Courtesy Michael Meuers
Waiting to be sworn in, Treasurer-elect Annette Johnson, Red Lake Rep, Roman Stately, Redby Rep Julius Thunder and Little Rock Rep Robert Reynolds

Second Red Lake Inauguration in as Many Months Brings New Tribal Council

Michael Meuers
8/24/14

On Tuesday, August 12, heavy congestion once again greeted those arriving at the Red Lake Humanities Center as members and friends gathered for a second inauguration in as many months.

Two months earlier on Tuesday, June 10, many of the same attendees witnessed the swearing in of Darrell G. Seki Sr., as Red Lake's new Tribal Chairman as well as re-elected Ponemah Representative Gary Nelson. Each had won their respective seats in the first round election on May 14, receiving more than 50 percent of the ballots cast and winning the election outright.

Seki swore-in winners of the run-off election held July 16.

Hundreds had gathered again, though the crowd a bit smaller than the first inauguration. Helium filled balloons decorated each table. On stage stood emcee Gary Jourdain Jr., dwarfed by "Perkins'-Size" flags of two nations, the United States and Red Lake. Jourdain welcomed Spiritual Elder Eugene Stillday who performed a pipe ceremony aided by hereditary Chief Alexander Gillespie.

Red Lake Tribal Council members were seated facing the crowd behind tables directly at the front of the stage. Council members were seated to the left while Hereditary Chiefs were seated to the right.

A bit after 9 a.m., Chairman Seki called the meeting of the Red Lake Tribal Council to order from the floor. Secretary Don Cook took the roll. A quorum present, Seki asked for a motion to accept the certified results of the recent election. On a motion by Redby Representative Al Pemberton, and second by Richard Barrett of Little Rock, the motion passed unanimously.

Seki then recessed the Council meeting to reconvene in the Tribal Council Chambers and library at 1 p.m.

So began the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Inaugural ceremony in honor of Don Cook Sr., Annette Johnson, Roman Stately Jr., Julius Thunder, and Robert Reynolds.

One by one, aided by emcee Jourdain, Seki swore in Cook as the re-elected Secretary, Johnson elected as Treasurer, Stately re-elected from Red Lake District, Thunder re-elected from Redby, and Reynolds elected from Little Rock.

An Honor Song for the five newly elected or re-elected officials was provided by the celebrated Drum Eyabay, who played again as the colors entered and were posted. The veterans were followed by dancing Red Lake Royalty in full regalia.

The five council members then descended the stairs of the stage for the "meet and greet" while Red Lake Royalty did a dance exhibition on stage. Hundreds of friends, relatives, and members shared handshakes and hugs with the newly installed Council members.

Attendees moved from the "meet and greet" line to a double line at the rear of the building beneath a huge painting entitled "The Council of Clans." The same artwork doubles as a greeting to visitors at the Reservation line on Highway #89. Friends chatted while waiting to be served a feast of fried chicken, walleye, baked potato, french fries, wild rice, corn, rolls, cupcakes, coffee, and soft drinks.

Seki easily got the attention and applause from the crowd by announcing leave for council employees for the remainder of the day. Then again aided by Jourdain Seki gifted retiring Little Rock representative William Greene with a commemorative plaque and blanket on behalf of the council. Greene, draped in a beautiful blanket, took the microphone to thank all Little Rock members who had supported him during his time on the Tribal Council.

Recently sworn-in Council members were invited to speak to the crowd by emcee Jourdain. Short speeches were given by all, after which people trickled out of the Red Lake Humanities Building with high hopes for success for the newly installed Tribal Council for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.

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