andquot;Why don't we cry a million tears?andquot;

This was a response by a tribal leader when asked a question about tribal housing. The tribal members felt this was an inappropriate response, and I myself was shocked.

The tribal members' lack of housing on the reservation is being taken from the few tribal members who live within the boundaries of the reservation. The housing is currently being offered to those who do not reside on the reservation. I believe the policy has always been to provide housing on the reservation first. The members who reside on the Smith River Reservation are the ones who are responsible for bringing the casino to the members. The Tribal Council seems to have forgotten this or they just don't care if they are taking care of these members first.

The land acquisition that the Smith River members have in trust status is being used for two homes that the members cannot afford. The land was actually acquired for rental units for the homeless members. The land owners that reside adjacent to the 12-acre property do not want tribal housing near the homes they are selling for a lot of money. They feel the Indian Housing will bring their property values down.

Again, I would like to remind the members that the housing is for the property owners first. The mobile homes are not to be placed in mobile home parks, unless you own the park. These have always been the guidelines for housing, and we should make sure the council is following these guidelines.

Sunnae Walker

Smith River