Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe welcomes new chief justice

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ONAMIA, Minn. – The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe recently announced band member Rayna Mattinas as the new Chief Justice and District III Appellate Justice of the band’s tribal court. Chief Executive Marge Anderson nominated Mattinas, and the Band Assembly ratified the nomination.

After taking the oath of office Dec. 11, the Appellate Justices from all three districts elected Mattinas to the position of Chief Justice. Mattinas will oversee the Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from the band’s District Court. She will complete the remainder of a six-year term which ends in August 2012.

“As Chief Justice, I pledge to serve all band members justly and fairly. It’s a big responsibility, and I’m excited to take it on.”

Mattinas previously served the Mille Lacs Band as executive vice president of corporate operations for the band’s Corporate Commission from 1998 – 2002. In that position, she helped develop short- and long-term strategic plans for the Corporate Commission, which oversees the band’s businesses including Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley.

Mattinas is currently pursuing a doctorate of education in organizational leadership from Argosy University. She also has a master’s degree in management from the College of St. Scholastica.

The band’s government is divided into three branches – the executive, legislative and judicial. Mattinas heads the judicial branch, which consists of a District Court and a Court of Appeals. The District Court hears all civil cases, including traffic and natural resource violations, small claims, family cases, juvenile justice cases, and more. The Appeals Court, which consists of one judge from each of the reservation’s three districts including the Chief Justice, handles any appeals from the District Court.