The field of candidates vying to become the next leader of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa narrowed to two on Tuesday, with Kevin Dupuis Sr. and Wayne Dupuis advancing from a primary election.
Kevin Dupuis Sr. is currently the Brookston representative on the Reservation Business Committee, which is the governing body of the band. Wayne Dupuis is environmental program manager for the Band.
Ten candidates were on the primary ballot for RBC chairperson. Kevin Dupuis Sr. received about 32 percent of the vote, and Wayne Dupuis received about 18 percent.
The winner of the June 14 general election will replace Karen Diver, the longtime chairwoman who left in the fall for a position in Washington with the Obama administration. She was named special assistant to the president for Native American affairs in November.
Also advancing from Tuesday's primary were Wally Dupuis and Vanessa L. Northrup for the District I Cloquet representative seat. Wally Dupuis is currently interim chairman of the RBC. Prior to that he held the Cloquet seat.
Roger Smith Sr. and Philip J. Savage advanced for the District III Brookston seat. Each of the district races had drawn nine primary candidates.
The three candidates with the last name Dupuis are related; Wally Dupuis and Wayne Dupuis are brothers and first cousins to Kevin Dupuis Sr.
About a quarter of the roughly 4,100 band members voted.
Superior schools referendum
With all precincts reporting, the Superior school district's $92.5 million bond referendum passed by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.
The money will be used mainly to replace Cooper Elementary School and renovate Superior High School. The elementary school project will take about $27 million of the total, while the high school project is expected to cost about $56 million.
Douglas County Board
In District 15, where one precinct had not reported in time for Wednesday's paper, Sue Hendrickson won a seventh term with 57 percent of the vote to 43 percent for challenger Jerry Paine.
White Earth Reservation
Well-known Native American activist Winona LaDuke on Tuesday fell short in her run for chairwoman of the White Earth Reservation in western Minnesota.
Terry Tibbetts Sr. and Mindy Iverson led the field of 12 candidates in the primary, each receiving nearly 20 percent of the total votes. They'll run in June for the position left open by longtime chair Erma Vizenor, who was removed from office earlier this year.
LaDuke, by far the highest-profile candidate, fell below the front-runners by just a few percentage points. She said Wednesday that she may contest the election.
"There were a lot of absentee ballots that weren't counted," she said.
One-quarter of all votes cast in the primary were absentee ballots sent in from White Earth members living off the reservation. LaDuke received the largest percentage of absentee ballots, by far. But she claims hundreds more were thrown out on legal technicalities. She said she's talking to legal counsel about her options.
LaDuke is executive director of the Native American environmental group Honor the Earth. She ran as Ralph Nader's Green Party vice presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, and has written a handful of books.
Minnesota Public Radio contributed to this report. Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard in Duluth at 100.5 FM or online at MPRNews.org.