Chairman’s Report


Chairman Faron Jackson Sr.

Boozhoo, my relatives, friends, community members and all!  The Leech Lake RBC Tribal Council is moving forward on a solid agenda with Leech Lake priorities before the U.S. Congress.  The Tribal Council members continue to work diligently in lobbying for unmet need dollars for the Leech Lake Band and its People.  As we continue to move forward, here is some of the news being reported to the great Leech Lake Nation.


  • LLBO Waiting on $3.5 million EDA Funding – In 2023, Leech Lake was awarded the Initiative Foundation grant in the amount of $10,000 dollars. The purpose of the grant was to support planning for a wild rice processing plant.  The Band has submitted a grant application to the Economic Development Administration for approximately $3.5 million for a modern Wild Rice Processing Facility, blending tradition with efficiency, and the Band’s ability to process their manoomin.  The Leech Lake Tribal Development Division team has prioritized food sovereignty and cultivating tradition on their website.  The webpage had further stated that preserving our heritage in the blueprint.  Wild rice isn’t just a crop—it’s a symbol of our connection to the land and our ancestors.  Witness the growth of a future where our traditions flourish, and the spirit of wild rice enriches the lives of LLBO, with gratitude for the support from the EDA.  A chi mii-gwetch to the employees of the Tribal Development Division’s dedication and hard work.


  • Chairman Jackson, Sr. Supports an Economic Stimulus Package – As the Chairman, I will recommend to the RBC Tribal Council that we provide an economic stimulus package in the amount of $1,500 dollars for Adults and $500 dollars for people under 18 years of age to be transferred into their trust accounts. The first action out of the newly created $40 million Tribal Reserve Fund must be in the direct support of the Leech Lake People.  In 2021, $80 million was given to Leech Lake from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for Tribal Governments.  A great example, is what the Mille Lacs Band had did with their coronavirus recovery funds.  As reported, the Mille Lacs Band set the majority of their coronavirus funds for the direct benefit of the people.  The Mille Lacs Band members receive a monthly allocation of these funds.  Chairman Jackson, Sr. had stressed that a great many of our people are still suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic.  We have high inflation, electric disconnect notices, propane for heat, families are dealing with the loss of loved ones as a result from the pandemic, and the outrageous cost of groceries.


  • Addressing ICWA Out-of-Compliance Issues with MN Counties – On February 20-21, 2024 Chairman Jackson, Sr. had attended the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council meeting. Chairman Jackson, Sr. has been advocating for training and meetings with the Minnesota County Agencies Social Services Departments.  Those conversations began with Minnesota Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, who oversees the social services agencies.  Leech Lake is advocating that the Minnesota Counties have training on the Indian Child Welfare Act out-of-compliance issues and the policy requirements under the federal law.  For instance, please contact the Tribal Nation where the child is enrolled so the families can be properly notified and placed with family members.  Chairman Jackson, Sr. had requested the summit at the MIAC meeting with Commissioner Harpstead.  A tentative date for the ICWA Tribal/State Summit had been scheduled for March 12, 2024.


  • Leech Lake Woman’s Recovery Center Grand Opening – In 2020, the Leech Lake Band had a vision and given a strong message that we need a Women’s Inpatient Healing and Recovery program. On February 5, 2024, a new wing, called Zoongi-ide Ikwewaag, or “Strong-hearted women” had a Grand Opening for the woman’s residential treatment program and be a part of the Ahnji-Be-Mah-Diz Recovery Center.  Chairman Jackson, Sr. had stated, “We have been working on this project for a good three years, securing funding that included $850,000 in federal funding.  A special thank you to U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar for their tireless leadership and advocating for their constituency in Minnesota.  We needed to secure the funding to complete the renovations to meet the requirements to operate a woman’s treatment program.  It’s really an exciting moment for us on Leech Lake and celebrating the grand opening together with a ceremony and meal.”  Chairman Jackson, Sr. had further stated, “The greatest resource we have to battle these addictions is right here in this room, it’s all of us, this is just the beginning.  We can all make a difference in our communities, we can all save some lives.”


  • Update on LLBO Reservation Restoration Act S. 616 – This congressional bill will amend the original restoration act and provide an additional 4,362 acres. This bill is addressing illegal secretarial transfers on Leech Lake and moving slowly through the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The position of Leech Lake has been the secretarial transfers were found to be illegal if transfer of land was made without sufficient consent by the owners.  The BLM Surveyor had discovered the illegal secretarial transfers were more widespread than initially estimated. Chairman Jackson, Sr. had stated that we need a full accounting of the land records that relate to secretarial transfers.

Safety note, please check smoke detector batteries for proper working order.  In keeping our elders safe, check walk ways and stairs that are free from clothes and toys will prevent slips and falls. Please change furnace filters on a monthly basis.  Please be safe and take care!