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SAULT STE. MARIE, MI. (Oct. 11, 2011) – At a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Sault Tribe Board took action on a packed agenda that included 14 resolutions and a roll-call vote to fill the Unit I Director seat left vacant last month with the appointment of  Chairperson Joe Eitrem.

The two-and-a-half hour meeting began with the Board granting partial waivers to two tribal members with minor misdemeanors seeking gaming licenses. Waivers do not erase convictions—they set them aside giving more members the opportunity to work for the Tribe.
The Board also accepted a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for $130,280.71 to fund the Adam Walsh Act, the federal COPS program, and agreed to partner with federal and state programs that use the Internet to publicize the names and addresses of convicted sexual predators.

The Board supported Congressman Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) draft legislation to amend the Internal Revenue Code to exclude tribal governments that provide their members with education and cultural benefits. In the same resolution, the Sault Tribe called on Congress to enact new legislation to stop the Internal Revenue Service from taxing tribal all membership services.

The Board also approved the purchase of a small parcel-of-land to expand the J.K.L. Bahweting School campus in Sault Ste. Marie. In another resolution they petitioned the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take the land into trust status along with the tribally owned Eagle Ridge Apartments in Marquette.

The Board unanimously approved more than $500,000 in budget increases to these tribal programs; the Conservation Management Program, Election Committee, Higher Education, Membership Programs and the Court Assistance program.

The Board made amendments to the tribal Membership Ordinance Code to allow tribal children who were adopted by non-tribal parents to enroll in the Tribe. Another change renames membership cards to identification cards.

They also authorized a 30-day trial period with tribal member John Hatch to provide accurate and factual news articles regarding the actions of the Board of Directors to the Tribe's newspaper.

In new business, Chairman Joe Eitrem called for a roll call vote to fill the open Unit I Board seat. Three nominees were selected at the Sept. 27 board meeting in Munising. None of the current candidates, D.J. Hoffman, Janet Lidel and Shirley Van Alstine reached the seven-vote requirement to win the seat. Chairman Eitrem told Board members they could continue the nomination process into the next meeting scheduled for Oct 18, at St. Ignace, where another vote is scheduled.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY