LDF Council votes to remove two more council members

Produced by Paul DeMain and Nick Vander Puy
Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin (NFIC)

The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Council passed a resolution on May 21 to schedule a hearing for the removal of Tom Maulson and Jerome "Brooks" Big John from their seats on the Tribal Council.

At a special meeting, the council heard the findings of an impartial committee according to a press release. This impartial committee investigated a petition brought by tribal members to remove Maulson and Big John from the council. The impartial committee, by secret ballot, unanimously voted to recommend to the council their removal from office.

The council granted them an hearing in accordance with procedures set forth in the Tribe's Constitution and By-Laws. This motion passed by a vote of 7-3. Should they be removed as a result of the hearing, their seats will be declared vacant and filled with a qualified successor for the remainder of their terms.

Tribal members have questioned expenditures and borrowing efforts of the tribal council in recent months as they sought to cover some 50 million dollars in debt for investments in a river boat casino in Natchez, Mississippi, a floating casino ship that is dry docked in Florida and a technology company in Texas that has allegedly not provided accounting of investment equity.

LDF tribal council attempted to have Congress pass a piece of legislation that would encumber the reservation land base against the loan in case of default on payment, and have in the meantime pledged the entire casino revenue stream against the bond according to tribal members familiar with the issue.

The legislation effecting the tribe's land seems to have brought the issue to a head and several members of the community occupied tribal offices and were later charges with various violations of the law.

The bill number is HR 5680 and was first introduced by Sixth District Wisconsin Congressman Steve Kagen earlier this year but rejected by members of Congress after complaints by legal scholars and other tribal officials concerned about the precedent setting law that would have allowed trust lands to be sold in the event of default on the bond.

In the meantime, Tom Maulson and other members of the tribe have built a traditional pole lodge on his land to serve as a meeting place for discussion, visitors and ceremonies. Maulson says he hopes people can find some healing and young people might be inspired by efforts to bring the community back together.

"The Goal is to Bring Our Community Together"


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