High Lookee discussion at Tribal Council

High Lookee Lodge opened 20 years ago. The staff at the lodge give their best effort at making the residents happy. There are 17 employees at the lodge.

Twelve of the employees are tribal members, one is from another tribe, and four are non-Indians.

There is room for 35 residents at High Lookee, said Jolene Greene, lodge director. Currently, she said, there are 21 residents. Fifteen are tribal members, two are from other tribes, and four are non-Indians.

Jolene and tribal management officer Alyssa Macy met with Tribal Council last week to discuss the lodge.

High Lookee operates as a quasi tribal enterprise. There is no board of directors. Council may want to consider changing the organizational structure of the lodge, Ms. Macy said.

A goal this year is for High Lookee to increase the number of residents, including people from off the reservation, Jolene said.

There is a misconception among some off the reservation that the lodge is available only to tribal members. The misconception can be corrected with outreach and advertising, Jolene said.

This would help the lodge toward operating at least at a break-even rate, she said.

Adding services, by working with IHS and Health and Human Services, for instance, would also help in bringing in more residents.

Tribal Council vice chairman Jody Calica said the tribes over the years have had a hard time defining the identity of the lodge. This is true in terms of the level of care provided at the lodge, and in whether High Lookee should operate at least at break-even, or if there should be a tribal subsidy.

The lodge provides a valuable service to the membership. For this reason, it can be argued, a subsidy for operation would be justified.

On the other hand, the tribal budget is very limited. As an example of the budgeting issue, the lodge needs a new HVAC system, Jolene said.

This would be an expensive item, but the current HVAC is 20 years old, while the regular lifespan of the system is about 12 years, she said.

Tribal Council agreed to support the lodge staff in their continuing the good work, and in finding new initiatives to bring in more residents and revenue.