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Aaron Payment being interviewed on Native America Calling.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Aaron Payment, the chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, announced his decision to seek reelection on Saturday, Feb. 8. Based in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe is the largest populated tribal nation east of the Mississippi River.

In addition to being chairperson of his Tribe, Payment was reelected first vice president of the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native tribal government organization in the country,

“The role of chairperson in representing my Tribe at all levels is important. I have worked hard to build our standing as a tribal nation at the highest levels for the benefits of our Tribe and for all Indian people,” stated Payment in a press release.

Payment also serves as chair of the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan;  president of the United Tribes of Michigan; president of the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes and as co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.

In seeking another term, Payment says he wants to run on a platform that includes increasing services for Sault Ste. Marie tribal citizens and mitigating weighty issues such as being the lead negotiator for his Tribe’s 2020 Great Lakes Fishing Treaty  Consent Decree.

“I absolutely love representing, advocating and fighting for my people and hope Sault Tribe voters will give me the opportunity to finish the work we started,” Payment said.

Payment has been involved with his Tribal government since 1996 when he was first elected to the tribal council. He then served two terms as vice chairperson. He served for one term as chairperson beginning in 2004. In 2012, he was elected again as chairperson in 2012 and reelected in 2016.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].