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The Role of a Tribal Government

Recently, Frank was tasked with addressing two questions: (1) What is the role of a tribal government in economic development; and (2) What is the role of a tribal government in the development of social, economic, and cultural institutions? In his mind, Frank believed that these questions represented more than just a mere assignment. Rather, the end result could be something of use to those who have pondered similar questions and those wanting to learn. If anything, these questions, though broad in nature and short in form, could generate a discussion and promote the free flow of ideas (which is the central purpose of our blog). So while writing a comprehensive analysis to the questions, Frank approached various individuals from different tribes and reservations and asked them to add to the discussion. Below is the preface to Frank's work. Responses from the OSA members will follow.


The basis for this writing project was the notion of a personal vision that would encompass my perception of an optimal role for Tribal governments within the context of economic development, as well as the development of social, economic, and cultural institutions. Naturally, my first inclination was to gather information relative to the topics: data on economics, enrollment statistics, numbers, facts, citations etc. However, with this essentially being an assignment in which I was asked to share my vision of where things are and where they could be (for tribal governments, of course), I decided to take on more of a “first-person” account of my experiences and the experiences of those close to me. Rather than conduct exhaustive research, I tapped into my own personal reflections in dealing with particular situations and experiences that relate to the topics at hand. I explored situations from my own perspective, and discussed how I made sense of the lessons that were to be learned from the particular event. I didn’t want this to be “too academic” for many reasons, but especially because it is such a personal matter to me.

The end result is more of a free-flowing commentary, the likes of a collection of journal entries, an introspective blog, late-night-lying-in-bed thoughts, frustrated rants… I really don’t know how to describe it. What I do know is that this is probably just a scratch on the surface of what a small group (4, to be exact) of young Native warriors of all walks: lawyers, businessmen, ex-tribal councilmen; can come together and do. All of the written work is mine, unless otherwise noted. The contributions made were small, and were limited to a few powerful sentences, more as support and solidarity in substance than superfluous content. I decided to add them as quotes, and have included them either at the end, or the beginning of an entry. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it. This is for the tribal youth. For the future. Thank you.

-Francisco Olea

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