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Anderson honored by National Indian Gaming Association

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Marge Anderson honored by National

Indian Gaming Association

ONAMIA — Marge Anderson, chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, was honored on April 2 by the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA).

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Anderson received the Tim Wapato Sovereign Warrior Award for her longtime commitment to championing tribal sovereignty and Indian gaming.

The award is named for the late Tim Wapato, a NIGA founder and its first executive director. He dedicated his career to educating members of Congress about tribal governments, American Indian cultures, and Indian gaming.

Wapato’s wife Gay presented the award after sharing a story about how Anderson took on Donald Trump in the “schools versus yachts” debate in Congress. Trump was prepared to testify, Anderson came to the hearing with school children, and Trump ended up storming out of the hearing, Gay Wapato said in a news release.

“Marge was always a steady force for us in our battles. Today we stand on the shoulders of these people who paved the way,” Gay Wapato said.

“On behalf of one of the greatest warriors of all time, to another great warrior, Marge Anderson,” said Ernie Stevens, chairman of NIGA.

Anderson served nearly 30 years in the band’s government. She was District I representative from 1976-1987, secretary/treasurer from 1987-1991, and chief executive from 1991-2000 and again since 2009. During that time, she led the development and growth of Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Grand Casino Hinckley, and other band-owned businesses. She was also the driving force in the decision to use business revenues to rebuild the Mille Lacs Reservation through new schools, clinics, community centers, housing, and infrastructure ranging from roads to water treatment plants, the band reported.

Anderson’s extensive honors include selection as one of the 25 most influential women in Minnesota by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and one of the 100 most influential Minnesotans of the 20th century by the Star Tribune. Anderson also received Tribal Leader of the Year Award from the National Congress of American Indians.

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is a self-governing, federally recognized Indian tribe located in East Central Minnesota. The band has more than 4,300 enrolled members, for whom it provides a wide variety of programs and services.

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