Historic Meeting Held Between Leech Lake Band and Beltrami Co. Board
An historic meeting between the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe occurred Tuesday at the Ten Lake Town Hall. Both local governments sent officials to discuss their respective histories and place the foundations of a formal relationship.
After an opening invocation, introductions, and remarks, the formal gathering began. Representatives from both groups shared presentations about their respective histories and relevant information, leading to the start of a mutual understanding.
Beltrami County Board Chairman Tim Sumner called the historic meeting a great opportunity to discuss ways that the Beltrami County Board and the Leech Lake Band could work together and improve services for their citizens.
Those at the joint meeting did not cover all points on the agenda, as most time was taken up by the informative presentations. However, Leech Lake representatives shared the historical significance of meetings such as these, as words can be heard, agreements reached, and trust rebuilt.
Leech Lake Government Relations Manager Irene Folstrom says the next steps with the Beltrami County Board will be to consider a memorandum of understanding. The memorandum would most likely include expectations to be fulfilled by each party, such as keeping communication open for both governments and communities, and establishing regular meetings to avoid miscommunication.
The two groups aimed to establish a positive relationship and to enhance what they do together. The talks showed a step toward building trust between the board and the Leech Lake Band.
The meeting ended with no plans for a memorandum draft due to time constraints. However, both parties seemed in favor of one. A date for the next formal joint meeting has not been set.