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Looking Forward to the Future – Not Forgetting the Past

Paiute Tule Right (left); Modern Building (right)

Paiute Tule Right (left); Modern Building (right)

As I sit here thinking about what I want to write about for my blog now, I realized I was stuck.  Issues of politics and governing impact me on a day-to-day basis because of my position and I wanted a break from that also.  As I’m kicking and wondering what to write about I decided that I was going to explore an issue resulting out of a project I am working on with implications that can be understand in today’s world.

I received good news earlier this week that our loan to build a new movie theater in Fallon was approved so after nearly a year of working to make this project a reality I can now see it happening.  There will be many decisions that will be made over the next 10 months but one of the most important will be the visual design of the new 9-screen complex.  For me this is critical to the success of the project and to the future of my Tribe.

When I say design I am looking at it from a very different perspective that many people in a similar position would.  Yes I want I nice, modern design that will attract and wow the people going to the theater both in terms of its appearance and its technology.  But I also want a facility that represents my Tribe, its people, its culture and our history.  For me the progress we are making should never come at the cost of forgetting who and where we came from.

So this is where I’ve arrived at for this blog.  As both a leader on the political and economic sides, I realize that there is a fine line that I must walk between two worlds.  On one hand we need to progress and move forward and adapt our operations and management to the modern culture, while on the other hand we must also strive to prevent the assimilation and loss of our culture and heritage.  A history of forced assimilation attempts have caused many of our generations to have lost touch with who and where we came from so as a leader I must try to make every effort to balance our need to grow and develop in a modern world without losing what makes as a people, a community, and a tribal nation.

Some of the decision that are made by a tribal government or its business enterprises may not fit into all of the models for business or political management, but there is usually a reason for that.  Sometimes what is important to in these circles such as profits, revenues, cost-savings, and design/construction may not coincide with some what we need to do to preserve our history.  It may make the process a little more difficult but, for me any many others, it’s a small price to pay if we can preserve and promote who we are through either direct or indirect methods.  We must move forward to preserve who we are but it doesn’t mean we have to abandon where we came from to do that.

It may be a balancing act and there will be people on both sides of the spectrum that won’t be happy either way because compromise feels like a dirty word to them.  Even outside of the Tribe, though, I see similar battles occurring every day.  Balancing issues between issues and sides is never easy but if we don’t how are any of us, regardless of its business or political, going to move forward?

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