Elect Michael Fairbanks for White Earth Chairman

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Aaniin Gaa-waabaabiganikaag nindinawemaaganidog.
Hello & Greetings my White Earth relatives.

Mii-Gwech for all who supported me in the primary election. Our resiliency in this campaign has brought strong voices together speaking from our hearts and we have been heard. I believe that my professional experience, education and most importantly, how I live my life culturally, offers the leadership qualities needed to be your Chairman. I ask for your vote on August 6th, 2019.

My parents Juel and Elsie Fairbanks have given me so many talents to lead us down a good path. They were community servants and a prime example of giving back to our people.

My education consists of two Associate of Science degrees: Business Management and Nutrition, Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies and a Post Bachelor’s in the Naadamaadiwin Special Education Program. I am graduating with a Master of Arts in Education from Augsburg University this fall.

I have worked in tribal administration in various capacities for the last 18 years, which included the Deputy Director of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. During this position I established an expansive overview and gained valuable knowledge of the diverse programming and services provided for our members on and off the White Earth reservation. This experience gave me the opportunity to work alongside tribal, state and national leaders, which is critically important for any Chairman. I am currently employed as the Coordinator of a nonprofit organization, which protects our water and air on a local level right here on the White Earth reservation. It is because of our natural connection to Mother Earth that make us protectors of water and air, our Ojibwe communities as well as cultural values make us stewards of our environment.

Family is a very important part of my life. I have two adult children, eight grandchildren, and am married to a traditional spirited Anishinaabe woman. I am a pipe carrier, drum keeper and traditional dancer, and find a strong sense of Mino-bimaadiziwin, The Good Life, through our seven grandfather teachings.

As your Chairman, issues that are important to me: healthy families, education, and traditional Anishinaabe values will provide the kind of leadership that you, my White Earth Relatives, deserve to have.

I humbly ask for your vote on August 6th, 2019.

Mii-Gwech bizindawiyeg noogom.
Thank you for listening to me today.

Nindizhinikaaz Zhaaganaashiimong
Michael A. Fairbanks

MY Campaign Priorities:

Ending Homelessness
Homelessness is increasing due to rising housing costs and flat wages. Tribes have the authority to increase access to state housing subsidies to pay the rent for eligible adults. Funds go directly to the housing provider or landlord to cover rent and basic household supplies. I would like to create investment opportunities for Tribal members to meet the housing needs of the homeless by becoming landlords through property ownership.

Housing Development
Many Tribes have found economic success in building new housing developments. The developer fees can be upwards of 3 million dollars per project and create additional construction, project management, and real estate jobs. I’d like to explore the feasibility of developing a mixed income housing project that would help ensure everyone in White Earth has a place to call home.

Expanding Healthcare
Currently the majority of healthcare for Tribal members is provided by the federal government via Indian Health Services (IHS).  I would like to see White Earth take over the clinic from IHS and provide services directly to the people. This would allow White Earth to expand our capacity to deliver services to Elders and other Band Member.  In addition, it enables us to fully integrate medical, dental and pharmacy services across existing Tribal programs, creating a White Earth Tribal Health system. Treating healthcare as an industry creates jobs and developing this industry as a tribes empowers us to make our own decisions  about what is best for our people.

Healthcare Partnership (Joint Venture)
Two years ago White Earth was awarded funding from the federal government to determine the feasibility of a healthcare partnership (joint venture) with the Indian Health Services (IHS). The partnership would create a new state of the art Tribally owned healthcare facility in Naytahwaush. Currently this project is on hold but it’s vital that we continue to move forward as it will provide better access to healthcare for our Elders and Band members in Naytahwaush and surrounding communities. The new clinic will provide much needed jobs both during the construction phase of the clinic and also when the facility opens.

Integrating Culture and Education
Many in my circle have noticed that Native children receive little education about our history and the contribution of our people in schools. Native people are largely ignored in the dominant narrative, while in reality we were/are significant players in every part of American history. When we are omitted from the curriculum in schools, our children are being told implicitly that they don't matter. We must ensure our Native history is at the forefront of any curriculum that serves our children, because they are the future.

The inclusion of Native history, language, and culture is critical to identity as an Ojibwe Nation. Teaching these lessons enables our children to have a more complete sense of who they are and where they came from. This is knowledge that will help keep our kids invested in their education both inside and outside of the classroom. Everything we do across our government, education system, and programs must be grounded in Ojibwe culture.

Empowering Our Community Culture and Language
Our people stand 18,000+ strong but we have fewer than 25 White Earth Band Members who are fluent speakers of our Ojibwemowin Language. We MUST preserve our language and our culture. It is said that a Native American Nation who loses their language is no longer a Nation. Our Ojibwe ceremonies, songs and dances are what define us as a people. We need to invest more of our time and energy on this issue, so our children and young people develop their identity through observation. I would like to implement a policy that all meetings of the Nation be opened in our traditional language.

Internship and Job Relocation Incentives
Educating our people is critical to the success of our Nation. Preparing future generations for professional and vocational opportunities will strengthen our communities and provide economic justice and independence for our people. Many of our employees attend college off the reservation and lose connection to their homeland. I’d like to create a paid internship program that encourages our college educated band members to come back home and serve their people.

Visit VoteFairbanks.com  to learn more or download an absentee ballot request.
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Organizer

Adam Fairbanks 
Organizer
Waubun, MN
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