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Letter: Leech Lake band members urged to get involved

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The Leech Lake chairman and secretary-treasurer seats are routinely controlled by a little under 19 percent of the electorate. Our districts even less, by around 6 percent for District 1, under 3 percent for District 2, and usually over 12 percent for District 3.

Down 400-600 from prior elections. Why do we allow such a small number of our people decide the fate of our nation? This isn’t democracy.

The majority have become disillusioned, disenfranchised, detached and antagonized by the impotent, belligerent nature and the lateral violence of our politics. Colonization at its finest. And on the other end of the spectrum, there is a small number who have learned how to manipulate these circumstance for their political advantage against us all.

Another disturbing dynamic of this scenario is an active voting majority of the people habitually manipulated each election cycle to support status quo leadership is literally bought off or coerced. They are bought off with our collective scarce and limited resources. From anywhere to cigarettes to utility bills paid, housing opportunities to jobs that are promised in trade for their vote.

Our people are overwhelmed and traumatized by historic, social and economic factors. Some of these factors are taken advantage of, manipulated, or even strengthened and created by these leaders who exploit the small percentage of voters used to gain access to our resources. Most times these leaders are also compromised by outside, corrupt non-native forces that buy these “leaders’” way into office so they can be taken advantage of to fulfill favors to these campaign financiers through resources, contracts, positions and vendor pay.

The two years leading up to elections, I have witnessed efforts to reform the government, empower the people to bring transparency, accountability and participation back to the Leech Lake by a small handful of its citizens. And of course they were resisted by status quo government forces that abuse every resource available to the band to prevent and sabotage these efforts.

So today I am urging our people to become more involved with the politics of our government so that we can take our nation back from those who have conformed in order to hold progress and justice hostage against us all. We need each other’s voice, we need each other’s vote to be heard so that we can elect the innovative, moral and conscious leaders we deserve. Please wake up, Leech Lake.

Preston Beaulieu

Bemidji

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