Governor, Tribal Leaders Sign
Accord on Water; Executive Directive Issued on Tribal, State
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and the leaders of the 12 federally acknowledged Indian tribes in Michigan today signed an intergovernmental accord stating their commitment to the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of the Great Lakes ecosystem and pledged to work together to clean up the pollutants now present in the waters, eliminate exotic species, maintain and preserve diverse water resource habitats, and prevent future contaminants, exotics, and depletion of the waters.
“Native Americans in Michigan are the state’s original environmentalists, and collectively, they have an unparalleled appreciation for our natural resources,” Granholm said. “There is no single resource more important to the future of our state than the water that defines it, and I am pleased that the 12 Indian tribes in Michigan are working with us to ensure that our water remains a valuable resource for generations to come.”
As a result of the accord, the Governor’s representatives and those of the tribal leaders will meet twice a year to review the quantity and quality of our water resources and develop strategies for protecting them. Those strategies will include recommendations for state, federal, and tribal legislation and international treaties; coordination of permitting activities; and cooperation enforcement of water protection laws.
In addition to Granholm, accord signers included:
Jeffrey D. Parker, president, Bay Mills Indian Community;
Robert Kewaygoshkum, tribal chairman, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians;
Kenneth Meshigaud, tribal chairman, Hannahville Indian Community;
William E. Emery, tribal council president, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community;
Richard McGeshick, Sr., tribal chairman, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians;
Lee Sprague, Ogema, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians;
Frank Ettawageshik, tribal chairman, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians;
David K. Sprague, tribal chairman, Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians;
Laura Spurr, tribal chairman, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians;
John Miller, tribal chairman, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians;
Audrey Falcon, tribal chief, Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribe of Michigan; and,
Bernard Bouschor, tribal chairman, Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians.
Today’s tribal summit fulfills a commitment called for in a tribal state accord signed in December 2002. That accord called for annual meetings between the Governor and the tribal chairs of Michigan’s 12 federally acknowledged Indian tribes, and Granholm has pledged to honor the accord.
In keeping with her support, Governor Granholm issued Executive Directive 2004-5 that incorporates and expands on commitments outlined in Executive Directive 2001-2, which today’s directive replaces.
“Continually improving communications and understanding between our state and the 12 nations will serve us well in the years to come,” Granholm noted. “Just as we have formalized relationships with our neighboring states and the federal government, so, too, is it imperative that we have a formal relationship with the tribal communities in Michigan who are an important part of our history, our culture, and our future.”
The executive directive outlines fundamental principles regarding the federally acknowledged Indian tribes, including that the tribes are sovereign governmental entities, possess authority to exercise jurisdiction over their respective lands and citizens, and possess the right to self-governance.
The directive is designed to carry out the commitments made by the State of Michigan in its October 28, 2002, government-to-government accord with the tribes and calls on the Governor’s advisor on tribal-state affairs to represent the Governor on the tribal-state forum established under the accord.
The forum will monitor implementation of the accord, organize an annual meeting or summit between the Governor and the tribal chairs, and foster improve government-to-government communications between the state executive office and tribal governments.
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