By Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, June 30, 2015
The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) Tribal Executive Committee (TEC) has agreed to move forward with the process to allow the adult membership of the Tribe to vote on whether other federally recognized Chippewa, Ojibwe, Anishinaabe blood and Canadian First Nations Anishinaabe blood should be counted for current enrolled members.
Mille Lacs Band Secretary-Treasurer Carolyn Beaulieu wants Band members to be informed about the amendment prior to the election. “It is important because of the potential increase of enrolled members,” Carolyn said. “That would have an impact on funding and service currently provided to our constituents.”
Currently, Article II, Membership of the Revised Constitution and Bylaws, requires that persons born after July 3, 1961, possess at least one quarter (¼ degree) Minnesota Chippewa Indian blood. MCT blood has been defined as blood derived from one or more of the six constituent Bands of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe: Bois Forte, Mille Lacs, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, White Earth and Fond du Lac.
The Tribal Executive Committee recognized that members of the MCT may possess other Chippewa, Ojibwe, Anishinabe or First Nations Anishinaabe blood and decided to let the membership decide whether that blood should be included when determining eligibility for membership. As the first step in the process, the Tribal Executive Committee adopted two resolutions to put the questions before the MCT Membership.
Resolution 31-15 would amend the Constitution by adding a paragraph that provides: “The Minnesota Chippewa Indian blood of persons enrolled on the effective date of this amendment shall be corrected on the membership rolls of the Tribe by including the verified First Nation Anishinabe blood possessed by the member.”
Resolution 32-15 would amend the Constitution by adding a paragraph that provides: “The Minnesota Chippewa Indian blood of persons enrolled on the effective date of this amendment shall be corrected on the membership rolls of the Tribe by including the verified federally recognized Anishinabe/Ojibway/Chippewa blood possessed by the member.”
As required by federal law, the Resolutions were forwarded to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for technical review, and the Tribe is waiting for its response in order to continue the Secretarial Election amendment process.
A resolution was also approved and forwarded to the Bureau of Indian Affairs requesting that the proposed Secretarial Election waive the regulations in 25 CFR Part 81 to allow for same day registration and voting polls to be established on each reservation in addition to mail-in balloting for the Secretarial Election.
The MCT anticipates that the Secretarial Election process will take place 60 to 90 days after the federal review of the Resolutions is completed. The MCT office will provide additional information and the election date to all eligible voters as soon as the Secretary of the Interior calls the Election.