Representatives to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe’s Constitu- tional Convention have been sharing their thoughts in recent issues of Ojibwe Inaajimowin. This month features the dele- gates from Chiminising (District IIa).
Todd L. Sam
Why did you decide to become a delegate to the Constitutional Convention? It seemed like a great opportunity to learn about our MCT Constitution and how it works for our Mille Lacs Band government and members. I want to make sure we get the information out to our members on how and why the Constitution is important to us, now and into the future.
What do Band Members need to know about the Constitutional Convention? The possibilities of changes will be discussed in great details within our group on a monthly basis and shared with the other five tribes that are currently in the MCT of Minnesota. The process to move this forward will be very time consuming, but the group we have in place will make sure it will be shared to the government and the members for much-needed feedback. Accountability and education are keys to our success.
Why did you decide to become a delegate to the Constitutional Convention? Overall, my work experience with the Band made me very interested in becoming a delegate. I have been very fortunate to work in several areas of the Mille Lacs Band, and as a community member feel that any experiences or skills that I hold should simply be shared back to the community. My plans last year were also to return to school and attain my Master's, and since August I am actively enrolled in the University of Oklahoma Master of Legal Studies – Indigenous People's Law. What I am learning will effectively tie into my commitment and duties as a District IIa delegate.
What do Band Members need to know about the Constitutional Convention? Right now, the delegates' focus is on education, and this will include materials we want to bring out to all our communities and every Band member household. We, as delegates, continue to learn and expand our own knowledge base on the MCT Constitution. This communication phase may be our most time-consuming task, and as a delegate I feel it is worth every minute. We hope it will result in good communication and dialogues with Band members so we can effectively represent the collaborative "voice" of Mille Lacs Band members in applying any changes, deletions, or additions to the Constitution.