First re-defined KBIC referendum vote is Friday

BARAGA – The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has scheduled the first of its new-style referendums to gain tribal members’ approval of council expenditures. According to a statement released by KBIC Treasurer Eddy Edwards, the referendum will be on whether or not to approve the purchase of computerized systems for the tribal health center and the Ojibwa Casino, and will be held Friday at the Helene Welsh Ojibwa Seniors’ building in Baraga.

The KBIC’s constitution requires tribal expenditures of more than $10,000 be approved by a referendum vote of tribal members.

In the past, tribal members cast ballots at the polls in referendums, but tribal leaders recently announced the institution of a new type of referendum, where tribal members will be asked to attend meetings where they will cast their votes.

Edwards, who called for the referendum Friday, said the first resolution under consideration will be whether to approve funds for an Electronic Health Records and medical billing system for the health center. The second will be for a system that records data from each slot machine in the casino and provides feedback for casino management.

Edwards said copies of the resolutions, as well as more information on the new referendum, will be available at the KBIC Tribal Center.

He said he was also working on a proxy system to allow tribal members unable to be present for the referendum to register at the tribal center to designate someone else to vote for them, and hoped that system would be working today.

The referendum meeting will begin at 11 a.m. with a question and answer session on the details of the resolutions and an opportunity for tribal members to debate them. The vote will then take place at 12:30 p.m.