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Due to the amount of misinformation provided to a few local news outlets, members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of Directors wish to publicly address the recent censure of Chairperson Payment.

On Jan. 4, 2022, at a duly called meeting of the board, the board took action on the (properly noticed) agenda item, Conduct of the Chairperson. The following action was approved by a 10-2 positive majority tribal board vote:
—The Sault Tribe Board of Directors finds that the Tribal Chairperson, Aaron Payment, has:
—Violated his duty to create an environment that fosters respect and dignity;
—Violated his duty to maintain an environment free of harassment and intimidation;
—Intimidated, harassed, and publicly attacked employees;
—Continually committed malicious public attacks upon tribal members;
—Violated the Medical Privacy and Procedures of Individual Tribal Members;
—Violated Resolution 2012-222 Privacy of Board Member Phone and Computer Records;
—Breached /Released confidential information, violating Tribal Code, Chapter 96;
—Campaigned prior to the Notice of Election pursuant to Tribal Code, Chapter 10; and
—Violated tribal Resolution 93-123 Code of Professional Conduct.

The Sault Tribe Board of Directors hereby:
—Censures Aaron Payment, Tribal Chairperson;
—Publicly notices the Tribal Board of Directors has NO CONFIDENCE in the Tribal Chairperson;
—Removes the Chairperson from any/all internal committees (with the exception of those established in Tribal Code) and external committees that are a result of the Tribes;
—Membership within their respective organizations. Notice of which shall be provided by the Tribes Executive Director;
—Expressly and equivocally makes it know that the conduct of the Chairperson is not protected by the Tribe or any of the Tribes Sovereignty. The Chairperson, Aaron Payment is personally liable for his respective actions;
—Authorizes the Executive Director, with the assistance of the Tribes Legal Counsel, to contract and retain an external Firm to investigate and address the Conduct of the Tribal Chairperson; and
—Authorizes the Executive Director to implement all necessary Budget modifications administratively regarding the Firm.

The Sault Tribe Board of Directors has a duty to protect the assets of the tribe, which includes our tribal, team, and community members. The Sault Tribe Board of Directors wants to relay to its members, team members and community partners that we remain committed to our communities and will address the membership with the full details upon their conclusion.

We believe it in the best interest of our tribe that we do not comment any further on ongoing and active investigations. The chairperson’s actions have led to this decision and, contrary to other statements, his actions alone resulted in Tuesday’s censure.

For more information about the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, please visit www.saulttribe.com

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY