Spilyay Speaks: Communication and good governance

CTWSO FlagEast Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, who inspired movements for civil rights and freedom around the world, stated “truth never damages a cause that is just”. The current government has taken some steps to ensure an informed citizenry, and this is a positive and important step forward.

Let’s celebrate this and work together to increase transparency and communications within our community – it will have positive impact on our efforts to build this Nation.

Communication has been identified by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights as an important attribute of good governance.

Our tribal government is tasked with managing tribal resources and conducting affairs on behalf of over 5,000 tribal members keeping in mind future generations and working within our cultural understandings of who we are as a people.

One of the key aspects of good governance and democracy in general is communication, specifically transparency and access to information. Our tribal government is working hard to improve the livelihood of our community and in order to successfully affect change, government must build support amongst the People. This requires effective communication internally and externally.

In meetings, we often hear the many divergent views some of which are not based on facts. Transparent and timely information sharing on tribal issues is important as it reduces misperceptions and rumors. We may not all agree on an issue but when facts are available, time and energy can be focused on issue at hand.

Information has to accessible. It is helpful for information to be presented visually and in writing. To ensure effectiveness of meetings, information should continue to be provided in advance through common outlets but should also available online. This helps the tribal members to understand the issue, formulate relevant questions and ultimately build support for an issue.

Communication is a two-way street. Our voice is heard through the voting process and by engaging in public life. This includes attending meetings, working on facts (not personalities) and choosing to be a part of change making that works within the framework of our Constitution and By-laws. You can’t complain if you refuse to engage in the process, no matter how difficult and we must respect the governance framework that we operate within.

Governments, elected officials and citizens who commit to the concept of transparency and communication ultimately strengthen the work that they do.

By being transparent and ensuring that information reaches the people and vice versa, trust is developed between all involved.

Transparent and timely information information reduces misperceptions and rumors and allows energy to be focused on building support for ideas.

Transparency and communication of government, elected officials and committees is a great way to demonstrate the positive work being done, ensures accountability and an effective measure towards reducing rumors of mismanagement and corruption.

Spilyay Speaks is a bi-weekly column written by Alyssa Macy, a Warm Springs tribal member and communications strategist. She can be reached at alyssa.macy@wstribes.org or on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.