To the Editor,
To those who oppose using available tribal resources legally for cultural purposes, let me offer you my take on a recent letter to the editor published on Feb. 24.
First of all, our black and white friends who labor and pay taxes already use our community centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, and even live in some of our tribally built and purchased homes. They are profiting from our purchases of supplies, utilities and technical support. They work for our contractors, pick up our garbage and enjoy the benefits from the tax revenue these services and purchases put back into the economy of Robeson County. Stop trying to make our friends think they are getting no benefit from the HUD money we receive annually.
Secondly, if we truly opposed the use of HUD money to promote cultural awareness our tribal housing complex would be situated in a square or rectangular structure and not shaped like a turtle.
Lastly, let’s set the record straight on this issue that is designed, in my opinion, to simply make some folks believe that they are victims — that grandma’s house didn’t get fixed because someone spent money foolishly. I don’t know how much, or if in fact one red cent has ever been spent inappropriately other than what has been self reported by the Tribe, or has been exposed and printed in media outlets.
We can’t repair or rehab any more houses yearly than we currently do. There are not enough contractors that are licensed, bonded and available whose work must meet both tribal and government standards. We don’t have enough staff to process the paperwork, to monitor the work in process and to properly inspect the finished product.
Let me make this clear: I don’t speak for the tribal administration. I’m not a paid employee nor do I sit on any tribal nonprofit board. Those who know me know that I have sung this song since the formation of our current governmental structure, irrespective of who the chairman was or who worked there.
If the money can be spent legally to repair the culture center, spend it. Many thousands of us who do not qualify to receive tribal services then can also benefits from the money we receive.