by Secretary-Treasurer Sheldon Boyd
The following speech was delivered by Secretary-Treasurer Sheldon Boyd at the swearing-in ceremony at Grand Casino Mille Lacs on July 10.
Good morning and thank you all so much for coming today — Mille Lacs Band members, community members, elected officials, Mille Lacs Government Center employees, and HHS employees (where I just spent the last nine years).
Thanks to the staff in Legislative, current and future, for coordinating the wonderful event.
Congratulations to Wally and Marvin, Joe and Rick for being supported by the people who instilled their trust to work on their behalf for the next several years.
You know it was quite the experience this spring participating in the elections, and we all have to encourage and support those who show the courage to step up and stand in front of the people like this. It’s a scary thing for most people. Behind the scenes in the waiting room during this particular campaign, sitting with Carolyn and Bruce, we three put ourselves in a vulnerable position, and that takes courage (and some measure of stupidity on my part).
And we should also congratulate former Secretary Treasurer Beaulieu and Bruce Harrington on campaigns well run and encourage them to keep trying to help the people of the Mille Lacs Band in their own individual ways.
The evening of the primary election on April 3 was an experience I will never forget. Hearing the news that you people made a decision by majority vote was unreal. That reality, because there comes a moment when it then becomes reality, takes time to sink in.
In a way, a piece of you will never be yours again. A piece of the voter and a piece of the elected person. Every one of these elected people today, myself included, will be judged in the minds of many people and remembered for these next four years.
When the vote is cast, a little bit of control is handed to a single individual, and with that the expectation, hope, and trust that person is tasked with continuing to move a piece of our communities along.
And with that vote, that act of assigning control over some matters of our collective lives, a bargain occurs. And based on that person’s behavior, words, and movement over the next four years, that person has agreed to be judged. By the people. And that is the right, the power, and the duty of you the people.
The work of the people in elected offices and the people who voted is ongoing. Don’t just vote and forget about things un- til the next election expecting a person to make things better. Before this, my personal duty as a citizen in between elections has been, first of all, to pay attention. Try my best to make a stable home. Act in a way you hope the next generation, the young ones watching you, will act. To be kind. To enjoy life.
As a young man, I remember seeing my Uncle Jess Boyd standing on the shore of the bay with a walking stick. Just watching the bay. He would wave as we drove by.
My Dad would later mention that Jess would tell him how the lake moved and the effect it had on the beach and how the water changed. He observed that the waves would move in different directions against the shore and make things in the lake move.
Many of you have the skills to watch the change in leadership and observe how things are affected.
Many of you have the power and the initiative to make changes.
There are so many examples within the community of people getting out and making changes on their own, and one that deserves mentioning is the Sober Squad.
What a brave bunch of people we all have the opportunity to witness during our time here. Born out of times of drug and alcohol abuse and community heartache, this group has shown that this community will not take things lying down and will take matters into their own hands and stand in defiance to a world of drug trafficking, human trafficking, and senseless death. All with smiles on their faces and compassion in their hearts. I salute you, and your work stands in comparison to any government program, federal, state, or tribal, on having a positive effect on this community.
The younger ones will watch and find their place in our communities. They will take your place. We all take our turn, and like each wave against the shore, we move in different directions. As time moves along, we as individuals change things.
And that brings us to today and the next four years. Secretary-Treasurer and Speaker of the Assembly.
As Secretary-Treasurer, the duty entrusted is now to “manage and superintend” the amassed wealth of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. And during the campaign period this spring, the way I read and understand the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Constitution and laws of the Mille Lacs Band I will perform these duties to allow the people of the Mille Lacs Band to be more financially aware than we are today, and by following the clear mandate to make all expenditures a matter of public record.
As Speaker of the Assembly I also plan to make the actions of our Legislative body a matter of public record by live streaming and archiving the legislative process or Sessions of Band Assembly.
And most importantly as leader of the Legislative Branch I will make every effort to promote the lawmaking process. This is so important and the most abstract power of our people. The power to make law. That power is vested solely in each of the District Representatives and the Legislative Branch. The Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band, by your vote, is the single most powerful voice in government and by signature, is the last step in the lawmaking process here in Mille Lacs.
Federally recognized Indian tribes have the inherent power to make law.
That little piece of power you hand over when you vote for a candidate in each election, part of it is the power to make law.
I believe we get that inherent power by being the descendants and survivors of our long past mothers and fathers, grandparents and their grandparents who somehow survived history, all to make it possible for each of us to be here at this time. When you look around the room you see the product of intelligence, good fortune, and the luck of surviving a millennia of time, of perseverance to overcome thousands of years of weather, war, battles, and disease on this great island.
That series of events is what brings us here this morning to turn the page and start a new chapter in our time here. Please applaud elected leaders of the Mille Lacs Band past and present. They have taken their turn and take their place in history.
Be kind and enjoy life. Thank you.