Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe member returns to take on economic development
FALLON, Nev. — It’s been just shy of a year since Chandler Allen returned to the Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of the Fallon Reservation and Colony to take on the position of economic development director for the tribe’s corporation.
“Before, I was always trying to work on the betterment of my career, but this time I dropped all of that and wanted to help my community — my tribe,” Allen said in an interview with First Nation’s Focus. “I want to help create a better opportunity for my daughter, too, and that’s what brought me back to Fallon. I thought it was my time to put in some work back home.”
Allen — who was recently nominated for the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network’s 2018 Twenty Under 40 Awards — split his childhood between Carson City and the Fallon Reservation and Colony.
“The reservation for me was the fun part. All of my family was out there — my grandparents, my aunts and cousins. It was a rural area. We came out to ride horses, to cowboy, to enjoy the outdoors and that kind of lifestyle,” said Allen. “The reservation was in an essence the fun Nevada lifestyle we embody out here with the Fallon Tribe.”
After graduating high school, Allen joined the Nevada Air National Guard where he served six years while attending the University of Nevada, Reno.
“I think that the military is a great opportunity for anyone — Native, non-Native; boy, girl — for young individuals to get an education on growing up and the truth of the world,” said Allen. “In the United States we have a lot of freedoms that go overlooked and to be exposed to that at a young age is good guidance and you come out of it a stronger person. I was thankful for it.”
Allen graduated as a Top Scholar from the College of Business with a finance and pre-med degree.
“I wanted to have a positive impact in Indian country. What that ultimately entailed I didn’t know,” said Allen, who had originally intended to be an eye surgeon.
Ultimately Allen was recruited by the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. to work with the Indian Loan Guarantee Program, which provided financing for Native American businesses.
“I went for an education in my career,” said Allen. “To learn more and see what I could bring back home — that knowledge that a lot of us don’t have back here.”
While in D.C., Allen said his biggest takeaway was the gap in communication between the individuals making the high level policies and those in the Native communities that were impacted by them. He strove to bridge that divide.
Allen then moved to Denver where he worked as the program coordinator for the Tribal Energy Development Capacity grant program.
“Our goal was to create a better economic environment in the communities for long-term success even after the funding from us ran out,” said Allen.
With his breadth of knowledge, Allen felt it was time to return home.
As the economic development director for the Fallon Tribal Development Corporation — a separate economic corporation owned by the tribe — Allen is tasked with “providing the best economic advancements for the tribe.”
The corporation’s current enterprises include the Fox Peak Stations in Fallon and Fernley, Fox Peak Cinema, and Toigaiba Construction Services.
“I want to try to not just involve the tribe and the corporation, but I’ve tried to partner with the surrounding community as far as outreach,” said Allen. “We all live in the same community. That’s one of the things that I’ve learned traveling around the nation: It works better when we all work together.” O
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