Updated: Oct 14, 2022
By Joe Morey
Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Chairman Louis Taylor welcomed a group of tribal members to the first LCO General Membership Meeting since pre-Covid, held at the Sevenwinds Convention Center on Saturday, Sept. 24.
TGB members (L-R) Michelle Beaudin, Glenda Barber, Gary "Little Guy" Clause, Vice Chair Lorraine Gouge, Chair Louis Taylor, and Sec-Treasurer Tweed Shuman. Not present was Don Carley. Photo by Stacey Thunder
Taylor started off the meeting by acknowledging the over 1,000 employees of the Tribe and how hard they’ve worked through the pandemic.
“They’ve carried us through and because of them, our Tribe is doing well,” stated Taylor. “I’d like to thank every one of them for all they do.”
In a statement issued to the membership at the meeting, Taylor acknowledged how the Tribe continues to advance and said he was pleased to provide them with detailed reports from the many programs and enterprises.
Acknowledging the Tribe has hundreds of services and programs and the report given to Members contained updates, information on services that are available, and recognizes recent accomplishments, Taylor stated, “We take this opportunity to commend all of our directors, managers and employees. Job well done everyone! Keep up the magnificent work for our People and for our precious future generations.”
The General Membership Meeting contained reports given by various entities of the Tribe, including an address from LCO Secretary-Treasurer Tweed Shuman on the financial state of the Tribe, information from LCO Ojibwe University President Russell Swagger, ARPA Coordinators Brian Bisonette and Booki Weilgot, words from LCO Vice Chairwoman Lorraine Gouge and more.
Over the next few issues of the LCO News, there will be several articles detailing some of these reports, while other reports remain for Membership only. Members may contact the tribal office for copies of those reports.
In regards to the reports given at the Membership Meeting, Chairman Taylor stated there is so much the Tribal Governing Board (TGB) can show, “But there are still so many projects that you can’t see just yet. These are projects scheduled for next year. We’ve grown too big and that’s great but at the same time, we aren’t built for it and we have to do more to grow with it, and we have to keep our eye on our money more.”
Taylor added, “We’re doing great and we’ll get there.”
Following the Director reports segment of the meeting, several audience members addressed their concerns. Alex LeSieur, a resident of Drytown, asked who maintains the playgrounds in Drytown and Akiikingaag communities because there is a lot of garbage thrown there.
TGB member Glenda Barber said they need to be maintained by Housing but LaSieur said that isn’t happening.
“We need to take care of the things we have before we start building new things,” LaSieur stated. He then went on to point out several other area Tribes that take care of their parks and playgrounds. He said they have garbage cans and they come around and empty them on a weekly basis. He said LCO parks have no garbage cans and people throw their trash anywhere.
“Kids need it, they use it, but we need to take care of it,” LaSieur said.
TGB member Michelle Beaudin said they had talked with LCO Housing about it and they responded that someone was hired this past summer to take care of the playgrounds. She noted they would do a follow up.
Deb Baker asked LCO Secretary-Treasurer Tweed Shuman about the donation account and membership services portion of the tribal budget. Shuman said there is $1.5 million dollars allocated to this fund which covers donation requests, gas vouchers, hardships, youth activities and other member asks.
He noted that the hotel vouchers were covered the last year from an Indian Community Development Block Grant aimed at housing issues. He said the amount is $75,000 a month at this time and that gas vouchers is averaging $25,000 monthly.
Shuman added the Tribe spent $900,000 over the last year on the housing shortage dealing with homelessness at LCO.
TGB member Gary “Little Guy” Clause closed out the meeting by thanking all the directors who presented and the community members who attended the meeting.
“We appreciate everyone’s concerns. Let’s put our minds together and come up with solutions,” Little Guy stated. “We all live here together.”