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Vizenor: McArthur letter incorrect, divisive, political

The letter written by Natalie McArthur in the May 30 Record is factually incorrect. It's divisive and political.

It has been my priority to stabilize, unite, and heal the tribe from a history of political divisiveness, patronage, and favoritism that marginalized a majority of tribal members.

In that spirit, I have not endorsed any candidate for the position of secretary/treasurer but have pledged to work with whoever is elected.

Two years ago, Bugger McArthur was jobless and desperate for help, politically damaged from his brief stint as tribal chairman when he fired many, many good employees.

He told the Tribal Council that he was a changed man. We believed him.

The Tribal Council has been extraordinarily fair to Bugger by hiring him for the best and highest paid position on the reservation.

Mrs. McArthur should have no reason to complain or criticize.

No one on the Tribal Council has fallen short of our duties and responsibilities.

The past six years have been unprecedented in growth and development on the White Earth Reservation due to the fact that the Tribal Council has worked together and allowed me to go out and get new programs, buildings, and funds.

Every council member has taken care of business for the good of the tribe. Employees have given their best talents and dedication. The progress is evident.

The congressional intent of Indian gaming is to benefit the tribe as a whole. Gaming does not "subsidize the tribe," but rather is an integral part of tribal economic development in both jobs and revenue.

What alarms the Tribal Council today is the fact that only 38 percent of the 1,000 employees at Shooting Star Casino are White Earth tribal members. We had been informed differently.

Certainly, it is our responsibility as a Tribal Council to ensure our tribal members have the employment that Indian gaming intended, and we will do so.

The large number of terminations at Shooting Star Casino will not continue. The toll has been money and morale. These "at will" terminations by Bugger are not the policy of the White Earth tribal government.

The five employees who were fired nearly two years ago were in Tribal Court. An out of court settlement was reached and the tribe has to pay for these firings. Per court order, the amount cannot be disclosed.

Another tribal manager at Shooting Star Casino will be in court this week for termination. The manager's employment record of 18 years is absolutely clean. No doubt the tribe will have to pay again.

It is not my intent to air tribal issues. But since Mrs. McArthur opened the door and voiced her undue criticism, let us look at the other side. Unfair firings and favoritism are the greatest fears on the Reservation, as Bugger seeks a position on the Tribal Council.

A record of terminations cannot be dismissed. Those of us left on the Tribal Council will continue to stand strong for what is right.

The depot in Detroit Lakes has taken longer to develop than anyone anticipated, due to fact that it is a historic building.

Along with Minnesota Department of Transportation funds, a federal transportation grant was used in the restoration. Negotiations are ongoing with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad to adjust any lease payments. The depot will open and meet the expectations of all.

The accusation against Burny Tibbetts, director of the White Earth Department of Transportation, is not true. It is an exaggeration and libelous. Under Burny's direction, White Earth has made great strides in transportation, roads, partnerships with counties and state, and funding. -- Erma J. Vizenor, tribal chairwoman, White Earth Nation of Ojibwe Indians