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SAULT STE. MARIE — All tribal board incumbents running for re-election were returned to office in the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians' 2016 General Election, according to June 23's General Election Day unofficial results.

In the chairperson's race, incumbent Aaron Payment was re-elected. Running against him was Unit 3 Director Keith Massaway. Chairperson Payment said, "I am honored and humbled to have been returned to office by Sault Tribe voters. We have great things on the horizon that deserve immediate attention, like our mandatory trust petition and our downstate casinos that will yield much needed revenues to expand services back home and finally bring services to members no matter where they live. I will do my best to earn everyone's support going forward."

The Sault Tribe is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors with representatives from five election units across the tribe's seven-county service area in the Michigan counties of Chippewa, Mackinac, Luce, Schoolcraft, Alger, Delta and Marquette and a chairperson elected by all tribal members registered to vote. The four-year terms are staggered so that the board always has experienced directors seated. The election is conducted by mail.

In Unit 1 (Sault area), three seats were up for election, with Unit 1 Director Cathy Abramson retiring. Incumbents Dennis McKelvie and Jennifer McLeod were voted back in and newcomer Michael McKerchie will take the seat vacated by Abramson.

In Unit 2 (Hessel area), incumbent Lana Causley-Smith was returned to office unopposed.

In Unit 3 (St. Ignace area), incumbent Bridgett Sorenson defeated opponent Ilene Moses.

In Unit 4 (Manistique area), Director Darcy Morrow was returned to office, fending off candidate Krystal Goudreau.

In the Unit 5 (Munising area) Special Election to decide who would fill the vacancy left by former director Rita Glyptis's removal, Anita Nelson defeated Charles Matson Sr.

The contest period for election results ends June 27 after which the results will be certified and the directors installed in a special ceremony where they will take the oath of office.

(Winners in bold)

Aaron A. Payment 3,485
Keith Massaway 3,224

Michael McKerchie 1,559
Dennis McKelvie 1,487
Jennifer McLeod-Tyson 1,382
Angeline Boulley 1,299
Betty Freiheit 1,154
Nichole Causley 1,107

Lana Causley was unopposed and deemed elected

Bridgett Sorenson 931
Ilene Moses 547

Darcy Morrow 488
Krystal Goudreau 299

Anita Nelson 295
Charles Matson Sr. 222

Michael Olujic

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — After a national search, the Kewadin Gaming Authority has hired Michael J. Olujic as the new CEO of Kewadin Casinos. He was selected by an independent interview panel.

Olujic will come onboard July 11.

"I am very excited to be part of Kewadin Casinos and the tribe, and I am honored to be part of the team," said Olujic. " I am happy to contribute to Kewadin Casinos' success now and into the future."

The new CEO brings over 15 years of executive management and over 10 years of executive gaming and tribal financial experience to his new role. Olujic has held senior leadership roles as General Manager of Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler, Ariz., CEO of North Star Mohican Casino Resort in Bowler, Wis., and CFO of Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin in Green Bay. Prior to working with tribes, Olujic held strategic financial leadership positions at IBM.

Within these leadership roles, Olujic led and managed over $270 million in new property development and venue transformation. He has also managed organizations in excess of $500 million and over 3,000 employees. Olujic's properties have achieved accolades such as AAA 4 Diamond recognition, Travelocity Excellence Award, Open Table top restaurants, Wine Spectator award, and Telly/Davey Awards for best marketing commercial and direct mail.

Olujic is a member of the Oneida Nation of Indians of Wisconsin and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University with a major in Accounting and a minor in American Indian Studies, and an MBA from Marquette University.

Little Lakers basketball camp at Lake Superior State University Norris Center for boys and girls going into grades three through six is set for June 27 to June 29, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This camp is free for Sault Tribe youth. Registration is limited. Register by emailing Tammy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Deadline is June 22 at 5 p.m.

Sault Tribe Food Distribution Programs' Nutrition Kitchen Presents Healthy Food That Tastes Great featuring Make-Ahead Layered Taco Jar Lunches June 27 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Niigaanagiizhik Ceremonial Building in Sault Ste. Marie.

Layered taco jar workshop.pdf

Giizhikaandek kwewag enkaazowad wii biinakdzidowad

Women's cedar cleaning circle for the summer powwow is on Wednesday, July 6, at 1 p.m. at the drum arbor at the Sault powwow grounds. All women are invited. We ask all to be sure you are able to participate at this time. Please wear skirts loose around the middle for lots of belly laughs.

Call Jackie Minton at 906-635-6050 or 203-4977 for any questions.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY