The following is the April unit report of Unit I Director Jennifer McLeod. Her report, though submitted by deadline, was inadvertently and unintentionally left out of the newspaper.
Standing up and speaking out
It’s time to set the record straight. In general, I keep my articles focused on positive, thought provoking, and informational words, written to give our people hope, and let them know that I am rising above the petty politics, and focusing on the future of our tribe. Although I have often acknowledged that Chairman Payment does a fine job for us in Washington, D.C., given some recent events, I need to dedicate this space to address the words the Chairman used against me in last month’s tribal newspaper, as well as some of his unacceptable behaviors at home.
Last month, the chairman resorted to name calling, and labeled me a “hater” just because I do not support canceling or changing board meetings to accommodate his schedule. I have made it clear for three years now that I believe that there is not a single one of the 13 of us sitting at the board of directors table, who is SO IMPORTANT that the business of the tribe must come to a halt, simply because of someone’s scheduling conflict. If the chairperson must be absent, that is why the board has a vice-chairperson!
Also, we publish our meetings a year in advance for the benefit of our membership, not the convenience of the board of directors. We have members who plan ahead to attend, and will make advance arrangements for travel, or take time off from work, but then the BOD simply changes the date to accommodate the board (or the chairman!)? This is disrespectful to our people.
We should make every effort to keep our workshop and meeting schedule as set. There are rare circumstances when I believe that meetings should be changed or cancelled … Such as: dangerous weather conditions (again, not for BOD convenience, but to keep our tribal citizens, and employees SAFE!), and when it is known in advance that there will not be a quorum of board members present to conduct a meeting. Example — A majority of BOD may be attending a vital national training or conference that was not scheduled prior to the board calendar being set.
For some board members, it’s not a big deal to change a date on short notice, and I support their right to their view. However, the “meeting shuffle” chaos goes beyond simple date change. There was an instance where the chairman changed the location of a board of directors meeting while board members were en route! Lack of cell phone service in the remote area we were meeting in, resulted in Board members and tribal members alike showing up at the wrong location! The board eventually found the right place, but there were some very unhappy tribal citizens who did not. Also, let us not forget the time when the chairman bullied the board by threatening to refuse to meet with PRESIDENT OBAMA, unless the board of directors changed a board meeting date! As our elected tribal chairman, I feel that when the President of the greatest super power in the world requests a meeting with you, you don’t play politics …You GO! These tactics are not traits that I look for and respect in a leader. Public name calling, tantrums and coercion are unacceptable.
Simply put, my position on changing board meeting dates is: “Not for a scheduling conflict for any single board member, including the chairman. Our Constitution provides a vice chairperson position in the event of a chairperson’s absence.” The chairman can call my position consistency “hate”... I call it “integrity.”
Another issue upon which the chairman and I disagree: I believe that the day-to-day operations of the tribe need to be handled by a full time employee, not a politician. There are many solid reasons why we should have a CEO of tribal government, and many reasons why this position should also be separate from the CEO of our casinos. AND, there are many, MANY solid reasons why neither one of those positions should be held by an elected tribal chairperson. But, of all the solid reasons I could list to support this separation, there is only ONE THAT MATTERS: In 2008 OUR PEOPLE VOTED TO SEPARATE THEM!
It's true, that in 2012 I voted “yes” to a limited delegation of authority for the chairperson. I was one month old as a board member, and I was led to believe that if I didn’t vote “yes” that grants wouldn’t get signed, payroll wouldn’t be authorized and the business of the tribe would quickly come to a grinding halt. Since we didn’t as yet have a CEO, I was very alarmed, and worried for our tribe. However, I was reassured by language in the resolution (and sagely nods from board incumbents) that caused me to believe that this delegation was temporary in nature, and that the BOD would have oversight UNTIL there was a CEO to take over. Once I learned my lesson, and saw the harm to our tribe, I brought forward a resolution to restore the tribal structure to what the people voted for! This resolution was defeated, but I STILL believe that the separation needs to occur. It’s not personal to Aaron Payment. This resolution is not, as he claims, “stripping the chairman of his authority.” It is restoring the authority of the people, and giving them back what they voted on! Again, the chairman calls it “hate,” I call it doing my job.
Now permit me to address another issue that brings me to odds with the chairman. It is referred to as “over the max employees.” For three years, I have heard the chairman reference the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the tribe could save YEARLY, if it were not for the actions of previous chairmen, who gave unearned raises of over $20,000 or more to “family members” and select buddies. The board listened to the tirades and resisted taking action. Despite the current chairman’s pleadings to “let the Nazi out of the box” (a disturbing reference to his own ability to be ruthless), the board continued to resist until we were assured that the proposed “over the max” wage adjustment affected a low number of people who actually received some ill-gotten raise. As it turned out, the number was NOT LOW and was not limited to “ill-gotten raises!” The affected employee count was over 100, and would strike even the lowest wage earners of our tribe! It also would have affected those who have worked for us the longest, and dedicated their working lives to their tribe. Here’s the final kicker: the actual saving of tribal dollars is around $25,000... Not $400,000-plus! The chairman (who is now claiming he had nothing to do with the proposed over the max cuts, and is now blaming the BOD), would have cut GRANT FUNDED wages, and called it a savings! Typically, if grant dollars are earmarked for wages, that’s how it must be spent! You can’t decide to spend it on whatever you choose, YOU GIVE THE MONEY BACK! Those dollars are regulated by law.
The proposed over the max cuts would also once again cut casino wages! Cut wages on people who haven’t had a raise in years??? Harm 100 families to save $25,000??? Unacceptable, and I won’t do it. But watch… The allegations are already being thrown around that those board members who voted to stop this madness must be protecting family or friends, or are in cahoots with one of the previous chairmen (who, incidentally, have been so vilified by our current chairman that it is embarrassing). I believe in raising our people up, not tearing them down.
I would now like to address the flat out lying of Chairman Payment when he declared that the JKL School would close at the end of this school year due to an expiring tribal lease. He incited parents to organize and “stand with him” against the tribe, to fight against something that didn’t exist. This twisted action was so harmful to our children, parents, school employees and community, that the board of directors was forced to issue the following press release:
Official Board Statement on JKL Bahweting PSA Published: 25 March 2015
The following was released by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of Directors at its March 24, 2015, meeting:
In an effort to clarify any misconceptions regarding the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting PSA, the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indian is providing the following statements:
— The current lease between the tribe and the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting PSA is not expired, nor expiring in the near future.
— The tribal Board of Directors is committed to the future growth of the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting PSA and all of our community's children.
— The tribe is currently working towards expanding the gymnasium and cafeteria areas within the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting PSA and has previously taken action by resolution to authorize the purchase of the parcels adjacent to the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting PSA for future expansion purposes.
— The school is not closing!
I will never forget the crying grandparents.
I dislike that I had to bring these issues to you, in this very public way. I work hard to maintain positive communications with our tribal citizens, and have consistently taken the high road regardless of the personal assaults... But I could no longer remain quiet; the truth needs to be spoken. Our people are being hurt. Senator Elisabeth Warren stated that she is paid to stand up for what she believes in — her words rang true with me.... I believe in our people!
Anishinaabe gagige (Anishinaabe for always!),
Keeping drugs out of our waters! The Superior Watershed Partnership is hosting a U.P.-wide medication collection on Saturday, April 25, at 15 locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
LIST OF LOCATIONS
Sault Ste. Marie, First United Presbyterian Church, 555 Bingham Street.
Manistique, First United Methodist Church, 190 N. Cedar Street.
White Pine, United Methodist Church, 9 Tamarack Street.
Menominee, United Methodist Church, 601 10th Avenue.
Marquette, Messiah Lutheran Church, 305 W. Magnetic Street.
Ishpeming, Trinity Lutheran Church, 414 E. Ridge Street.
St. Ignace, United Methodist Church, 615 W. US-2.
Crystal Falls, Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp, 138 Fortune Lake Camp Road.
Houghton, Trinity Lutheran Church, 205 Montezuma.
Iron Mountain, Salvation Army Bread of Life Assistance Center, 212 Woodward Avenue.
Escanaba, First Presbyterian Church, 819 1st Avenue South.
L'Anse, United Methodist Church, 304 N. Main Street.
Munising, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, 110 W. Jewell Street.
Eckerman, The Church, 32526 W. Company Row.
Ironwood, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 100 W. Midland Avenue.
Funding provided by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Community Pollution Prevention Grant Program Watershed Partnership.
For more information call 906-228-6095 extension 11.
Businesses, share this with you staff, vendors and anyone you can think of. Attached is a jpeg for your social media or website, flyer and postcards to print. Thank you for your support.
Congratulation, voters, you did this! Your votes in phase one got us in the top four, but now we need you to make an even bigger push. From family in California to friends in Alaska, we need you to ask them all to vote. This is beyond what just one state can do, even if we are Pure Michigan. Please help Sault Ste. Marie to be named Hockeyville USA! It is now Michigan against Pennsylvania, lets show them what kind of fans we have in Michigan. Our reward for voting a full 150 times a day? We’ll have a better chance at the $150,000 for the Pullar Stadium, a preseason NHL hockey game and the title of Hockeyville USA. This would be a game changer for our community. The second voting phase is April 21-22.
Each eligible voter can vote fifty times per method per day during each of the two days. This equals 150 votes per person per day. Every vote counts and is immensely helpful.
Voting methods (a) Visit www.krafthockeyville.com, click on Pullar and follow the instructions to vote. (b) Use a two-way text-messaging capable device and text PULLAR to 35350 to vote. Combined total of 50 texts and calls per device, message and data rates may apply. (c) Call (855) 255-5975, listen to the prompts and select Pullar Stadium. 50 calls can be placed per landline.
Voting phase two, April 21-22 If Pullar Stadium is one of the two finalists we move to phase three, April 27-29. If Pullar Stadium receives the highest number of votes, it wins $150,000 and a pre-season NHL game. Each voting phase begins at 12 a.m. on the first day, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on the last day.
Disclaimer Use of any automated system to vote or subvert the voting process is prohibited and will result in disqualification and all associated votes will be void. Votes generated by script, macro or other automated means or any other means intended to impact the integrity of the voting process, as determined by the sponsor in its sole discretion, may be void.
For a full set of rules, please visit www.krafthockeyville.com/rule.
Thank you for your support!
Linda K. Hoath, executive director, Sault Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - A regular meeting of the Sault Tribe Board of Directors will be held at the Munising Tribal Center starting at 6 p.m. on April 21. The meeting will be preceded by "Matters Raised by the Membership" from 5 to 6 p.m.
Resolutions on the agenda are: Budget Modifications: Healthy Start/Family Spirit, NAR Housing-Sanitation, Nunn's Creek, IRR Roads, IRR Road Maintenance, Tribal Court Enhancement, Northern Hospitality; Wequayoc Cemetery Temporary Sexton; MIEA-Delegate Appointment; MIEA - Alternate Delegate Appointment; and Munising Culture Camp Planning.
Under New Business, the board will consider Committee Appointments, Reaffirm/Rescind Sault Tribe's Representatives, Vote to Adopt Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA) Stipulation, and Appoint Board Designee to Great Lakes Conservation Committee/CORA.
This month's activity for the Anishinaabe Bimaadiziiwin Waawiyeyaa committee is a cultural circle on Monday, April 27 at the Hessel Community Health Center, 3355 N. 3-Mile Road. The circle forms at 4 p.m. with guest, Sault Tribe elder, Henry J. Boulley Sr., speaking on the topic of ceremonial fires at 5 p.m. Potluck meal to follow. All are welcome to attend.
For more information, call Lisa Burnside at 906-440-7666 or John Causley, Jr. at 430-0759.
Anishinaabe Bimaadiziiwin Waawiyeyaa is a committee of individuals working together to strengthen, preserve, protect and promote the rich ancestral ways of Bahweting Anishinaabe. All are welcome to attend, share and learn. Miigwetch!