Lori Trail, the Band's new Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) Director, is no stranger to the office; after all, she's been working across the hall at Aanjibimaadizing since 2010.
Lori started her new position on August 20. "I haven’t even gotten my feet wet yet," she said. Her office in the lower level of the Biidaabinookwe Government Center is full of files she needs to organize and read, and with a vacancy for a compliance officer, all of the office’s responsibilities fall upon Lori.
Fortunately, the field of employment and training is not entirely new to Lori, since she worked as a case manager for Aanjibimaadizing, helping Band members with work experience, temporary assistance, and training.
However, TERO is a separate program with its own federal and tribal statutes and policies, so there will be a steep learn- ing curve.
Lori is up for it, though, and with her son Thomas leaving home for the Air Force this year, the timing was right for a career change.
"It seemed like a natural progression to go from helping people get work experience to finding them placements in the community and advancement opportunities," she said.
Lori has lived and worked in the area for most of her life. A Mille Lacs Band member, she grew up on a farm in Hillman and graduated from Milaca High School. She attended the Anishinaabe OIC training program and worked for Grand Casino back in the days of the gravel parking lot and the Gold Rush Grill.
She worked for Fingerhut for many years in telemarketing and customer service before returning to the Band’s Department of Labor — which has been transformed to Aanjibimaadizing.
Lori said the TERO commission has been very helpful in helping her get up to speed, and she looks forward to serving Band members in a new capacity.
"There are many opportunities for skilled and unskilled Band members, not just in construction, but in many other areas as well," said Lori.
What Is TERO?
The Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) ensures that all employment entities of the Band give preference to Native
Before making the move to TERO, Lori Trail worked at Grand Casinos, Fingerhut, and Aanjibimaadizing.
Americans in hiring, promotion, training, and all other aspects of employment, including contracting and subcontracting.
TERO does not directly hire or make hiring decisions; how- ever, it does refer qualified Mille Lacs Band members and other Native Americans to companies doing business on lands of the Mille Lacs Band.
TERO, as it's known nationwide, began in 1976. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe made Indian Employment Rights a part of its statutes in 1985 (Title 18, Chapter 5: "Indian Employment Rights").
In 2017, the Band passed a new TERO statute, making TERO an autonomous entity within tribal government and creating a commission to oversee operations and supervise the TERO Director.
TERO was formerly part of the Department of Administration and supervised by the Commissioner and Assistant Com- missioner of Administration.
The TERO commission is composed of seven members with at least one from each district. Members are nominated and ratified by Band Assembly and the Chief Executive and serve staggered four-year terms.
The current TERO board members are Cheryl Miller, Val Harrington, Virgil Wind, Bonnie Dorr, Mitchell Matrious, Scott Tossey, and William Boyd Jr.