Marjorie Anderson, the first female leader of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, has died of natural causes, the band reported. She was 81.
Anderson led the Mille Lacs Band from 1991 to 2000, MPR reports, and she was elected again to a four-year term as chief executive in 2008.
Anderson led the band into a new era of gaming, the Star Tribune reports. She used the band's Hinckley and Mille Lacs casino profits to finance social programs, schools and clinics, rather than doling out cash to the band's 3,500 individual members, the newspaper reported. Her efforts to protect tribal fishing and hunting rights at times made her a target of criticism from non-Indians, the Star Tribune reported.
In the band's press release, Secretary-Treasurer Curt Kalk said, “Marge led the Band through our treaty rights case and into the modern era of Indian gaming. She made history for the Band and we will feel her impact for generations.”
Funeral services are scheduled for Wednesday.