Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Holds 2018 State of the Band Address
“I’m very proud to be a Leech Lake Band Member,” said Lenny Fineday, guest speaker for the Band Address.
It was a day full of pride in culture and tradition that brought hot topics to the surface.
“We kind of had to make some budget cuts due to our deficit in finances that we were facing, and we try to keep them minimal, yet I reminded everyone that we still want to provide good quality service to our members,” said Faron Jackson, Sr., the Tribal Council Chairman.
One topic discussed was the land shortage issue that has caused the band not renew leases on their land.
“As our numbers grow and our land base stays the same, it causes a lot of friction where families want to expand,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t a personal attack on anybody by any means, it was just a council decision that we thought was in the best interest of our membership.”
Drug use and the opioid epidemic were also discussed at length today with the chairman saying change will come through education.
“We’re trying to educate them before it gets to that process so our numbers can start shifting and going in the right direction,” Jackson said.
The Band Address tackled some difficult issues but took time to celebrate others.
“The actual construction for the new Palace is going to begin late this spring/early summer,” Jackson said. “We’re having a completion date of the summer of 2019.”
Ultimately, the theme for the 2018 address was “we are all in this together.”
“Wonderful values that were handed down from our ancestors and elders; the good values, being there for one another and being there for one another at all times no matter what is is, where you are at or what you are doing, be there for one another,” said Arthur “Archie” LaRose, Leech Lake Band Secretary and Treasurer.
As the tribal council looks ahead to many challenges in the coming year, the chairman wants the band to remember it’s a team effort.
“This movement is going to be united, its not just going to be me, it’s going to be us,” Jackson said.
Through budget cuts, a housing shortage and addiction, the tribal council says they will remain positive that 2018 will bring change.