Candidate profile: Tara Mason would build on past experience to tackle new problems
Boozhoo White Earth Members,
I am asking for your support on June 4. As you know I served you, the White Earth members, as secretary treasurer in the previous term. During that time White Earth had made great progress in many areas, we need to continue to move forward. White Earth needs leadership that will focus on real solutions with obtainable results.
There are many issues we face, and though I would like to address all of them I will not take the time to address them here. These are the most pressing agenda items.
We continue to face a drug epidemic on White Earth. We have seen many successes in the past four years, we have many individuals who have found sobriety and I'm proud of them. But we continue to face new drugs and new addictions on White Earth.
I support the efforts of Harm Reduction and Behavioral Health; I believe we need to expand the support of these departments who continues everyday to support sobriety. But we also need to create additional supports in areas. As chair, I will advocate to finish the development of the property White Earth purchased with the Christian Retreat. We can offer family in-patient treatment. But we need to invest in our members before the additions start with a holistic prevention program based in language and culture. We need healthy activities to keep our communities and families together. This is how we heal from historical trauma; we are resilient people and we can do this together.
Language and Culture:
We are Anishinaabeg, we are here today because of our history and who we are as a people. Our language and teachings make us who we are. We have survived because we are resilient. But in the past few months, we have seen a set back on the amount of support we are investing in our language and culture. We often talk of sovereignty, but what is this if we are not making our best effort to reintroduce our language to our children? I fully support language and culture for everyone. We all need to have access to our identity. We need to value those who are community supports.
We need to invest in housing. Throughout the years we have made many investments and need to do this now with Housing for All. We know the barriers and problems when facing our housing crisis, but it is time to move past those and do what is right and what is needed to ensure we are not leaving anyone behind.
There are multiple ways to address this; from investing our own White Earth revenue, partnering with Minnesota Housing Finance, home ownership options, to philanthropy. Many of our members do not fit into the White Earth Housing category and we need to diversify our housing options, from young members without children, assisted living for our elders, and even Wet Houses for those who are dealing with additions.
White Earth continues to take steps with hemp. We need to continue to develop this for all members. We need to invest in a way to process and distribute hemp. We also need to develop White Earth ordinances for medical marijuana. The health benefits are needed for so many of our members. There is an easy process to do this. We can move on this immediately.
Right now we are in the process of constitutional reform for our Tribe and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. In my previous position, I made the motion at the Tribal Executive Committee to start this process. This is how we gain real change for the people. Many times we feel this is too complicated to understand, I believe it is not, with unbiased education our members can know the current constitution and what the possibilities are for our future.
There have been many things said about me and action taken against me by the current Reservation Business Committee, but if we really understood how our Tribal Government works, we would know these actions are false and misleading, and we would truly understand how our RBC works. I do not hold any ill intent; I want White Earth to move forward. We do not have time to stand still.
I am running to serve you as the chairwoman of White Earth — all of White Earth. We have huge needs and I will work tirelessly to meet those. We are all in this together.