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Highest TGB Vote Getter Kelly Nayqounabe Resigns; David Bisonette Sworn In as Newest Council Member

By Joe Morey

News Editor

In a shocking turn of events for the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) community, newly-elected and highest vote-getter in the June election, LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) member Kelly Nayquonabe, announced that she was resigning from the position that 544 tribal members elected her too, citing personal reasons.

“I am very grateful for your show of support. There is no greater feeling than to know that so many people believe in you,” Nayquonabe stated. “However, after having experienced the stressful responsibilities of tribal government, and for my well-being, it is with deep sorrow that I’ve decided not to continue in the position to which I was elected.”

Her resignation was submitted to the TGB on July 21, 2023. According to a statement issued by the TGB, Nayquonabe’s last day was Friday, July 24th.

The statement went on to say the TGB took action to fill the vacancy on the seven-member governing board. Consistent with the Tribe's Constitution, the next candidate from the 2023 General Election receiving the greater number of votes shall fill the unexpired term.

“David Bisonette was the first-alternate from the General Election. He accepted the position offered by the Tribal Governing Board and was sworn in by Chief Judge Elaine Smith,” the TGB stated.

According to the TGB, members of the LCO Elders Council were present at the ceremony.

“Mr. Bisonette, the Tribe's Enrollment Director, thanked Ms. Nayquonabe for her sacrifice in his short remarks and thanked the Elders gathered for their support. Chairman Taylor opened the ceremony with acknowledging Ms. Nayquonabe for her dedication and wished her the best in her next endeavors, ‘Kelly remains one of our young leaders who demonstrates passion and commitment for our people.’”

In a Facebook Post regarding her resignation, Nayquonabe said, “I’ve prayed, offered asemaa, and thought long about this decision and I realize now that I was not ready to undertake the burden of tribal government leadership, but did so because of the encouragement I had from many good people.

“The responsibilities of tribal council have turned out to be so much more demanding than I am able to fulfill and I believe that the Tribe deserves someone who can better serve in that capacity. I applaud the officials who have continued in their service year after year. To me, their diligence is remarkable!”

Bill Trepanier, who was the other new council member elected in June along with Nayquonabe, stated it was a privilege to have her as a colleague.

“Even though your time was short, your indomitable spirit and commitment to our shared goals have not only benefited our tribe tremendously but also set a high standard for each one of us,” Trepanier said. “Your work has truly reflected a profound sense of duty and service to the community, and for this, we are all in your debt. It's indeed saddening to see you leave, but it's also heartening to know that you will be happy and still serving the tribe you love.”

Nayquonabe concluded her Facebook Post, “I will continue to work with the tribe in some capacity and will always, always have the best interests of my community at heart.”


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