Category Archives: Research Papers

Masked Tribal Politics

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I ventured into our tribal convenience store, who pareters with BP oil, and our store doors have the sign on to wear a mask. I tried to wear one in Menards when this whole mess started and literally became disoriented and became very irritable. My cousin promised me he would come shopping for me as long I am not going. He had a miserable time as well.

I am not sure if mask-wearing produces the anxiety and disorientation I experience when prolonged coverage over my mouth and nose. The next time I went to a different lumber yard and was asked why I was not wearing a mask. I said I am practicing my sovereign rights as a Potawatomi. The guy gave me a high five and walked away quite satisfied with my reply.

As I was saying the trip to our convenience store was another eye opener of the negative tribal politics involved with mask wearing on the reservation. Last week I had a mask waived at me by the cashier, a tribal member, with nothing said and it created a confrontation. I went back days later to offer my apology’s. I did so and the person seemed happy and explained she has to do it but does not like it as part of the job.

I paid for my items and returned to this same clerk who was cashing out a couple with no masks.

I stood behind them in disbelief as the clerck would not even look at me.

She knew she was targeting me because of my stance on mask wearing and made an issue of it with me days earlier. Why not this couple?

I was completely upset and could not believe she never attempted to ask them to mask up or offer two mask to them.

She never told them I do not have to take your business without mask but rudely told me that and caused a scene in the store that day.

What a joke. I feel stupid for even apologizing.

Tribal Politics: Scared on the Reservation

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The recent pandemic has caused the world to become fearful of life and others. This problem has been in my tribal community for many years, especially after our tribal government and management have became mainly composed of white women. Some of these women do have children with men on the reservation which provides them ties to community opportunities like employment and other benefits.

Recently I set out to discover that the tribal members investment of payroll investments in government activities is corrupted. Administrators, grant writers and operations managers are all privileged to enter working areas without temperature checks or masks. These group of people happens to be many white women as they fill many accounting and other supplementing support for tribal operations.

On the third morning a tribal member, who works the reception desk, opened the back door to the administration building and asked if I needed anything. I said no and left the building complaining about the harassment. I felt insulted but later found out that a few white women claimed to be scared a tribal member was haning around the tribal government offfices. This is why I was being questioned.

I confirmed this with the receptionist, who was wearing a mask and obeying protocol set by tribal government officials.

This alarmed me as last time I scared a white women, the marketing directer, I had to sit in jail for criminal offence as a sitting tribal council member, never done before in the community. Our community has always supported white women as many Indian men have impregnated them over the years. Many tribal council members are married to white women and not the trend is attracting more white men to pursue tribal member women.

My problem is that I am scared too.

You see, my father, a full blood was married to a white women. The relationship ended in tragedy as my father murdered my mother, grandmother, both white women and himself. This event has been used by tribal government officials for many years to create an artificial fear of my intentions in this tribe.

I continue to be eliminated and disqualified while white men and women are chosen to fullfil expert roles in the commmunity.

When I attempt to find evidence or demand tribal law be enforced all of a sudden white women are scared and tribal government officials look for a means to jail this tribal member only looking to become self-sufficient and work a meaningful job that helps others.

I can not forget what my Indian father did white women, I guess it is appropriate everyone else join with me.

I am scared too with no relief in sight from tribal government made up of 70 percent non-tribal members.

Upper Michigan votes for Beau LaFave

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I went out to do my lawn today and was delighted to see a yard sign my support for Representative LaFave.

The single largest reason I support this person is his acknowledgement of what tribal members and their government have done for surrounding communities here at the Hannahville Indian Community

Representative LaFave has earned my vote and respect as he has publicly supported the efforts of tribal sovereignty and recognize the value it has brought to the Upper Peninsula.

I will pledge my support to Representative LaFave and encourage my fellow voting tribal members to look for his name on the Michigan ballot.

Best wishes Representative LaFave.

The Chief and I: “If it is not your idea”

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In 1994 the tribal housing construction program, of the Hannahville Indian Community/s tribal government, completed a brand new government building to house tribal operations.

This building was quite an upgrade as out first facilites were trailer homes, the first having no running water or sewage services. The Hannahville Health Center (Indian Health Service) was across the road and was the main building for bathroom facilities. The nurses were never happy in the mornings.

The building was the idea of the Tribal Chairman, who runs the tribal government and its business for the trial council.

The third building that houses Hannahville Indian Community Government Operations

After moving into this new facility the resources and bank deposits began to grow. The finance director soon approached me as the Casino board chairman and wanted procedures evaluated and improved as one of the class II games were underperforming and losing on a consistent basis.

I met with the Tribal Chairman and Tribal Adminstrator to begin disscussion about the matter.

The meeting was a flop and unproductive.

The Chief left the meeting because the topic was about accountability and casno managers were closely related to him.

For several years previous my ideas were being funded before the Chief or Tribal chairman projects. It began to infuriate him and he cooperated little with me, as we competed for tribal resources.

This meeting was no different as he exited the discussion with the comment to me.

“Leroy, you know what I think. You think if it is not your idea than it is not a good idea.”

We never reached an accountable government structure and it seems we never will realize a dream of tribal members determining their own future and fate.

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