As I was reading over our material for the meeting with the North Dakota judges next week, I came across these notes from Erich:
A few points to consider of the environment in which people have grown up on the reservation are:
(and his very first point was ... )
1. A lack of law and order, including lack of consequences both in the community and in the courtroom.
"Looking the other way"
For example, there have in the last few years been indictments of tribal council members and high level administrators on reservations for embezzlements from the fuel assistance program, vocational rehabilitation and tribal funds. This wasn't limited to one reservation or one program. Tribal council members have been sent to jail. Project directors have been arrested.
In one incident, almost everyone on the reservation knew that funds were being misused but nothing was done. Perhaps if someone had intervened earlier - some bystander - only $30,000 would have been taken instead of the $100,000 that eventually was taken.
I found his comment, written weeks earlier, to be very interesting given the surveys I had just read. Like the real life incident Erich mentioned, in the case studies we gave to people on different reservations, time and again, most people simply did not want to make a judgment.
Now, being nonjudgmental is all well and good when it is not telling people that only Catholics are good or not believing that anyone who didn't vote Republican in the last election should be forced to move to Canada. However, there are times when you SHOULD be judgmental. Taking money from the tribe that was meant for economic development and spending it to take your wife on a trip with you IS unethical and people SHOULD judge you as an unethical person if you do it.