MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Mille Lacs Band Of Ojibwe has announced it is divesting from Wells Fargo, saying the bank’s “unacceptable corporate behavior” and financial support of the Dakota Access pipeline led to the decision.
The tribe says the decision, announced Friday, was made unanimously by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians Band Assembly and Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin.
The tribe says the divestment was influenced by the bank’s lending of millions of dollars to Energy Transfer Partners to finance the controversial pipeline, its recent fraud case and other negative practices by the bank in “throughout Indian Country”.
“Divesting from Wells Fargo is a meaningful step we can take to make it clear that this is unacceptable corporate behavior,” Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin said. “The Mille Lacs Band understands the nature of finance and lending practices by U.S. banks. In many instances, banking relationships are unavoidable. However, the Band must work with financial institutions with much stronger social justice criteria.”
The relationship with the bank was terminated on Jan. 6, 2017.
The Mille Lacs Band Of Ojibwe – located in east-central Minnesota on the Mille Lacs Reservation next to Lake Mille Lacs – is a federally recognized tribe with 4,500 members. More than 2,300 of its members live on reservation land.