ONAMIA, Minn. – Marge Anderson, chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, was recently recognized for her longtime commitment to economic development. The Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce presented Anderson with its Bear Award, honoring her achievements in using gaming revenues to diversify the band’s economy, provide jobs, and expand services to members and the community.
Anderson has served more than 25 years in the band’s government. She was District I representative from 1976 – 1987, secretary/treasurer from 1987 – 1991, and chief executive from 1991 – 2000 and again since 2008. During that time, she has led the development and growth of Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Grand Casino Hinckley, and other band-owned businesses. She was also the driving force in the decision to use business revenues to rebuild the Mille Lacs Reservation through new schools, clinics, community centers, housing, and infrastructure ranging from roads to a wastewater treatment plant.
Anderson is one of the nation’s most respected tribal leaders and a foremost advocate for tribal self-governance. Her extensive honors include selection as one of the 25 most influential women in Minnesota by CityBusiness (now the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Business Journal) and one of the 100 most influential Minnesotans of the 20th century by the Star Tribune. Anderson also received the Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award from the National Indian Gaming Association and the Tribal Leader of the Year Award from the National Congress of
The Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce gives the Bear Award to one individual each year who has shown an extraordinary commitment to the development and success of American Indian businesses. The award was one of five presented at the chamber’s annual dinner on Dec. 16. Another honor, the Buffalo Award, was given to Mille Lacs Band-owned Woodlands National Bank in recognition of its support of other American Indian businesses.