by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer
Since her election as the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Council’s Chairwoman, Carrie Jones has strived to bring more attention to the needs and issues facing the residents of the Leech Lake Reservation area.
This has been done through meetings with government officials to enlighten them on the struggles the residents contend with in the pursuit of living healthy, stable lives.
During this endeavor, Jones has gained recognition, not only for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, but also for herself.
Recently, when the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) announced its 2014 class of “Native American 40 Under 40″ award recipients, Jones was on that list.
“When I was notified about this selection,” said Jones, “I was not only surprised, but I was very excited and happy to be chosen for this honor. I wasn’t aware that I had been nominated by anyone.”
Jones found out that she had been nominated by her executive assistant Simone Greenleaf, who worked with the Mille Lacs Tribal Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin and the Blandin Foundation President/CEO Kathy Annette.
“Those three women worked together to compile everything together that was needed to nominate me,” said Jones. “When I got the email I was shocked. Oh my gosh, I thought. What is this? I was so surprised and pleased. It was nice to know that my staff and outside individuals appreciate the work that I do.”
The award given out by NCAIED recognized 40 emerging American Indian leaders from across Indian Country who have demonstrated leadership, initiative and dedication and have made significant contributions in business and/or in their community.
Jones was recognized by the National Center for her accomplishment of being the youngest person elected as the Leech Lake tribal chair and the first woman to be voted into that post. This organization also made note of Jones’ recent appointment to the Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota Board of Directors and her growing career in tribal government administration, finance and Indian gaming.
The 2014 Native American 40 Under 40 Awards were presented at NCAIED’s 39th Annual Indian Progress In Business Awards Gala (INPRO) which was held during the Reservation Economic Summit Wisconsin (RES Wisconsin) on Oct. 8 at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, Wis.
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