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Tribal Relations

In 2021, Governor Tim Walz enacted legislation that directed the following:

  • Affirms that the State of Minnesota recognizes and supports the unique status of the Minnesota Tribal Nations and their right to existence, self-govern, and possess self-determination.
  • Directs state agencies to recognize the unique legal relationship between the State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Tribal Nations and respect the fundamental principles that establish and maintain this relationship.
  • Requires all state agencies to designate Tribal Liaisons that will be able to directly and regularly meet and communicate with the Agency’s Commissioner and Deputy and Assistant Commissioners in order to appropriately conduct government-to-government conversations.
  • Mandates tribal-relations training for all state leaders and other employees whose work may impact Tribes.

Minnesota Statute 10.65 (PDF)

Tribal-State Relations Policy (PDF)

Our Tribal Liaison 

”Our agency and the four tribal nations, within our service area, are strengthening our inter-governmental relationships to maximize economic development in northeastern Minnesota,” said Commissioner Ida Rukavina, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation. “We are very pleased Billie Isham serves in the position as Tribal Liaison and are confident in her abilities to enhance our relationships with the region’s American Indian tribes. Together we can accomplish economic and quality of life projects that positively impact the Native American people living and working in our service area.”

As the new Tribal Liaison at Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation, Billie Isham, a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, will support government-to-government relations between the agency and the four Native American tribal nations located within the agency’s service area: Grand Portage, and portions of Bois Forte, Fond Du Lac and Leech Lake.

Each of the four tribes are separate sovereign nations, and each has an independent relationship with the United States and the State of Minnesota. Isham will foster the agency’s relationship with tribal nations, including tribal partnerships related to economic development projects that impact infrastructure, broadband, child care, business and community development, tourism and recreational trails located within or near tribal lands.

Contact Information:

Billie Isham 

218-735-3017 or

Tribal Nations and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Service Area Map (PDF)

Tribal Nations Map Photo

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