Yakoke Sisters and Brothers for your enthusiastic response to our call for action.  Yakoke to you also for allowing me the privilege to hear your stories of success and, unfortunately, abuse.

Am I saying the Chahta are a perfect people?  No, because we are only human and we behave as humans do.  What I will say is that we have the right as Chahta’s to operate our own Nation.  I am also screaming at the top of my lungs that we are capable of doing that very thing.

I was puzzled by the announcement made by Chief Pyle concerning the new Leadership program?  He was just so proud of it.  This to me was sad.  I want all of you to know that a Chahta tribal member is responsible for the concept.  It would be a grand thing, she thought, to be among the first of all the tribes to have such a program that might even partner with a University that would grant college credit for classes taken at the CNO.  She had even suggested ensuring a certain percentage of Chahta’s be guaranteed available slots so the tribe would have a pool of Chahta candidates when high level positions became vacated at the CNO when she suggested this very thing she was not looked upon favorably.  She was told at the onset – “don’t go into too much history”, “business and services are separate”, “once an employee is hired everyone is equal” (Really?  I thought the purpose of Chahta preference was to hire Chahtas).  This Chahta tribal member had built the strategic plan for the next five years and most of the goals and objectives were way ahead of schedule.  Then she found herself having to fight once again (it wasn’t the first time) yet another supervisor.  A supervisor who couldn’t be pleased.

If she talked in a meeting then she talked too much.  If she didn’t speak then she wasn’t speaking enough.  Staff schedules written and re-written were rejected (she said: you know I hate email), written up for using her lunch time to pick up her child, told in crying fits of insecurity how “your trying to take my job” or “I guess I should just work for you”.  This Chahta was given directions that would sometimes change five times a day. The supervisor even threatened to kill herself in a phone tirade.  The tirades would sometimes last for hours. Sounds schizophrenic doesn’t it?

The Chahta responsible for chief pyle’s brand spanking new program that would ensure the professional development of Chahta leaders (that is really laughable) and future leaders was conceived by a Chahta who was eventually fired after an effective smear campaign perpetrated by non-Choctaws.  The chain above her was decidedly non-Chahta.  The Executive Director unethically had gone to this Chahta to express concerns about the said supervisor – many times putting the Chahta between the proverbial rock and a hard place and what happened, the supervisor wrote up the tribal member for the meetings with the Executive Director.  When the Chahta was told she must move to Durant to keep her job, she did just that buying a house, in part, to keep the position.

You might be saying, go to the assistant or go to chief.  The Chahta knew the chain of command – there was no place to go.  Meanwhile the unethical treatment continued with last minute “surprise” documentation three levels deep.  They lied and said whatever they pleased, invented stories and assistant signed off on yet another Chahta tribal members livelihood taking only the word of unethical, schizophrenic, unconfidential and anti-Chahta employees.  The tribal member lost her home and her name was smeared all for what?  Doing her job?  Being strategic?  Yep.

So I guess as we see chief dressed in his suit saying what a wonderful and groundbreaking program has come to fruition we should always keep in mind the Chahta back that was stomped on for those Nahullo’s to be able to smile and take the gentle congratulatory pats on their back for their brilliance.

MW/CW

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