First, we must establish the definition of the Chairman of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. Define what roles are responsibilities are bestowed upon the Chairman. For the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, the main responsibilities are:
1) President of the Washoe Tribal Government
2) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of all Washoe Tribal Corporation Enterprises and Non-profit Programs
3) Chairman of the Washoe Tribal Council
4) And most importantly… VOICE OF THE WASHOE TRIBAL PEOPLE
There are many more direct jobs that the Chairman has to do, like Economic Development, Government Lobbying, Public Relations, Creation and Development, Planning, just to name a few. Oh, and I cannot forget the numerous meetings throughout the year. Each one of these things listed can also be broken down into at least a dozen more jobs to accomplish the tasks that come about. So I guess you can say that the Chairman doesn’t get a whole lot of free time in his life… But hey, that’s what you sign up for! Haha!
As the current Chairman for the Washoe Tribe, I can only describe things to you based on my limited experience so far. Let me tell you, these first nine months have not been easy. There was no laid out plan for me to follow, and many of the years’ worth of records were very disorganized and hard to follow. We have been working hard to build a team of trusted individuals to head the administration of the Washoe Tribe. A team that is dedicated to putting the interests of the Tribe first. I must say that I am proud of our team and look forward to many positive changes in the near future.
Time is not on the side of the Chairman, as elected officials only get their four year term to learn about where the Tribe stands and take action to fix the issues. I am a man of action, but I know that we must take a cognitive approach to ensure that the actions we take will never become harmful to the Tribe, even years down the road. Tribal Leaders serve the people because we care about the future of our people and want to make an impact for the better of all. My approach may be a little bit different than my predecessors, but that’s the reason I was elected by the Washoe People. My approach is to do things that will be beneficial to the Tribe as a whole, and not only to certain individuals. As you may, or may not realize, I get a lot of negative feedback from this. But it’s okay, I will not let rumors, or personal negativity stop me from doing what’s right for all the Washoe People.
That’s about it, in a nut shell for now. Of course, I could go into much more detail, but that will come as the future of the Chairman’s Blog unfolds. We are also working on posting Administrative updates as well. There are so many things that are happening that it is hard to keep everyone informed of all the goings on within the Tribe, but we’re doing our best. We want to have a high level of transparency and keep the Tribe together in a good way. History has shown that we have been our own worst enemy many times. It’s time we Come together, Stay together, and Prosper together.
Welcome everyone to the new Chairman’s Blog. I have developed this blog to tear down some of the barriers we face with communication. There is so much going on within the Washoe Tribe that it becomes difficult to keep people up to date with what and why things are happening. The information on here is for all to read, learn, and share. I will be mainly addressing the Washoe Tribal Membership, but I will also be giving some education that everyone can benefit from. I will be talking about culture, history, government, law, and giving my own perspective on these issues. I will also be sharing my personal experiences and stories for you to enjoy. I would like everyone to know that my opinions about things may change from time to time. I believe in continuously educating myself to become better, so that I can make better decisions for my fellow Washoe People.
Now that everyone has a good idea of what this blog is about, let’s get started. I want to use this first post to talk a little about who I am and why I’m here. My name is Serrell Smokey and I am an enrolled member of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. I grew on the Dresslerville Reservation in Gardnerville, NV. When I turned 18, I joined the Army as a way to leave the Reservation and explore the outside world. I ended up as a Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and served with them in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003-2004. I served again with the Nevada National Guard, 485th Military Police Company in support of Operation Spartan Shield 2016-2017. I can honestly say that I gained most of my leadership skills in the military. I began my higher education at Haskell Indian Nations University studying Business and Tribal Management. I ended up moving back to Nevada and changed my major. I have since earned my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I also continue to study and learn, trying to gain as much knowledge as possible.
Aside from my formal studies on Tribal Law and Government, I have been around these topics most of my life. I have many family members who have served many years on the Councils of different Tribal Governments, so I heard all of the rants and raves throughout the years. Native American history was the common topic in the household I grew up in. Many of the major topics that have shaped our history were frequently discussed and debated. We will go into a deeper look at these in future blog posts. I have found out that many of the things that I consider “common knowledge” are not so common. So, I wish to spread that knowledge out to all of you, along with an insight to some of the things that are going on right now. There are many things we are dealing with, both good and bad. I hope we can continue to learn and grow together as Washoe People and Human Beings.