Tribes, Michigan commit to strengthen communication

Chairman Matt Wesaw and other leaders of Michigan tribal nations attended a recent summit with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, at which they signed Executive Directive 2019-17. The executive directive reaffirms and extends Michigan's commitment to recognize the sovereignty and right of self-governance of Michigan's federally-recognized Indian tribes and orders each state department and agency to adhere to these principles.

The directive ensures members of Michigan’s federally recognized tribes have a seat at the table in state government. The governor appointed Wenona Singel, a citizen of Little Traverse Bay Bands, as her advisor on tribal-state affairs, the first tribal citizen to hold this position in Michigan history.

“It was very positive,” said Chairman Wesaw. “Now the consultations with the state follow more closely with the federal consultation guidelines.”

It’s also the first executive directive to require training on tribal-state relations
for all state department employees who work on matters that have direct implications for tribes.