November 03, 2007

Indians junket in Hawaii

Navajo tribe sends 362-plus to Hawaii conferenceThe Navajo Nation, with much of its massive reservation home to residents still living in Third World-type conditions, sent hundreds more delegates to a Hawaii education conference than any other American Indian tribe. A whopping 362 representatives preregistered and, if all attended as believed, traveled at a combined cost estimated at more than a half million dollars.

Tribe officials refused to release many details about who beyond top administrators traveled and at what cost, but similar travel made to the Hawaii conference by other non-tribal districts in the region, which sent up to eight representatives, cost at least $1,400 per person. At that rate, the 362 Navajo representatives would have accounted for at least $506,800 in travel costs.
Lumbee council member protests travel to HawaiiTen members of the elected Lumbee Tribal Council and four people on the staff that serves them are in Hawaii for a conference on Indian education.

But the chairwoman of the tribe’s Education Committee stayed home. She said that some of the people going have not even participated in local education meetings.

“There is no validity for individuals to attend the conference if they hadn’t participated in tribal Education Committee meetings,” said Wendy Moore-Graham, chairwoman of the tribe’s Education Committee. “I see it as just a vacation at the expense of the tribe.”

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