“Good Morning! I feel honored to have the opportunity to speak before such a distinguished group of tribal leaders, IHS Leaders, and respected guests. It is good to see representatives from the direct service tribes here as well as self-governance tribes. In comparison, my work in the insurance business and in tribal government is very similar– each day is a challenge. Never a dull moment! Having worked in the non-Indian world has helped me make my many decisions in the Indian world. I have had the opportunity to work with many individuals, both Indian and non-Indian who have become not only my colleagues but my friends.
The Kaw Nation is a strong advocate of self-determination and self-governance. Our Executive Council made a decision in 1992, after a series of health planning efforts, to apply for the IHS self-governance demonstration project. We submitted applications in 1992 and 1993. We were informed both times that we could not apply for IHS self-governance, because we were not yet a DOI self-governance tribe. We challenged this decision, because it was not supported by law, and applied for a Planning Grant in 1993. We were awarded a Planning Grant and brought our Self-Governance Director on staff in 1994.”