Minnesota News

Minnesota Chippewa Tribe primary elections take place Tuesday 

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The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe urban office on East Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Melissa Olson | MPR News

Updated: April 5, 11:15 a.m.

The six member nations of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe are voting in primary elections Tuesday. Two candidates from each race for leadership positions will advance to the general election in June. 

The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe is the federally recognized tribal government comprised of Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs and White Earth.  

Each member nation is governed by reservation business committees, also called tribal councils. 

Voting will happen at reservation polling places and urban community centers throughout the state Tuesday. Each of the member tribes also sent absentee ballots to voters who requested them; those absentee ballots must be received by Tuesday to be counted. 

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Election volunteers at the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe urban office on East Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Melissa Olson | MPR News

Generally, citizens of each tribe ages 18 and older are eligible to vote. Polls open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.  

For all primary elections taking place Tuesday, results will be certified Wednesday by general election boards from each of the six member nations, according to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe website. 

Results will be published Thursday by each tribe’s election board.

General elections for each race will take place on June 11. 

White Earth Nation 

Primary voters from the White Earth Nation will narrow the field of four candidates for chairperson. There are only two candidates in White Earth’s District II race, so it does not require a primary. 

The next White Earth chair will continue to lead the reservation business committee as it seeks land back from the state. White Earth made headlines earlier this year as the tribe testified at the Minnesota Capitol in support of legislation that would return 155,000 acres of the White Earth State Forest to the tribe.  

White Earth Nation offers district polling places on the reservation and several polling places off White Earth tribal lands, including Marble City Hall Community Center, White Earth Family Services in Cass Lake on the Leech Lake reservation, and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe offices in south Minneapolis.  

Mille Lacs Band 

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe will choose from three candidates running to be the next chief executive. Current Mille Lacs Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin announced in January that she is not seeking another term in office. 

Mille Lacs votes will also choose a District I representative and three school board members. 

In addition to polling places across the reservation in Onamia, Isle, East Lake and Lake Lena, Mille Lacs voters in the Twin Cities will cast ballots at All Nations Church in south Minneapolis. 

Fond du Lac Band 

Fond du Lac voters will narrow a field of five candidates running for chairperson. They will also choose representatives for District I and District III.  

Fond du Lac offers polling places in each of the reservation’s three districts. There are no polling locations in urban communities for Fond du Lac voters. 

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The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Twin Cities office in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Melissa Olson | MPR News

Leech Lake Band 

Nearly a dozen candidates are running to become the next chairperson of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Leech Lake voters will also choose from more than a dozen candidates running for District III representative.

There are 11 polling places across the Leech Lake reservation as well as several off-reservation polling places: the Chamber of Commerce at Bemidji City Hall; Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center in Duluth; and the Leech Lake urban office in south Minneapolis. 

Bois Forte Band 

There are four candidates running for chairperson of the Bois Forte reservation business council. In addition to polling places on the reservation, Bois Forte voters can cast ballots at the Bois Forte urban office in Duluth, and at the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe offices in south Minneapolis. 

Grand Portage Band 

Grand Portage voters will narrow a field of three candidates in the race for committee person-at large. There will be no primary in the race for chair, because the incumbent is the only candidate. All in-person voting in the primary will take place at Grand Portage Community Log Building, located on the reservation.  

Correction (April 5, 2024): A previous version of this story incorrectly reported what was on the ballot for Leech Lake’s primary election. The story has been updated.

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