I thought this was just entirely too cool. Jason Gatties, a Libertarian activist in Michigan who comments regularly on LFV, has decided to run for the Pokagon Tribal Council. For those who might be unaware, Native American tribes are sovereign nations, with their own laws and their own government, which makes this even more interesting than the average Libertarian campaign. What follows is the announcement from his blog.
Those who are close to me understood that I had plans on running for public office in 2008, but for now atleast, those plans are on the back burner. This past weekend I realized that Tribal elections were coming up in July. After speaking with my wife and others who are close to me, I was encouraged to run for a seat on the Pokagon Tribal Council.
I am a member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, which is located in Southwest Michigan/Northern Indiana. We have over 3,000 members and this summer, we are opening the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Mi. I feel that I can bring my libertarian values to our tribal government. If you really think about it, most Native Americans are probably “libertarians” even if they don’t realize it. I plan to educate our tribe and prove to everyone that libertarianism can work in any form of government.
In the next day or so, you should be able to access VoteGatties.org and get more info on how you can help. I will NOT seek any donations, but you can certainly help me out in other ways. The website that was being worked on for the 2008 campaign is, much like the campaign itself, on the back burner for now. The tribal campaign site is very basic. Given the fact that the election is on July 14th, I didn’t have a lot of time to design a proper campaign site, but I feel it will still accomplish my goals. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only person running for Tribal Council who will even have a web presence, so that alone I feel will give me an edge.
I wouldn’t run for office if I didn’t have my concerns. They include:
1.Term Limits- Currently there are no term limits for the Tribal Council or any elected tribal board or commission. I feel term limits are important and if elected, I will propose a constitutional amendment requiring some form of term limits for Tribal Government.
2. 26% of our tribe are unemployed and 40% of our tribe members live below the poverty line. One would think that would change with the opening of our casino in August. However, even though the casino has a “indian preference” when hiring for a position at the casino, the majority of the high paying jobs being offered are for those who have a college education, something which the majority of the tribe members do not have. I’m not in favor of any “hiring preference” when it comes to casino jobs, however, I believe that work experience should account for something and more jobs should be available to anyone, regardless if you have a college degree. I mean, do you really need a college degree to open a door or unclog a toliet?
3. Privitization- I believe the tribal council overpays for certain jobs that could be outsourced outside the tribe, saving tribal funds and allowing more tribal profits to be shared amongst it’s members.
4.No More State Funding- Currently the bulk of funds given to our tribe is in the form of state and federal grants. Thats fine, except for the fact that these funds come from the pockets of taxpayers who are not members of the tribe. How can we truly become a “sovereign nation” when we depend on tax dollars from non-tribal members? We are opening a casino (which is privately funded) which will generate MILLIONS for the tribe, not to mention the various stores which will open up on tribal land. If managed correctly, the tribe should become pretty self-sufficient in a short amount of time. I want to make it my JOB to make sure our tribe truly becomes a sovereign nation.
5.Stick to the constitution!!! Right now our tribal constitution reads like a “libertarian dream” and it should remain that way. As our tribe grows stronger, the temptation will be to turn our tribal government into a minature version of the U.S. Government. We can not allow this to happen. Through time, we as American Citizens have had many of our freedoms stomped upon by the government at all levels. As a citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, I feel it is critical to stick to the constitution that was drawn back in the mid 90’s. We can not allow our tribal leaders to infringe on the freedoms promised in our constitution. As a council member, I will make sure this does not happen.
These are just a few of the many issues I plan to campaign on. I could go on and on, but if I did that, I would have nothing to blog about tomorrow!
Be sure to bookmark this blog for all the latest campaign information and be sure to bookmark VoteGatties.org, as that site will be live by the end of the week. If elected, I will NOT run for office in 2008 as I plan to give my full attention to the Tribal Council for the next 3 years. Given the fact that I have many family & friends who are tribe members, this is a great opportunity for me to not only get elected, but make a real difference.