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Tribal Council and Tribal Court officials host historic meeting with Isabella County Judges
2/11/2016 2:00:00 PM - Council

By Joseph V. Sowmick, Photojournalist

On Feb 9, the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Court was the place to view another chapter in Tribal history as the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council and SCIT Tribal Court officials met with elected judges from the Isabella County Trial Court.

Tribal Chief Frank J. Cloutier offered opening remarks and introduced fellow Council members Candace B. Benzinger, Ron Nelson, Kenneth Sprague, Amanda Oldman, Lindy Hunt and Diana Quigno-Grundahl.

The following welcome prayer was offered by Chaplain Quigno-Grundahl to start the summit in a good way.  “Heavenly Father, we thank you for allowing this gathering to take place. May your goodness and love be present amongst us.  Please bless our gathering with unity, hope and vision. Build in us all a deep respect for one another. Give us insight to lead with integrity, that our decisions may reflect what is right and good. Keep us from short-sightedness and pettiness. Help us to make decisions that are for the good of all and guard us from blind self-interest. Dear Lord, grant us the humility to always seek your will in all that we do and say.  All this we pray ask and believe. Amen.”

Chief Cloutier commended the efforts of Tribal Court Judge Patrick Shannon, Magistrate Carol Jackson and their staff for coordinating a tour of their offices and court facilities.

“With the busy schedules of Tribal Council and the dockets of both Tribal Court and the Isabella County Trial Court, it is quite a task just being able to pick a date and time finally get together,” Cloutier said.  “As elected Tribal officials, we welcome the opportunity to have other units of government come to our reservation.  I think it’s something that fosters cooperation and breaks down the barriers that tend to surface when dealing with local, state and federal challenges.”

Isabella County Circuit Court Judge Mark Duthie was joined by fellow Circuit Court Judge Paul Chamberlain, District Court Judge Eric Janes, Probate Court Judge Bill Ervin and Michigan State Court Administrative Office Representative Bruce Kilmer as he enjoyed his first visit to see how the Tribal Court implements their judicial proceedings.

“The meeting was an excellent opportunity to meet Tribal Chief Cloutier, Council members, Judge Shannon, and the court employees,” Judge Duthie said.  “It is always positive to discuss how we can work together to ensure that members of our community are well served by our respective courts.”

Isabella County District Court Judge Eric Janes appreciated the opportunity he and his fellow judges had to tour the Tribal Court with Council members and to meet with court personnel.

“It was truly a pleasure to meet with Tribal Chief Frank Cloutier and the members of the Tribal Council along with Tribal Court Judge Patrick Shannon and his staff yesterday.  It is my understanding that this meeting was the first ever held between the elected officials of
Tribal Council and the entire Judiciary of the Isabella County Trial Court,” Janes said.  “Working together we have a real opportunity to address and work on many issues that relate to both of our organizations and the community as a whole.”