Leech Lake band fires many division directors

Bemidji, Minnesota (AP) 7-08

More than a dozen officials with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe were asked to resign or were terminated after Arthur “Archie” LaRose was elected tribal chairman earlier this summer.

He called several division directors on July 2 and asked for their resignations. Those who declined were later terminated by a vote of the tribal council.

LaRose says he doesn’t know exactly how many division directors were terminated, but reporting by the Bemidji Pioneer suggests there were more than 20.

LaRose says it’s common for incoming administrations at the band in northwest Minnesota to replace employees as they see fit.

Some of those forced out have had disputes with LaRose before.

Lenore Barsness was hired about a year ago has human services director. She says she expected to be fired because she worked on a petition to remove LaRose from office in 2004 when he was secretary-treasurer.