Chief Clarence Louie
As Chief for over 25 years (not many of us around that long - damn I hate growing old) and growing up and still living on the rez I will answer the questions from a rez perspective - from the what I call 'rez culture'. I believe in Tribalism - tribal thinking - the "we" not the "me"!!
Key elements required to be a true leader?
A true leader is not just someone who happens to get elected or appointed or inherits a position as a manager, department head or school teacher. It is the person that makes the position not the position that makes the person. The sad fact is some so-called Native leaders are faking it!
Leaders on the rez are not just Chief and Council - all paid staff on the rez hold leadership positions and all staff positions are positions of influence - therefore every staff position, if the person really loves and cares about the job they are getting paid for and sincerely wants to improve the lives of community members they all must understand they hold leadership positions. Even INAC staff hold leadership positions on a rez, because their decisions have a great impact on rez life. But many are not out there leading by example - some in fact have "retired at their desk" and are just going through the motions of collecting a pay check. A true leader must be an honest productive worker. Someone who gets in the trenches and treats everyone equally. A true leader does not participate in lies, gossip, nepotism, playing favorites, petty politics or the "Indian Crab Syndrome" - must lead by example not good words or phony political speeches. Put your personal time and personal money where your mouth is -especially in your own heritage and culture.
In today's rez world a true leader must be a reader - show me your personal library - don't have one then start one!
Seek out success - goes to school on others (the successes and failures of other people) - go to school on the good - the bad and the ugly.
Says what has to be said in a strong way not a mean way - some people are just plain "mean"!
In politics a true leader is not a puppet on anyone's strings - especially their own family or those who vote for them.
Lean against the wind and against public opinion when it is necessary and sometimes ya gotta stand alone - can't please everybody - get out on the edge it is less crowded there!
Stands up to rez bullies (every rez has them) -even if those bullies are family members.
I once read - the difference between a leader and a politician - a politician will say vote for me a leader will say vote for yourself - a politician will make a bunch of promises to you, a leader will tell you what you must do for yourself! A politician will tell you what you want to hear a leader will tell you what you need to know!
Admit your mistakes - own your mistakes - we all make mistakes - a true leader is not perfect - (stay away from people who think they are perfect) best experiences often comes from bad judgment. When you lose, don't lose the lesson!
A true leader works more than a 40 hour week - and volunteer's time.
A true leader earns his / her pay cheque - demands the same as others.
A true leader is a "we" person not a "me" person.
A true leader is a giver out of his / her own wallet or purse, not a taker - chips in at all times.
A true leader asks at decision time - not will it get me more votes or how can I, my family and friends benefit from this - but asks is it right - is it fair - what is the best for the band or the company? A true leader always asks for the facts - for the truth and what will benefit the many not the few!
Don't just talk about how important the youth and elder's are hang around them. Be a coach. Coach a kid's sports team at least once in your life. The kids will teach you allot about life and sacrifice!
What / Who inspired you to get where you are today?
I got interested in sports at an early age first playing and later following Pro Sports and became an active organizer of sports teams at an early age and later as a teenager I got interested in Rez stuff - Rez issues - First Nation history the rez culture and documentaries - I am an ongoing student of Native American Studies and successful people in sports, business and politics.
Books!!! - Newspapers - especially Native newspapers and magazines!!
I heard from one of my teachers (Jim Rohn) every person is influenced by 2 major things in their life - the people you meet and the books you read.
I am an avid reader - I subscribe to Native newspapers and magazines all over "Indian Country" - Gotta learn to support the native media and keep up on real rez news do not depend on gossip and rez rumors! I also own one of the biggest collections of self help books - sports - Native Books - biographies of successful people - the best of the best - gotta learn from the greats! Listen to tapes while driving - business and self-development cd's. A few of my teachers - Jim Rohn (business self-help) Harvey McKay, Mark McCormick all multi-millionaire successful business people.
Sports - big sports fan (hockey - football - golf - boxing - UFC) - love sports - played hockey / fast ball - skiing / boarding / golf - and now motorcycle (Harley Davidson's). Sports and fitness continue to be a big part of my life and life lessons and learning - going to the gym - lifting weights and running are very inspirational to me - staying in shape is a lifelong discipline and the best way to get healing (mental and physical) is in a gym - "no pain no gain"!! Gotta have a health plan. In 25 years of being Chief - one of the most stressful demanding jobs there is I have never taken off one sick day - that's right - not one! I have never missed a day's work because of sickness, get active stay healthy you will accomplish more - the stronger one gets the more one can do. The stronger one gets the more energy one has! I hate feeling weak! Get High on Sports Not Drugs!
Most of my closest friends I have met through sports - most of the best experiences in my life have come from sports - a lot of life and leadership lessons in sports. We need more Tribal sports. Sports inspire me because you can't lie or fake it in sports. Sports is true competition! My sport heroes - Mohammed Ali - Greg Norman - Bobby Orr - Habs fan - Redskin fan - first hero Bruce Lee - and I have a book collection on all of my heroes.
The Old Chiefs inspire me - Sitting Bull / Crazy Horse / Chief Joseph / Geronimo - every First Nation - Tribe - rez interests me - all Native people have a special story - all Tribes heritage and culture is so special - lots to see and learn.
Music is inspirational - love music - all types - especially the political songs of the 60's - 70's. Bob Dylan - John Lennon - The Beatles. Native music - Pow Wow songs and especially XIT - Native political songs.
Many songs have powerful messages and music is a powerful teaching tool and great motivator.
The speeches while at Native American studies classes - presentations I heard at Native American Studies in Regina and Lethbridge - Tom Porter - Floyd Westerman - the American Indian Movement.
First Nation art inspires me. I have a collection of Native Art. Our art, stories, songs and images have to be maintained. First Nation art and songs are as good and powerful as anybody else's!
Seeing Native people working inspires me - every job on the rez is important - hearing Native people say "I love my job" now that's inspiring!
Native business inspire me, I admire Native entrepreneurs. We need more tribal businesses and more business people. We need more jobs on the reserves to give opportunity to our people. We need to be paying customers at Native business's every chance we get. We got to spend our own money at Native businesses.
The old timers are the hardest workers - work like the old ones - go to bed early and get up early - every day is a work day!
As a "chief" the little ones and the old ones ones (the past and future of our Tribes) are who inspire me the most and guide most of my work. "At Osoyoos we are in business to preserve our past by strengthening our future". Put into action 7th Generational thinking!!
Message to Native youth aspiring to become leaders?
Native youth - must be hard productive worker - learn and develop a strong work ethic.
Leaders are readers - show me your library - your library proves what you are interested in - less T.V. more reading - attend the lecturers, listen to business CD's.
Native youths in order to be successful and be a person of accomplishment do more and give more - do the extra laps - do the extra work out - study more - don't take it easy (I hate the phrase "take it easy") - one of the best 4 letter words is "WORK" - nothing good happens without hard work - the harder your work at your life the harder it is to give up.
Always be a student - no one is a "know it all".
Study success - Success is a study - take some Native American Studies!
Spend half your time on the native side of the scale, spend personal time at Native events - Native sports - Native cultural - spiritual stuff - hunt / fish - go to sweats - Ceremonies. Don't just take the easy road and talk about your culture participate in it.
Don't be lazy with your health - get in shape - get off your butt - get out of the cheap seats and get on those playing fields - get on the ice- get in the gym - no pain no gain. We need more Native athletes our youth need to get off the damn sofa! Have some heroes in your life - heroes that you read about - study and attempt to emulate - Cultural heroes - sport heroes - business heroes - and of course family heroes.
Adopt the future is now - philosophy! The rez needs to be cleaned up now! Not when land claims or treaty issues are settled! Don't wait till the next election!
Stay in school or get a job - any job - make an honest living - learn to have a huge respect for money - a real Elder once told me - "you can't give from an empty cup". Don't be a drunk Indian or druggie. Remember dreaming is free but reality cost money.
Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Learn some of your language - be active in your tribe's heritage and culture if you don't your faking it!
The majority of the people you should be hanging around should be Native people - no matter where you're at (especially in the cities) find some smart, hard working "skins" to hang around. Participate in Native events off the rez. If you live off the rez never lose that rez feeling, get back to your rez at least once a year. Go to the nearest rez as often as possible, and just drive around. I love driving around another rez! The rez feeling is different than the city feeling.
Add to your resume every year - get that bucket list started.
Don't ever participate in any illegal activity (drugs, stealing, domestic violence) - a criminal record stays with you a long time - if you do the crime do the time - accept your punishment - and join the real working world. Native Pride - being a warrior does not mean being a hoodlum.
Keep a score card - (what gets measured gets done)
Health score card
Personal and business score card
Rez score card
Education score card
Cultural score card
Friendships score card
Family score card
Always pay your bills, pay your own way through life! - buck up or shut up!
There is no such thing as a free lunch!
No Indian Time - always show up on time - damn it! (I won't waste your time so don't waste
Learn some "Rez Humor", after all they have done to us, rez humor proves how tough we are!
Keep your yard clean - your yard is your image.
Keep your rez clean - your rez is your people's image!
Don't forget to feed the starving rez dogs.
No more than one rez bomb in your yard!
"Rez cuisine" eat some baloney and bread, macaroni and "mush" once in awhile.
Start a few collections of good stuff. Being First Nation doesn't mean you have to own hand me downs or you have to look poor or be poor. If you work hard and earn an honest living have a few treasures, have a few serious hobbies (nice home, nice vehicle, get a Harley, travel and experience a few awesome places). I have an art collection, book collection, sports collection. Have a few worthy items that you can pass onto your kids, family and friends. Living in poverty is not what our ancestors fought for. My brother Arnie wrote many years ago "there is no heritage or culture in a welfare line".
Get busy - stay active - there are only so many heart beats in a lifetime - start your bucket list in your 20's - things you wanna do - places you want to go - experiences you wanna have - things you want to own - sometimes remember you will only have one shot on net - often in real life there is no second chance (to take that course to get that job to meet that person or take that risk) - and above all never ever forget you're damn lucky to be Native!! - First Nations are the true founding peoples of this land - that automatically carries with it an inherit homegrown Tribal (10,000 years) responsibility that no other race in Canada has on your traditional lands.
Native pride every day, everywhere you go, live it, work at it, defend it and pass it on!!
National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs “LEGISLATIVE HEARING on S.1763, Stand Against Violence and Empower Native Women Act” November 10, 2011
Since the establishment of the National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women in 2003, enhancing the safety of Indian women has been one of the highest priorities of NCAI. Over the last eight years, NCAI has provided updates and briefing sessions during each of its national conferences (which occur three times each year) to review emerging issues, inform membership, and establish action plans to engage our national organization in efforts to create the necessary changes essential to the safety of Indian women.
While the comments offered by the Task Force draw directly from eight years of experience, active members of the Task Force have been engaged in the movement for the safety of Native women since the late 1980s. It is these dedicated tribal leaders and advocates that provide the continuity that is the strength of this social movement calling for an end to violence against Indian women.
Today, we write on behalf of the Task Force to comment on S. 1763, the Stand Against Violence and Empower Native Women Act (SAVE Native Women Act). We would first like to thank Senator Akaka for his continued commitment to Native women and his firm resolve to help put an end to the epidemic rates of violence to which they are subjected. In particular, we commend him for his introduction of the SAVE Native Women Act, which would make historic and lifesaving changes to the way justice is currently administered on tribal lands. NCAI strongly supports these efforts (see attached NCAI Resolution #PDX-11-005), and the Task Force intends to do everything we can to help ensure swift passage of the SAVE Native Women Act. In addition, we believe that the SAVE Native Women Act will be even stronger if amended to provide more protection for Alaska Native women, and we respectfully urge the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to consider such amendments.
Alaska has long been plagued by shockingly high rates of violence against women. According to a recent state study of victimization, more than 9 percent of adult women in Alaska reported experiencing domestic violence, and more than 4 percent reported experiencing sexual violence in the past year. Alaska Native women are particularly at risk. Alaska Native women suffer the highest rate of forcible sexual assault in the country, with the sexual assault of an Alaska Native woman occurring once every 18 hours. And given the unique jurisdictional scheme in Alaska, tribes lack the authority and resources to effectively combat this epidemic.
Section 201 of S. 1763 proposes changes to the criminal jurisdictional scheme in Indian country that would remove systemic barriers that currently prohibit tribes from holding non-Indian perpetrators accountable; however, these historic changes would have little impact on tribes in the state of Alaska, because there is effectively no “Indian country” in Alaska. Tribes in Alaska have no legally recognized jurisdiction to enforce criminal laws, and the State of Alaska does little in remote Alaska Native villages. This injustice deserves congressional attention, but we recognize that solving the conundrum of “Indian country” in Alaska is beyond the scope of S. 1763. Accordingly, we recommend the following interim solutions and programmatic changes to enhance the safety of Alaska Native women.
While Alaska Native Villages and non-profits are eligible for 20 of the 21 grant programs administered by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), the reality is that very few of the 229 federally recognized Indian tribes in Alaska actually access funding under the Violence Against Women Act. Given the overwhelming need of Alaska Native women fleeing violence, this is unacceptable. Since the inception of the annual USDOJ consultations mandated by the Safety for Indian Women Title of VAWA 2005, the Task Force has raised
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