White Earth Tribal Council awarded Bush Foundation grant for constitutional reform process
WHITE EARTH, MINN. – The Bush Foundation has recently approved a grant of $379,771 to the White Earth Tribal Council to help support the White Earth Nation’s constitutional reform process. White Earth’s match of $10,394 brings the total to $390,165.
In 2009, White Earth convened a Constitution Convention and drafted and ratified a new White Earth Nation Constitution. The Bush Foundation funds will be used to inform and prepare White Earth constituents for a referendum on the White Earth Nation Constitution.
“Constitutional reform is imperative to the sovereignty, self-determination, and economic development of the White Earth Nation,” said White Earth Chairwoman Erma J. Vizenor.
“The present Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Constitution that has governed White Earth since 1936 is a boilerplate constitution from the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934,” said Vizenor. “This boilerplate tribal constitution is similar to a business charter, lacking a separation of powers with no provision for an independent judicial system, weak assertion of jurisdiction, and restricting tribal citizenship to eventual extinction.”
The Bush Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, and today works in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area.