"The Choctaw people have walked the farthest into the world of the white man. They will have a long walk back to find who they are." Harry Hill, Chahta
On this day of celebrating dead Indians through a Thanksgiving feast, history has been more than successful in denying its origins to the populace. It seems that the romantic drawing of Indians peaceable partaking in their feasts is the truth of Thanksgiving. Just a small part, but it isn't the entire truth. Thanksgiving feasts were held after pilgrims raided and murdered Indian villages for their food store. Today it is an illusion of a Nation giving thanks for the good things in their lives who are anxiously awaiting the beginning of Black Friday sales. Have to find the best deals in preparation for xmas!
That and so many other examples illustrate how we can be conditioned to only believe what we have been told to believe. With that, our responsibility to seek and find the truth has disappeared. When some of us do ask questions or create actions to seek the truth, attempts to mislead or denigrate us takes place. Which is happening now, following the conviction of a former Choctaw Nation senior executive for bribery and corruption in federal court.
During the course of the trial testimony presented by the witnesses reverberated across the social media. Those revelations of lavish lifestyles only affirmed the whispers and allegations of similar unethical practices that have been occurring for years. Bribery and corruption is only a minute part of the stories shared by many Chahta citizens who have first hand knowledge of these excesses. Other allegations include:
nepotism, although no policy, law or constitutional provision guide this, unqualified employees have been given executive positions without qualifications, such as Jason Merida, for example. So how many employees actually secured their positions due to the relationship of a family member;
censorship in the Biskinik - (sarcastically referred to as the Bisquick for its fluffiness and whiteness) As much criticism that has persisted to now, no one has ever read about it in the Bisquick. Personally, I spoke with a executive assistant a few years ago about this, she looked shocked at my question and responded "Why would we want to do that?" I said "For transparency and accountability." She just scowled and shook her head walking away. I still feel that as long as our finances is funding a so-call "tribal paper" it should be balanced. One masthead for a paper said "It is a newspapers duty to tell the truth and raise hell", but I doubt that anyone has ever seen that in the Bisquick!
lack of transparency in financial, business, and employee practices - pictured below is from the 90's when they use to be transparent. The council conducts its business behind closed doors, and then meets in Tushkahoma just to go through the motions of voting. No one is permitted to speak from the audience unless all council members approve. In one instance, Ted Dosh was the opposing vote when he said that they have never done it that way. Except, this was not the truth. The council use to hear from the audience, and many times they were meeting late in the evening, missing supper. Employees feel they have no recourse to lodge complaints, even through procedures established because of repercussions if they do.
unfair election & representation practices - there are no campaign or finance reporting requirements. It was only through court testimony in the Merida trial that we learned Greg Pyle had transferred an estimated 1 million dollars held in 5 bank accounts to Gary Batton. When Pyle was asked if the bulk of the money came from vendors who had or were seeking contracts, Pyle was vague on the matter. As to representation, Chahta citizens who live outside the boundaries of the Chahta Nation are allowed to select at random any district they choose to be represented in. Which has skewed the election results. The people who live in those districts and see the need for a change in representation, are denied a fair election by absentee voters who are unaware of the problems in the respective districts, and vote for the incumbent they have read about in fluff pieces written by the Bisquick.
lack of accountability - the power of a nation must lie within its citizens, but what established procedures exists for the citizens to call upon those public servants elected into positions of trust at the time those circumstances arrive. We need a expedient form of a check and balance to have the people support an issue. We certainly cannot rely on the Bisquick, which is sent to every registered voter. And where do we meet? We cannot meet at our community centers, but candidates for public positions outside of the nation is granted access, yet we cannot meet there.
These issues demand a call for a constitutional convention to amend our constitution to repair the apparent defects. These amendments should not be left to a handful of people in the council, or the administration, but should be brought for debate and vote by all the people. We need to fix our constitution to block unethical practices that are allowed to exist just because there is no rule against it.
In matters affecting the people, it rests in our hands to stand up and speak up. In relation to the quote at the top by Chahta WWII Veteran and Purple Heart recipient, the late Harry Hill Its time we all start doing a little walking, reading and researching our true history, not the myths we have been led to believe. It is how we will empower ourselves as a people!
Tomorrow, Saturday Nov. 29th, the Chahta veterans for Chahta Civil Rights is asking Chahta's to meet in Durant to sign a petition to have a public forum at the next council meeting in Tushkahoma. The time everyone is asked to convene in Durant is 4-6 PM at529 N. 16th Ave., across from the offices of the Choctaw Nation. If you are on Facebook, you can find their event page here: Chahta Veterans for Chahta Civil Rights: Petition the Council.
Eaglemanz: Chahta Nation, will do a live blogtalkradio broadcast from this location. Come and represent to have your voice heard!