SAULT STE MARIE TRIBE OF CHIPPEWA INDIANS
Aaron Payment EdD, chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, was elected first vice president of the National Congress of American Indians Oct. 19, 2017, at the NCAI’s 74th annual convention in Milwaukee, Wis.
NCAI vice president said, “My heart, soul and commitment is to our Native people and families. I am honoured to have garnered 14,254 votes (70 percent) for first vice president. I also want to recognize my Tribal Board for voting unanimously to support my continuation of this critical work at the national level advocating for our people in a non partisan way. Chi Miigwech.”
Payment served previously as Midwest area vice president and as secretary for NCAI. He has testified over 15 times in Congress and has been invited to the White House under both Republican and Democratic Administrations.
Now in his third term as Sault Tribe chairperson, Payment serves or has served in the following capacities:
- National Advisory Council on Indian Education (Presidential Appointment);
- National Congress of American Indians, Executive Officer ~ Secretary;
- HHS Secretary Tribal Advisory Council Member;
- HHS Health Research Advisory Council Co-Chair;
- National Institutes of Health ~ Tribal Advisory Committee;
- Tribal Interior Budget Committee;
- Mid-West Alliance of Sovereign Tribes, Vice President;
- United Tribes of Michigan, President;
- Chippewa Ottawa Treaty Resource Authority, Chairperson;
- Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Vice President;
- Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Community Action Agency, Vice Chair; and
- Michigan Political Leadership Program, Advisory Board and Presenter.
Payment has been awarded numerous honors in his distinguished career, including 2015 National TRiO Achiever, 2013 Sergeant Shriver Achievement Honoree, 1999 NMU Distinguished Young Native American Alumni and 1994 Mid-West TRiO Achiever.
A high school dropout from an impoverished reservation community, Payment has since earned a G.E.D., a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree in Public Administration, Master’s in Education Administration, and, most recently, a doctorate in Education.
Other officers elected were:
President Jefferson Keel, Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation
Treasurer W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in the state of Washington
Secretary Juana Majel Dixon, Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians