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Payment for Sault Tribe Chairperson Re-Election Campaign

On February 8, Aaron A. Payment announced that he is seeking to be re-elected as Chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians for another term. A high school drop out growing up on and near the Sault Tribe reservation, Payment never imagined he would lead the largest tribe East of the Mississippi as Chairperson and in several inter-tribal, regional and national tribal leadership posts while representing his Tribe. In additional to advocating for all 576 tribal nations as 1st Vice President for the National Congress of American Indians, Payment serves as Chair of the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, President of the United Tribes of Michigan, and President of the Mid-West Alliance of Sovereign Tribes. Payment also serves on the US Health and Human Services Tribal Advisory Committee, as Co-Chair of the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (a US Presidential Appointment) and as Midwest Co-Chair of the Tribal Interior Budget Committee.

A high school drop out at 15, Payment earned his GED at 16 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree, three master’s degrees (in public administration, education administration and education specialist) and a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership. According to Dr. Payment, "I earned these advanced credentials to give greater weight when testifying in Congress which I have done over 25 times including during appropriations for all of Indian Country as the 1st Vice President for the National Congress of American Indians”.  

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Payment explains his motivation to continue to serve: "The role of Chairperson in representing my Tribe at all levels is so important. I have worked hard to build our standing as a tribal nation at the highest levels for the benefit of our Tribe and all Indian people”.  

Payment’s platform items include increasing services to meet Sault Tribe Members’ needs in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and wherever they reside. Additionally, he is focused on mitigating several weighty issues like: serving as lead negotiator for the Tribe’s 2020 Great Lakes Treaty Fishing Consent Decree; Casino Compact Negotiations; the Tribe’s Mandatory Trust and Casino Expansion projects in Lansing and New Boston, Michigan to generate revenue for services expansion including growing the Elder Fund and Education funds; approval of key legislation like Congressional Advanced Appropriations to protect tribal funding from government shutdowns and re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act with key tribal provisions. 

Payment concludes: “I absolutely love representing, advocating and fighting for my people and hope Sault Tribe Voters will give me the opportunity to finish what we’ve started,”