Rebuttal to David Wilkins

James Mills

David Wilkins makes pertinent observations on the relationship of today’s 566 federally recognized Indian Nations and its struggle to balance its tribal citizenship rolls (Auditing Tribal Sovereignty, August 11).

But his assumption that third-party entities hired by tribes to assist in tribal enrollment audits are unfitting and with foul-intention is sorely under-informed and thus, misleading.

Professor Wilkins attempts to argue that my company, of which I am President, along with several other for-profit firms are “generally more committed to revenue generation than indigenous nation membership clarification.” For the record, my company is called Creating Stronger Nations, not Constructing Stronger Nations, as Wilkins erroneously stated.  Secondly, CSN, Inc. and its partner company DCI America have been working closely with tribes and their communities for nearly a quarter century—well before promises of casino riches emerged in Indian country.

While I cannot speak for the motives of other businesses, I am committed to working with a team of tribal government experts who know what it’s like to work in the tribal trenches; who live in tribal communities; who are indigenous both in heritage and of mind.

For Wilkins to suggest that even Native-owned companies are somehow less qualified in fixing centuries-old systems of tribal injustice is quite simply contradictory and insulting. His views also undermine the business decisions of tribes themselves in insinuating that they function irrationally or without direction for what is best for the future of their Indian Nations.

For any tribe that wishes to conduct an enrollment audit for all the right reasons, bravo to them and bravo to the notion of tribal sovereignty.

The whole purpose of tribal sovereignty and self-governance is to make those decisions without interference from outside agencies, consulting companies or even scholars.

James Mills was the Administrator of a large teaching Medical Center in New York. Mills’ extensive experience in non-profit financial and administrative positions was a great beginning to a career in Indian country, which has been progressing for more than 24 years. Mills has become the number one trainer and technical support provider of Tribal Enrollment, Leadership for Tribal Councils and Robert’s Rules for Tribal Boards. Mills has assisted scores of tribes in writing and developing their enrollment ordinances as well as their tribal constitutions and by-laws. As the President of the Consortium of Native American Parliamentarians, Mills has been contracted by tribal organizations as an objective moderator on a variety of controversial and challenging issues within their communities. Mills served as the Chairman of the Tribal Enrollment Advisory Committee for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe from 1998-2000. He also served on his local school board from 1991-1993. Mills serves as the Chairman of CSN’s Audit Team, an independent committee of enrollment professionals. Mills established DCIAmerica in 1990 and CSN in 2008.

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Sammy7's picture
No disrespect intended Mr. Mills, but I believe the greater truth lies with Mr. Wilkins.
hesutu's picture
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (1948) In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; ... Genocidal acts need not kill or cause the death of members of a group. Causing serious bodily or mental harm, prevention of births and transfer of children are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence. ... The phrase "in whole or in part" is important. Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group is also genocide.
Cathy L. Cory's picture
That's a laugh! James Mill's own company attempted to "help" Picayune (Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians) by attempting to help dismember another 200 or so Chukchansi tribal members in 2007, consorting with then-chairman Dustin Graham on how to write and approve a new resolution allowing the tribe to even further define "allotments" at Picayune to specific "Chukchansi Indian allotments" within a redefined and VERY severely limited geographical area! These firms, and some Indian owned ones as well, are "helping" huge percentages of tribal people directly into self-decimation and eventual nonexistence!!! And WHY? Of course--for huge financial compensation, aka MONEY, provided by corrupt tribal governments of many gaming tribes obsessed with disenrolling large numbers of their tribal people for their own greed and selfishness! Our ancestors are disrespected, our culture, heritage, history, birthright and very PEOPLE destroyed...shame on these supposed tribal "leaders" and their mercenaries!!!
Cathy L. Cory
Cathy L. Cory's picture
Perhaps Mr. Mills should change the company name to simply DNN..."Destorying Native Nations"?!
Cathy L. Cory
James Mills's picture
It is simply amazing to me how facts get changed over time. When I made the presentation at Picayune, I told the people gathered that disenrollment was a bad idea. Even the people subject to disenrollment thanked me after the presentation. As for drafting documents: I have no power to tell a tribe to disenroll anyone and I would not in any case. When I am contracted to draft a document, I draft what I am instructed to do. No matter what advice I may give, in the end, the tribe does what it wishes. That is their sovereign right. I have talked to many people at Picayune advising them over and over again that in my experience, disenrollment causes more problems than it solves. That is always what I do and say. Anyone’s memory of something else is clearly selective amnesia on their part. So I will say it again for the record: Disenrollment causes more problems than it solves. James Mills
James Mills
Cathy L. Cory's picture
Mr. Mills: Here is the key to what is stated in your response: "When I am contracted to draft a document, I draft what I am instructed to do." Perhaps if determined to work with Indian Country, you should only work with those tribes who hold to their traditional values, which would be in line with your "stated beliefs", "Disenrollment causes more problems than it solves" And as for the "selective memory"? That, I'm afraid, belongs to YOU--on both the allotment and "special relationship" issues discussed at the Oakhurst Elks Club general council meeting at Picayune... !!!Bring the people--ALL the people--home to Picayune...where they belong!!!
Cathy L. Cory
Lakota1957's picture
James Mills: I always cringe when I hear a Non-Indian say something like you did in your article, " who are indigenous both in heritage and of mind". It is people like you that have infiltrated their way into Indian Country. It is people like you that pit our people against one another. It is people like you that take Native professionals out of the running. It is people like you that actually believe you have a place in our world! And it is people like you who make a living off of our tragedy, shame on you!
Cathy L. Cory's picture
And about this portion of your statement, Mr. Mills: "Secondly, CSN, Inc. and its partner company DCI America have been working closely with tribes and their communities for nearly a quarter century—well before promises of casino riches emerged in Indian country." Seeing as the IGRA was developed in 1988, now (or by 2013) is just about "a quarter of a century" since gaming came into play...that about speaks for your motivations and intentions, as far as I'm concerned....'nuf said! The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is a 1988 United States federal law that establishes the jurisdictional framework that governs Indian gaming. There was no federal gaming structure before this act. The stated purposes of the act include providing a legislative basis for the operation/regulation of Indian gaming, protecting gaming as a means of generating revenue for the tribes, encouraging economic development of these tribes, …
Cathy L. Cory