The former vice chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Harbor Springs, Michigan, took an oath on August 23 to remain in a leadership role for the tribe. The last month has been up and down for Dexter McNamara, as he faced a recall challenge on August 8 as vice chairman.
Retaining the position with a 53 percent majority saw McNamara staying on as a leader. However, Ken Harrington, who was the chairman and facing a recall of his own did not retain his seat.
Due to the vacancy left by Harrington, McNamara was raised into the position of chairman and sworn into his new role.
According to the LTBBO website, the chairman is responsible for multiple duties that have been delegated by the people through the Constitution of the LTBBO Indians.
Shortly after hearing the news that he wasn’t retained, Harrington released a statement that where he said, “Personally I am saddened by the results but happy Dexter was retained. With Dexter retained there will be less turmoil, another election will not be needed and or agenda can be completed.”
Among McNamara’s first roles in office, he will choose a vice chairman, a decision that he doesn’t plan to rush as he will share his candidates with the tribal council on September 1.
"I have not revealed to anyone who my vice chairman will be," McNamara said Tuesday, sitting down with the News-Review. "I stick close to my eagle feather – my oath – that anything confidential the elders and council should know first and I'm going to give them that opportunity."
McNamara is not concerning himself with the recall election as it was a right the people were entitled to make. Instead he sees it as the beginning to a new era.
"It doesn't change my outlook at all," McNamara told the News-Review. "I care a lot of the tribal citizens (in the Odawa tribe). If we're going to look for success as an entire tribe, we all have to be treated that way. Whatever has happened in the past is gone. I'm willing to hear suggestions from anybody to heal this process of what has been going on and listen to anybody's suggestions about how to make this tribe have a better future."