Diver wins re-election as Fond du Lac chairKaren Diver defeated opponent Pete DeFoe in a close race to head the Reservation Business Committee, the band’s governing body.
By: Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune
Karen Diver will once again lead the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for the next four years.
Diver defeated opponent Pete DeFoe in a close race to head the Reservation Business Committee, the band’s governing body.
“(I’m) looking forward to continuing to serve the people of the Fond du Lac Band and I’m grateful for their support,” Diver said. “I’m grateful the people of Fond du Lac were able to really look at facts and look at the communications that have been going on on a regular basis.”
Kevin Dupuis was chosen over Bryan “Bear” Bosto for the District 3 Brookston representative position, and incumbent Wally DuPuis defeated Kelly Diver for the District 3 Cloquet-area position.
Karen Diver, 47, has been chairwoman of the 4,400-member band for five years. She was elected as chairwoman in 2007, finishing the final year of DeFoe’s term after he resigned for personal reasons. She was re-elected the following year.
Now that she has been re-elected again, Diver said she will continue to address economic issues.
“We’ll continue to work on the strategic plan that was developed by the people of Fond du Lac and continue to work on stabilizing and growing the reservation economy,” she said.
Defoe, 73, who has also been secretary/treasurer of the band, chose to run this year because of dissatisfaction with current leadership and a desire to help solve band issues, he said last week.
Defoe did not return a phone call from the News Tribune.
Under Diver’s leadership, the band reclaimed more than 8,000 acres of reservation land, added nearly 100 housing units for band members, a new resource management building and drug treatment facility and paid off a $120 million loan for Black Bear Casino Resort. The band also challenged the city of Duluth over Fond-du-Luth Casino revenue in 2009, for which a legal battle continues today. The band’s position that revenue agreements with the city were inconsistent with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act has been supported by the National Indian Gaming Commission and a federal court. The city has appealed.
The Reservation Business Committee oversees a $180 million budget, 2,200 employees and businesses that include two casinos, construction, propane and logging companies and a convenience store. Diver last week said if she retained her position she would continue work on priorities band members identified in the recent strategic plan, which include housing, jobs and opportunities for language and cultural activities.
Unofficial results show Diver with 619 votes to DeFoe’s 569; Wally DuPuis with 506 and Kelly Diver with 264; and Kevin Dupuis with 157 to Bosto’s 72.