Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, also known as the Leech Lake Band of Chippewa Indians or the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and as Gaa-zagaskwaajimekaag Ojibweg in the Ojibwe language, is an Ojibwe band located in Minnesota and one of six making up the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The Band has 8,861 tribal members as of July 2007. The Band's land base is the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, comprising eleven communities defined in the tribal constitution, aggregated into three districts.
As a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, which also includes the bands of Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Mille Lacs, and White Earth, the Leech Lake Band is governed by a tribal constitution, written following the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. Written by tribal delegates, the constitution establishes a corporate system of governance, with "reservation business committees", also referred to as "Reservation Tribal Councils", as the governmental body. The committees are composed of a chairperson, a secretary-treasurer, and three district representatives. The representatives are elected for two-year terms; elections are staggered.
The current Tribal Council is as follows (with the year of next election for the position in parentheses):
- Chairwoman Carrie Jones (2016)
- Secretary/Treasurer Donald Finn (2014)
- District I Representative Robbie M. Howe (2014)
- District II Representative Steven White (2014)
- District III Representative Leroy Staples-Fairbanks III (2016)
The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe operates three casinos: Palace Casino and Hotel in Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Reservation; Northern Lights in Walker; and White Oak in Deer River. The Band's Business Development Division also operates the Che-We-Ka-E-Gon Complex in Cass Lake, which consists of a convenience store and gas station, a gift shop, and an office supply store. Additionally, the Band operates the Northern Lights Express, a small gas station near the Northern Lights Casino. The Band has developed plans to open a restaurant and marina on Shingobee Island, located between Walker and the Northern Lights complex.
In addition to economic initiatives, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has founded two major educational initiatives: the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School, an open enrollment K-12 school, and Leech Lake Tribal College, which grants associate degrees.
Notable Leech Lake Band citizens
- Dennis Banks — American Indian Movement co-founder, writer, and Indigenous issues advocate
- Dr. Priscilla A. Day — University of Minnesota Duluth associate professor of social work and education
- Randy Finn — Community activist and leader. Founded the MIRACLE GROUP and Boys & Girls club in Cass Lake and the Leech Lake Reservation
- Elaine Fleming — First Anishinaabe mayor of Cass Lake, Minnesota and Chair of Arts and Humanities at Leech Lake Tribal College
- Annie Humphrey — Musician-singer-songwriter
- Dr. Scott Lyons — Syracuse University assistant professor of English and frequent contributor to Indian Country Today
- Ozaawindib — Egwakwe, served as a guide to Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
- Dr. Marilyn Russell — Former library director at Haskell Indian Nations University
- Chief John Smith — reportedly lived 137 years
- Valerie Tanner — Assistant professor and director of Ojibwe Language & Culture at the College of St. Scholastica
- Dr. Anton Treuer — Bemidji State University assistant professor of Ojibwe language and author of Ojibwe histories
- David Treuer — author (official website)
- Dan Gunderson (2013-01-14). "At White Earth, hymns a unique part of a renewed Ojibwe culture". Park Rapids Enterprise (Park Rapids, Minnesota). Retrieved 2013-01-17.
- Dr. Priscilla Fairbanks, University of Minnesota Duluth
- Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe - Official LLBO tribal government website
- Leech Lake Tribal College - Official LLTC website
- Cass Lake/Leech Lake Community Internet - Contains Leech Lake community journalism, blogs, calendars, classifieds and more
- Cass Lake Leech Lake Issues Forum - Online Discussion