Greetings Relatives/Frens/Humans, I’m back here at the Navajo Nation Government Development Commission where the Commission is continuing their seminar on Indigenous Nation-Building: Leadership, Governance, Constitutions, and Development Success” which was started at their January 2015 meeting.
SESSION NINE – “SOUTHERN PINE FIRST NATION: GETTING OFF THE GROUND”
DR MANLEY BEGAYE JR
if YOU put in your constitution it will be law and any changes must be done by amendment/referendum. And that applies to the separation of tribal businesses and politicians/legislative branch/executive branch. that is what the Southern Ute did with their Growth Fund.
NAVAJO GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
working with our portfolio, the markets move fast but only way move requires approval of Investment Committee and Budget & Finance Committee which takes months and by then the investment opportunity is gone. and we don’t know if the opportunity will return. then council criticizes financial staff for not making money. we are trying to work with Narbona Growth Fund so that investment can be done ASAP.
DR MANLEY BEGAYE JR
Right now oil prices are down and so the investment should be done quickly. so for Southern Ute they are moving quickly and moving quickly.
for southern ute, their chief financial officer is non-Southern Ute. navajo kids are not studying finance.
to me the southern ute appear to have different powers. one is over money and other is over natural resources. navajo has all these resources but we can’t turn a dime. and we want to consume profits immediately. and our colleges have no mentoring. and our students have a high failing rate. we really want to begin to look at our own talent, really invest in our kids early on.
DR MANLEY BEGAYE JR.
the way to think about is look at pipeline of kids, how do you insure that they are successfully. so there have to be endowments in all the schools all along that pipeline. i’m a believer in Sovereignty Act. we need to take over. we might make mistakes along way but every one does. we learn from mistakes. there is plan there already set.
we had tribal office of controller finance scholarships, $5,000 to $8,000 a year. we’d watch scholars and those doing outstanding work would be offered internship at controller’s office. i was one of finance scholars and Mark Grant became by mentor.
DR. BEGAYE JR
you cud those kinds of provisions in Constitution and it would become law. and when Southern Ute took over their oil & gas development and investments from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, their revenues skyrocketed and that’s because Southern Ute had a vested interest. oil and gas are not going to last. they’ll be gone in 25 to 30 years. there is not enough oil and gas in ground forever. the coal will be gone at peabody sometime soon. there are other natural resources on rez but they have life time. so look at permanency for investments.
we have tourism. some of them take photos of rez/Monument Valley and make calendar and they profit. and they come to Navajo to experience Navajo but we offer them Burger King and MacDonald’s.
President decides what to do with economic development. and the reason we have so many tribal enterprises is because of the BIA. there is philosophy that we follow – you do it yourself. so how is council and president setting up to promote economic development among own people, small businesses. over there at flea market is small businesses that understand that philosophy of You Do It Yourself.
And we, our government have to know how to spend money.
Key to success – they separated business from politics; they had long term strategic plan; they diversified businesses/economy so when oil & gas runs out they will have other businesses;
using Navajo Tacos as medifor, i didn’t taste Navajo Taco until 1980s so we should be making twice what Southern Ute is making because we have all the ingredients for success and we have the largest land base.