Prairie Island Indian Community Swears in New Tribal Council
WELCH, Minn. -- Today, the Prairie Island Indian Community swore five newly elected Tribal Council members into office during a community celebration at the Treasure Island Resort & Casino Event Center.
Council members convened following the swearing-in ceremony to determine the offices each member now holds.
The new Tribal Council includes the following members:
-- President: Shelley Buck
-- Vice President: Lucy Taylor
-- Secretary: Edward Buck
-- Treasurer: Johnny Johnson
-- Assistant secretary/treasurer: Audrey Bennett
The new Tribal Council said its priority will be to: grow and diversify Prairie Island Indian Community's business portfolio and economy; protect homes and businesses currently residing on ancestral land from the threat of nuclear waste; identify options for housing away from Prairie Island to protect the safety and well-being of Tribal members; provide high-quality education options for youth and support a healthy community; and preserve its Mdewakanton heritage.
"It is our responsibility to advocate for our Community, not only today but for the next seven generations," said Tribal Council President Shelley Buck. "The most pressing issue our community continues to face is the challenge living next to the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant and waste storage facility. The federal government has failed to fulfill its legal obligation under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to remove spent nuclear fuel that is piling up just 600 yards from our homes and businesses.
"While we continue to work diligently to protect and preserve our Tribal homeland and hold the federal government accountable, we are moving forward with invigorated determination to position Prairie Island Indian Community for future success."
The Tribal Council is the governing body of the more than 800-member Prairie Island Indian Community. Members were elected on November 6, 2015, and will serve a two-year term.
About the Prairie Island Indian Community The Prairie Island Indian Community, a federally recognized Indian Nation, is located in southeastern Minnesota along the banks of the Mississippi River, approximately 30 miles from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Twin nuclear reactors and 39 large steel nuclear waste storage casks sit just 600 yards from Prairie Island tribal homes.
A total of 98 casks could be stranded on Prairie Island indefinitely unless the federal government fulfills its commitment to create a permanent storage solution. The only evacuation route off the Prairie Island is frequently blocked by passing trains. The Tribe has been pushing for the removal of the nuclear waste since 1994 when Xcel Energy was first allowed to store the waste near its reservation.