United Tribes of Michigan Press for Mental Health Funding, Oppose Redskins

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United Tribes of Michigan convened May 13 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant to discuss issues common to the 12 federally-recognized Tribes in the state.

One of the most pressing issues discussed was the need for an improved method to streamline funding for substance abuse and mental health services. The current method requires Tribes to apply for federal grants for much of the available funding to provide behavioral and mental health services, but Tribes are lobbying for a method that allows for a continual stream of funding similar to that of state agencies.

Tribal leaders also unanimously approved support of a letter opposing the use of the term ‘Redskins’ as the mascot name for the Washington, D.C. NFL football team, pointing out that every major English dictionary describes the term as ‘derogatory.’

"Tribal leaders continue to strive for excellence in quality of life and general welfare issues and collaborate on matters of civil rights, family preservation and protection from human trafficking predators," said Homer A. Mandoka, Tribal Council Chair for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi.

Following his report on his department’s activities related to Indian issues, Matt Wesaw, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, shared a message from Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources highlighting the DNR’s effort to recruit Native Americans for positions across the department. A list of positions open in the DNR and other state agencies is available at www.mitalent.org.