Around the World…w/ Mfon Ekene (Interview)

Micah McCarthy

Around the World…w/ Mfon Abel Ekene

(Interview with Micah McCarthy)


The clock keeps ticking and never stops. Everything moves and even the non-living things are blown away by the living things. You can see the air blowing a piece of paper into the sky. That is the way our world is shaped, everything is in a hurry. When it comes to human, once a young human becomes conscious of the wants in life, his or her desire is to have it all.  That is why you see a girl or boy of 15 dreaming to own the latest car at 16! This trend has made it hard to find people in the world committed to serving humanity. Some people want to serve their need, nothing else is important. Even those that choose the path of serving, along the way give in to greed. However, we have some people who have genuinely chosen the path of serving, not for what they can gain from serving but for what they can give.

Micah McCarthy, 42, is one of those precious human beings that has given their life to serve. Micah has spent the precious part of his life serving his people while others like him are busy chasing self gratification. Makah are a Native American people located in Washington. The ruling organization of the people of Makah is the Makah tribal council and Micah McCarthy has committed himself to serve in this council and for some years have been the chairman of the council.

After faithfully serving many years in the council Micah finally decided to leave the scene and not stand for re-election. Even though he is still the chairman of the council, he however will not be standing for re-election.  Throughout his time in the council, Micah has made lots of contribution to his people and the United States; he has faced challenges and has meet many leaders among them is the President Obama and the King of Spain. Micah opens his heart in this interview and has a message for everyone serving and a message for the United States.

Many years have passed since you have been in the tribal council rising to become the chairman. I have to say congratulations. How would you describe your experience?

I have served for 9 years in tribal council, one year as vice chairman and three as chairman, it is a tremendous responsibility to lead by example and to be a teacher in two worlds, the Indian reservation is an easy place to just get by, but that does not help with self determined sovereignty. It feels like education has been lacking, we have a state run school on the rez, and they didn’t teach tribal sovereignty very well.

Serving as a leader may not be easy and I am sure you have your challenges. What are the things that have helped you serve your people?

The things that really helped me serve my people comes from two places, one is a modern eye on the world around me with insight into the tools out there to create solutions for my people, then there is the ancient taproot of traditional values

As you prepare to step down what are the things that you did and can
look back and be happy you make happen as a leader?

I feel very fortunate to have been a part of a team that built many positive things for our people, the environment and the world, I helped to open the eyes of some of my people, agreed to increase education funding, built new relationships with many different governments, and planted seeds for the school of the future….

What are the common mistakes that you have seen people serving in any capacity make?

Not making a decision that is worth losing an election for, sometimes the right choice can cost votes, and leadership comes with a price.

Besides being the Chairman of the Council, you have served the nation and the world in many capacities.  I would like you to highlight some of the ways you have served.

I have been appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee. Also,  I lead the Development of First, a U.S. indigenous response to climate change with a full spectrum call for networking, we are all a part of the situation therefore we all need to be a part of the solution. I also co-founded the new navy tribal council to better coordinate treaty fisheries with naval exercises including environmental protection and now marine spatial planning. I am a Lead visionary for the creation of the intergovernmental policy council to better coordinate the four ocean coast treaty tribes the state of Washington and the Olympic coast national marine sanctuary. Working on a state/ tribal ocean ecosystem initiative to provide for more complete seafloor mapping, habitat mapping and for stock structure of rock fish populations, all aimed at improving the tool box for sustainable fisheries management. I was appointed to the national ocean council governance coordination committee as sr. vice chairman, working on national marine spatial planning and national ocean policy. Creating a tribal seat on the epa region ten us coast guard district 13 regional response team for better treaty resources environmental protection from marine hazards including oil spill protection I served on the Washington state governor’s blue ribbon panel on ocean acidification

Micah McCarty with the King of SpainWhat have been your major challenges as a leader?

Major challenges have been internal politics of superficial popularity, where some make believe they are more important without adding value; some people believe that they should be in charge yet fail to understand nation building.

In times of challenges what has kept you going strong?

Love for my family and faith in the creator, that all will work it self out.


You have a reputation of being a great family man. How do you cope with family and the demands of your position?

Coping with the demands of tribal government and as a family man, has been hard, it makes it hard to give 110% to tribal government and still have enough for the family, but at the end of the day my family comes first.

You must have in the course of your service sit with other leaders to discuss issues as relating to the society, can you share the people that you have together sit and interact.

I have sat down with several high ranking officials. I have sat with the Obama administration, the ones appointed to his cabinet, Secretary of Commerce , NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] administrator, EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] administrator, top Indian officials in the white house, Secretary of HHS [Health and Human Services], and IHS [Indian Health Services] top officials of the USCG [U.S. Coast Guard] , senate leadership, house leadership, state senators, and house representives , the governor , international agency leaders and elected leaders among a few.

And what impact did it have on you and your people?

It all felt rewarding and empowering to see access to people in power but even more so to realize results, with take homes for my people, the Indian country, and the world.

What advice do you have for the people out there who would want to
serve their people like you?

My advise to people who would succeed me in serving the people, first is to keep strong faith, and love what you do, second, is to become an expert in what is important to your people and know what is important for your people, and become wise enough to know the difference because what your people want and what they need are not always the same.

With so many bad news everywhere, do you think Americans in power either politically or economically are doing enough to serve its people?

I think that America needs to think out side of the two parties, democrats and  republicans have become too polarized to get anything done, and partisan politics has gotten in the way of important issues, twenty years ago it wasn’t so dis-functional they could actually get things done, now democrat environmental partisanism has a bias dogma that is inflexible to the realities of the endangered species act and marine mammal protection act , they act like to modify these acts would be unthinkable yet other species such as salmon suffer from unmanaged seal and sealion predation on endangered salmon runs, dems fear the republicans will try to cut environmental laws for big energy, and industry , meanwhile nothing gets done and the people suffer from the stalemate , climate change is hard to deal with because of partisan politics, and the people can not become better prepared for the things to come…

The biggest mistake serving leaders make according to Micah McCarthy is ‘Not making a decision that is worth losing an election for, sometimes the right choice can cost votes, and leadership comes with a price.’


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Mfon Abel Ekene is an African writer/entertainer/speaker and positive
change agent. You can reach Mfon via