facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.— Former National Congress of American Indians First Vice President Aaron Payment is making a comeback onto his tribal council.

Two years ago, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Chairperson resigned from office following pressure exercised by a political faction of the tribal council.  One month later, one hundred percent of the incumbents who voted on censuring Payment, lost their seats. 

On Thursday, the voters of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe voted to put Dr. Payment on top the primary election for Tribal Council with 1326 votes cast followed by his running mate Betty Freiheit at 1239.  

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

“It is heartening and I am humbled to receive a vote of confidence by placing me in the top spot in the Unit 1 primary.  I have work left to do and with the Sault Tribe voter’s continued support, we can get back to work and help Chairman Lowes return our Tribe to a position of National respect and prominence,” Payment told Native News Online.

Additionally, Chairperson Austin Lowes, the special advisory winner for Chairperson in 2022 received twice as many votes in his re-election bid as his opponents combined at 53% (3811 votes). 

“I would like to take this moment to say chi miigwetch to everyone who supported me during the primary election.  We earned more than 2X as many votes as the other Chair candidates combined.  General election ballots will be mailed within the next two weeks, and I would be honored to receive your vote to build on the progress we’ve made as a Tribe.” Lowes said. 

Former Chairperson Payment figured prominently in service to Indian Country as former 1st VP of NCAI, Co-Chair of the HHS Secretary Tribal Advisory, and Midwest Co-Chair of the Tribal Interior Budget Council.  Payment also had the honor of presenting the Indian Country appropriations request to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs three legislative cycles in a row and worked for the National Indian Health Board to secure Advanced Appropriations for the Indian Health Service.

Actor Sean Penn Sault Ste. Marie Chairperson Austin Lowes and at White House State Dinner on Thursday evening. (Photo/Courtesy)


Lowes was not present for the counting of the tribal. Instead he was at the White House at the State Dinner for the Kenya President William Ruto at the invitation this past week of President Joe Biden. The guest list included former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and actor Sean Penn. 


More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (June 16, 2024): D.C. Briefs
25th Navajo Nation Council Honors the Service of All Women Veterans
Photographs of the Homecoming of the Three Fires Powwow
Zuni Youth Enrichment Project Prepares to Kick Off Second Annual T-Ball League
Justice Dept. Scathing Report: Native Americans Face Discrimination by Phoenix Police

Join us in celebrating 100 years of Native citizenship. On June 2, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act, granting Native Americans US citizenship, a pivotal moment in their quest for equality. This year marks its centennial, inspiring our special project, "Heritage Unbound: Native American Citizenship at 100," celebrating their journey with stories of resilience, struggle, and triumph. Your donations fuel initiatives like these, ensuring our coverage and projects honoring Native American heritage thrive. Your donations fuel initiatives like these, ensuring our coverage and projects honoring Native American heritage thrive.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].