Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Tribal Youth Council 20 Year Anniversary and Celebration – UNITY, Inc.

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Tribal Youth Council 20 Year Anniversary and Celebration

The following article was provided by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Youth Services Coordinator.


Sault Ste. Marie YouthSault Ste. Marie, Michigan – The Tribal Youth Council 20 Year Anniversary Mini Conference & Celebration held September 18 and 19, 2015 at the Kewadin Casino & Convention Center was a huge success with approximately 50 youth attending from across the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians service area. The conference started with the heartbeat of our mother earth played by the Sturgeon Bay Singers offering the grand entry. The Youth Staff and Flags carried in by tribal youth council volunteers, the POW MIA Flag carried in by Staff Sergeant A.J. Mclarahmore of the 1437th Army National Guard Engineer Company. The opening and welcome offered by Chairman Aaron Payment, providing tribal youth council words of encouragement to never give up. Chairman Payment with the assistance of Unit II YEA Coordinator Lisa Burnside led the attendee’s in a two –step.

Sault Ste. Marie Tribal CelebrationTribal Youth Council Alumni provided testimony on their experience with youth council and how TYC has helped them in their walk in life. Starting with A.J. Mclarahmore of the Nbiish-be-mwi-jwaang Tribal Youth Council from Hessel who spoke on his experience & accomplishment during his years with TYC as well as the importance of endurance and dedication to today’s youth for a brighter future. Words of encouragement continued with TYC Alumni Colleen Medicine from the Waaniniigaanzijig Tribal Youth Council of St. Ignance expressing gratitude for her TYC Advisors offering Colleen a place of comfort, acceptance & provided an avenue for communication & self-expression. Kimberly Mattson of the Anishinabe Nimmki Tribal Youth Council from Manistique also delivered a message of encouragement with the importance of acceptance & communication during her testimony. Expressing gratitude to her advisors Kimberly spoke how participating in youth council provided her a safe place & deeper understanding & acceptance of herself as an Anishinabe. 

Tribal youth council members participated in workshops learning about Obama Care and the Gen I project led by YEA Coordinator Jill Lawson. Colleen Medicine & A.J. Mclarahmore presented on Tribal Youth Council Development and Creating a Stronger Voice for Youth. YEA Coordinator Sue St. Onge facilitated a round table discussion on Being Native in the Classroom.

The celebration continued during the evening with approximately 100 community members expressing their support during the pot-luck feast and drum social held at the Sault Tribe’s Culture Building which was co-sponsored by Kewadin Casino. Chairman Payment and Unit I Board of Director Cathy Abramson spoke on the development of tribal youth council. Director Jennifer McLeod from Unit I and Director Bridget Sorenson of Unit III attended the celebration in support of our tribal youth. The heart beat continued with Joe Medicine and the Sturgeon Bay Singers, while Jody Gaskin provided words of encouragement to continue our cultural ways and stay strong with the drum and song. Jody a singer & songwriter led the group in several traditions dances.

In 1995 the Behweting Anishinabek Tribal Youth Council from Sault Ste. Marie was formed setting the stage for the development of the Waaniniigaanzijnig Tribal Youth Council from St. Ignace. Soon to follow was the Nbiish-be-mwi-jwaang Tribal Youth Council from Hessel, Anishinabe Nimmki Tribal Youth Council from Manistique. Escanabe Tribal Youth Council, Munising Tribal Youth Council and the Kinross/Rudyard Tribal Youth Council. 20 years later the seven tribal youth council form the Maamwi Niigaanzigwag Grand Tribal Youth Council, with Advisor’s Jill Lawson from Sault Ste. Marie, Sue St. Onge from St. Ignace, Lisa Burnside from Hessel, Patty Teeples from Manistique, Dawn Griffin from Kinross/Rudyard, John Pieper from Munising and Kelly Constantino from Escanaba. Dee Eggert serving as advisor and is the Administrative Assistant for the Youth Education & Activities Program.