Marquette, MI (10/12/2020) Establishing an Inter-City-Tribal Partnership.
My Tribal Background
Marquette is home to many Indigenous residents from various Tribes. Michigan's Upper Peninsula has five sovereign nations that make up an important part of our communities and our regional history. Marquette, just like every other community in the UP, was founded on Indigenous lands and I believe it is important as a public figure that I acknowledge this. I am a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and, if elected, I would be the first tribal member from a federally recognized tribe to ever be elected to the Marquette City Commission. My name in Ojibwe is Waazaazhoomin (Lightning) and my clan is Chi Chuk (Crane). My wife Ashley and daughter Arya are also members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe. Ashley's name is Benasii Miigwan (Thunderbird Feather) and her clan is Waabzih (Silver-white Fox).
Previous Work on Indigenous Issues
When I was the President of NMU's Student Government I made an ASNMU Presidential Proclamation stating we the students of NMU recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day and then submitted a recognition request to both the Marquette City Commission and the NMU Board of Trustee's. This resulted in the City Commission unanimously adopting a resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day in Marquette. The NMU Board of Trustees also made an Ad Hoc Committee comprised of Board members, several student leaders including myself, and local Indigenous leaders. The recommendation from this committee led to the NMU Board of Trustees recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day as well.
Tribal Partnership Policy
Tribes often play an important role in assisting local communities, whether it be utilizing the tribes 2% revenue sharing funds, sharing in Federal infrastructure grants, collaborating on Tribal enterprise zones, assisting with small business and homeowner grants that individual members can request, and much more. These Tribal governments at times, however, feel these types of assistance and involvement is expected of them instead of being treated as equal partners. If elected to the Marquette City Commission, I will actively work to foster positive relationships with our regional Tribal communities and work with my fellow commissioners to adopt an Inter-Tribal-City Partnership of Marquette. This resolution would make it clear that the Marquette City Commission intends to work with local tribes as equal partners and establish a liaison for this purpose. The liaison would be a member of the City Commission mostly likely appointed by the Mayor and would act essentially as a diplomat between the City and each respective Tribal government. This would build better relationships, communications, partnerships, and collaborations with our regional Tribal community.