I guess the first thing is say sorry for not having written a blog in a while. Having completed by Master’s Degree at UNR I kind of got a little sloppy with writing blog entries, but that coupled with some additional time for deer hunting and recovering from surgery also played a role in that also. Well, anyways, I’m back to write up and issues occurring recently.
As many of you know I am running for re-election as the Treasurer for the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe and the campaign is turned pretty nasty. Despite the negative campaign being run against me and the personal and professional attacks I’ve been under, I’m stayed true to myself and not taken that route. I’ll be the first to admit that it hasn’t been hard trying to stay positive and focus on the future of my Tribe and its members when your opponent uses false and misleading information on a regular basis.
For example, during the last month and half of this campaign season, my opponent has put out information that isn’t true regarding my salary and overlooks that all tribal employees, including elected officials, receive annual merit increases. I’ve countered his “statements” on my Facebook campaign page, but of course, my opponent puts out another set of numbers. It’s interesting that the first claim that I recall was that I personally gave myself a raise of approximately $40,000, then while later it was in the $30,000 range, then a follow-up after I posted correct information put out another set of salary numbers I believe in the $20,000 range. So the situation keeps changing and my opponent puts out different numbers each time.
You know what is missing though? PROOF. My opponent makes “allegations” and in one case cites he got is information from an anonymous official at the Tribe. STILL NO PROOF THOUGH. That’s when I realized his strategy to try to put a dead horse hoping to gain traction for his election bid. I know that I would like to see the proof of all these raises and monies that I’ve supposed to be receiving because I know that I’m not getting them.
I guess that for me and my ethical standards if I’m going to put any type of accusation out on the Internet or in print I would definitely have documentation and evidence to support myself. Also what is gained by attacking my opponent – nothing really and in the end the only people that are hurt is the Tribe and its members. Everything that I’ve done can be documented and verified which is the reason that I believe that a person must use false statements and misleading information to try to attack a person.
Like I’ve said in my campaign materials and literature if ANY member of the Tribe has a question or concern about the issues and would like to see financial documentation then they just have to contact me. To date, though, I haven’t gotten any calls either from my opponent or his supporters for information that would verify his “claims”.
I know that I could go negative campaigning also but again, to me, this does nothing to move our Tribe forward and continue to develop, improve, and expand services to our members and to grow the economic development efforts of our Tribe. We have gone far over the past number of years with development and getting programs running at 100% to provide services to our member. It would be a shame for these efforts to be stopped and our Tribe go backwards because one person has a “personal grudge” against me.
Governing our Tribe should be based on the values of what is best for our people and in protecting our cultural heritage while moving forward with strong development. It shouldn’t be about personal animosity towards individuals and families cause that does nothing but take our Tribe in a backwards direction. To anyone who encounters this negative type of attacks the only thing that I can say is ask them for proof (not anonymous information) – ask for written documentation and see what happens.
Well, I’m back from a week of vacation (if you can call walking up around 5:00 a.m. and going to bed around 10:00 p.m. every day to go out hunting). Of course, though, I loved it and wasn’t looking forward to coming home knowing that my Tribe’s elections were underway and that the process was becoming very negative. Of course during my week absence from the hour and the lack of access to any internet service made for some interesting news when I got back in the area. It seems that a lot of people have been busy using social media as a tool to spread lies and propaganda and even to the point that a person was upset because they assumed that a statement I made in an earlier blog was about them (even though it wasn’t so I had to address that issue).
It seems that our Tribe’s elections have gone down the course that I was afraid that they were going. It seems that negative campaigning by some individuals as become their one and only goals. Instead of trying to find a positive message to put out to our people, they instead want to try to hurt and inflict damage on people using mudslinging as their preferred tactic. Of course some many remember in an early blog entry I pondered on what I would do if this tactic was used by some people and what should be the best way to respond.
After spending a week in the beautiful outdoors with my family and being able to reflect in a way that can only be done when you are away from everything and coupled with pride and joy I had this week as I wished my nephew goodbye as he heads off to college in the Midwest, I came to a realization for this upcoming election.
I have no desire nor inclination to start any negative campaigning myself because I don’t think that its right for people to try to tear other people down from their own personal or professional ambitions. I’ve decided that I would rather run on my record from the past four years and the accomplishments that I have done as well as my goal for the future. Every decision I have made has been done on the philosophy of improving the lives of all tribal members, not just a select few. I may not have won on every issue that was before myself while on the Council but that is part of politics. There have also been some decisions that I have made that I didn’t agree with but I am also bound to uphold the Constitution, the laws, and the policies of the Tribe even if I didn’t agree with them. This is what people who are elected should do and that is put aside their personal biases and be able to look at the needs of the entire community and follow the laws that govern them.
I will, though, respond to the false accusations and propaganda that is being put on in print and social media using my website at jonpishion.com but this doesn’t mean that I have to attack my opponent or anyone else because I have chosen not to be that type of a person. So regardless of whether I win or loss this election I know that I can hold my head high knowing that I have chosen to run a positive campaign focusing on accomplishment and a vision for the future of my Tribe rather than trying to tear other people down. There is a quote from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf that I am holding close to me for this election season…”set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude”.
Well just a quick note that I won’t be posting any new blog entries for about 9-10 days. It’s that time of year again to go deer hunting and I’ll have limited access to any internet or social media. It’s always fun and tiring but I need it especially after the crazy week I just went through with our election process.
So maybe going off the grid won’t be so bad. No calls, emails, texts, or anything for a week up in mountains outside of Eureka. Can’t wait to leave tomorrow but first comes the fun task of packing and loading everything up.
See ya all in a week or so.
Alright this is my first blog entry that is not a requirement from the EMBA class so I hope you enjoy it. Today we had to finalize the ballot for our upcoming election in October which involves our Election Committee presenting the candidates who submitted by the deadline and had all of the required information as required under our Tribal Laws.
Our nomination process closed yesterday on Tuesday and our laws and the flyers put out by the Committee clearly indicated that all required documents and candidacy forms had to be received by the Committee by 12:00 p.m. noon. Well one person who was trying to file did not have all her documentation complete and had not handed it in to the committee by the deadline. Once the deadline passed the Committee told her that they could not accept it (as she was in the office still trying to get documents together and put her packet together.
Well, lo and behold at our Council meeting tonight to finalize the ballot, her supporters came to the Council and tried to demand that we put her on the ballot anyway. This situation turned into a circus with them yelling and making some pretty disgusting comments. At one point a former Council Member actually had the gall to make a statement that when she was on Council that had approved putting some people on the ballot even though they knew is violated Tribal Laws and the Constitution, but because the people demanded it they did it.
I about fell off my seat when she made this comment on the record because we all took oaths when we were sworn into office that we would defend and uphold the constitution and laws of the Tribe, but her she was stating that we, the Council, should break these laws because the public (she and five other people) were demanding it.
I understand that when it comes to politics that people’s positions change based on who is running for office or what political side/position they are on or supporting, but come on, to actually go on the record and advocate for knowingly breaking the laws of our Tribe (or any other jurisdiction) seems to a go to a level of hypocrisy that actually surprised me.
Okay if I understand this then it’s alright to break our laws because you demand it, not because the laws wrong or unconstitutional, but because you didn’t like the result that the law produced. Well, then, advocate for changing law – don’t try to advocate breaking the law. We are supposed to be a nation built of the rule of law but when people hear the current and/or former leaders advocating breaking the laws we are only further pushing our people to have no respect for their government. And honestly how can we expect anyone to obey the laws when we have former leaders advocating that we should break them.
I am writing this blog because technically this represents the end of my required writings under one of my classes in the UNR MBA program. I know I mentioned that I would be following up my previous blog entry dealing with questions I have heard about what an Indian Tribe is but because this is my last required assignment for blog writing I wanted to take a moment and reflect on that.
It has been about two months since I started writing my blog on being a tribal leader and the topics that I have written on have varied from tribal leadership, to my upcoming re-election campaign that is now underway (which I have official decided to run for Treasurer again), to personal insights and addressing some tribal issues and matters. I’ll admit I wasn’t too thrilled about this aspect of the class and having to write on a regular basis (after all I had done 15 years as a grant writer living under ongoing deadlines).
What I discovered though was that it has been a pleasant experience for me. Writing this blog not only allows me to address topics related to my job, as well as being a tribal leader (and vent some frustrations as well), but to also write about aspects of my life that I normally don’t divulge out to people, including my thoughts on my future direction in my life should I not win re-election.
Will I miss having ongoing deadlines to keep my writing on this blog? Yes, because on one hand these deadlines forced me to take the time to think about issues in my professional and personal life and then have to write out 2-3 entries per week; and No other the other because sometimes I would hit a writer’s block and sometimes trying to find a subject could result in a blog that seemed forced to me.
So what does this mean for the future of my blog now that I am finishing up my classes and getting ready to graduate? Well, I’ve been thinking about that and whether I want to keep up this blog. My answer is that I intend to keep blogging though I may take a little bit more liberties in what I write since it will no longer be graded so that may mean that some topics may be more interesting or more boring (depending on your views).
I’m learned that this blog can represent a good method for keeping my name and exposure in the world of social media and I believe that this is a worthwhile goal so I believe that this blog may continue. There may be some changes such as in the title of my blog site (especially if don’t win re-election) and I may only write twice a week (instead of the three posts I’m doing now). But I think that change may be a good thing so I’m looking forward to keeping this new aspect of life going.
So now I would like to thank all of my classmates and instructors in my MBA program I am currently in because it has been an interesting two years of life and I would like to thank everyone in my cohort and at UNR working in the EMBA program for making it enjoyable (even when topics were tough or time constraints drove me up the wall but I’ll admit I’ve looking forward to getting parts of my social life back again). As I finish the program and get my degree which may lead to possible new directions in my life with this MBA degree, I believe that what I have learned and started in the various classes, as well as the contacts I have made, will serve me well in the future. Let me end by saying that while this blog may feel like an ending, it’s not, so expect to have new stuff on here hopefully on a regular basis.
Today I decided that I wanted to take a few minutes to address some of the many questions that I receive as a tribal leader from people unfamiliar with Tribe and tribal governments. I’m doing this because there always seems to be misconceptions that are then applied to all Tribes and its people and I hoping to clear up issues from my perspective, as well as the truth especially to my own Tribe. So below are three of most common questions with my own personal response.
- I thought Indians were supposed to live in teepees? This question comes up a lot from visitors from different countries. First and most important this is the 21st century which means that most people on Tribes live in regular homes like everyone else. Second and equally important not all Tribes lived in a teepee (this was primarily the Plains Indians) – here in my area my people traditionally lived in tule huts which was made up by the tules that surrounded the Carson Lake area.
- Aren’t you all rich from your tribal casinos? In reality there are only a few Tribes in the country where casino revenues have made their members and their Tribe financially sufficient. For many Tribes which are remote and away from population bases casinos are not economically viable or if they do have them they primarily cover their operation costs and provide some to support tribal programs. Here in Nevada the situation is far from ideal since it is already a gaming state and there is no “captive” population to build a large successful casino. For most Tribes, including my own, poverty is very common with most of our members living far below the poverty level.
- I hear that Tribes don’t pay any taxes? This question implies that Tribes are freeloaders when nothing if further from the truth. Tribes, just like all other governments in this country, are not taxable due to their status as governmental entities. Most Tribes in the country that have businesses on their lands typically charge the same level of taxes as the jurisdictions they surround. For my Tribe which has businesses in two Nevada counties we charge the same sales and use tax rates to everyone – Indian and non-Indian – who patronize our business and like any other business these taxes are remitted to the local Tribal government to support programs and services. Additionally tribal governments and its members purchase most, if not all, their supplies (groceries, building materials, etc.) from local businesses providing millions of dollars in revenues and taxes to these merchants and local governments. In reality, a tribal government is not different from the state or federal government which operates to provide for its members and residents (only that we have treaties that assist in our relationship with the federal government). While some Tribe did lose in wars between the U.S. regarding our sovereignty, most Tribes entered into treaties with the federal government to stop hostiles and were supposed to be binding agreements which were broken leading to many of the news that people may hear about trust responsibilities that the U.S. has with Tribe or broken promises. It should be noted that we are only group of people that have unique relationship with the U.S. which was denoted in the U.S. Constitution itself.
There are a number of other questions that I may follow-up on in future blog entries, but I would like to hear from others who have comments or questions of their own that they would like answered about Tribes and their governments. Today I wanted to cover three that I hear the most about. So if you got a question, send me a comment or an email and I’ll try to answer it.
Today I was part of an interview panel for a director position in our tribal government. This position is very important to the health and welfare of families, especially children who are abused and/or neglected. When our Human Resources Department advertised for the position it clearly set out that this was a director level position, the salary level, duties/responsibilities, and minimum qualifications. Since the Council hires all director positions, the top six candidates were submitted for an interview with us and let me tell you I was really disappointed.
My disappointment and frustration stemmed from that either many of the applicants barely met the minimum qualifications and had no clue of how to answer basic questions regarding the positions, to candidates who called and asked that their interview be rescheduled because they didn’t feel up to an interview, to how some of the people dressed for the interview. Based on these three things that occurred I’m going to give my opinion on same basic tips if you are going to interview for a job (I know that there are others, but these three issues really bothered me).
- Know the Position You are Interviewing For. I think that one of the main things that drive me crazy is when a person is interviewing and has no clue about the organization, what the job details, and can’t even answer basic questions about a position. If your answer to a large amount of the questions is going to be “I don’t have any experience or knowledge of that area” then maybe this isn’t the right position for you.
- Attend Your Interview. Most people who are interviewing people have busy schedules and have set aside time to be a part of the process so plan on going to your interview (if you are actually qualified). This means being there at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time (not at the exact time or a few minutes after). If you are doing your interview by phone make sure you have a good connection and not driving on the road. If your interview is done over the Internet (like Skype) be sure you know how to use the program and can troubleshoot connection issues (don’t try to fix the problem when we contact you or expect our IT Department to get on the phone with you to configure your computer). I understand that sometimes emergencies come up and you may need to ask to be rescheduled, but make sure it is an emergency not just cause you are not up to interviewing that day or you couldn’t make arrangements (child care, transportation, etc.) to attend.
- Dress for the Interview. You would think that this is common knowledge among interviewees, but I guess not. It doesn’t matter if you are interviewing in person or via the Internet, if you are going to be seen by the interviewer (a single person or a panel), please (No, PLEASE) try to dress in an appropriate manner, especially for a higher management level position. Coming into an interview wearing sweats or a T-shirt with questionable imagery/language doesn’t create a positive opinion of you (even if you have the best answers in the world). First impressions are very important so if you want to be treated like a viable candidate for position, try to dress the part.
I don’t know everyone else’s opinion on this subject, but when I spend nearly 4 hours sitting in a conference room waiting on people to show up, or show up and either have no idea what the job entails, or who look like they just got out of bed, don’t expect to be getting a call back either asking for a follow-up interview or a job offer. When I spend more time talking with our interview panel about what’s going on versus actually talking and meeting with candidates, something is wrong.
And in the end – after four hours of sitting around in a non-productive session – we had to decide to go back and re-advertise the position. I was wondering if there are other people in positions who make hiring decisions face some of the same things that I went through today and how they try to address this to try to get quality applicants? For me I would rather have a small group of quality interviewees rather than a large group of non-qualified people. Okay this ends my pet peeve blog for today and I hope to hear from anyone who has faced or is facing the same thing I just went though.