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Red Lake heads to the polls, tribal elections held today

A barricade of campaign signs joined the Highway 1 and 89 road signs entering Red Lake during the 2014 election season. Crystal Dey | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 2
A variety of campaign sign styles were grouped together in the grassy area at the Highway 1 and Highway 89 intersection Wednesday. Crystal Dey | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 2

RED LAKE -- Campaign signs dotted ditches along Highway 89 heading onto the Red Lake Indian Reservation today as voters ventured to the polls in Red Lake, Redby, Little Rock and Ponemah.

Clusters of signs became more populous nearer to sites. Some standard signs, others more artistic and some simply simple with a “Vote (insert name) for (insert position)” message spraypainted on plywood. No matter the sign’s platform, the issues are what captured voters attention.

The usual concerns, economic development and more jobs, were expressed by people frequenting the Trading Post this afternoon in Red Lake along with some more specific hopes.

“We could have more youth activities,” said Lyle Benais of the Little Rock District. “But, they’ve done great with the skatepark and basketball court.”

Benais added there could also be more and better jobs.

Another voter said he’d like to see more focus on band enrollment, specifically addressing the blood quantum process and regulations.

Four people, including incumbent chairman Floyd “Buck” Jourdain were running for chairman. Sitting treasurer Darrell G. Seki, Sr. was vying for chairman along with Kathryn “Jody” Beaulieu and Ron Lussier.

Michael Barrett, Annette Johnson, Lee Lussier, Jr., Glenda J. Martin and Cheryl Schoenborn were running for the treasurer seat vacated by Seki. Five people, including incumbent Don Cook, Sr., were running for the secretary position. Along with Cook were Rochelle “Chelle” Kingbird, Judy Roy, Sam Strong and Jim White. Officer positions are elected at-large.

In the Ponemah district, incumbent Gary L. Nelson Sr. was running against Clifford C. Hardy and Eugene Perkins. Incumbent Julius “Toady” Thunder ran against John W. Dudley, Matt Sayers, Clayton Van Wert and Thomas “Jambi” Westbrook in the Redby District. The Little Rock District had Adrian Lee Beaulieu, Katherine “Spears” Dudley, Christopher Jourdain and Robert “Charlie” Reynolds competing. In the Red Lake District, incumbent Roman “Ducker” Stately faced off against David F. Desjarlait, Deanna K. Lasley, Donovan M. May, Robert L. May, Martin “Mott” Parkhurst and Robert “Bob” Smith. Representatives are elected to a four-year term.

Polls for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians 2014 general election were open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Preliminary results are expected before 10 p.m. tonight with the general election board certifying results at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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