Susan Bradford: Delores Jackson, ex-SagChip leader, passes away
"Yesterday Delores Jackson, a Saginaw Chippewa Council Member who had defended super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff against the false allegations being lodged against him by fellow tribal members, succumbed to cancer. She was remembered as a warm grandmother who doted on her family and a passionate tribal leader who unearthed substantial fraud within the Tribal Council and demanded that those leaders be held accountable.

As a young woman, Jackson was painfully shy and called “squaw” among other derogatory words by the white community that surrounded her Mt. Pleasant reservation in Michigan. The taunting proved so painful that she dropped out of school at a young age to escape it. Determined to compensate for the deficiencies in her education, Jackson acquired a photographic memory and intense focus, which enabled her to absorb whatever she heard or read, making her an indispensable source of information for tribal members seeking to learn more about their tribe and the Council's activities.

She was not among the Saginaw Chippewa's Slate of Eight who originally retained Abramoff's services, and so she did not have much interaction with the lobbyist prior to her election to Tribal Council. Jackson was among the traditional Indians, who was determined to protect the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort from the encroachment of the many pseudo-tribes which were waiting in the wings around Michigan to acquire their own gambling operations.

Once seated in 2003, Jackson endeavored to get to the bottom of the membership fraud which plagued her tribe. Her determination would eventually spark the Abramoff investigation. That year, fellow Council Members brought to her attention that the tribe's SubChief, Bernie Sprague, was “harassing tribal elders” over membership issues, and so she motioned for him to be removed from Council. She was already aware by this point that the tribe was ruled by a shadow governing elite of non-Indians with whom Sprague had curried favor. Traditional Indians, like Jackson, who wished to rid their tribe of this foreign presence, had repeatedly sought relief from the federal government only to find that public officials invariably favored the non-Indians. As fiercely as Jackson had championed the interests of the traditional Indians, Sprague resisted her, going to extreme lengths to maintain the position of unprincipled elites within the tribe.

After Sprague was thrown off Tribal Council, he spun a story that he had been removed from power for questioning Abramoff's six-figure monthly fees. He then joined a group of lobbyists in a scheme to remove Abramoff permanently from Indian Country."

Get the Story:
Susan Bradford: Remembering Delores Jackson: A True Abramoff Champion (The Conservative Camp 5/24)

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