Dang! I meant to post this yesterday but I got home late last night and forgot. I had to contact a government agency for a work research question. The regulations (from 1998) say that the agency was going to work with tribes to develop a particular policy and I need to know if this policy was ever developed. I can’t find anything on it so I’m guessing, no. Whenever you contact a government agency there are several things that can happen but generally never with you getting the assistance you need. First is getting sent to voicemail sometimes with no explanation, or else the person is on vacation or often the person is at “training.” (I’m not sure I’ve ever ranted about government training but I attended a government training on behalf of a client once and you’ve never seen such a gargantuan waste of time and money in your life.) Getting sent to voicemail has about a 50% chance of getting a returned call and in my experience about 1% chance of getting a returned call the same day. The other thing that happens is that the person you contact tells you they can’t help you, because apparently in the government everybody does just one thing and knows nothing about anything else. The person who can’t help you will send you to someone else, and you start the whole voicemail thing again. Assuming you actually do get to talk to a live body, half the time they are completely worthless — you can be as straightforward and coherent as they come and the person won’t know how to help you.
So back to this story. I contacted the government agency last night and sure enough, in my email this morning was a short note, “we only deal with [something loosely connected to your question but not connected enough] in this office and you need to contact [this person].” I have contacted the next person. More as the story develops.