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Tribe proving to be an economic force

Chief Maynard Kahgegab

5/14/2003 12:00:00 AM

Aanii fellow Tribal members and interested readers!

As a Tribal nation we have experienced decades of change beginning with the establishment of our reservation to becoming a federally recognized sovereign government, governed by our constitution. Every detail from electing our representatives to providing a framework of high standards for governing behavior is outlined in our constitution. Like federal and state governments, our legislative body oversees the authorization and funding of Tribal programs. No single Tribal member is above the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's constitution and laws.

Each Tribal member is sworn to uphold the Tribal constitution. When an alleged violation of the constitution and/or Tribal ordinances occurs, the federal government has recognized a Tribe's government sovereignty to conduct hearings and proceedings and administer justice. Many Tribal members have recently raised concerns about the decision of three former Council members who were removed from office recently to appeal their issues to a "kangaroo-style" adjudication process with a local newspaper.

Adjudicating issues through a newspaper that monopolizes newsprint and editorial perspectives is no way to administer justice, let alone maintain a democratic and unbiased information-flowing government. To the contrary, this monopoly of information dissemination and operation invites abuses of journalistic ethics and bullying tactics to desperately sell newspapers. The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe refuses to play the "scared Indian" role when such tactics are used. Especially, when those tactics are used in an attempt to persuade Tribal officials to divulge personal and confidential information on individuals following the Tribal adjudication processes and further divulge our proprietary data.

Our Tribe strives to keep the area economy thriving and unemployment levels low. We further pride ourselves in being the second largest employer in the congressional district and constantly work to develop positive government-to-government relations with both federal and state governments. The end result is more job and program opportunities for Mid Michigan. For example, the Tribe recently secured more than $6.4 million for various programs including Isabella County's requests to the Tribe for assistance with road renovation. This does not include the more than $25 million the Tribe has allocated over the past years to local schools and for local government program requests. Recently, the Tribe contributed more than $1 million to enhance law enforcement and prosecution program in Isabella County.

On behalf of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal Council, I wish to express my sincerest gratitude for your interest in our government programs, Tribal culture and points of view as expressed in the Tribal Observer. You are personally invited to visit our reservation and share in our proud history and culture. To learn more about our Tribe and activities, go to our government web page at www.sagchip.org.

Miigwetch

Chief Maynard Kahgegab Jr.