Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
Matthew Fletcher & Derek Bailey
EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - Derek Bailey, tribal chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, was the opening keynote speaker at the 8th Annual Indigenous Law Conference at Michigan State University's College of Law on Friday.
Bailey provided an overview of how the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians some of the tribal business enterprises owned and operated by his Tribe in the upper portion of the Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
The Tribe operates the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, the Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge; and the Grand Traverse Casino & Spa. The tribal business enterprises, combined with tribal administration and operations, have a annual payroll of approximately $19 million, which makes the Tribe third largest employer in the Traverse City, Michigan metropolitan area behind the school system and major hospital.
Since 1994, the Tribe has contributed $27 million to local municipalities in the region as part of the compact the Tribe maintains with the State of Michigan.
Bailey, who is in his first term as tribal chairman, said the tribal business enterprises have been impacted by the downturn in the economy, but still maintains a level of service to its tribal citizens.
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians government has judicial branch that carries a full caseload.
“Last year, there were 315 cases filed in our court system. It is a very active court system,”
The conference, entitled "Beyond the Tribal Law and Order Act" drew a crowd of tribal legal experts, attorneys and law students to discuss how to improve legal issues in Indian Country.
Earlier this month, Bailey announced his candidacy for a run for Congress in Michigan's First Congressional District, which covers an area of where eight of the federally recognized tribes are located in Michigan.
At the conclusion of his speech, Bailey was presented an Pendleton Indian blanket by the Matthew Fletcher, director the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law.
posted October 31, 2011 10:50 am edt
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