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.  We are continuing to identify our critical needs.  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.

  • S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to Hear Leech Lake S. 616 – In July of 2023 the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs had held the first hearing on S. 616—The Leech Lake Reservation Restoration Technical Corrections Act of 2023. The bills sponsor is Senator Tina Smith.  The second hearing by the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs will be at 2:30 pm on May 1, 2024.  This congressional bill will amend the original restoration act and provide an additional 4,362 acres.  This bill is addressing illegal secretarial land transfers on Leech Lake and moving slowly through the congressional process.  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 land transfers.
  • Chairman Jackson, Sr. Supports Reading Program at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School – Chairman Jackson, Sr. was invited by Ms. Headbird to read a book for her class. For the past two years, Chairman Jackson, Sr. has made every attempt to be part of the reading program.  Chairman Jackson, Sr. had stated, “I really enjoy reading a book for the students at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School.  At times, it puts a bigger smile on my face to see them happy and listening to the story.  I want to say chi-mii-gwetch to Ms. Headbird, the students, and the school for allowing the community members the privilege of participating in the learning activities of our students.”
  • Chairman Jackson, Sr. had Visited the BSU American Indian Resource Center – On April 12, 2024 Chairman Jackson, Sr. had toured and visited the Leech Lake students that utilize the center for studying, a place to hang out, and seeking other educational resources. A great conversation with Mr. Wells, who is a Leech Lake enrollee and obtaining his bachelor’s degree from BSU.  The facility at the American Indian Resource Center has class room lectures that provides interactive classes for the other Tribal Colleges in Minnesota.   Chairman Jackson, Sr. has been a staunch supporter of education and higher education for Leech Lake members.  As the students at the Leech Lake Tribal College and other area colleges will see less tuition fees taken from their grants.  In 2023, Chairman Jackson, Sr. had lobbied the Governor and Minnesota Legislature had approved $6 million over two years for Minnesota Tribal Colleges, re-funding the old Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program with $6.3 million, and Leech Lake RBC’s plan to address the education endowment idea presented at the quarterly meeting.
  • Lieutenant Governor Flanagan Meets with Tribal Leaders & Bemidji City Council – On April 11, 2024 Lieutenant Governor Flanagan had met with Chairman Jackson, Sr., Red Lake’s Sam Strong, White Earth Reservation was not present, and the Bemidji City Council on Governor Walz’s New Child Tax Credit. Walz, Flanagan have been traveling across the state to encourage Minnesotans to file for the credit, averaging $1,322 per family.  “We are seeing the benefits of investing in kids and families in real time s middle class Minnesotans across the state receive thousands of dollars to help cover life’s expenses,” said Governor Walz.  Governor Flanagan had stated, “Life happens, and whether it’s paying for child care, covering an emergency medical bill, or putting food on the table, we want to help Minnesotans land on their feet.  That means ensuring 100 percent of eligible families access these dollars.  We will continue working with our community partners to spread the word and help lower costs for Minnesotans.”  Chairman Jackson, Sr. had delivered a speech on the New Child Tax Credit and the benefits that some Leech Lakers had already expressed when they filed their Minnesota taxes.
  • Leech Lake Housing Must be a Critical Priority – In 2023, the Leech Lake Band had a critical housing shortage for families with 562 on the waiting list and the homelessness. Chairman Jackson, Sr. had begun the process of meeting with the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Housing Program, U.S. Congressional leaders on the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act “NAHASDA”.  In 2024, the NAHASDA funding, which has not been reauthorized since 2013, is the primary federal statute designed to address Native American housing issues in Tribal communities.  As we all know, the housing needs among our children and families living on Tribal lands are among the worst in the country.  The new funding will increase the formula IHBG program 19% from $650 million to $772 million, and increasing the competitive IHBG program from $100 million to $150 million.  In other news, Chairman Jackson, Sr. has attended the Minnesota Housing Program, Community Development Manager Donald Goggleye’s community meetings on the services and resources on the community development program.  Chairman Jackson, Sr. had stated, “As a Tribal Nation, we need to come together as a team to address the housing shortage and homelessness with strong planning, effective lobbying, and community housing developments.”  If we move forward together, we can start addressing the housing shortage on Leech Lake.

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.  In many areas, we have high fire warnings; please do not throw out cigarette butts.  We do not want to accidentally start any fires on our beautiful Tribal Nation.  Please be safe and take care!