by Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.


Over $2 billion dollars are appropriated each year for the Operation of Indian Programs by the Department of the Interior alone. This figure does not
include billions of dollars that come into each reservation through grant funds from other agencies, private philanthropy, the $14.1 billion brought in from tribal gaming or other tribal enterprises. Much of this money never reaches its intended recipients. It is lost through expense accounts used for personal benefit, payment of individuals for hours they did not work, equipment purchased by the tribe that never makes it into tribal offices and travel funds for employee vacations.

Goals of the Tribal Leaders Program

1. To develop and implement a character education-training program that will cause a significant decrease in funds lost through ethical violations.

2. To galvanize tribal members to demand ethical behavior from their leaders and themselves

Ethical violations are costing tribal organizations hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Most of these costs are not from large-scale embezzlement or kickbacks on multi-million dollar contracts. Small violations on a large scale are what bleed money from tribal and federal funds. If we are ever to move from 'survival' mode to 'success' mode in Indian country, we need to address these constant, daily ethical ''cuts" to our funding that are bleeding our tribal nations. We need to heal ourselves.

Click here for a case study that describes a common example of these small scale violations.