By David Jensen
April 18, 2011
In 1975 KIC had two staff to provide education programs in local schools and had one building in preliminary stages of construction. When I started to get involved in The Tribe in1991 the total budget was about $2 million for education and General Assistance (welfare) programs. At the time the Tribal Council met 9 times a year with 3 months off for fishing and subsistence gathering. Everything was organized to be run by the executive director with approval from the council.
After a few years the council began to provide direction to the general manager.
Our directive to KIC management to enter into economic development began with the hatchery and eventually a gift shop. It seemed like it took forever to get the organization to venture into economic development but now look at us.
In 2008 the McDowell Group did an economic impact study. According to their study the tribe had an average of 150 employees with as many as 200 at the peak of the season. KIC was the seventh largest employer in Ketchikan. The total economic impact of the tribe on the community was $31 million.
We now have our own health clinic which was the first tribally owned clinic in the country to be built by the tribe and not by the Indian Health Service. We were the first to separate from the Regional Health Consortia so we could run our own clinic. The Tribal Council even had the foresight to set aside 3 months operating funds for the clinic. In the event of a federal government shutdown, as was recently threatened, the clinic would be able to continue to offer services to our members without interruption.
We have built low income and elder housing and are planning to develop more of our land for more housing for veterans and tribal members.
The employment and training program will be doing some of the construction of the new projects. The warehouse on Stedman Street was remodeled by apprentice trainees for an education and training facility which received $600 thousand in the state capitol budget. Cultural and language, scholarships, and career counseling are all to be housed in the nearly complete education and training facility.
KIC is opening a pharmacy in May in The Downtown Drug location.
The tribe has a salmon hatchery and eagle center that provides summer jobs for youths and fish for local anglers.
We have had controversy and scandal as well as more than a few mistakes but look at the good.
I am proud of the work that I was privileged to do for the tribe. I had the honor of working with some of our best people even if, as some people point out, we didn t have the highest education or weren t first in our class. I was not there the whole time and I can t take all the credit. I appreciate all of those that helped us get where we are.
About: Former President KIC Tribal Council
Received April , 2011 - Published April 18, 2011
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