Friday, May 13, 2005

Marquette’s Tainted “Native American Spokesperson”

When Marquette University wanted to talk to a “Native American Spokesperson” about the “Warriors” issue, they invited one Raymond DePerry to come and discuss it with the Executive Board. A press release from the University explains the details:
At its regular meeting on the Mole Lake Reservation yesterday, the Great Lakes Inter-tribal Council voted to oppose the change of Marquette team names from the Golden Eagles to the Marquette Warriors. Raymond DePerry, President of the Great Lakes Inter-tribal Council and Chairman of the Red Cliff Chippewa Tribe near Bayfield, informed the Great Lakes Inter-tribal Council of his meeting with Fr. Robert Wild and the Marquette University Executive Board on November 10. Fr. Wild had approached the Council at its September 30 meeting, asking for input from the tribal communities about the name change proposal, and Chairman DePerry had responded to an invitation to meet with the executive board to discuss the proposal.
It seems, however, that DePerry is more than a bit suspect as a “Native American Spokesperson.” Just last month, the Red Cliff Tribal Council decided he could not stand for reelection as Chairman. As explained in an article in the Ashland Daily Press:
Actions taken by the Red Cliff Tribal Council Tuesday have resulted in the termination of the tribe’s financial manager and disqualification of tribal chairman Ray DePerry from seeking a third term in office.

In a . . . tribal council meeting held Tuesday evening, the council voted to deny DePerry certification to be included on the ballot for Tribal Chairman for this summer’s election.

The action came on a motion from at-large tribal council member Lynne Basina and was seconded by fellow tribal council member Leon Basina.

The reason for the denial of certification was that DePerry was alleged not to reside on the Red Cliff Reservation.

DePerry said it “seemed odd” that the two chairman candidates would not have removed themselves from the vote for ethical reasons.

“But in my opinion, some of these people don’t have any ethics,” he said. “They are self centered, egotistical and have an agenda.”
According to Tribal Council member Jean Buffalo-Reyes:
“We know he does not live on the reservation, he lives in the Town of Bayfield. I think Ann Sullivan said it in a very eloquent way last night; ‘Ray, we are not dumb, this is a small community, don’t think you can get away with something like this.’”

We need to show a level of integrity, and he is demonstrating a level of awkwardness about the level of knowledge that the community people have. It is common knowledge, because this is such a small community, that Ray does not live on the reservation.”

Buffalo-Reyes said under the Red Cliff constitution, the tribal chairman has to live on the reservation.

Buffalo-Reyes denied that the vote was part of a continuing campaign against DePerry.

“It is not a vendetta. All it is, is what he thought he could get over on people. There is no vendetta.”

Tribal Council member Leon Basina said the DePerry decision was a straightforward matter of complying with the tribe’s constitution.

Basina discounted DePerry’s arguments that he maintained a residence on the reservation.

“That’s pretty easy to do, anybody in the world can show a residency here,” he said. “That’s what the issue is. If we would have allowed this, then any enrolled member of the Red Cliff Band living anywhere could establish a residency by claiming to live with some relative or something. That’s what the issue is. If we allow it once, we’ve got to allow it forever.”
So it seems that DePerry is a fellow who tried to retain his position as a tribal leader by claiming a fake residence. And when called on it by fellow Tribal Council members, he turned to invective, saying “They are self centered, egotistical and have an agenda.” And another member of the Tribal Council questioned his integrity.

Marquette was, to put it bluntly, hustled by a racial hustler.

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