested in Indian preference hiring and or discrimination against white or non-tribal employees.
     
  2. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Well-Known Member

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    You are expendable. You'll do at your job until a native american wants or is finally qualified. Then you will be histotory. This may take a few weeks or many many years. They will pick a half hearted excuse. And you can't sue or anything. As the job want ad probably stated indian preference, this really means "until we get one of our own".
    I know this from living on the Wind River Indian Reservation, in Wyoming, for many years. shadowwalker
     

  3. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am also interested in hearing anyone's thoughts, since I have thought about trying to go to work for a tribe in Idaho.

    What I have heard in this area, the tribe pays far better for my field than other places with all federal holidays paid, as well as all tribal holidays paid. Not to mention the time-and a half or double-time for Sundays and shift deferential for working graveyards. I've also heard tranining and equipment is top-notch.
     
  4. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    I worked for a tribal government for five years, ending as a program director.

    My advice would be: Run, do not walk, away from these jobs! :no:

    If you simply MUST take one, be prepared to work with a lot of people who will dislike you. The default assumption will be that you're bad, not good, and you will fight a daily battle to overcome this assumption. Even if you eventually are generally liked, you will never quite be good enough. People will still stop talking when you enter the room ...

    Be prepared to have "phantom" co-workers (tribal members who get paid at the same rate you do, but who do not have the requisite job skills, rarely show up for work, or are habitually late and leave early). Accept the fact that you basically have NO rights, and as Shadowalker indicated, if a tribal member wants your job, you'll be outta there! If you are a manager, be prepared to be pressured to hire totally unqualified people, simply because they happen to be a tribal official's nephew or daughter, etc. Accept the fact that if you complain, you may very well be fired, and the nephew/daughter will be promoted to replace you.

    Be prepared to encounter things that totally defy logic, but that you will be expected to accept without question. An example: a tribal court employee where I worked was caught on videotape stealing money that was being held as evidence in a case. She was not prosecuted; however, she was forced to resign from her position as a member of the tribal council, with the theft cited as the reason. About 3 years later, she was hired as the tribal casino's director of security ....

    If you can deal with this kind of stuff without going crazy, you'll do fine. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Here in Wisconsin, the various tribes hire thousands of non-tribal members, mainly as casino employees.

    Job security is nonexistent. If you're an employee, things such as workmans compensation, unemployment, social security payments, and other work related benefits are completely optional, and usually nonexistent.

    Good jobs are especially fleeting because of the nature of the pecking order. A new tribal government is usually elected every 2 - 3 years. The current tribal government may have an incredibly great sense of business understanding....and be replaced by dimwits that haven't a clue.

    My ol ladies sister was involved with a man that was in charge of security at one of the nearby casinos. He had previously been a police chief in a small town and certainly was very capable. When I first met the guy and he told me he was in charge of casino security at the XYZ casino, my first thought was, save your money pal, because you job won't last very long.

    2 years later, he was looking for a job.

    Another example. A circuit court judge from Eagle River, WI was to begin work with the Potawottami tribe (the wealthiest tribe in Wisconsin due to their casino in the heart of Milwaukee) for the princely sum of $250,000 year. This judge was one of the most knowledgeable judges in the state on matters of tribal sovereignty and other tribal related matters.
    He resigned his judgeship, and took a 3 month sabbatical before starting work with the tribe. But before he started, the tribe told him his services would not be needed!

    He is currently suing the tribe for breech of contract. He may as well sue a rock.


    Another example. In 1993, the Sokoagan Chippewa tribe in Mole Lake decided to build a new casino......to replace its existing casino. $16 million. Mole Lake is a very rural area. Its 10 miles south of Crandon, a town of 1800 people. Antigo, approx 30 miles to the south, has a population of approx 8000. Before the walls were up, the tribe decided against the project. I knew one of the contractors that did excavation work to the tune of $100,000+. They offered him $.50 on the dollar for the work he did.
    Oh yes, today the building site for the casino remains.....uncompleted, with masonry walls jutting upward to the sky.

    When it comes to business dealings with sovereign nations (tribes), exercise great caution.

    There are some extremely capable and businesslike people within the tribes. Unfortunately, the brutal reality of tribal politics often casts capable people aside and goes along family lines.


    I went through grade school & high school with the current treasurer of one of the tribes. Its worse than a joke. I don't think the guy worked a day in his life. Certainly, I would lend the guy $10 until 6:00 oclock. And this yahoo is in charge of a multi million dollar treasury!!!!!!!
     
  6. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    oops.

    WOULD NOT lend the guy $10 until 6:00 oclock!
     
  7. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Hate to say this, but the same things go on, off the Indian lands.
    There seems to be no job security period, anywhere, and no matter who you work for.
    My husband is a good man, works really hard, gets things done, but we have been going through the same thing you are talking about with Intel. :no:
    They only seem to have contract jobs, and do not feel the need to honor their contacts many times. I just hope they will honor this last contract.
    What I almost find funny, they like his work so much, another Tech Lab within Intel will normally pick him up.
    We would love to be done with the Mickey Mouse games, and hubby being picked up for full time Blue badge, he has more than earned it. But I guess I should not hold my breath. Sigh ~ ~~
     
  8. Now you know how it feels to be indian or black. We've been experiencing the same kind of treatment for decades now.
     
  9. BackwoodsIdaho

    BackwoodsIdaho Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the comments

    RH - I guess you have one big old chip on your shoulder. While I don't disagree that discrimination happens to people for lots of reasons, there is nothing special about indians or blacks. The problem is that you seem to wear your race on your sleeves and expect exceptions based on race alone. Too bad buddy, doesn't work that way in the real world. You get opportunties based on capabilities and hard work.

    As for working for a tribal coporation, I would never consider it. My experience with a tribe in eastern Washington was enough to convince me that tribal members practice open racism.
     
  10. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    BackwoodsIdaho, those are absolutely the most racist statements ever made on these forums! Since most of white America does not want NAs in their neighborhoods, churches or workplaces, most NAs have no choice but to stay near the reservations where there are no resources or jobs!

    If you work for a tribe, you must learn the tribal politics and family alliances and remain culturally sensitive. You may not say anything negative about anyone, just like in any small town. If you can do these things are are good at your job, there is no reason why your employment won't be permanent.
     
  11. BackwoodsIdaho

    BackwoodsIdaho Well-Known Member

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    No racism here. Simple truths. Culturally sensitive, now there is a watchword for new century. And, I see the first amendment is suspended in tribal lands (You may not say anything negative about anyone, just like in any small town.). Interesting... sounds more like a concentration camp than a community. You know, some of the most successful people in this country are other from other cultures that have assimilated themselves into mainstream culture. Think about it.

    As for permanent employment, you are wrong. The indian preference hiring (or tribal preference if they chose to limit it that tightly) requires, in many instances, that a job held by a non indian or non tribal member be re-posted on a prescribed basis, say every two years. If a tribal member applies, they receive preference based on their color not their capablities.

    As for your referring to my comments as racist, I can only laugh. When someone suggests that people not rely on their race or color to receive special treatment, they are branded a racist. I reward and respect hard work and fortitude.
     
  12. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I've worked as a non status with a band administration and there are pros and cons, just like everything else. The first thing you need to know is that you will not change the system so you might as well get used to it, if everybody else shows up late for work, that's how it will be but you maintain you proper shedule. It is very likely that you will not have a permanent position, you will probably be grooming your successor but that's only fair.
     
  13. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Now you know how it feels to be indian or black. We've been experiencing the same kind of treatment for decades now.

    I must say my experience did give me a whole new appreciation for what minorities go through! Sometimes I think it was worth the insanity of those years ...

    Laura, I can appreciate your horror at our frankness, but please try to keep in mind that some of us have been burned very badly by our experiences with tribes. And, as a result, believe you are being extremely naive ...

    But everyone is entitled to their own opinion!
     
  14. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Laura, I'm sorry I would have to strongly disagree with your opinion that a non aboriginal will keep their job if they follow a few simple rules. The fact of the matter is that it is not to their benefit to have non status people working jobs while their own people suffer great unemployment. Literally, what would be the benefit of paying a white guy from band coffers while another native family is left to struggle on welfare and their thinking is quite justified in my mind. Most bands have a policy that ALL jobs come up for renewal every so many years so that everybody technically has a chance at employment. I have to say by your comments that you have never experienced working on a Res, it's a lot more complicated than you suggest.
     
  15. BackwoodsIdaho

    BackwoodsIdaho Well-Known Member

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    Working on a reservation or in an indian casino is very very different for the world the rest of us work in. The level of reverse discrimination is blatently obvious. Comments are made that in a normal business would earn you a trip to the HR (re-education) department or terminated. However, since your only recourse is tribal court, it is not worth wasting one's time worrying about. They can only be sued outside of tribal court if they agree to it - fat chance of that happening. So, either accept the discrimination for what your fore fathers might have done (if they were even in the US at the time) or work somewhere else.

    The problem I see coming is this. The indian community has a huge chip on their shoulder and feels that their lot in life is the fault of today's white population. Because of indian gaming, they are earning huge amounts of cash. This translates into a enormous litigation budget for suing over things such as water rights, timber rights, land use, easements etc. This puts them at a tremendous advantage of smaller employers and residents of the area. Because of this, the racial division will get worse not better.

    When will the world start to judge people based on what they individually do instead of what race, tribe or nationality they might be. Never I guess. However, if the tribes are going to practice this type of discrimination, they should not cry foul when it is returned to them.

    As for grooming a successor, I see the merit in that. But only if it is disclosed up front to the employee that the position is temporary in nature. If they still take the job, then they have no one to blame.
     
  16. BackwoodsIdaho

    BackwoodsIdaho Well-Known Member

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    Oh, and one other thing there Laura, have you ever heard of Indian casinos? Those little gaming operations all over the country? They are on reservation lands or land that was swapped for reservation land and they create tribal jobs and throw off tons of money. Even though the tribes make millions off the casinos, pay virtually no taxes and evade US law when they can, the tribes still apply for grants and other handouts from the US taxpayer. Doesn't that seem somewhat greedy or am I just being racist again?
     
  17. Peepsqueak

    Peepsqueak Well-Known Member

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    I know only a couple of nonwhites that dealt with tribal jobs or truckdriving into the communities and they were treated in a hostile manner. Unfortunately the NA have irreparable damage from the history of this country. If I were in their situation I would never trust another white again, or any nonIndian. Can you blame them?
     
  18. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    Gee wiz, I guess our Canoe Tribes are just different! Since most of my friends are Indians or whites working for the local tribes, and most of my bartering is with trible members, I must not know my rectum from a hole in the ground.

    My neighbors don't have casinos, nor do they plan to have any. I certainly do not begrudge a tribe for making big money to support their families.
     
  19. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    LOL ... I remember when the tribe I worked for had a "meet the candidates" event in which the membership could pose questions to tribal council candidates. One of the questions asked was, "There are too many white people working for the tribe. If you're elected, what will you do to get rid of them?"

    The real kicker was that while the meeting was open to members only, the event was taped, and the tape was looped continually on the TV/VCR in the tribal headquarter's community room the following day ... with the unintended result that all the non-Indian employees had the opportunity to learn about their future bosses' ideas for eliminating them. Nice! :no:

    Another incident that stands out in my mind was when I was called upon to serve on a committee drafted with coming up with a cultural sensitivity program for new non-Native employees. As I recall, I was the only white person invited to be on the committee. During the first meeting, we were discussing the differences between working in the Indian and non-Indian worlds. The HR resources director turned to me and asked, point-blank, in front of the whole group, "How does it feel to know that you really don't have any rights?" Somewhat taken aback, I replied that I hadn't realized the situation was quite so dire ...

    Ironically, that HR director currently is serving as the tribal chief ...

    Somehow I don't imagine things have improved much ... :rolleyes:
     
  20. stormwalker

    stormwalker Well-Known Member

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    I have experienced some very bad things in my lifetime. I try my best not to repeat other's mistakes.