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The time for tribal self-reliance is now; commerce is the key

Nov 4, 2013 - Rory J. Robinson, Fort Washakie

Editor:

On behalf of the Eastern Shoshone Education Department, I wanted to thank Mr. John Enos for his support regarding the Youth Entrepreneurship Project that our department implemented this year with funding from the Economic Development Administration. His praise is very meaningful to us and we are proud that our community took notice of our efforts.

Mr. Enos, an entrepreneur himself, is aware of what an enormous impact that the growth of privately owned businesses could have on our reservation. He and I agree that the many social ills could be diminished by the presence of commerce, the jobs it creates, the hope it inspires, and the pride that often accompanies it.

It was an honor for us to see the young people become inspired by the program and to watch their creativity and hard work culminate in the creation of their own businesses. The possibilities are endless for our young Native American people as long as they are willing to step out of their comfort zones and try something that hasn't been attempted here on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Mr. Enos also recognized our partners, CWC and the Wind River Development Fund, who were instrumental in the program's success. We would also like to mention the great efforts that Fort Washakie High School, Glenn Lacroix, Rancey Hereford, Mike Chingman, Reba Teran, Rachel Ynostrosa, Cassie Morales and the Shoshone Business Council also took to assist us in the endeavor.

As the project was only a one-year pilot, we are now attempting to find funding for its sustainability. As our government is now in its own funding dilemma, our department may not be able to provide the program again.

Even so, I would encourage Native people to take a look at their surroundings. Identify the needs of your community, and become the person who satisfies that need. The time for self-reliance is upon us and entrepreneurship will be the key to the survival of our people.

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Wind River Indian Reservation