What would you say were the positive outcomes of the contingency planning process?


Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It occurred to me last night, that there's one aspect immediately following the mediation at this island case that I thought was significant. It was the way the announcement was made to the community. I thought it was unique. The parties, after the mediation, and the pastor of the United Church of Christ suggested that we have an open house at his church and invited everybody from the community. This would be the white community and the non-Indian community, that's where the concerns were. They were all supportive that the community go along with this. Anyway, we had an open church a few days after the agreement was signed and had a very good turnout in terms of attendance. The procedure that we went through was that the key persons on both sides had a meeting together, had an explanation of what the grievance was, and people could ask questions and so on. After that, it became very informal and they had cake and coffee and that sort of thing and broke up into small groups and there were Indian tribal members chatting with residents and vice versa for the first time really, especially those who were most concerned about what had been happening. I happened to notice that there was one person, shall we say Subject A? If you remember, he was one of the person's who had more complaints about this person than anyone else that I came across. I couldn't help but notice that he was off in a corner with three men standing around him, and he was talking with them and showing them something. I couldn't see what it was and I had to look over his shoulder. This was a copy of the Bolt decision that he had somehow gotten a hold of. And it was all underlined with these parts and he was saying, you see, they have a right to come under our property. Now that is just as significant a part of mediation I think as the negotiations at a table. What the people at the table do at the wake of it. They've got the job of convincing their constituencies. We must never lose sight of that, empowering those people and each side needs to be aware of those needs, it works both ways. Later on, this same individual was sitting on his porch and noticed across a neck of the lake a tribal fisherman over there, somebody on the dock who looked like they were having some kind of problems, he couldn't tell what it was. This guy wasn't young and he wasn't in good health, but he gets in his rowboat, rows as fast as he can clear across the bay, and intervenes and sorts it out and works out whatever the problem was. That again is involvement in this way. At the subsequent meetings, before the next season started, those became very important people to tell their experiences and reinforce this kind of positive action. As they looked forward to relating this, they became a reference group of those involved in the review of their decisions. The persons involved in those joint meetings later moved on, tribal leadership changed and so on. Tribal Fisherman Patrol chief became police chief in another reservation. These follow up meetings helped to perpetuate the original understandings and most importantly working relationships, regardless of what's on paper. That's what producing the paper and producing the agreements created, working relationships. Those small joint committees focused on a purpose. That's what creates the working relationships. In other words, mediation sessions are just the beginning. There were people in CRS, when I would relate stories like this, who would say, "Oh no, that's not mediation. When you finish up your mediation sessions, signed, you're out of there and that's it." That's a philosophy practice. To me, I think it's the human relations, in addition to the human rights involved, they're equally important.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Then we helped analyze with them what some of those things were that they could be doing to address that. Which was the better path? After many meetings everybody had a role to play in the creation of the Mayor's Task Force 2000, and we gave them technical assistance in that. Also discussing with them that if they were to focus on the future, that they could be better able to handle the present. They would then have a plan how they're going to reach that future and then they could withstand whoever came in and out, and whoever had other agendas and the city was not focusing on where they wanted to be. And they would decide where that place was, and how they're going to get there. It would be essential that before they decided where they wanted to be that they should discover where they were. And once they discovered where they were, and everybody understood where they were, then they could shed more light on where they needed to be and how they're going to get there. Through a lot of meetings and a lot of private discussions they did that and formed the Mayor's Task Force 2000, formed of all the elements in the community. There's always consequences for doing something, and consequences for not doing anything. So there were pretties, and as you know the mayor's African American, and the head of the chamber of commerce is African American, the board president who had been there twenty years is African American, or he just resigned, the head of one of the major employers, the hospital. Two of the city council members are African American. A lot of people they themselves credit that as to why the town was able to cope with a lot of things. Other communities are not composed like that, and may not have been able to handle it as well. Fifty percent of the population is black or about that much out of 8,000. This incident happened in the county. When we were discussing and I asked him what area are you going to cover because it was in Jasper, and we talked about creating a vehicle to take them into the future, but this vehicle would be Jasper owned and operated, they would decide where they would go, who was going to be in it, how the vehicle is going to be shaped, and how they were going to get there. The mayor and others felt that although it may be a Jasper vehicle that it would be inclusive of the areas outside of Jasper too, like the creek area where the killing occurred. Critics on both sides said that it wasn't going to work, it would be a white wash, they were going to hide things, and there's no problem. Yeah we've got problems, we're not perfect, but things are okay. Things have happened here, and there have been other incidents that have just been kept covered up and we have longstanding issues. We kind of agreed with them that the creating of a vehicle in a public manner through community dialogues and small town hall meetings they could discover where they were. All of those meetings were public and the way they organized the task force is it's composed of different committees. The task was to do a self examination of the law enforcement, of the education system, and of the business community. These committees are composed of representatives of the whole, but with representatives of those entities and the committee was going to take a self look, so then they organized these meetings. I had sketched out a skeleton of an organization but they even did me better. They got really sophisticated and came back with an official organization structure that really was great because it covered everybody. And everybody participating in the process of this self look. That's recommendable to any community, to take a self look of all facets of the community, and based on that self look come up with a plan. It's not like me looking at you and pointing out your faults, but together let's see what we can do better here. That was published in the newspaper, the results and the finding of all those meetings. So they proved wrong those that felt it was going to be covered up, because it was very obvious what happened right there in the paper.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So they agreed, essentially, that they would end the standoff if they got this document that said that they’d be heard in Washington?

Answer:
There was a signed agreement and they went to explore it and that’s when Russell disappeared.

Question:
Now why was it that everything fell apart when he left?

Answer:
I think people were tired. They had accomplished their mission. It was time to stop. They had milked this for the publicity, which was very important. They had heightened awareness throughout America of the plight of the American Indians, of the rape of the Indians by the US Government, of the treaty violations. That was all exposed, highly publicized. The media had it. People were more aware.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

If you want, they gave me permission to share the document we came up with. It's beautiful, it's incredible. The kinds of things that became institutional change and long term response. They created a long term process for responding to incidents on campus. That became institutionalized in and of itself.





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

One of the good things that happened, sort of a byplay on this, was that some of the African Americans, Asians and Latinos got together and said, "Look, this is really great, but all these talks are so formal, are we really going to get anywhere?" So they said, "What we ought to do is have a monthly get-together with these guys at this particular place, and you know, break bread and talk." And that's what we did. And I see that as probably the best thing that occurred. There was no written follow-up to that, but barriers were definitely broken. We shared foods from various ethnic groups and such. Cops were coming in and hugging community people and sitting there and really talking. The chief of police from L.A. was really astounded at what could happen. Of course, this is the kind of a police chief that is really insulated in this little cocoon up in a glass house, so he's only hearing what everybody wants him to hear; by the time he hears something, it's gone through this long chain of people, each of whom has filtered it a little bit more. Anyway, going back to our informal get-togethers -- the chief was just beside himself. These people were actually getting along with cops. Now, he had had experience in Philadelphia and I'm sure that he had done these kinds of things before, but I guess he'd never seen it work so well. The sheriff was there, as well as police chiefs and other subordinate administrators from various county departments -- small ones, big ones, college types, and we filled Eleanor's. Oh, Eleanor's a caterer by the way, so she had this huge hall and it's a typical Mexican hall, in the sense that it's sort of built as you go along. "Well, today I have enough money, so I'll add another part to it." Part of it is outside, and we had the beer and white wine in laundry tins with ice in them and we barbecued. The Compton NAACP person considered himself a great barbecue chef, so he's the guy that brought the barbecue, other people brought Mexican food and Asian food and the police brought beer.



Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Any key lessons we're missing here?

Answer:
There's one conciliation case among the Nez Perce Indians in Northern Idaho and the State Department officials of Idaho. There was one summer where there was a confrontation between the younger travel fisherman who traveled a hundred miles off the reservation to a site near a state hatchery. Anyway, a confrontation had developed and I knew that it was pending. The confrontation had developed as the Indian camp, which was along the side of the river, was invaded by the state department fishers and a forestry specialized team. I won't call it a swat team, but it was a specialized and very mobile team, trained and well-armed of enforcement offices. There were about thirty Native Americans, or tribal members, in the encampment in all. Men, women, and children. About a dozen members of this swat team would make sweeps through the village, looking for illegally caught salmon that was not in season. These sweeps would occur at any hour of the day or night, without warning. The agents would go into teepees and so on. This created a lot of tension. I was there, sort of on the sidelines, because these operations had been set up and planned in Boise, well in advanced of the season, when the fishing opened and the run began. One time, when they made the sweep, the Indians chased them out of the village with clubs, not firearms. But, they were chased up the hill to the road where the truck of the troopers was there to pick them up. This was all on foot. Well, as they approached the truck, the Nez Perce Indians caught up with them and cut them off from accessing the trunk. They had their cars parked in this area, the tribal members did, and they were unlocking the trunks, but not opening them. Several obvious guns were in there and it was clear that they were on the verge of a firefight. The state enforcement officers had shotguns and they began to chamber their weapons. They were almost surrounded and backed up against their truck. The Indians were moving in on them, shouting, with clubs. With the weapons that were obviously there, I felt that when it came down to it, the last resort was that I had to walk over between them and tell them to stop. "Somebody's going to get killed here, and none of us want bloodshed if it can be avoided. Tom, I want you to select one or two persons. And Bill, I want you to select one or two persons with you, and in two hours from now, I want you to meet me over at my motel. We're going to work out an alternative to settling this thing. In the meantime, you have your people turn around and go back that way, and you have your men get in that truck and go back to your camp." And it worked. A couple of hours later that evening, we worked out an agreement that would establish a process that they were willing to follow in establishing communication and in inspecting the camp. They were calling it a sweep, but it was "inspecting the camp" for these purposes. "It will be done at these reasonable hours. And when you approach, you will wait until one of these designated persons comes to meet you and escort you through." And that seemed to defuse the situation. There was a television camera team on-site from Boise, that filmed the confrontation. The governor saw it that night on the evening news, and he sent his legal representative up. There were some state patrolmen involved there, too. Highway patrol. The governor has authority over highway patrol, but not the Commission of Fish and Game. He had no authority over them, but he sent legal council of the state department of law enforcement up by helicopter that night, and it landed in the field out there. There was a big stir and he had the captain in charge of that state patrol unit order them back to the barracks. He did not want the state troopers providing support for the fishery enforcement personnel. The legal council of the tribe, and the legal council for the state department of law enforcement, and the tribal chairman, and I got a group together representing both sides. Together, we realized that we did not know what the law provided and what the law did not provide. We decided to meet at the University of Idaho, at the Law School, and have a conference and invite representatives of other tribes. It would be co-sponsored by the Department of Justice Community Relation Services, Nez Perce tribe, State Department of Idaho, law enforcement of Idaho, and the Law School. We had about a two day conference, Indian Law and Jurisdiction was the title that we gave it. Other tribes sent some people in, because they had similar problems. Not necessarily fishing, but traffic control on the reservation. That was very successful in establishing a collaborative approach. This developed relationships, trust building, and so on. The following year, instead of meeting at the university, we went to Spokane. There's a large convention hotel, and we had 300 or more people attending from all over the Northwest. Some were there from other parts of the country, experts on Indian Law and Jurisdiction, conducting a seminar on fishing and other law enforcement jurisdictions. It was very successful. That all grew out of that. Guys involved in that confrontation jointly sponsored Native American and official agencies. That model was unique in the country. You've had one party or the other holding these conferences at universities while we're here, but not a jointly sponsored, collaborative effort. That was also the model that we used in the Northwest Coalition. Officials and Civil Rights Groups together, making a collaborative program, and forming approaches to those hate issues. The same thing in these Native American fishing issues. Both of them were unique and there had not been that kind of joint collaborative effort in either area previously. Well hey, I didn't realize it was going to get into all of that, but some of these, which may seem to be a little, fairly limited, area of mediation will channel conflict to the table. At the table, we don't have it all here either. "We better involve some other resources and do something." It kept growing and growing until it developed to that scale, and a lot of that seemed to put a cap on a lot of those confrontation issues. The sponsorship in the second of those Indian Law Jurisdiction conferences was very broad, with the Northwest Tribal Law Enforcing Association, the State Department of Law Enforcement, for 2 or 3 states, the Northwest Indian Treaties, the Northwest Indian Tribal Council and so on. They were authorities from all over the country.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

After the mediation, they agreed they needed some way to keep channels of communication open. Before then, the city of Big Sky had never had a mechanism by which the channels of communication would remain open between the Indians and the city administration. So what do you do? They decided that they needed some kind of organization that will address these issues and keep communication open by meeting periodically with city officials and community leaders. This was a proposal. Somebody said, "Well then. What do you call this group?" "Well, we don't know what we'll call it, but it's a good idea that we come together monthly and sit down and discuss these issues that will keep us from becoming hostile toward one another. We'll call it the Blue Sky Indian Action Council." Guess how long that's been in existence? Twenty five years. And it keeps the door and channels of communication open. That was a result of the mediation session.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

He said, "Yes, the inmates-staff council is still meeting. In fact, they're meeting this afternoon, do you want to go?" So I went down, and they were just starting their meeting. There was the same psychologist who had been there fifteen years earlier; he was now associate superintendent. Lt. Westbrook was still in charge of disciplinary actions; he later told me things were going well. At the meeting, an inmate representative complained about guards shining flashlights in the eyes of residents at night, and about sheets coming back torn from the laundry, It all sounded familiar, but now there was a forum to address and discuss things.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Yesterday, I mentioned that case in St. Cloud. It’s not very often you go back fifteen years later, find the parties have changed and yet, the agreement still goes on. So yes, that worked. In Columbus, someone would have to go back and look where we had Pat Glenn help set that system up with police and the community. I imagine that there are settings that you’ve heard about during the course of these interviews, in schools or communities, where conditions haven’t changed measurably. That Bad River Reservation that I mentioned up in Northern Wisconsin was extraordinary. You had Indians on a Reservation. Some of that land was owned by white resort owners who rented it out for hunting and fishing. Then, you had Indian Rights, which limited how much hunting and fishing could go on. There was a real threat to those resort owners, so the bumper stickers in the area would read, "Spear an Indian, not a fish.” You had a white, and rural community around that broader Indian Reservation area. There had been no communications across lines.





Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did they have a lot of work to do to keep this group together?

Answer:
A lot of work. One of the reasons that it was particularly successful in Denver, and not in other communities, was the fact that very early on, the groups themselves were able to find dollars, local resources. They hired an executive director, who spent a lot of time keeping the group together by typing points of agreement and disseminating them. This didn't happen in the minority community then, and it helped to clarify the goals of the groups.







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