The Early Successes and Struggles
As in a marriage, when two groups enter into a contract each brings to that relationship a history, and much of the history of each is unknown to the other, no matter how extensive the résumés or initial discussions. Each must get to know and learn how to be comfortable with the other in order for the developing relationship to enable both groups to function at an optimal level.
The process is more difficult when past similar relationships and contacts between seemingly similar groups had proven exploitative to one of the parties. This had been the case throughout the history of all Native American relationships with European Americans from the beginning, especially over money. So accepted was this exploitation at one time, as later press response would prove, the only question -- usually asked with a wink between fellow European Americans -- seemed to be, "How much are you beating the Indians out of?"
Therefore when John James, then Tribal Secretary-Treasurer and later Chairman, was asked his initial reaction to Nichols and his family he didn't hesitate to respond: "I thought they were hustlers, that they had a get-rich-quick scheme [for themselves] and they'd be gone. . . . Then I talked with some people and they let me know that Doc [ Nichols] was serious. . . . I thought to myself, well, let's give him a try and just see what he's going to do. I found out he really knows all those people [he claimed to know], people [even] I never heard about, [and] he got them all lined up [to help us]. . . . The next thing you knew, you got six offers [of help], whereas we couldn't get one offer. So, that impressed me."
James, who is close to Nichols in age, is known for his bluntness. In relating his memory of an early conversation he had with Nichols, he said, I talked to him straight out. I said,
"If you are hustling, if you're just doing this to get rich quick and haul out of here, it ain't