RED LAKE: Seki starts on high note; Hundreds turn out for inauguration ceremony
RED LAKE -- “Whoo!”
That was the first thing Darrell Seki Sr. said after he was introduced as the new tribal chairman for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians on Tuesday.
Seki was sworn in at a public inauguration ceremony on the closed reservation at the Red Lake Humanities Center before hundreds of his constituents and band members.
“As the Red Lake Tribal Council, we will have our tribal sovereignty, because we are a proud sovereign nation,” Seki said.
Seki delivered his acceptance speech first in Ojibwe, the language of his Anishinaabe people and then in English for visitors.
Under his leadership, improvements will be pursued in Constitutional reform, protecting natural resources and sustainable businesses on the reservation, Seki said. In particular, trespassing on sovereign waters will not be tolerated.
Off the reservation, Seki is focusing on housing, education, transportation and employment for tribal members. He intends on working with Beltrami County as well as the Duluth and Twin Cities communities.
“One does not succeed alone in tribal government,” Seki said.
Seki advised that patience and working together with the band will insure an improved quality of life on the reservation.
“We need to work together in our effort in the war on drugs, violence, gangs and alcoholism to reach a solution,” Seki said.
Seki was tribal treasurer for the band during Floyd “Buck” Jourdain Jr.’s 10-year term as chairman. Seki received 55 percent of the vote in the 2014 Election -- he received 1,907 votes compared to Jourdain’s 1,284. Two other candidates received a combined total of 249 votes.
“I ask everybody to respect him. Respect his time. Respect his standing,” Jourdain said Tuesday before Seki was sworn in.
After the votes were certified, Jourdain presented Seki with a medallion as a token of his appreciation. Jourdain was in turn presented with a blanket from the band.
The traditional drum circle and Red Lake royalty performed during the ceremony, followed by a feast and live entertainment. Hereditary Chief George King officiated the swearing-in ceremony.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Darrell over the years, he’s a hard worker,” Jourdain said. “He’s a good man.”
Ponemah representative Gary Nelson was also sworn in during Tuesday’s ceremony. Candidates who will fill the secretary, treasurer and Red Lake, Redby and Little Rock representative positions will be confirmed in July after run-off elections.