Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

July 6, 1988

Interview with New Fond du Lac Chairman

by Francis Blake
Ojibwe News Correspondent

Duluth, MN—Bob Peacock replaces Bill Houle as Fond du Lac Tribal Chairman.  We spoke with Chairman-elect Peacock at the June Minnesota Chippewa Tribe meeting in Duluth.

Ojibwe News: You know I’m interviewing you for the Ojibwe News.  Our concerns include Tribal Government.  The issues that affect us now, there has to be ...

Bob Peacock: Yeah, I’m familiar with it.

Ojibwe News: The Tribal Government, the State, and the Federal—we need an organizational chart, to see just how Tribal Government functions.

Bob Peacock: I would like to see that myself.

Ojibwe News: Now, they’re going to have a Constitutional Convention.  What is the full organization on that now?

Bob Peacock: I don’t even know if they’ve decided on how they’re going to chose delegates.  I can tell you this much about it.  Back in 1978 or so, when this whole thing was done before, it came from the top, down, and it never worked.  And so, if they try and do it from the top down again, I don’t think it will work either.  Somehow or another, they are going to have to pull the delegates that represent people, from the people.   If the people are going to have to make those decisions on a constitutional convention ... Uh, if you do it from the top end, this is where the problem lies, as far as I’m concerned.  If you continue to try and put a Constitution Convention from the top, down, then it means that the elected people are telling the people what to do for them, and that’s backwards.  The people are supposed to be telling us what we’re supposed to be doing, so it has to continue that way.  We still have to get directives from the people, telling us what they want to do.  If you do it the other way around, it’s not the premise of what we’re supposed to be involved in.

Ojibwe News: They don’t have an organizational chart, for the organization that we have functioning now, do we?

Bob Peacock: The organization that we have is, the people themselves, and now ...

Ojibwe News: But it’s not.

Bob Peacock: It’s not cold list, because we don’t ...

Ojibwe News:  How is it structured?

Bob Peacock: How do other governments structure their institutional organization?  How do they choose delegates?  How is it done?  We should review that, and take the good from what they have, and utilize that in our own methods.  That is .. We may have to go into districts in each district of each reservation, and in themselves, select votes on, select a delegate, um ...  How about the equality on delegation?  Should each reservation have, say X amount equally, and the rest based on area and population?  Somehow or another, if the two larger reservations overcome the smaller reservations, it becomes a two-reservation constitution.  And the small reservations’ voice is going to be drowned out.  If it’s coming from the top, down, by the elected government telling the people what they’re going to do, then the people are drowned out.  So there’s a lot of problem here, and I think we’re just going to have to try to see what is best, for the best of all.  I haven’t researched it out, and I don’t know where to go with it, and I’m looking for as much information and assistance as anybody.

Ojibwe News: OK ...

Bob Peacock: So, what I do, is say, ‘OK, tell me, what direction do you want me to take?’  A lot of my people told me what they wanted, and my position on this is, that’s fine.  We don’t see it.  We’re fighting against having to take it.  We may lose, but that’s the direction that we’ve been directed to do, or told to take.  What do the people want in delegates, I don’t know.  I’d be as interested to find out what’s happening with that as anybody else.  I don’t think I’m in a position to make any kind of decision, because I don’t have any input from anyone.  I think that it’s either going to make or break us.

Ojibwe News:  Thank you.

Robert "Sonny" Peacock
Fond du Lac chairman Robert "Sonny" Peacock
[photo courtesy Native American Press/Ojibwe News]

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