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A Tribe on Fire - Unmasking Corruption Within the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe

A Lone Voice Rises Amidst the Shadows of Power, Unearthing Decades of Deceit and Betrayal

Within the last year alone, the largest federally recognized tribe east of the Mississippi River has held 4 elections (typically it’s one election every 2 or 4 years, depending on incumbency), we’ve been ordered to pay an $88.8 million dollar settlement in a lawsuit for a failed casino development, our current Chairperson has a sexual harassment lawsuit pending against him from his former admin assistant, as well as an unlawful termination lawsuit. Three board of directors members currently have defamation lawsuits pending against them, filed by a former

board member who they removed from office, illegally.

Official notification from victim attorney advising the Board of Directors of the pending lawsuit for Sexual Harassment against Chairperson Austin Lowes

They have passed resolutions that have changed our tribal Constitution and Codes without following the proper process with the local agency of the US Bureau of Indian Affairs. When the unethical and illegal acts of these tribal leaders are reported to these federal offices, nothing gets done because “it’s just the way it is with the tribe.” Reports have been filed with the BIA, the FBI, and the DOJ….but nothing happens.

The initial page of a months long special investigation into former disgraced Chairperson Aaron Payment's illegal and unethical activities leading to his eventual resignation in disgrace

The tribe was awarded over $350 million in federal funds during the COVID pandemic, to support members and the tribal economy. During that same period, an elderly lady passed away in her tribal home and wasn’t discovered for over 3 months, because it happened during

winter. And because the federal funds meant to assist these vulnerable members has been misappropriated, via $40K raises to employees hand-picked for their willingness to break code, via board sanctioned trips to Las Vegas and Washington DC for photo ops and schmoozing, via funneling money to local contractors for endorsement and votes, via a $25 MILLION DOLLAR Recovery Center for substance and mental health rehabilitation that has been one is talking about where the millions of federal funds have gone.

Almost no one.

Email from the former disgraced and resigned chair Aaron Payment to current acting Chairperson Austin Lowes and Board Director Betty Freiheit, demonstrating their communications to avoid prosecution and release of the special investigation. Special Note: Board Director Freiheit is ALSO the aunt of acting Chairperson Austin Lowes.

I started talking about it…online, via social media platforms, just over a year ago. Since then, I have been attacked and bullied online by their small group of supporters, my car has been vandalized, the paternity of my children has been questioned online, the tribal board of directors (the corrupt chairperson and his supporters) have banned my attendance at any board meeting, special meeting, or workshop, they have attempted to evict me from tribal housing twice (currently fighting the 3rd attempt), are proposing a ban during their next meeting to prevent tribal members living in tribal housing from posting ANYTHING online in regards to board actions due to my actions to expose them, and they’ve published defamatory and libelous statements about me both on the tribal website and tribal newspaper.

And that is JUST the past twelve months - it was an $80,000 bribe over twenty years ago that

set this chain of events in action.

One stolen election, one man obsessed with power and control, and countless victims later…welcome to the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Where not only our 50K strong tribal membership is being silenced, but our CHILDREN are

being preyed upon. #MMIWP

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Stay Safe/Stay Strong- Transparency should never be feared by our current Board who won their elected seats On that promise. Their animosity toward you,,,, should prove to all tribal membership who voted them in""…""………it was only a lie… like one of the many lies they told our membership about the past Board members.


You are a strong woman, to get this mess out in the public! I applaud you for it!

Replying to

Absolutely agree. She gives so many the voice they are afraid to have.

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