Aaron Payment, the chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, addresses the #StandWithMashpee rally at the U.S. Capitol on November 14, 2018. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Tribal leader tapped for legal transition team in Michigan

A prominent tribal leader is serving on the transition team for Michigan Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel.

Nessel, a Democrat, won election as the state's top legal official on November 6. As she prepares to take office, she will be relying on the expertise of Chairperson Aaron Payment of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

“I believe in the rule of law to protect all citizens,” Payment said on Thursday. “This means ensuring there are no holes in civil and criminal jurisdiction."

Payment has worked on a number of legal issues affecting tribes in Michigan, including protecting Indian children through the Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act and securing state certification of tribal law enforcement officers. With agreements and memorandum of understanding (MOU), he said the state can help improve public safety in Indian Country.

"Through open dialog, on going communication and articulation of mutual aid agreements and judicial MOU’s, we can ensure the safety and due process of all," said Payment , who also serves as vice president of the National Congress of American Indians. "I am happy to serve on AG Nessel’s transition team in an advisory capacity.”

Nessel will take office on January 1, 2019. She will be the first Democrat to serve as Michigan's attorney general in 16 years.

"Together we will work closely with the current AG’s team to ensure a smooth transition and set up an effective Office of the Attorney General so that on Day One we can get right to work for the people of the state of Michigan," Nessel said.

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