Candidate Essay: Walter “Frank” Reese

Chairperson Candidate: Walter “Frank” Reese

Statement from Walter “Frank” Reese

I have been advocating for constitutional reform since the summer of 1985 when the Tribal Executive Committee (TEC) of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) was attempting to give themselves full Executive, Legislative, and Judicial power. This power grab was proposed as “Amendment Three”. Tribal members of the MCT pushed back upon this amendment as the TEC tried to express that too many of our children were being placed in white foster homes. The real reason for the amendment was to form an appellate court to farther oppress the rights of tribal members, also to legalize all the wrong doing of elected officials and their executive staffs. The push back from tribal members of the six reservations of the MCT caused the TEC to withdraw the proposed amendment at a Special TEC meeting held at the Leech Lake Bingo Palace in Cass Lake in June of 1986. The Palace was filled with tribal member, wall to wall with many standing outside also. The TEC was shaken by the large number of tribal members in attendance. The TEC responded to the demands of the membership present by passing two resolutions, one to have a constitutional convention, starting that day and the other to have primary elections, starting with the next election. Both of these resolutions were later repealed at an unknown time and place.

The causation of our problems of the MCT, is its an illegal constitution. This document was framed by the federal government via the BIA.

The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 was approved on June 18, 1934. Section 16 states, “Any Indian tribe, or tribes, residing on the same reservation, shall have the right to organize for its common welfare, and may adopt an appropriate constitution and bylaws”. Not reservations of a state, {MCT).

Section 18 states, “It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior, within one year after the passage and approval of this Act, to call such an election”.

Such an election was approved by the Secretary of the Interior on May 22, 1936, and ratified by the MCT on June 20, 1936. Secretary Ickes approved and signed the Constitution and Bylaws of the Minnesota Chippewa on July 20, 1936. The Secretary of Interior did not call for an election within the one year mandated requirement.

The Leech Lake constitution delegates have been framing a new treaty-based constitution which will serve us equally now and into the future. Those of us which have been on this delegation from the start are asking Leech Lake members to join us in the highly important process. We meet at the Pub 33 on every Tuesday at 9:00 am. Thanks, Short and to the Point Statement!

Elect Walter “Frank” Reese Chairman