Eugene “Umsy” Tibbetts for District III
White Earth Nation District III Committeeman Eugene “Umsy” Tibbetts, 64, officially announced his re-election bid for District 3 on February 3, 2020.
Speaking to family and supporters, Tibbetts, also known as Umsy, stated that he was running because, “White Earth Reservation needs to continue the great work it has been doing. Over the last four years, we have stabilized the finances of the Band, we have taken care of our families through a funeral fund, and we have taken care of our homeless population through a Humanitarian Assistance Resolution. We fully funded the $12 million MOMs and MATS facility in Naytahwaush to help care for our members affected by addiction.”
At the campaign announcement, Tibbetts focused on community development, behavioral health and economic development. For White Earth communities he stated, “we built a $1.2 million community center in the village of Pine Point that is open and supporting our community members. Many of our programs will be operating out of this facility. For District III, Pine Point was often forgotten so I made it a priority on the Tribal Council to make sure its voice was heard. In District III we have also expanded our behavioral health services that are nationally recognized, and it is something that we must continue to support.” Moving forward on rebuilding the economy he said, “I am spearheading the effort to invest in renewable energy on the Reservation. Right now, we are looking at the Department of Energy’s Tribal Programs that allow for Tribal Nations to acquire up to $1 billion of support from the Federal government. Our people suffer a great deal of poverty so reducing their energy costs will help. I will make sure that Tribal members will be part of the solution and the business development. Recycling these funds in our communities will support our families and our Band.”
“In the coming years, we need to recover lands from the White Earth State Forrest,“ he said. “Our people live a subsistence lifestyle and our Band currently has the ability to manage lands.” For Elders, “We just passed the budget for the Elder Affairs Commission to better care for Elders. We also passed expanded Elder roof snow removal services. And this year we are fully funding the National Indian Council of Elders trip for Tribal Elders to represent White Earth.”
For youth, “During my tenure, we fully supported the White Earth Boys and Girls Club. In Mahnomen, we purchased the Cenex building and authorized a remodel of the facility. We opened a Boys and Girls Club in Waubun — many of the projects we approved were beneficial for all members regardless of their district.” For off reservation members, “White Earth opened the Cass Lake Family Center, authorized a polling place for the Iron Range — a first of its kind for Iron Range members — and acquired facilities in Minneapolis that serves members and our homeless population.”
As the District III Committeeman he was a strong supporter of Tribal Veterans as he helped author the Veteran, Servicemember, and Veteran Family Care Resolution. This Resolution expanded significant benefits for Tribal Veterans and their families. The Resolution was carried forward to the Tribal Executive Committee where it was adopted for 40,000 Tribal members and eligible Tribal Veterans.
Tibbetts strongly supported culture and education for White Earth Nation. He voted for a $1.3 million donation that was made available to the Circle of Life Academy. “Our culture is who we are, and I will always support our youth and cultural programming. Planning seven generations ahead means that we need to invest in our Anishinaabe izhichigewin now so that they are ready for the future.”
Tibbetts currently serves as the District III Committeeman of the White Earth Nation — a position he was elected to by Band members in 2016. A lifelong resident of the White Earth Reservation, Tibbetts helped build several of the buildings on the Reservation. His family started the first Native American owned Garbage Service on the Reservation in 1971 that was later sold to the Band in 1994 — the business helped clean and preserve the Band’s forestry and communities. Tibbetts and his significant other, Rosella, have been together for over 32 years and have three grown children with four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. He has been a foster parent and a foster grandparent for many families.