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Balancing two worlds was difficult

Henry Lafferty

In recent West River Eagle (WRE) publications, there were two notices for a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Information Technology Upgrade and Strategic Planning Development for the CRST tribal government Issued by Marc Benoist, Administrative Officer. My assumption is that it was a direction from Chairman Ryman Lebeau.
The stark contrast being several:
One, the tribal government and elected officials have never anticipated or participated in either initiatives. We are a federal government driven tribal entity that all upgrades and strategic planning may have to be authorized, approved, and/or dictated by some arm of the federal government.
At the very least, we are obligated in some form or fashion of at least providing courtesy notification of our intentions depending on several extenuating factors.
Secondly, our elected representatives are focused on selective and self-serving focus such as land arrangements, personal monetary gains, and usurped authority. They possess no interest or knowledge on advancing technology or wellbeing opportunities for our people. Visions by many often are merely pipe dreams (no pun intended) regurgitated every election cycle.
Thirdly, tribal elected officials have no concept of either initiative. Our elected officials primarily possess a high school/GED intellect, a group think mentality and year’s long representation for their districts with little or no record of proof and/or accountability for their proclamation for the betterment and advancement of our people. They lack the fundamentals of strategic planning that incorporates intellectual disciplines, short/long term preparations, vision, time and money. Strategic planning is not an overnight remedy and a one size template does not fix all problems. My primary fear is that if and when said is done, will there be sustainability assurances.
In my historical knowledge of CRST tribal government, we possess little to no credibility with whoever we have done or propose to conduct business with.
We have failed considerably in all facets of our infrastructure whether it be education, health, law enforcement, socio-econ wellbeing, Lakota preservation and so forth.
In my 35 year professional career, senior management intellect and hands on experience was an integral part of my employment profile. My work in the arenas of the corporate world, federal, municipal and tribal governments required and expected proficiency, excellence and results. Nothing less was expected or accepted.
Personally, balancing two worlds was difficult. Lakota values and ideology were saturated with generation dysfunction. My life has been a roller coaster and I am the first to raise my hand and openly admit my failures and challenges as a human being.
Since my return in 2011 my offers of contribution to help our people of all demographics, I was ostracized, shunned, labeled and generally made to feel unwelcome upon my return to my motherland by our own people.
Fortunately, older generations of relatives and siblings (step sister) were more accepting of my return.
My professional assessment is based on my employment with CRST in the 1980’s as a Tribal Planner and Bureau of Education Business Manager. I later was employed in 2011 by the tribal Transportation Department as a Contract Specialist.
As the Internal Auditor for the Tohono O’odham Nation in Sells, AZ, in the late 1990’s, I spearheaded major forensic audits, investigations and indictments of the tribes programs, personnel, communities and business entities from major embezzlements to pilfering tribal assets. in conjunction with the 3 branches of tribal government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial – as well as many federal/tribal branches of judicial and law enforcement agencies. All under the premise of accounting principles of waste, fraud and abuse.
I share this with you to establish credibility and integrity. As stated previously, my resume is available upon request. My credentials possess no value as I had submitted my resume and reference letters for approximately 11 positions with CRST but was deemed underqualified, overqualified, no response or a candidate was predetermined for selection and all other candidates were merely going through the process to meet minimum employment policy and practices.
In final, I am considering an op/ed article after diligently researching facts as there is always an underlying factor of broken promises, deceit and/or self gain over the betterment and advancement of our people, especially our younger generations.
Thank you for allowing me to vent and respectfully extending the other half of communication – listening.
(Contact Henry Lafferty

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