Martha Williams, 42, officially filed to run for White Earth Nation Chairwoman on January 22, 2020 in White Earth, Minnesota.
Williams stated that she was running because, “Friends and family asked me to run because I understand the needs of our communities. We need someone that will work for all Band members. With my experience leading the Behavioral Health Department, which includes Mental Health and Substance Abuse on the Reservation, I want to prioritize these needs because so many of our youth and families are under-served. There is a lack of quality of care, and I will make sure that our people are helped. I have experience with ICW, mental health, Tribal Court, the MOMs program, Head Start, and WELSA so I know what our people are going through. I want to better represent our Urban members and our Iron Range members. More resources need to be allocated to all our members, Reservation and elsewhere.”
For her campaign for Chairwoman, Williams will also focus on rebuilding sense of community by connecting Tribal youth with community Elders because that will strengthen and reinforce Tribal culture and traditions. Connecting Tribal Elders with resources and taking care of their needs will be budgetarily prioritized. Williams has stated, “Elders are the foundation of our communities.” She wants to focus on workforce development and removing employment barriers so that people can find and retain jobs. Making daycare more accessible to working families with expanded hours will greatly assist with employment and housing.
The daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, Williams wants to expand the care, benefits and services provided to Tribal veterans. As a family member she stated, “I was able to see firsthand the struggle our combat Veterans experience. I will never claim to fully understand how they struggle, but there must be more help for PTSD, depression, anxiety and other illnesses. Our Nation will make sure that these needs are addressed when I am Chairwoman. They fought for our freedom and safety, and now we need to fight for them to have a peace of mind while they are healing at home.”
Williams currently serves as the interim Behavioral Health Director of the White Earth Nation. She is a White Earth Reservation native and she holds a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and Management. She has three grown children and one child that attends the Waubun School.