VOICES: Sonny Hescock on Open Tribal Forum

Dear Two Rivers Tribune,

I am sure that you all remember the letter that I wrote to you, my fellow Hupa Tribal Members, a few weeks ago.  I wrote a concerned letter condemning what I had heard about our Tribal Leaders fighting amongst each other.

Allow me to preface this letter by stating that I meant no disrespect to my grandmother in that letter.  I have had many people, both Tribal Members, and concerned community members, commend me for standing up for our People, and stating my mind; whereas others have scorned me for “calling my grandmother out” like that.  I meant no disrespect to her, or any other Council Members.  I apologize if anyone found my words offensive.  I simply wanted to show that my personal relationship with my family members who sit in office offer me no insight into the happenings with the Tribal Council.  Like most of my fellow Tribal Members, I am related to several of the Tribal Council Members, including Ryan Jackson and Shane McCullough.

I would like to see our Tribe get away from “Facebook” and get into a discussion forum where things are neutral.  Not sharing our posts with everyone from the “outside world.”  I believe that Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or whatever other social network out there where our people can vent their frustrations in a nonproductive manner should be banned from computers on our Tribe’s network.  The words “social network” to me means that it is personal, and therefore has no place in our Tribe’s work environment.

I will admit that it is convenient that so many people are on these social networks, and it can be an easy way to stay in touch and communicate across many platforms quickly and efficiently.  But shouldn’t we control what information is being shared, and with whom?  Should we offer insight to the rest of the digital world regarding the shortcomings that our Tribe is dealing with?  Should we allow our Tribe’s problems be viewable to the rest of the world, and let them see that we are allowing our issues to divide us, when we should be a united people?  I think not.

There are so many issues that are plaguing our People.  This is why it was my idea to create an online discussion forum where we could work together with our Tribal Council to hopefully come to a resolution to our problems.  I forgot to explain to our People, exactly how to join and contribute to our discussion.  Hopefully I may rectify this problem, and we can begin to work together towards a common goal, by my explanation of the sign up process at http://HupaTribe.Yuku.com.  Yes, Yuku is a social network, but the forum that I set up allows us to control who has access to our information, and it doesn’t have the stigma attached to it, like Facebook has now.

When you go to HupaTribe.Yuku.com, you must first sign up for an account.  You click on the link in the upper right hand corner.  Enter your information on the proceeding page.  Once you confirm your email with Yuku, your account is valid.  Then go back to HupaTribe.yuku.com and click on “Hupa Tribal Members Only” and you will go to a page where you can message the administrator with your name and Hupa Tribal Roll Number.  We will approve you, and then we can begin to work together there.  If we have concerned non-Tribal members who wish to assist, they can sign up and post in the “Hoopa Community Forum.”

I was beginning to become discouraged because our Tribal Members didn’t immediately sign on and offer their insight into our issues.  Yet, I realize that this forum is in its infancy.  Once we get a few more people on, we can actively discuss our thoughts.  I have faith that this forum will succeed.  I am asking you, my fellow Tribal Members, to join me in working together towards a positive and productive discussion.  I invite our Tribal Leaders to join in on the discussion.  How else can you properly represent your constituents if you are unaware of their feelings, and views on issues that we are dealing with?

I hope that this letter finds our People well, and I hope that nobody takes offense to my comments.  I am passionate about our Tribe, and want only the best for our People.  We need to ensure that there is a Hupa Tribe for our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, and so forth.  That is why I believe that we need this community discussion forum away from the stigmatized “Facebook,” and we need to ensure that we work together in a positive and productive manner.

I thank you all for your time, and I hope to see you on HupaTribe.Yuku.com.  I am anxious to hear your ideas and views on our “issues.”

Sonny Hescock, Hupa Tribal Member

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June 20th, 2014


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