A survey of 531 Band members taken at the State of the Band Address in January showed that Band members are aware of the Constitutional Convention and want to receive monthly updates via the Band newsletter.
About two thirds of Band members said they are aware of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe's Constitutional Convention, while 70 percent are aware that delegates have been chosen to represent Band members at the Convention.
More than four out of five Band members — 81.34 percent — want changes made to the current Constitution.
Comments received with the survey were sorted into seven categories, with the following results:
Need for more information: 83 (31.09 percent)
Update the Constitution: 83 (31.09 percent)
More autonomy, separate from MCT: 29 (10.86 percent)
Misc/Random comments: 26 (9.74 percent)
Blood Quantum: 22 (8.24 percent)
No updating/No opinion: 19 (7.12 percent)
More transparency: 5 (1.87 percent)
The next Constitutional Convention meeting will be held September 27 at 10 a.m. at Grand Casino Mille Lacs. The meetings are open to all MCT members.
To share your ideas or ask questions, contact your delegates: District I: Curt Kalk and Danielle Smith; District II: Tom Benjamin and Michael Davis; District IIa: Michele Palomaki and Todd Sam; District III: Maria Costello and Birdie Roberts; Urban: Al Olson.
You can also speak with your delegates at community meetings in each district and the urban area.
The urban area is currently seeking a second delegate. If you are interested in serving in this role, contact Al at 612-746-4819.
KNOW YOUR CONSTITUTION: ARTICLE II — MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. The membership of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe shall consist of the following:
(a) Basic Membership Roll. All persons of Minnesota Chippewa Indian blood whose names appear on the annuity roll of April 14, 1941, prepared pursuant to the Treaty with said Indians as enacted by Congress in the Act of January 14, 1889 (25 Stat. 642) and Acts amendatory thereof, and as corrected by the Tribal Executive Committee and ratified by the Tribal Delegates, which roll shall be known as the basic membership roll of the Tribe.
(b) All children of Minnesota Chippewa Indian blood born between April 14, 1941, the date of the annuity roll, and July 3, 1961, the date of approval of the membership ordinance by the Area Director, to a parent or parents, either or both of whose names appear on the basic membership roll, provided an application for enrollment was filed with the Secretary of the Tribal Delegates by July 4, 1962, one year after the date of approval of the ordinance by the Area Director.
(c) All children of at least one quarter (1/4) degree Minnesota Chippewa Indian blood born after July 3, 1961, to a member, provided that an application for enrollment was or is filed with the Secretary of the Tribal Delegates or the Tribal Executive Committee within one year after the date of birth of such children.
Sec. 2. No person born after July 3, 1961, shall be eligible for enrollment if enrolled as a member of another tribe, or if not an American citizen.
Sec. 3. Any person of Minnesota Chippewa Indian blood who meets the membership requirements of the Tribe, but who because of an error has not been enrolled, may be admitted to membership in the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe by adoption, if such adoption is approved by the Tribal Executive Committee, and shall have full membership privileges from the date the adoption is approved.
Sec. 4. Any person who has been rejected for enrollment as a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe shall have the right of appeal within sixty days from the date of written notice of rejection to the Secretary of the Interior from the decision of the Tribal Executive Committee and the decision of the Secretary of Interior shall be final.
Sec. 5. Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to deprive any descendant of a Minnesota Chippewa Indian of the right to participate in any benefits derived from claims against the U.S. Government when awards are made for and on behalf and for the benefit of descendants of members of said tribe.
Meet Your District II Convention Delegates!
Why did you decide to become a delegate to the Constitutional Convention? I want to be part of this big change in the six-tribe MCT Constitution if it is decided that changes should be made to the Constitution. After nine months of gathering information from our delegate meetings with the six other tribes and sharing with our Band members, we all see that this is going to be a long process. We who have committed to serve on the committee are in for the long haul. As we move on, the members of the Mille Lacs Band will decide how we should move forward.
What do Band members need to know about the Constitutional Convention? The changes that are being looked at will be made by the membership of the MCT, but as one of six tribes, we the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe must always look at what is the best for our tribe as the other five tribes will do also. Our delegation is committed to educating our members on the MCT Constitution.
Why did you decide to become a delegate to the Constitutional Convention? I decided to get involved because I know there needs to be a change for the people, an upgrade of our Constitution.
What do Band members need to know about the Constitutional Convention? Band members need to educate themselves about the Constitution and the history of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe so they can understand what is happening and offer their ideas to their delegates.