I quickly developed a fascination with my first introduction to the activities of Native American Tribal governments when I read Elaine Willman’s book, “Going To Pieces: The Dismantling Of the United States of America“. The book’s message reveals the unheralded antics of Tribal governments’ gambling casinos and their relationship with the U.S. federal government. As with most busy Americans, I had never looked into that relationship. My initial impulse, any time the subject of Indian gaming casinos came up, was typical — “Good for them. Let ’em make some money!” The underlying presumption behind that impulse was that if the casinos made plenty of money, the Indians living on Reservations would see an improvement in their daily lives — better housing, better local economies, better schools, etc. But that is not happening as intended.
Elaine’s book ignited a keen interest in learning more. She poses some alarming disclosures about corruption within the Tribal governments, including siphoning off of gaming profits in efforts to buy expensive lobbyists and contribute to political campaigns.
It seems that governments are all subject to the influential powers of money, politics, and special-interest lobbying. That rule of thumb applies as well to Tribal governments. See more about that HERE.
I called Elaine and she graciously agreed to meet me in Kalispell, Montana, and sit before my camera to talk about two types of government – the U.S. Federal government, and Tribal governments. In that film session with her I learned about the middle-eastern countries who are now doing business with American Indian Tribal governments. That situation has developed since Elaine published “Going To Pieces” in 2005, so the video below is an update.
While American Indians are impoverished, some Tribal governments are in collusion with the Federal government on the gambling casinos which are generating huge profits. But the Tribal governments are not sharing the wealth with the Indians who live on reservations. Instead, Tribal governments are spending fortunes on Washington D.C. and State Legislature lobbyists, and now are even doing business with middle-eastern governments and inviting those countries to do business on reservations in our country.
Elaine Willman explains how it came to be that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are now exchanging students with Tribal members on our Reservations, investing in businesses on the Reservations, and sending middle-east contracting businesses to our Reservations with 75-year leases of Reservation lands. You read that correctly — Saudi Arabia and Turkey are both buying long-term leases of Tribal governments’ Reservation lands. It was an Obama inspiration, as you’ll see in viewing this last segment of my session with Elaine Willman.
For the whole playlist of five brief segments, please go HERE –
Brief bio for ELAINE WILLMAN, MPA
Elaine Devary Willman, MPA is the author of Going To Pieces…the dismantling the United States of America, first published in 2005. The book reports on first person visits and experiences of tribal members and citizens residing on or near seventeen Indian reservations during her extensive road trip across the country from Washington State to New York State. Going to Pieces…continues to be a best-seller, some eleven years later, and is now available in a Second Edition, inclusive of an Index, in book stores and on all major book website.
Subsequent to her two year attendance at Ventura College of Law, Ms. Willman received a Masters degree in Public Administration from Cal State University in 1991, and has obtained 96 credits towards her doctoral work in public policy. Having lived in Western States for over thirty years, and within two Indian reservations for more than twenty years, Ms. Willman has extensive knowledge about federal Indian policy, land use status within Indian reservations, dual-jurisdiction and Constitutional conflicts that impact the rights and lives of tribal members as well as other American citizens.
Ms. Willman’s mother and grandmother were enrolled Cherokee members; her spouse is of Shoshone ancestry, and is a direct descendant of Sacajawea. She served as National Chair of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) from 2001 – 2007 and remains an active CERA Board Member. Mrs. Willman has blended her local land use and strategic planning expertise with federal Indian policy to inform and engage counties, towns and citizens that are co-located within or near federally recognized Indian reservations.
From 2008 -2015 Ms. Willman served the Village of Hobart, Wisconsin, as their Director of Community Development and Tribal Affairs. Hobart, incorporated in 1908 after the Oneida Tribe of Indians reservation was fully allotted, is entirely co-located within the historical boundaries of this former reservation.
In July 2015 Ms. Willman moved to the Flathead Indian Reservation to assist western Montana landowners defend against a federal/tribal/state taking of water rights from landowners, transfer of a public hydropower dam to become a private tribal government asset, and loss of all control of water access or rate setting, deeply imperiling the entire food production in this agriculture-dependent region.
Additionally, Elaine works with “This West Is Our West“.
Contact Elaine Willman — firstname.lastname@example.org