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Tribal inauguration in WE

White Earth tribal council members, from left, Chairwoman Erma Vizenor, newly elected secretary treasurer Robert Durant, outgoing treasurer Franklin "Bud" Heisler, District I Representative Irene Auginaush and District II Representaive Terrence "Terry" Tibbetts, stand before supporters Wednesday at the anauguration ceremony.1 / 3
Robert Durant, left, takes the oath of office administered by Franklin "Bud" Heisler.2 / 3
District I Representative Irene "REne" Auginaush, takes the oath of office administered by Chairwoman Erma Vizenor.3 / 3

New and existing tribal officials welcomed about 200 supporters at the Shooting Star Casino Wednesday for the inauguration ceremony of new officers.

White Earth Chairwoman Erma Vizenor said goodbye to retiring secretary treasurer Franklin "Bud" Heisler, and welcomed his replacement Robert Durant.

"We have truly appreciated your work with us," Vizenor told Heisler, adding that she's thankful for him watching over the tribal finances to the penny.

"A good race has been run," Vizenor added. "I know we're going to accomplish great things."

After a spiritual pipe ceremony that council members participated in, outgoing secretary Heisler assisted Durant in taking the oath of office. Vizenor administered the oath of office for Irene "Rene" Auginaush and Terrence "Terry" Tibbetts.

District I incumbent Auginaush, has won once again after serving on the council for more than a decade.

"Rene is starting her 15th year, she has been a strong, strong leader," Vizenor said. "She is truly a veteran."

After winning against Steven Clark during the June election, Auginaush vowed to strengthen housing opportunities for the elderly in her Rice Lake community.

With more Native Americans moving back to the reservation, it seems more economical to provide affordable elderly housing instead of maintaining older homes, she said in an earlier interview.

"I am honored and humbled by all of your support," Auginaush said Wednesday. "I will do the best I can."

District II Representative Tibbetts said migwitch (thanks) to his constituents and family Wednesday, adding that it was a long election process made possible with their help and support.

"We've heard everything that folks have said and we're moving forward to fulfill those needs and wants," Tibbetts said.

Durant, tribal housing director, also vowed to continue fulfilling tribal members' goals and dreams when it comes to housing opportunities.

"I have a great responsibility, I have a lot of great teachers," he said, thanking everyone for the privilege to serve.