Many people ask who writes Haskell News Commentary. The answer to that question is that it is a collective of people who decided that we needed to get some focus on the current problems at Haskell Indian Nations University.
For example, we had heard about the poison pen e-mails going around written by Venida Chenault against Dr. Warner but until the list-serve was posted on the blog yesterday we had never seen an example.
We were both stunned and saddened by both the viciousness of her attack and the how and why they were written in the first place.
Dr. Warner came to Haskell to give back to the Native American community and when she started to make real changes at Haskell Indian Nations University and hold the institution itself to higher standards, she was met with false accusations and as we can see from the writings of Venida Chenault jealousy and what appears to be just plain hatred and jealousy.
Dr. Warner has unfortunately not been Venida’s only target, there have been and are many more.
Dr. Warner is simply Venida’s target of the moment.
Donald “Don” Bread, a former Haskell employee, was treated in much the same manner by Venida; he took The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Haskell and Chenault to court over it and won. You can check the records with the court if you don’t believe us.
But as we said earlier, there are other targets. One particularly sad example was the kids fresh out of high school who had started a lawn service (DB the third’s). Venida needed a tree pulled out of her yard and so they settled on a price of $200.
The kids hired a truck, did the work, and then went to get paid, at which time Venida told them she had changed her mind about the amount she was going to pay them and instead paid them only $100.
The kid, who still owns that lawn service, went to his dad about what to do. His dad asked him if he had gotten a signed contract with Venida, and the kid replied no. The father told the son, “Then you have learned two life lessons from this, one get a signed contract. The second is to never do business with Venida Chenault.” So yes, Venida is correct in that she is an educator; the question is whether she is the type of educator you want teaching these types of life lessons to our children.
Another example closer to our subject of Haskell is the students who are also her targets. The current target of Venida’s ire is Haskell’s Student Senate President Janice Mendez. Why was she not allowed to attend the AIHEC convention in Washington D.C.? Originally Venida attempted to send the American Indian Studies apologist and current Vice President of the Haskell Senate . However, when the heat was turned up on Ms. Chenault, everyone was informed that no, both the Student Senate President and Vice President would both be going. Then the moment Venida thought no one was looking she canceled the travel for both parties with no real excuse.
However, she made sure that Dan Wildcat was able to get to AIHEC lobby week and lobby Congress, although his presence and lobbying was in direct violation of federal ethics rules. We would like to acknowledge and provide an update regarding the student’s attendance. The student’s travel and attendance was paid for by the Kansas EPSCoR program. The Kansas EPSCoR group correctly followed the rules regarding federal dollars and lobbying and ensured that all fund used for this trip were not, we repeat, not federal dollars. We can only hope that such ethical behavior might someday rub off on Dan Wildcat.
Unfortunately, the list of Venida’s targets goes on and on and on… Far too many for us to name in the little space we have available.
Back to subject of the current failed leadership at Haskell and the attacks on Dr. Warner… On yesterdays blog someone posted a list-serve that we believe was moderated by Judge Steve Russell. On it he is clearly chastising Venida about the things that she is saying in order to try and destroy Dr. Warner and we quote “a woman (Dr. Warner) who has accomplished what only a tiny fraction of Indians accomplish is not just being differed with: the movement is to bring her down so hard she will never be able to get up again.” He continues “There’s this Comanche woman (Dr. Warner) out there that somebody wants to ruin and the reason for her ruination has not been made public.”
We’ve cited a couple of examples of Venida Chennault’s behavior, now we will provide one of Dr. Warner’s.
Josh Arce is currently the Haskell Indian Nations University’s Chief Information Officer. What some people may not know is that he is Venida’s son and so at first it might easily be assumed that Venida hired him, only she did not. When he needed a job it was Dr. Warner who gave him an opportunity, and with the full knowledge that he is Venida’s son. Dr. Warner did not judge him because of his mother, instead like she always does; being the type of person that she is, Dr. Warner judged Josh on his own merits. Where Venida makes disparaging comments about her son’s decision to not become a practicing attorney and sit for the bar exam complaining that he is a failure, Dr. Warner accepts his decision on how he wants to live his life and instead saw a young Native American with intelligence and determination that could be of service to both the University and Native American people.
Dr. Warner is a self made woman, she was not born into wealth, she has worked hard for all that she has become, she is modest, if not self effacing about her accomplishments, yet as Judge Steve Russell put it Dr. Warner is “a woman who has accomplished what only a tiny fraction of Indians accomplish.”
We at haskellnews commentary applaud Dr. Warner for the way she has carried herself during a difficult situation, it shows who the person of real integrity is and who is not. When one person so viciously and needlessly tries to destroy another we have cause for alarm.
Throughout this ordeal haskellnews commentary continues on a daily basis to get e-mails asking why was it so easy to detail Dr. Warner out when it has been so hard to remove Venida. We do not know the answer; however we would like to pose that question to Larry Echohawk. Unfortunately, he’s not taking any calls…
As Judge Steve Russell said to Venida Chenault “One of the many things I learned from the late Vine Deloria, Jr. is that there comes a time when YOU can speak because you have NOTHING to lose and NOTHING to gain (either destroys credibility). That is my response to your personal attack (on Dr. Warner). I am not trying a lawsuit; I’m debating an area of public policy that is life and death for the future of sovereignty and I take it very seriously.”
As do we…
haskellnews commentary 03/13/10