A Career in Indian Country
For over 21 years…
I have always done my best during my employment in Indian Country, with the Tribe and as a Tribal Council Member to assist the membership. I believe what is fair for one person, is fair for all.
If I am re-elected to the Tribal Council I will continue my working career in Indian Country. My first commitment is to be of service to the Tribal people in the best manner possible – as an employee and as a Tribal Council member.
- I originally started my Siletz Tribal career in 1996 in the Portland Area Office as an On-call Transporter. In that job, I met many Tribal members and learned about the services the Tribe offered. I was able to hear what Tribal members needed, learn about them as people, hear about their families and hear Tribal stories.
- My first full time job with the Tribe was as a Tribal Services Assistant and then moved up to a Tribal Services Specialist (12/1997-6/2001). In this job I learned so much about all Tribal services for housing, childcare, medical and education in addition to social services as well as being able to research community resources. I was able to help people to get jobs and much needed services. Before I worked for the Tribe and when I was pregnant with my daughter I was one of the first people in the Tribe that applied for Oregon Health Plan (OHP) and I also received assistance from a Tribal staff person to be transported to get food vouchers from Women, Infants & Children (WIC). When I left my husband while I was pregnant with my son, I applied for food stamps and State welfare. So when I started as the Tribal Services Assistant and then as the Tribal Services Specialist, I could related to the struggles, needs and barriers of those I was working to serve.
- I left employment with the Tribe for a couple years (6/2001 – 8/2003) to help my father with his ranch and to have the opportunity to be a work from home mom to raise my children without the need for childcare which was so expensive.
- I returned to work for the Tribe in Siletz as the Elders Program Coordinator (8/2003 to 8/2008). That job is the one I enjoyed the most with the Tribe. I got to know many Tribal Elders, hear some amazing stories, go on some fun trips with them and to be of service to those who rarely ask for help.
- In order to be able to assist my father due to changes in his health, I returned to working as a Tribal Services Specialist in Siletz (8/2008 to 5/2010). In that job, I was able to continue working with Tribal families and members that needed help to meet their basic needs.
- •I took a risk and went to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as the Administrative Support Assistant (7/2010-7/2011). During that time at BIA I briefly returned to work for the Tribe as the Cultural Education Director (8/2011 to 12/2011) until I was terminated. Of course I didn’t agree with the decision but it did offer me first hand experience of what other people face when they suddenly lose their sole source of income and have children to care for. Luckily, my position at BIA had not been filled and my supervisor was more than willing for me to return to my position (3/2012 to 6/2014) until the downsize of the Siletz Agency. While I worked at the BIA I learned so much about self-governance, federal budgets, records management, the Cobell lawsuit, timber sales, NEPA process and the trust responsibility BIA has in regard to Tribes. I was also able to affect change for the Social Service General Assistance Program that was offered by BIA due to my five years of experience as a Tribal Services Specialist. Instead of relocating to the BIA Northwest Regional Office in Portland when the reorganization and downsizing within BIA occurred I chose to return to the Tribe.
- •My first job back with the Tribe was as a Social Service Advocate (7/2014 to 4/2015) in the Healthy Family Healthy Child Project. In that position I worked as the staff person to bridge the Self-Sufficiency Program (SSP) and Indian Child Welfare (ICW) for wrap around services and multi-department team meetings. I also was able to be a facilitator for Positive Indian Parenting workshops which I still volunteer to run as this service is very limited within the Tribe at this time.
- •Shortly before the grant funded project ended, I went to work as the Enrollment Officer (4/2015 to current). I love my job! I am able to do Tribal family research, provide assistance to all Tribal members and provide statistical data of the Tribe. I am able to offer information and assistance to Tribal members. Maintaining full-time employment with the Tribe and being on Tribal Council with my election in 2018 has been difficult. The Enrollment Department consists of myself and a half time position that has been vacant 20% of the time while I have been in the position. I have assistance from another co-worker that is able to offer assistance when I have to be away from the office for Tribal Council business. Working as line staff offers a different perspective to Tribal Council and the changes that are possible.