In response to your recent article regarding “Debate among ON officials grows over ARPA individual assistance payments” I would like to quote an old proverb many attributes to the Bible but is actually Chinese: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The Osage Tribe is being given a once-in-a-generation opportunity with funds it is receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”). Wise use of these funds can be transformational for future generations of tribal members, providing economic opportunities and jobs in Osage County, without having to leave home. Or we can feast for a day.
If the opportunity were here, how many Osage youth would prefer to be close to home, rather than scattered across the country, as they are now. It is hard to maintain traditions and culture across thousands of miles. U.S. Senator from Colorado Ben Nighthorse Campbell said in a 2007 speech: “If you can’t change them, absorb them until they simply disappear into the mainstream culture.” He was speaking about Washinton’s attempts over years and years to dissolve Indian Tribes by scattering their members to the four winds. Let’s not help them achieve this goal.
Economic opportunities creating good-paying jobs, jobs with a future. Incubator counseling for start-up native-owned businesses in all three districts (yes, there are three districts, and they should receive equal opportunities). Infrastructure development providing clean water, good roads, and dependable internet service. These are things that build a strong tribe for the future and bring our children home.
So, I ask the Osage Nation officials to do this for their tribe, teach us to fish.