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Strengthening relationships: Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan visit Bois Forte Band

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NETT LAKE, MN-- During a season of tradition, Minnesota's Governor and Lieutenant Governor spent the day in Nett Lake with members of the Bois Forte Band.

"It was very important for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to be here today because it strengthens that government-to-government relationship between the state and the tribes," said Cathy Chavers, Tribal Chairwoman for Bois Forte.

Visiting tribes across the state is something Walz started when he took office.

“Our administration has made state to state and sovereign relationships a top priority," said Gov. Walz. "Making sure there’s consultation when we do things, but also learning from one another.”

The state's top leaders got a tour of the K-6 school and the Boys and Girls Club of Bois Forte. Chavers said education is a top priority in Nett Lake.

“We’ve been working with the governor’s office and his administration and the commissioners of the state in regards to education on Native Americans as a people. Also, educating them on our culture and our education.”

Tradition was a big part of the visit as well with wild rice harvesting underway.

Chavers said this was an opportunity to showcase not only their triumphs but also the challenges they face.

"Everyday things that a lot of people take for granted living in a city where, here, we’re 65 miles from everywhere and transportation is a huge issue for us," said Chavers.

The leaders broke bread with a traditional meal in hopes of building stronger relationships.

“We know that the dam here needs to be repaired, we know that there’s work that needs to be done," said Gov. Walz. "The tribe itself can’t do that and we all benefit from it. I think it’s making sure our tribes are involved in the bonding. Some of the rules we have cut them off from some of that help.”

Chavers said while they don't always see eye to eye on issues she feels the Bois Forte Band is being heard.

“By having the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women’s Office, that’s a plus. By codifying the 1924 executive order, that’s a plus. We’re making strides in regards to native issues and we hope to continue that with this administration and more administrations to come," said Chavers. “Tribes aren’t invisible anymore. We need to be seen and heard."

The governor will continue visiting tribes throughout Minnesota.

By the way, CBS 3 asked Governor Walz if he intends to run for re-election.

He told us he still has more work to do but stopped short of saying whether he plans to seek another term.

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Kristen Vake

Anchor, Reporter

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