MT. PLEASANT, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — During a summit of Michigan’s tribal leaders Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2019-17. The executive directive reaffirms and extends Michigan’s commitment to recognize the sovereignty and right of self-governance of Michigan’s federally-recognized Indian tribes and orders each state department and agency to adhere to these principles.

“As Michiganders, we must ensure that our tribal communities are treated with dignity and respect,” said Governor Whitmer. “It’s important to me that each tribe has a seat at the table in my administration to contribute their perspectives, and I’m committed to working closely with our tribal leaders to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their communities.”

Executive Directive 2019-17 also details a process of tribal consultation designed to ensure meaningful and mutually beneficial communication and collaboration between these tribes and the departments and agencies on all matters of shared concern. It’s also the first executive directive in Michigan history to require training on tribal-state relations for all state department employees who work on matters that have direct implications for tribes.

Governor Whitmer has shown a deep commitment to ensuring members of Michigan’s federally recognized tribes have a seat at the table in state government. She appointed Wenona Singel, a citizen of Little Traverse Bay Bands, as her advisor on tribal-state affairs, the first tribal citizen to hold this position in Michigan history.

Tribal members that Governor Whitmer has appointed to Michigan state boards and commissions include Chris Swartz on the UP Energy Task Force, General Counsel Whitney Gravelle on the Michigan Women’s Commission, Natural Resources Department Director Evelyn Ravindran on the Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future, and Councilor Emily Proctor on the Census Complete Count Committee.

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