All executive political authority of the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Bands of Chippewa
Indians shall be vested in the Executive Branch of government. The leader of the
Executive Branch shall be the popularly-elected tribal chairman, whose title shall be
Chief Executive. The Chief Executive is the officer referred to in the Constitution as the Chairman. Unless otherwise specified by Band Statute, all Executive Branch authority shall be exercised by the Chief Executive. MLBSA, Title 4, § 2.
Chief Executive/Chairwoman Melanie Benjamin leads the Executive Branch of Band government, one of the three governing branches of our sovereign, self-governing Indian nation. The Executive Branch sees to it that the Band’s laws are faithfully executed. The Chief Executive is the top official in the Executive Branch and is elected by Band members every four years. The Chief Executive appoints Commissioners who are ratified by the Band Assembly to oversee the various departments in the executive branch and are also appointed to four-year terms.
Band law solely authorizes the Chief Executive to conduct all external government relations with other governments, including exercising and protecting tribal sovereignty and self-governance to advance the priorities of the Band. The Chief Executive’s primary duties include advocating for and protecting the Band’s rights before state and federal agencies, including members of the U.S. Congress and the White House, the Governor and the State Legislature, and other regional, tribal and international governments. Engaging in official government-to-government communication and consultation with other heads-of-state and federal agencies is a significant responsibility that directly impacts the Band’s ability to protect and promote the general welfare of our people today and for future generations. The Chief Executive’s duties are outlined in Band law at MLBSA Title 4, §6.
All Executive Branch government programs and services fall under the departments of Administration, Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, Education, Community Development and the Corporate Commission, which are led by seven Executive Officers called “Commissioners” who are appointed by the Chief Executive and ratified by the Band’s Legislative Branch, the Band Assembly. The Solicitor General is also an Executive Officer who serves as Interior Legal Counsel to the Mille Lacs Band and oversees the Department of Justice.
In addition to the Commissioners, the Chief Executive has appointed staff who provide her with support in carrying out her statutory duties in the Office of the Chief Executive, as well as a Government Affairs team that provides support for conducting external government relations.
The Chief Executive’s Office includes the Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive, assistants, and a coordinator. Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive: 320-532-7486
Executive Branch Departments
Department of Administration
Department of Community Development
Department of Education
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Justice
Department of Natural Resources
The Commissioner of Corporate Affairs operates the Band’s casinos and other businesses that are part of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures. This Commissioner reports to both the Executive and Legislative branches.