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Prairie Island Indian Community, Minnesota Mdewakanton Sioux Indians

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Tribal President Audrey Kohnen has been elected vice chairwoman of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, to serve with Chairman Norman Deschampe, chairman of the Grant Portage band of Ojibwe. The council is the official liaison between state and tribal governments and is comprised of tribal leaders from the state's 11 federal recognized tribes and two at-large members representing American Indian people living in Minnesota. Its mission is to protect the sovereignty of the 11 tribes and the well-being of American Indian people throughout the state, Kohnen said. Minnesota was the first state to establish an Indian Affairs agency, providing a model for other states to follow. She will serve a one-year term. Others elected include Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Chairman Bobby Whitefeather, council treasurer, and at-large member Loretta Gagnon, council secretary.