Jackie Weeks: the “backbone of the Fort Peck Tribes”

Great Minds of Fort Peck: Jackie Weeks

Within hours of a full board meeting, the steady monotonous sound of typing with occasional ruffling of papers spills into the tribal building halls.

Behind a cluttered desk, the Tribes Secretary Accountant Jackie Weeks is quietly taking a phone call while typing a tribal resolution. This is very important, it is these documents that are law once signed. Like clockwork, she signs the resolution and sends it off for the final signatures before going into the resolution log.

“That’s it, 67 resolutions done,” Weeks says hanging up her phone. This particular bunch wasn’t easy, as many of them were worded very vaguely. Without the correct wording, it can change the meaning of the resolution. It must also be numbered correctly and it cannot conflict with any previously passed resolution. For most people, this can be a nightmare of endless research through previous minutes, phone calls, notes. 

For Weeks, this is routine. It was something she has done for nearly 20 years for the Tribes. She knows the history of the tribal laws passed and is familiar with the origins and intent of many resolutions. 

“You just have to know the meaning behind the resolution,” Weeks said. She takes a call on her office line and during the conversation Weeks is interrupted to sign Bureau of Indian Affairs land lease papers. 

In the council chambers, tribal leaders speak highly of her knowledge on everything Fort Peck Tribes.

“Jackie Weeks is the Fort Peck Tribes,” Chairman Floyd Azure said. “Even with all of the knowledge in the Council Chambers combined would not compare to Jackie’s knowledge of the Tribes.”

Long time workers, as well as new ones all revere Weeks as a role model. Jourdan Hoops Lovan, who works in the Chairman/Vice Chairman’s office, said Weeks is a mentor and one of the best role models she ever met. 

“She’s irreplaceable,” Lovan said. “It’s going to be sad when she retires, her shoes are too big to fill by anybody.”

What many don’t know is how far reaching her impact on the Tribes during her time working as the Operations Manager. The new tribal building, new jail, cultural centers, and hundreds of other projects were made possible because of Weeks. 

The Tribal Operations is essentially an umbrella office to cover everything for the Tribes, such as grant writing and planning for tribal projects. As the Secretary Accountant, Weeks is required by law to sign every resolution approved at full board level.

So who is Weeks?

Ms. Jackie: Origins

Jackie Weeks was born in Wolf Point. 

As a school girl growing up, Weeks did not stand out more or less than her peers. She wanted to be a nurse when she was a child.

However, things changed when she joined Upward Bound, a federally funded educational program to prepare young people for college. 

She graduated from Wolf Point High School and in 1973 she became a Comprehensive Planner for the Federal Government’s Housing Urban Development. Working with HUD didn’t last long, as Weeks left the Tribes briefly to attend school at the University of Montana where she studied Social Work. 

Her experience working with HUD and studies at UM helped motivate Weeks into planning. It became a field that would guide her later in life.

Weeks attended school at North Dakota State University,  where she earned a Masters Degree in community and regional planning. She then went to work for the Tribes as the Operations Manager, and was appointed as the Secretary Accountant of the Tribes.

Weeks said she worked with great tribal leaders and directors over the years, such as Norman Hollow, David Lester, and Caleb Shields. They all played positive roles in her life. 

“Other people come into your life at different points and influence the direction you go in life,” Weeks said.

Through the years, Weeks met many people while working for the Tribes. People come and go but they will leave an impact on your life, she said.

Working with the Tribes also gave Weeks the opportunity to see the elected leadership and learn first hand how her work would help the Tribal Government. 

The A&S Industries building, as well as the changes done to the inside, is one of her projects. In fact, most of the buildings at Industry Park are there because of Weeks.

Tribal Express was another project that never would have taken off without Weeks. 

When she was working with the Tribes early in her career, the tribal headquarters were located at what is now the Fort Peck Community College campus.It was through her work the Tribes were able to relocate to the current tribal building on Medicine Bear Road.

The new jail is one of those projects. 

But her services were not limited to just tribal infrastructure.

Weeks was behind the effort to get community halls and cultural centers in every community. 

Fort Peck Housing Authority has been able to renovate many homes from grants she helped them win. 

Spotted Bull Treatment Center is another creation of Weeks. 

Undertaking all of this while raising a family shows Weeks strength and character.

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