Candidate Essay: Terri Finn-Goggleye

Chairperson Candidate: Terri Finn- Goggleye

Members of our tribal community,

I, Terri Finn-Goggleye stand before you today with a profound sense of responsibility as I begin my candidacy for the position of Chairperson. This is not merely a personal endeavor but a commitment to the welfare and prosperity of our Band. I believe that together, we can build a future that preserves our traditions while embracing progress.

As a life long resident of District 2, Bena, I am the oldest and only daughter of Ron and Henrietta Finn.  I am a devoted sister to five brothers; Jay, Bryan, Todd, Jon and Pat. My family consists of six children; Cory, Brook, Tate, Tara, Katie and Kellen Scott plus seven bonus children; Anayah, Avery, Raven, Ayana, Nina, Ayasha and Illiana.  We would not be complete without my 28 grandchildren and soon to be four great-grandchildren!

Presently, I am Chairperson of the Leech Lake Housing Authority, Chairperson of the Bena Local Indian Council and a Board Member of the Cass Lake-Bena Schools.   My commitment to Leech Lake is shown through my organization and volunteer experiences with community seasonal feasts, Toys for Tots, Treats for Tots, Community Spring Clean Up, Elder holiday parties, youth activities, Bena Sunday family bingo, summer family softball, and my latest adventure: Bena Fest!

Our people are woven together by a rich tapestry of history, culture, and shared experiences.  As Chairperson, I will work tirelessly to foster an inclusive environment where each voice is heard, and every member feels valued.  Our LIC’s are essential in our communities.  By attending regular LIC meetings and continue our “All LIC” meetings on a regular basis, your ideas and concerns will be shared and address with Leadership.   Through allocating funding and other initiatives, such as the Tiwahe Fund, to our LIC’s, the funding will be there for our 12 areas (FY25 addition – Prescott LIC) to continue hosting community events and programming for years to come.

Quarterly Meetings held in the evening would encourage band membership participation and keep the lines of communication open.  Together, we can encourage feedback and ensure that our decision-making process is accessible by all communities. By keeping each other informed, we can make decisions collectively that affect Leech Lake.

As we navigate the challenges of the present and chart a course for the future, it is crucial that we have strong accessible leadership.  In my time as Executive Director, I have been hands on with issues that have been presented to me as we work to solve them.

Economic empowerment is another key pillar of my vision.  As the Gaming Industry is not the only band resource, I will work to create opportunities for sustainable economic growth within our Band. This includes supporting our current tribal businesses and exploring new ventures that will benefit current and future band members. Together, we can build a foundation for long-term success.

Furthermore, I am dedicated to preserving our cultural heritage. Our traditions and shared history define our identity. This includes investing in educational programs, cultural events, and resources that celebrate our people.

In conclusion, I am not just seeking your vote, I humbly ask for your trust as we begin this journey. Together, we can shape a future that honors our past, embraces our present, and paves the way for generations to come.


Terri Finn-Goggleye

Bena, Minnesota