Go FISH!

One of the many gifts my work in tribal communities brought into my life was the opportunity to keep learning and the chance to share what I learned. On this rainy afternoon, I revisited this older post. The sculpted exercise described came from a conference I attended while I was conducting the study of Ojibwe child welfare that is the focus of the book I’m writing. It seems fitting for me to share it again.

Voices from the Margins

Carol A. Hand

Years ago, I was asked to be a keynote speaker for a conference sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The audience would be BIA and tribal social services staff from the U.S., primarily from the Great Lakes and Western states. The speaker’s fee they offered me was offensively large in relation to the $30,000 annual budget my tribe (the Sokaogon Ojibwe Community) received to address the needs of children and families living on the reservation, or in the case of child welfare, throughout the state and country. The truth is I don’t like speaking in public, so I typically look for diplomatic reasons to decline invitations. In this case, I listed some conditions that I hoped would be reasons for the BIA to withdraw the offer. First, I told the BIA administrator that I would be willing to speak if they paid my travel expenses…

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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5 Responses to Go FISH!

  1. sojourner says:

    Isn’t it amazing how those in charge of these bureaucratic agencies always respond in the way many of us would believe they would? Or in other words, they always seem to live down to our low expectations of them.

    I had this Seattle fish-market propaganda forced on me when I worked at AT&T several years back. I basically allowed it to go into one ear and come out the other. After all, there wasn’t much matter, in between, to stop it;-)

    What did this BIA person expect you to do with this corporate-manipulative message? I’ll venture a guess: this person wanted you to appease the audience, to keep the status quo firmly in tact. To come in and talk and not make any waves.

    You are amazing, Carol, and I am not blowing smoke here. How you altered this manipulative corporate message, in order to make it meaningful and helpful to the people in the audience, was sheer brilliance!

    I hope your message was carried on by the people there, and that it has had a positive influence, a healing and building up influence, in their communities!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great comments about bureaucracies, Sojourner. Yes, I was supposed to endorse the corporate model… 🙂

      I realized when I read your very kind comments that on my best days, I really can play the role of the jester to get another message across. (It only happens when I can forget about my ego and let the purpose for my presentation guide my words and performance.) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Carol, we are all overworked, underpaid, and dealing with unimaginable suffering. We are not supposed to speak openly about the insanity of the system, nor of the pain it creates. We are all to live in an ahistorical, neoliberal, corporate world that seems hell bent on destroying community and sanity. What amazes me is that the craziness just grows. Thanks for speaking the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

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