Opinion

Western Sky Employees: Fighting for our voices to be heard





This letter is in regards to our employment with Western Sky. We've come together, of our own free will and accord, to voice our concerns and reaffirm our rights as tribal members. We are writing this for our own well-being.

Mr. Martin Webb, a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member, started a lending agency and has worked to provide tribal members with jobs and, to a greater extent, a sense of security.

We at Western Sky offer personal, unsecured loans -- unsecure meaning no collateral. Our interest rates are high but we do offer solutions to help save the customer money.

There is no pre-payment penalty and that enables the customer to pay back the loan when it suits them. Any extra money towards their principal balance helps borrowers pay the loan off faster and helps reduce the amount of money they end up spending on the loan.

Most of us have stories of customers who call in and either absolutely need the money the very same day or are "certain" they will not bet pre-approved because they have "bad credit." We also have repeat customers that pay of their loans early and come back to Western Sky for a second and sometimes third loan.

Some of these customers are out of options and we are their last resort. That is fine by us. These are the stories that stick with us. Regardless of what anyone thinks, we do have customers who are very thankful for these loans and we are always happy to help.

For the first time in a long time, we haven't had to worry about money. We have not had to live paycheck to paycheck. We have lived free and independent.

It's difficult to look forward to the future when jobs that re supposed to be created for us are not. It's hard to look forward to change when we don't see change anywhere on the horizon.

This is our tribal council's job. They are supposed to create change for us. That is why we elected them. That is why they are paid. The bottom line is the tribal council's job is to protect us.

Tribal leaders didn't officially order us to shut down but they certainly helped with their complacency and unwillingness to support their own constituents. We are more than a tribe. We are what amounts to an enormous tiospaye.

Where is our support? Our protection? We are technically unemployed.

We lost our jobs because of inaction by the tribal council. We are losing our jobs because nobody stepped up to help us. The tribal council cannot provide us with jobs. Mr. Webb has only done what no one else has been able to do for us.

We are tired of being called pawns. We are fighting for our jobs of our own free will. We have that right as tribal members. We will not stop until we are heard.

Roberta A. Lucero (Tiger)
Jennifer Shooter
Kristen Nordwald
Antoinette Nichols
Jaylynn Widow
and 25 other employees

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