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Leech Lake to vote for tribal coucil

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Leech Lake to vote for tribal coucil
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

CASS LAKE - Voters will head to the polls Tuesday for the Leech Lake Tribal Council general election.

The two positions up for election are chairman and District III committeeman.


Incumbent Arthur "Archie" LaRose and Carri Jones are running for chairman, while incumbent Eugene "Ribs" Whitebird and LeRoy Staples Fairbanks III are running for District III committeeman.

The polls will be open from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Multiple calls to reach the candidates for comment were unsuccessful. Here is more about each candidate from information posted on the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe website.

LaRose, running for re-election as chairman, was elected to his current position in 2008. He was previously the Secretary/Treasurer for the Tribal Council.

As chairman, LaRose implemented an updated Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and started the Temporary Employment Program. He has also focused on education, workforce development and gaming.

Other areas LaRose has worked on include housing needs, land acquisition and treaty rights.

LaRose said he believes public service should be about the people. His goal is to improve the lives of his people and the reservation.

Jones, who advanced in the primary, has one main goal if she is elected chairwoman. She said she wants to stop emphasizing the reservation's weaknesses and pay more attention to its strengths as a community.

Jones said the Leech Lake Band is not weak or failing, and she will nurture the young people who continue to take leadership in the community.

Whitebird, the incumbent in the District III committeeman race, was elected in 2008. He said he is seeking reelection because he knows he has more he can accomplish.

During the last four years, Whitebird lobbied Congress for federal funding for the tribe and said he will continue to fight for a new Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School. Other areas of importance for Whitebird include treaty rights, jobs and educational opportunities.

Whitebird said he will continue efforts to build a new Indian Health Service facility and will continue to make sure Leech Lake is represented on the national organizations which protect and fight for tribal sovereignty.

Whitebird said he is proud of his people and has faith in the tribe's young people.

Staples Fairbanks has worked with the Leech Lake Housing Authority for more than 10 years. He has also served as a representative for District III on the Leech Lake Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners.

As District III committeeman, Staples Fairbanks said he would like to work with the council to work toward positive solutions for the band members.

He said he decided to run for District III committeeman because he believes the Tribal Council needs leaders who are open for positive change and are determined to improve the quality of life for the reservation, according to the election website.

Polling sites for election

CASS LAKE - Polling locations for the upcoming Leech Lake Tribal Council general election will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Here is a list of the polling sites for each district:

Inger - Community Center

Ball Club - Community Center

Squaw Lake - Community Center

Bena - Community Center

Sugar Point - Community Center

Smokey Point/Kego Lake - Kego Lake Community Center

Cass Lake - Dikinaagan Center

Mission - Community Center

Onigum - Community Center

Cass River - Community Center

Oak Point - Community Center

In addition, the Bemidji voting precinct will be located at Bemidji City Hall, 317 4th St. NW. The Leech Lake Twin Cities voting precinct will be at Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin, Minneapolis.

The general reservation election board will meet June 13 to certify results.

Pioneer staff reports