Tribal Leaders Attend “Tribal Sovereignty Day” at MN State Capitol
ST. PAUL- The Minnesota House of Representatives invited Tribal leaders and State officials to the House Chamber on Presidents Day, February 18th, for a new event titled Sovereignty Day.
The day envisioned last year by House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan sought to unite tribal leaders and MN officials by spending a day giving cultural training, tribal history education and a open floor for tribal leaders and state legislators to discuss issues as a group. This event marks the first time all eleven MN tribal leaders have been together in the House chambers.
Opening remarks were given by the Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, Minority Leader Ryan Winkler, as well as Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and all eleven tribal leaders. Leech Lake Tribal Chairman, Faron Jackson used his time at the podium to speak to those in attendance on the importance of unity and educating one another.
“I’m happy to be here today and to participate in this historical meeting, there’s a lot of knowledgeable people in this room. A lot of the things we discussed and we shared, we share in common. We do not think in a square box. I think of our life as a circle, a circle of our of lifestyles. We never exclude people in our circle,” said Jackson.
Jackson continued, citing an elder within the tribe as someone whose words came to mind during this historical event.
“In the past, a lot of elders would come to us and talk with us and share the language with us. A lot of which we retained-a lot of their language was stripped from them through the boarding school era but there’s a special word they used to share, “minotaagwad” My own elder used to say that to me alot when we would go out and do things. When we would go out hunting, when we would go out and go ricing, when we would go out and gather berries. When we would go out with our families and go to the powwow. Finally I asked him one day, what does that really mean? And he said to me ”Faron, it means it’s a good thing today what we’re doing.” I think that would apply here as well, as we educate each other and we work together to have a good working relationship,” said Jackson.
Sovereignty day also marks the inclusion of Tribal liaisons being introduced into the State departments, building upon a previously passed Dayton Administration executive order that was put into place to further develop tribal relationships. The inclusion of tribal officials input in upcoming decisions also follows Governor Tim Walz campaign promise of “One Minnesota” that sought to bring unity to the state.
The Walz Administration also announced during the meeting a newly created governor tribal liaison position, that is now open for applications. Tribal Leaders also extended an invitation to MCT Tribal Executive Committee Quarterly meetings for the incoming tribal liaison.
You can view the full video of Tribal Sovereignty Day below: