HERE AT NAVAJO GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT OFFICE IN WINDOW ROCK, ARIZ., WHERE NAVAJO GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION IS CONTINUING THEIR “INDIGENOUS NATION BUILDING: LEADERSHIP, GOVERNANCE, CONSTITUTION, AND DEVELOPMENT SUCCESS” SEMINAR BY DR. MANLEY BEGAYE JR.
SESSION SEVEN, “WHY SHOULD ANYONE INVEST AT FAST CREEK NATION”
NAVAJO GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION AGENDA (dated for January which is when Dr. Manley Begaye Jr. started seminar about Nation Building. Feb. 26 and 27 are continuation of January seminar.)
DR. MANLEY BEGAYE JR
same case, Fast Creek, they had general form of council government. all voting age members are part of council. if navajo had this, there would be 150,000 council members. so when met, they had to meet in gym but they also had quorum problem, which was 100. so they created smaller business council but they had to get permission from council. so the system was slow and the agenda was full of complaints. so disputes happened a lot. general counsel had only power to get anything done. communities split. people fired right and left when new council came in. it was terrible. then late 70s, some of the younger citizens said change needd. new head of business council said businesses needed on reservation and create jobs.
and so Patowatomi Chairman Rocky Barrett went to outside businesses who asked him to promise that there were tax advantages and they were guaranteed, that there was a commercial code, dispute resolution, copy of laws, are laws clear and enforced, will business decisions be permanent?
And so council passed resolution affirming their sovereignty, wrote laws about how rights would be exercised – basic law and order code, tax code, business corporation act, ordinances and procedures for a tribal police force.
and they completed a constitutional overhaul that established a clear distribution of powers and responsibilities between the executive and legislative parts of the government…the august 2007 constitution revisions creatred a 16-member legislature to replace the former five-member business committee. five members were grandfathered in, filling five of the eight oklahoma based legislative seats. the remaining three oklahoma based seats and eight seats in districts were spread over the remaining 49 states because they wanted the best and the brightest of their natin to be council members. their council meetings are held on a big screen via internet.
they now have store that is cheaper than Wal Mart and they do with own farms and livestock. the vegetables they sell are grown by them. today they have over 2,000 jobs, own radio station, they own the bank and have $550 million in the bank. Patowatomi has $506 million impact on state of Oklahoma.
economic development depends more on what the rules are than on what are your resources are. Investors, including your own citizens, tend to go where they feel secure and believe their investments of time or energy or ideas or money will pay off. Reforming your government is tough and it can take a while. Potamatomi constitution has been amended twice.
“If you’re not thinking about constitutional reform, you’re not in the economic development ballgame,” Potawatomi Nation Chairman Rocky Barrett.