top of page

The Investigation of Chief ThunderThief

Former Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Health Board, and Presidential Appointee to the National Advisory Council of Indian Education Aaron A. Payment and the one resume highlight he won't recite without prompting every time you encounter him - Investigated, Censured, Sanctioned and Forced to Resign.

Yep, that same guy in the last article who personally attacked someone online over using duct tape on a yard sign? He's the former chairperson of our tribe. The same individual who held all those lofty titles in the opener is ALSO the one who mockingly asked if someone was running for dogcatcher because their use of duct tape on their campaign sign made it hard to tell.

The figure Aaron Payment portrays on the national stage is nothing like the power-obsessed megalomaniac the tribal members encounter at home. He will claim to hold the ear of notable indigenous leaders such as United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary Bryan Newland, sharing pictures of himself dining with them or perhaps attending an event in the nation or state capitol with the likes of Lt. Governor of Michigan Garlin Gilchrist and Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

However, since stealing his first term as Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Chairperson back in the early 2000's, Aaron Payment has demonstrated the only interests he's down to represent or protect are his own. This all came to a head in the lead up to the 2022 General Election. After nearly two decades of political posturing, elections fraught with whispers of tampering, bribes everyone knew about but nobody talked about - Aaron had managed to malign and abuse relationships with so many tribal members and families, he was forced to align himself with some fresh blood - kind of. I say kind of because one individual is someone who used to DESPISE him, so much so that she would attend the tribal Board of Directors meetings that Aaron was acting chairperson at and literally sit in the audience dressed in military fatigues and shake jars of pennies and dimes any time he spoke, just to drown out the sound of his voice. Oh, but how those tables do turn. Money and power will do that to some people. And Betty, or Director Freiheit as her title is today, no longer shakes cans of coins at Aaron Payment. Nope...nowadays, she illegally proposes offering him 2 years of salary PLUS benefits if he'll just resign and spare the tribe the embarrassment of having their elected chairperson removed from office due to illegal, unethical, and corrupt actions while holding a tribal leadership position.

And when Aaron Payment takes the deal, accepting a Separation Agreement that would pay him one year's salary, or $100,000.00 US dollars, plus medical and health be paid out weekly, roughly $2,000.00 EVERY 7 days....Director Freiheit and her nephew, CURRENT acting chairperson Austin Lowes, set the wheels in motion to establish their own reign of power. This would eventually lead to the election to office of 5 individuals who have since been found to have accepted illegal campaign financial contributions and broken tribal election code ordinances in collusion with Chairperson Lowes and Director Frieheit.

Ladies and Gents, I introduce - Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians Chairperson Austin Lowes and his "Aunt," Director Betty Freiheit! Against the backdrop of shady politics, online threats and bullying - THIS is how nephew/aunt team Chairperson Lowes and Director Freiheit like to let off a little steam. Some light and easy banter on an online school board meeting - in an age and country where gun violence and school shootings are a daily news event.

As well as their supporting cast of shady characters - the newly elected 2022 Board of Directors members! Every single Sault Tribe Board of Directors member in this picture was included in the investigation of election fraud and illegal campaign contributions in collusion with disgraced former tribal leader, Aaron A. Payment.

Not a single one of them has yet been held accountable for violating the codes and bylaws our Ojibwe nation was built on, nor our tribal Constitution that the shamed former leader Payment has plotted and paid them to set ablaze.

However, when the lack of experience, skill, and integrity result in $88 million dollar default judgements and lead a Michigan Circuit Court Chief Judge to publicly state that the "tribe cannot be trusted to not violate court orders" and then issue a temporary injunction to prevent the tribal board of directors from disposing or selling of any assets...'s only a matter of time until accountability, and karma, come knocking.

Until then - stay fresh, cheese boxes!!

Wahsay Geezhgo Kway

For media inquiries, please contact:

UK - 020 3404 2295

USA - 0650 278 4440

AUS - 02 9072 9499

All of our writers risk it all by telling their stories and any support you can provide will make a big difference. Firstly by showing them that their words matter, but also by helping them keep the lights on and food in their bellies. Donate if you can and know every dollar goes to supporting our writers and authors.


bottom of page