Addressing racial wealth gaps

Our Commitment

Report date
November 2018
Learning Log

This past few months have been a really busy month for my Bush Fellowship related work, with some very high highs and some very low lows.

Self-sufficiency. If you recall I had a very specific goal this summer to catch, clean, smoke and can my own salmon, from start to finish. I was successful in doing that. I have been eating my catch and have already made a significant dent. I learned a few things, it takes substantially more food caught in the summer to make it through winter than I realized. This fall goal is to learn to hunt a deer, to field dress, skin and butcher the deer myself. Tomorrow I hope to complete that goal. I am going hunting for the first time. Frankly I am terrified. I am so sad about potentially taking a life. But I also recognize I cannot eat meat and not be willing to do so with my own hands. I hope I can do so in prayer and in thanks. I am hopefully our hunt is successful, and I have been praying for a clean and fast kill if I do kill. Stay tuned for that update next month.

I have also been continuing to can fall fruit, specifically apples, pears, and pumpkin. I made cut fruit, fruit butter, fruit sauce, and pie filling. It is so much work. To pick the fruit, cut it all up, to cook it, prepare all of the canning equipment and then can the food. I now understand why families would have canning kitchens outside the house in the summer. I would spend a whole day canning and maybe have a few days’ worth of food. I am so glad to now have these skills, but realistically if I was responsible for feeding my family though self-sufficient means, it would be very difficult to maintain a full-time job. Much like my discovery with the salmon, once I look at my final work the amount of food canned seems miniscule compared to the amount of work it took to do. Really I refer back to my prior conclusion, the creation of pre-prepared and pre-canned foods has really revolutionized women’s ability to work outside the home.

Tribal Finance. I am attending and spoke at the SOCAP conference. In one sense it was a wonderful experience. My panel and fellow panelists were wonderful. There was some excellent coverage of tribal finance and investing in Indian Country. Specifically I focused most heavily on the new “Opportunity Zones.” Specifically there is a new tax incentive called “Opportunity Zones.” About 25-30% of the OZ are on Indian Lands throughout the United States. OZ allows for the investment of capital gains in these zones with a deferred tax payment, and no taxed levied on any profits made over 10 years.

However, I was also disappointed. In general, the conference was way overscheduled. It was hard to attend any one thing; the panels and the general assembly were poorly attended. And despite a few folks showing interest, there really was not a significant new wave of investors rethinking investment in Indian Country. It was really a little disheartening.

Regarding my new endeavors to start businesses associated with tribal self-sufficiency, one failed and a new one started. Well I should not say it failed, but I withdrew from the tribal indoor farm business. The other partners and I had a difference of opinion about vision and direction. They were focused on expanding beyond Indian Country before we had built anything in Indian Country and also on building the corporation before building a farm. I felt it imperative to build a farm first to show proof of concept, and then expand from there. The difference of opinion was causing too much friction on a day to day basis and it came time to part ways. I am still reflecting on the experience and lessons learned but it is disheartening as it really was my first endeavor into entrepreneurship.

At the same time that company was dissolving I launched a new company with my former law school classmate with his pre-existing partners and company, it is called Native American Capital – Tribal Opportunity Zone Venture Group. The focus of which will be bringing those Opportunity Zone funds I discussed at SOPCAP to Indian Country. It is a lot of hard work and in many ways is a long-shot but we felt it imperative to promote tribal investments.

Puerto Rico. Not directly Bush related. But related to my interest in solar energy. We held a fundraiser last year after Hurricane Maria for Puerto Rico. We bought solar powered emergency communication recharging stations. They finally arrived this month and we flew to Puerto Rico and spent a week installing them.

Self care. I have let my eating habits get sloppy and I decreased my gym consistency these past two months. I paid for it dearly in almost immediate weight gain. I am putting myself back on a ketogenic diet to gain control over the upward trajectory. This week I am fasting for 3-5 days for a restart. Then I will be working in DC for several weeks, so I have already ordered groceries to be delivered that will be consistent with the things I need to eat to get back on track. This will be hard during the holidays but having this plan will help a great deal.