Be proud of White Earth tribal leadership
With regard to the accomplishments of the White Earth Tribal Council:
Pride! Pride is what I feel when I review the last few years of the accomplishments of the White Earth Nation's Tribal Council. More positive accomplishments have taken place on the reservation under this council's leadership then have occurred in the previous 30 years. Most importantly these accomplishments have come with a spirit of cooperation and conciliation by all members of the Council under the very able leadership of Chairwoman Erma Vizenor and her council members: Irene Augunash, Terry Tibbets, Gus Bevins, and Bud Heisler. Housing units have been built across the reservation, a new tribal headquarters has been constructed and just recently, the "Oski Manidoo," or New Spirit, chemical dependency treatment center for American Indian Youth in Bemidji has been purchased and is ready to accept clients.
Throughout the tenure of this council, there has been no hint of scandal or misuse of power or tribal funds, as there have been on some other reservations. In addition, the achievement of influencing the Federal Government to place the casino land in trust was a tremendous political accomplishment. This action saves the tribal people an enormous amount of money that does not have to be paid to the county or state, and can be used for the needs of the tribal members.
Roger Jordain and Wendell Chino, two late and great Indian leaders of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s would be proud that their philosophy of "Tribal Sovereignty" is still alive and well today, throughout Indian Country.
While I am proud of the overall work of the council, let me offer one small area to focus on: Baseball Fields.
Every reservation village should have a baseball/softball complex, complete with lights. Our children and youth could benefit tremendously by being involved in organized baseball and softball at all ages. I remember the days when baseball was the lifeblood of Nay-tah-waush, under the leadership and direction of Floyd Keahna. Dozens of kids were involved in his programs, and I offer the suggestion that this baseball interest be rekindled in all the reservation villages.
I just finished reading The Challenges of Chief Bender. Charles Albert Bender was a White Earth enrollee and played professional baseball for the Philadelphia Athletics under the ownership of Connie Mack from around 1905-1915. Mack was known to say that in the toughest game to be played, he wanted Albert Bender on the mound, because he was the "coolest head in baseball." Bender was later inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. I wonder if we have another youthful Albert Bender on the reservation. limited not in ability, but by facilities, programs, resources, and lack of resolve by the communities to have wide ranging comprehensive programs for their children.
The White Earth voters have demonstrated great wisdom in selecting this tribal council, their work today brings us to feel the way we have not been able to feel in the past -- Pride! -- Dr. Lee Antell, New Brighton
(Antell is a White Earth Enrollee from New Brighton, Minn. Formerly of Roy Lake, Naytahwaush and Mahnomen.)