Regional and Local Briefs
Friday, April 04 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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RED LAKE, Minn. – More than 30 Red Lake candidates filed for seven seats on the nation's council by the close of filing on March 15.

Positions up for election on May 14 are four district representative and three council officer positions, including tribal chair, secretary and treasurer.

After completing and passing a criminal background check, the candidates will be certified as candidates in April. The May 14 election may also include a possible run-off election to be scheduled 60 days after a counting and challenge period is complete, potentially in late July or August.

A candidate receives a majority of 50 percent plus one, they will be declared winner, however if a candidate does not reach a majority of votes, the run-off election will be formally scheduled.

Tribal chair candidates include: Floyd “Buck” Jourdain, Kathryn “Jody” Beaulieu, Ron Lussier and current tribal treasurer Darrell G. Seki, Sr. Incumbent Don Cook, Sr. filed for reelection as secretary, along with candidates Rochelle "Chelle" Kingbird, Judy Roy, Sam Strong and Jim White.

Among candidates for treasurer were Michael Barrett, Annette Johnson, Lee Lussier, Jr., Glenda J. Martin and Cheryl Schoenborn. Red Lake will have a new treasurer in May because of Seki's candidacy for chair.

Little Rock Representative William "Billy" Green did not file for reelection, triggering an election for that district. Those filing for that seat include, Adrian Lee Beaulieu, Katherine "Spears" Dudley, Christopher Jourdain and Robert "Charlie" Reynolds. Tribal council candidates for Ponemah District include incumbent Gary L. Nelson, Sr. and challengers Clifford C. Hardy and Eugene Perkins.

Red Lake candidates include incumbent Roman “Ducker” Stately, challengers David F. Desjarlait, Deanna K. Lasley, Donovan M. May, Roberty L. May, Martin “Mott” Parkhurst and Robert “Bob” Smith.

Julius “Toady” Thunder seeks reelection as the Redby District representative with challengers John W. Dudley, Matt Sayers, Clayton Van Wert and Thomas "Jambi" Westbrook.


SCHULLSBURG, Wis. – The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and the City of Shullsburg have approved the Intergovernmental and Development agreements for the tribe's proposed off-reservation casino resort complex in Shullsburg.

The Tribe's plans for the 20 acre project were officially unveiled at a Public Scoping Meeting in Shullsburg in August of last year. Plans include the construction of a casino, hotel, event center, campground and sportsman's club. The projected impact of the proposed $132 million project includes 600 permanent jobs, 800 construction jobs, and associated payroll and purchasing impacts. The Tribe is currently assisting the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the preparation of a draft Environmental Impact Statement, the completion of which should be published later this summer.

For the past several months, the Lac du Flambeau team, led by casino project manager Duane Chapman, and the Shullsburg team, led by Mayor Tom Lethlean, worked to draft the documents. Upon approval of the project, the city will receive an infrastructure down payment and annual impact payment of 2 percent of the project's net profits. The tribe will receive municipal services, city improvements, exclusivity and ongoing governmental support for the application process.


WASHINGTON – Minnesota Eighth District Rep. Rick Nolan announced March 20 that the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe received a $4,022,585 housing grant.

The grant, part of the Indian Housing Block Grant program, will fund eligible affordable housing activities, including new construction, modernization, rehabilitation and crime prevention safety.

“These funds will ensure that members of the Leech Lake Band will be able to build tribal housing held to the highest modern standards of safety and efficiency,” Nolan said. “Though Native Americans make up only 1 percent of our nation’s population, they account for more than 8 percent of our homeless. These funds will make proper ,modern housing available, both now and in years to come.”


HAYWARD, Wis. – The head of the Iron County Forestry Department says the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe isn’t doing enough to remove its harvest village project in the Penokee Hills and said the sheriff should evict them.

The day after the band announced it was moving most of its camp and not allowing any of its people to stay more than the 14-day camping limit, Iron County Forestry Director Joe Vairus said that isn’t enough.

The Band's Harvest Education Learning Project spokesman Paul DeMain said they’re chopping through deep snow and ice to remove equipment and rotate people to private property. He’s meeting again with Sheriff Tony Furyk, who says for now, the action by LCO is reasonable. He said they won’t remove everything though, so their two administrators have a place to stay.

Vairus says he’ll push for action against the band if it doesn't remove everything from public forest land. Meanwhile, tribal officials are asking the Department of Natural Resources for a scientific research permit to allow them to stay there. Vairus said even then, they can’t camp there beyond 14 days.


KING OF PRUSSIA, Penn. – Money Centers of America, a firm that manages electronic payments for gambling casinos, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court on March 24 while it fights two former clients, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Company director Christopher M. Wolfington said his firm plans to stay in business. However, the company appealed a $5.6 million court order to repay the Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band and is fighting sovereign-immunity claims by the Ho-Chunk Nation. Wolfington asserts that the latter has used the legal move in an attempt to prevent his company's appeal from prevailing in a dispute over $4.8 million.

Federal judge Richard H. Kyle in an opinion in his Minneapolis courtroom in February noted that Money Centers had contracted with the Mille Lacs Band in 2009 to distribute cash to casino patrons and that the tribe had cancelled the deal in 2012, leaving Money Centers owing the tribe $5.6 million. The tribe sued and in September the court granted the tribe summary judgement on a breach-of-contract claim; litigation is continuing.

The Ho-Chunk dispute also covers cash the tribe expects back from Money Center, as well as a cancellation fee Money Center has said the tribe owes the company.


CASS LAKE, Minn. – In a press release on March 17, American Indian Movement co-founding member Dennis Banks called for a rejuvenation and reinvigoration of the organization, nationwide.

In the release, Banks asserted that AIM had not had a national meeting since 1981 and enumerated several issues that he felt were pressing for the group's action. Those issues included the Keystone XL pipeline, states' non-compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Rehabilitation Act.

Although individual tribes like the Cherokee Nation and several Lakota tribes in South Dakota have made strides toward addressing some of those issues, the release indicated that AIM be more active in engagement. In addition, the release called for the organization to be active on health issues, alcohol and drug addiction and called for an international gathering of AIM families, chapters and support groups at Green Bay, Wis. in October.

Banks also called for elder and youth groups to be fostered by the organization, creating senior advisory groups and for all AIM officials to be retired at the age of 60 and transitioned into the advisory group.

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