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 Indian Affairs Council
Also known as: Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC)
Active dates:1983 -
The mission of the Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) is to protect the sovereignty of the 11 Minnesota Tribes and to ensure the well-being of American Indian citizens throughout the state of Minnesota. Established in 1963, the MIAC provides a liaison office to the eleven sovereign tribal nations and state government. The council also advises and makes recommendations to state policy makers, including the Governor and Legislature. The MIAC proposes the yearly agenda for the annual Governor/Tribal Leader summit. The MIAC also fulfills duties found in MS 307.09, through its Cultural Resources program. The Cultural Resources program works to protect Indian gravesites and burial mounds statewide.
The council shall prepare and submit a report to the governor and legislature by November 15 of each year. The report shall summarize the activities of the council since its last report, list receipts and expenditures, identify the major problems and issues confronting American Indian people, make recommendations to address issues, and list the specific objectives that the council seeks to attain during the biennium. The council shall report on outcome measures.
Preceded by:
Established in 1963 (under the name Indian Affairs Commission), the Indian Affairs Council is the oldest council of its kind in the nation and serves as a liaison between the Indian tribes and the state of Minnesota. The name of this group has changed several times: Indian Affairs Commission (1963-1976), Indian Affairs Intertribal Board (1976-1983), and Indian Affairs Council (1983- ).
The Indian Affairs Council offices, located in St. Paul and Bemidji carry out the mission of the Indian Affairs Council, which is "to protect the sovereignty of the eleven Minnesota tribes and ensure the well being of all American Indian citizens throughout the state of Minnesota."
A sunset provision was added in 1976 and later removed.
Related to:
Unlike the other three minority councils, MIAC's voting members are not appointed through the state's open appointments process. Rather, MIAC appointments are made directly by each elected tribal president or chair. Although statutes permit the tribal nations to designate any of their members to serve on MIAC, in practice, the tribal chairs most often serve rather than their designees.
Membership and terms have been revised several times. As of 2016, membership includes: one member of each of the following federally recognized tribes, designated by the elected tribal president or chairperson of the governing bodies of: the Fond du Lac Band, the Grand Portage Band, the Mille Lacs Band, the White Earth Band, the Bois Forte (Nett Lake) Band, the Leech Lake Band, the Red Lake Nation, the Upper Sioux Community, the Lower Sioux Community, the Shakopee-Mdewankanton Sioux Community, and the Prairie Island Mdewakanton Dakota Community.
In addition, membership includes: a member of the governor's official staff designated by the governor; the commissioner of education; the commissioner of human services; the commissioner of natural resources; the commissioner of human rights; the commissioner of employment and economic development; the commissioner of corrections; the commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency; the commissioner of Iron Range resources and rehabilitation; the commissioner of health; the commissioner of transportation; the commissioner of veterans affairs; the commissioner of administration (note that each of the commissioners listed in this clause may designate a staff member to serve on the council instead of the commissioner); two members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker; and two members of the senate, appointed by its Subcommittee on Committees.
Members appointed to represent the house of representatives or the senate shall no longer serve on the council when they are no longer members of the bodies which they represent and their offices shall be vacant. A member who is a designee of a tribal president or chairperson shall cease to be a member at the end of the term of the designating tribal president or chairperson. Only members of the council representing the aforementioned eleven federally recognized tribes shall vote.
Agency heads:
Executive Directors: Louis C. Dorweiler, Jr. (1963-1966); John Buckanaga (1966-1967); Thomas J. Scheid (1968-1969); Artley M. Skenandore (1969-1973); Elwin J. Benton (1973-1975); Frederick D. McDougall (1975-1976); Donald F. Bibeau (1976-1977); Donald G. Gurnoe, Jr. (1977-1981); Roger Head, (1981-1993); Joseph Day (1994-2007?); Annamarie Hill (2008?-2016?); Rayna Churchill (2016-2017); Jim Jones (2016-2016); Dennis Olson (Nov. 2016-2018?); Edward Fairbanks (2018-2019); LeRoy Staples-Fairbanks III (2019-2019); Shannon Geshick (2019? - )
Laws of Minnesota 2013, Chap. 116, Sec. 28 created the position of Indian Education Director. The Indian Education Director serves as the liaison between the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, among other groups. The Indian Education Director's duties include developing a strategic plan and a long-term framework for American Indian education, in conjunction with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, that is updated every five years and implemented by the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education.
Minn. Stat. 257.0755: One ombudsperson shall operate independently from but in collaboration with each of the following groups: the Indian Affairs Council, the Council on Affairs of Chicano/Latino people, the Council on Black Minnesotans, and the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans.
Minn. Stat. 257.0768: Community-Specific Boards; Subdivision 1. Membership.
Four community-specific boards are created. Each board consists of five members. The chair of each of the following groups shall appoint the board for the community represented by the group: the Indian Affairs Council; the Council on Affairs of Chicano/Latino people; the Council on Black Minnesotans; and the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans. In making appointments, the chair must consult with other members of the council.
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