The Non-Removable Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is a sovereign, self-governing federally recognized American Indian tribal government. The Band is one of the six component Bands that came together in 1936 to form the organization of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT), which also includes the five other separately sovereign Bands of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the White Earth Nation. The six Bands of the MCT share a single constitution, but each has its own governing laws and system of governance. The laws of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe are called the Mille Lacs Band Statutes.
For many years, the Band operated under a single-council form of government known as the Reservation Business Committee (RBC). In the 1980’s, our Band elders and leaders determined that a three-branch division of powers form of government would be a more effective and responsible way to run the reservation so they created a three-branch system.
Our three-branch governing system includes the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch.
The Executive Branch is responsible for implementing Band laws by carrying out programs and services to promote the general welfare of Band Members. It includes the departments of Administration, Natural Resources, Education, Health and Human Services, and Community Development. The Executive Branch is overseen by the Chief Executive/Chairwoman, and each department is led by appointed commissioners.
The Legislative Branch passes all laws, makes changes or amendments to tribal law, passes tribal resolutions and appropriates funds for all tribal programs. The Legislative Branch is comprised of three District Representatives and led by the Speaker of the Assembly/Secretary-Treasurer, who together are called The Band Assembly.
The Judicial Branch preserves and maintains justice and accords equal rights, equal protection, and equal opportunity for Band members under Band laws and statutes. The Band’s Court of Central Jurisdiction is made up of a District (or trial) Court and a Court of Appeals.
During the period of government reorganization in the 1980’s, Band membership also decided that business decisions should be separated from the influence of politics, so a Corporate Commission was created to run the Band’s businesses. The Corporate Commission is led by a Commissioner of Corporate Affairs, who is advised by a Board of Directors. The Band’s businesses today include Grand Casino Hinckley, Grand Casino Mille Lacs, five hotel/resort properties and many small businesses.