Opinion-More at Stake than Money

Byron Nelson Jr., Vice Chairman of the Hoopa Valley Tribe./Photo courtesy of the Times-Standard.

By BYRON NELSON JR., Vice Chairman of the Hoopa Valley Tribe

Some people will agree that there is a group of Tribal Members, small in number, willing to discard tribalism for individual gain for less money than the price of a new car.

Tribalism makes us what we are. It’s a consciousness and loyalty to the people as a whole, with less emphasis on the individual. Without that belief and concept, we no longer exist as a tribe, and if that happens, we may as well assimilate into the greater society.

This settlement money will be the last windfall the tribe will see in a great while.  With the drastic decline in the value of our timber and the expected cutbacks in Federal funding, tough times are surely ahead.  Now is the time to shore up programs that support the most vulnerable.

Many elders, due to lack of jobs over the years, have little or no retirement funds or any substantial Social Security benefits to draw down. We must endow the monthly elder payment program to ensure its continuance over the years, and to increase the amount to no less than $500 per month. The youth also should be assured that the scholarship money will be there when they get ready to head off to college.  An endowment for that program would guarantee it well into the future. Through a strict endowment procedure, both of these two programs would be locked down and the money could not be used for anything else. These two programs are examples of true tribalism and protect the groups of people that we hold close to our hearts.

In keeping with the letter you received in the mail under my signature, I do support a large pay out to the people and putting 100% of the children’s money into their IIM account in addition to endowing these programs.

So please do not let a small group of people convince you that individual greed should over- ride our basic beliefs.

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September 21st, 2012


3 to “Opinion-More at Stake than Money”

  1. Ruth Swaney says:

    Honorable Vice Chair Nelson, I commend you and the leadership of the Hoopa people for looking out for the important needs of tribal elders and scholarship funds for those seeking formal education. I wish you all well in the future.

  2. Norma says:

    Individual’s think “individual” because they only have themself, USUALLY within most tribes you don’t get any help with housing, elder or not; unless your from “the” “CERTAIN” family, so come on now..
    Take care of all your people everday and you will have all their respect backing ya everyday!!!
    Yes leave the kids money alone you parents/adults who think they can make up excuses to spend their kids money; it’s your job to take care of your minor kids. They would move out if they could take care of them self..

  3. "Henchman Of Justice" says:

    When “tribalism” damages, hurts and injures the individual, the individual is not in the wrong to “step-away from tribalisms”. One unique indication of mankind is “individualism”, for without it, we would all be “assimilated borgs”. It is the same thought as collectivisms.

    Once, when mankind found it harder to live without another’s assistance, society was more “connected to itself”. Now, without the need to depend upon a husband, a wife, children, others for that matter, the individual is able to “re-collect reality”. Afterall, in today’s reality, many things worthy from years ago are no longer worthy, like marriage, procreation, etc….Why? Nary the necessary respect by the individual and the collective when making important life decisions!

    In essence, society as a whole is failing bigtime! – HOJ

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