Walker-The 2019 Leech Lake State of the Band Address was delivered by Tribal Chairman Faron Jackson Sr. on Friday, March 29th at the Northern Lights Casino Event Center.
Chairman Jackson’s speech covered a wide a variety of initiatives underway including announcing the early planning stages of a family healing center, the upcoming wellness center, and the return of the opioid summit as well as the launch of a youth summit regarding the struggle of addictions which will take place later this year.
Jackson also touched on the decision made to expand the youth program budget, the 30 new housing developments and the Cedar lakes casino which is set to open this August. Jackson also called for a moment of silence during his address to honor the late White Earth Chairman Terrence “Terry” Tibbetts, who passed earlier this month.
More than 600 band members were in attendance alongside both state, tribal, and county officials. U.S Senators, Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar, US House of Representative for the 6th District Betty McCollum, as well as MN Attorney Keith Ellison all greeted the crowd remotely through video.
The overall theme of this years State of the Band Address was “Promoting Positive Energy.” Chairman Jackson chose this years theme based on the power positive energy can have on both individuals and community as stated in his written letter.
“Positive energy gives people confidence and hope, encourages people to love themselves, their culture and life, as well as to pursue nice things. Everything we do is ultimately for the sake of spreading positive energy. Part of promoting positive energy is building strong and lasting relationships with other organizations in our region. We continue to improve existing relationships and are constantly looking for pathways to build or repair other relationships that may be lacking,” said Jackson.
Gary Charwood served as Master of Ceremonies for the event and Guest Speakers for the were: 8th District U.S Congressman Pete Stauber, MN Secretary of State Steve Simon, MN State Auditor Julie Blaha, and Leech Lake Band Member Tiffany Beckman M.D.
Mike Smith provided a blessing and invocation for the event and the Leech Lake Honor Guard posted colors on stage. Also in attendance was the Leech Lake Nation Drum group who provided both the welcoming and flag song.
Following the speeches, lunch was served and door prizes were gifted to those in attendance.
Video coverage of the event will be available on the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Facebook page early next week.