NPR : News

Filed Under:

Pioneering Native American Leader Marge Anderson Dies

The first woman to lead a Minnesota Indian tribe has died. Marge Anderson led efforts to secure tribal hunting and fishing rights on Lake Mille Lacs. She died Saturday at age 81 of natural causes at the Mille Lacs Reservation in Onamia, Minn.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

"Appointed chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in 1991, following the death of longtime tribal head Arthur Gahbow, she was elected to the top post in 1992 and 1996, leading the band until 2000 when Melanie Benjamin replaced her. Anderson was returned to office in 2008, serving until last year, when Benjamin was again elected chief executive.

"She became nationally known as a leader in efforts to strengthen tribal sovereignty and government in areas of law enforcement and environmental protection. She used the band's profits from its Hinckley and Mille Lacs casinos to fund social programs, schools and clinics for the band's approximately 3,500 members instead of handing out individual payments to band members."

The Star Tribune has an extensive look at Anderson's life and career, so we'll direct you to their website. But our colleagues at Minnesota Public Radio spoke to Tadd Johnson, head of the American Indian Studies department at the University of Minnesota Duluth, about Anderson.

Johnson, who was also chief legal counsel to the Mille Lacs Band during Anderson's tenure as chief executive, called her "a woman of great integrity, courage and strength." This is what he said about her most significant achievement:

"Internally, she did a lot for the Band government. When I first started, she was the secretary-treasurer of the Band. And during that time, the Band separated out its decision making on businesses and its decision making on governance, and that was very astute because they created a corporate commission which makes all the business decisions, and they also put in place a separation of powers form of government. ... and a lot of those ideas were new to Indian country in the 1980s when the Band came up with them, and Marge followed through."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Not My Job: Sharon Jones Gets Quizzed On Handshakes

We've invited the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings to play a game called "Let's shake on it."
NPR

Salvage Supperclub: A High-End Dinner In A Dumpster To Fight Food Waste

The ingredients — think wilted basil, bruised plums, garbanzo bean water — sound less than appetizing. Whipped together, they're a tasty meal that show how home cooks can use often-tossed foods.
NPR

Barbershop: Speechwriters Speak On The RNC And DNC

Republican speechwriter Mary Kate Cary, Democratic speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum and historian from the University of Virginia Barbara Perry dissect the last two weeks of speeches at the RNC and DNC.
NPR

From 'The Water's Edge To The Cutting Edge': Fish Skeletons, CT Scans And Engineering

Professor Adam Summers is a "fish guy." He uses fish to get engineering ideas. His latest project is to CT scan every type of fish — all 33,000 of them.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.