By Sandra Rambler, San Carlos Apache
Photo by Sandra Rambler: Former Tribal Chairman and ITCA President, Dr. Ned Anderson met with IHS Director, Michael Trujillo, on May 12, 1982 regarding the new hospital for the San Carlos Apaches.
What an honor it is to say that I worked for four different tribal leadership in my life. Dr. Ned Anderson, Sr., Harrison Talgo, Sr. (Interim), Wendsler Nosie, Sr., and Raymond Stanley, Sr. Each of these Tribal Chairman contributed through their leadership to the San Carlos Apache Tribe. And having worked for them in various capacities as Tribal Secretary, Community Press Liaison and Cultural Advisor, I realize how fortunate I am to have gained their trust enough to employ me to work for them under their leadership.
Tribal politics can be rough. It can get ugly. But, it’s the leadership that that keeps the people together as one strong nation.
Not everyone will be pleased with what you try to do for them. If someone is mad, someone else will be upset about something else, it never ends. You have to stay focus on your job. Smile, be courteous and above all, treat everyone equal as much as you can even though it might be hard and someone is ready to throw something at you because you didn’t vote for their choice.
The most common advice that I received from these tribal leaders was always, “Remember to pray,” or “don’t forget to pray,” or “did you pray today?”
Each of the meetings always began with a prayer. The respect was always there at the beginning of each meeting and gathering.
It was during the time when Dr. Ned Anderson, Sr., was our Tribal Chairman, in 1988, be presented to the Tribal Council, the passing of the Robert’s Rules of Order. He was a firm believer in true democracy and always instilled the importance of our right to vote in our tribal elections and after 1948, the right to vote in our state and federal elections.
Our tribal voting was usually on the first Tuesday in April of each year until he presented a resolution to the Tribal Council around that time period and asked them to change the Tribal Election Day to the first Tuesday in November which would coincide with the state and federal elections. He would say, “Kill three birds with one stone and go out there and exercise your right to vote!”
Through his expertise in the law field, he was able to establish law and order for us. He was also an avid hunter and always went hunting for big game. He helped bring tourism through the San Carlos Lake Development and also through our Recreation and Wildlife Department. He helped incorporate the concept of Indian Gaming when no one thought that we would ever have the Apache Gold Casino and now the tribe is working on their second Apache Sky Casino.
He had a great sense of humor. Often times, members of the Tribal Council would tease one another, chat in Apache and tease one another. Of course, there were serious times when business was taken care of.
He had a great respect and deep love for his wife, Delphine Hinton Anderson. She was the love of his life and together they had beautiful children whom he also loved very dearly.
He was a champion of Native American Indian Rights! He believed in self-governance and promoted education, health and especially housing for many of our Apache People.
It was through his hard work and long tiring and endless hours with other members of the Tribal Council, that they had reached a decision one of their Tribal Council meetings in the early 1980’s and filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government for accounting and land claims and water rights claims which were all later settled. The San Carlos Apache Tribe was victorious! And you should have seen his smile when all this came to fruition.
I remember when some of us received our per capita checks, this one lady from Navajo Point, the late Marion Kitcheyan said, “Thank you, Chairman Anderson! I bought a washer and dryer with my money and now I am wearing clean clothes that I just washed!”
Another tribal member from out-of-state had written that she would be using her per capita check to pay for travel expenses to enroll her grandchildren because Chairman Anderson made her even more proud to be San Carlos Apache! She had stayed away too long and wanted to come back to Apache land before she got any older. There were other stories.
He was very well mannered and was very professional. He was kind, compassionate and considerate of others. He also had a open mind and was always listening to suggestions, but Chairman Anderson had to thoroughly think something out before be acted on it. He was very intelligent and he was our first San Carlos Apache to graduate from law school and receive his Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson. I remember how our whole family was so proud of him and my grandmother, Ada Rope Jordan would always refer to him as a role model to us and tell us to be like him. He made everyone proud. And I am proud today to call him my, “Uncle Neddy.”
The morning when we received word that he passed on (April 16), I sat and cried and asked Creator God to watch over his family and especially his sons, Sean and Ned, Jr., who now will fulfill his legacy of providing for his family all of his life with his knowledge and always being a working man.
He participated in our traditional ceremonies and had relatives from all over. He had relatives from all four districts in Bylas, Seven Mile Wash, Gilson Wash and Peridot. And many relatives from the White Mountain Apache Tribe and other tribes.
He helped put the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, San Carlos, Arizona, on the map. He brought pride to us through his hard work and commitment to succeed as our tribal leader.
He firmly believed in protecting our Apache way of life and for that, I will always be grateful because that is what many of his relatives are doing today, protecting what is ours, like our ancestral lands as well.
To his wife, Delphine and family, our prayers and love goes out to you all. Please know that we are very proud of Chairman Anderson for all that he has done for our San Carlos Apaches and Indian Country!
May Creator God be with you all at this time. Ahi’yihe! Ashoong!