The Tribal Executive Committee (TEC) of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) is discussing how to proceed with two resolutions on enrollments that were passed several years ago. Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin has been meeting with Elders to receive their input on the enrollments issue, and the Mille Lacs delegates to the MCT Constitutional Convention are also discussing the matter.
The TEC will consider the issue at a special meeting at 1 p.m. on March 4 at Grand Casino Hinckley. See below for a letter from MCT President Cathy Chavers about the meeting.
In 2015, the TEC 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 have amended the MCT Constitution by adding this paragraph: ”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 have amended the Constitution by adding this paragraph: ”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.”
Article II, Membership, of the Revised Constitution and Bylaws, requires that persons born after July 3, 1961, possess at least one quarter (1⁄4 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.
As required by federal law, the Resolutions were forwarded to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for technical review in 2015, but the Secretarial Election never occurred, but the TEC is once again considering whether the resolutions should be put to a vote.
The Constitutional Convention, which like many things was put on hold early in 2020, reconvened in January with delegates from all six Minnesota Chippewa Tribe bands meeting via Zoom conference.
Mille Lacs delegates to the convention reconvened last fall and have been meeting regularly since December.
For an update on the Constitutional Convention and the Mille Lacs delegates, see next month's issue.