Chairperson Kenneth Meshigaud: NMAI’s Meet Native America Series
How is the Hannahville Indian Community government set up?
The Hannahville Indian Community Tribal Council governs the community. We also have other elected boards for various areas of the community government. That includes a Health Board, School Board, Adult/Child Welfare, Housing, and a Gaming Commission. These elected boards have responsibilities to oversee their respective departments for administration and oversight of policies adopted by the Tribal Council.
Any disputes or interruptions that the board cannot settle are referred to the Tribal Council for final action.
Is there a functional, traditional entity of leadership in addition to your modern government system?
Although there is no functional traditional leader of the community, we rely on the wisdom, general practices, and recommendations of persons who are knowledgeable in these areas to offer their suggestions when the Tribal Council meets to make and enforce the laws for the people of the Hannahville Indian Community.
How often are elected leaders chosen?
The Tribal Council is elected for a three-year term as defined by our constitution and by-laws.
How often does the council meet?
Tribal Council is bound by constitution to meet at least once per month.
How did your life experience prepare you to lead your nation?
I don’t think I was ever prepared enough to have this awesome responsibility. I don’t think anyone ever is. What I do know is that I grew up with some awareness in myself that I would one day help and contribute to my community in some way. Knowing this, as I grew up and got to the age when I could be employed, I worked in many areas of the community to gain a basic knowledge of how each department functioned on a day-to-day basis. I knew that one day it would help me to oversee and steer the community in what I think is the right direction.
What responsibilities do you have as principal chief?
I have administrative oversight responsibilities for all governmental, educational, health, welfare, and gaming activities in our community. The responsibility of overseeing the general welfare of our community is perhaps the toughest responsibility. To act as a leader, spokesperson, and advocate for the people is the highest honor, knowing that it is their lives and the lives of their children that I am ultimately affecting.
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