2023-24 Council Sworn In; Nicole Boyd becomes fifth woman to serve as Chair

New members of the Red Cliff Tribal Council were sworn in on Saturday July 15, 2023 at Legendary Waters as they begin a two-year term. Nicole Boyd has become just the fifth woman to serve as Chairperson for the Red Cliff Tribal Council.

Long-time Council Secretary Laura Gordon will now serve as Treasurer. Former Chairman and long-time Council member Bryan Bainbridge was elected to an At-Large seat along with Tribal Council newcomer David Curran. Vincent “Butch” Bresette was re-elected to another At-Large term. Ernie Grooms and Scott Babineau have one more year in their current term as At-Large members, along with Nora Cadotte serving as Secretary and Rick Peterson as Vice Chair.

Chi-Miigwech to outgoing Council members Christopher Boyd, Stephanie Defoe-Haskins, Steven Boyd, and Nicholas DePerry for their dedicated service to Gaa-Miskwaabikaang.

Getting to know Nicole Boyd, Anishinaabe-Kwe, Tribal Council Chairwoman
Boyd’s election comes after many years of service to the Red Cliff Tribe. Boyd grew up here in Gaa-Miskwaabikaang, attending Head Start in the old school building and K-12 in the Bayfield School District. For the past 15 years, Boyd has been working in direct service and planning roles for the Tribe. She worked at the Early Childhood Center from 2008 through 2018, including serving as ECC Director beginning in 2014. In February 2018, Boyd began as Administrator for the Planning Department, overseeing countless projects, plans, and growth for the Tribe.

Now serving as Chair, Boyd’s role will focus more on governance, including fiscal and legal responsibilities as the authorized official for Gaa-Miskwaabikaang and the Tribal Nation. This includes a new role with inter-governmental relations, policy development and implementation, and day-to-day operations of the government.

Boyd follows four other women to serve as Tribal Council Chairperson: Victoria Gokee, Patricia DePerry, Rose Gurnoe / Rose Soulier, and Jean Buffalo-Reyes.

“When they say women are the givers of life, this is what I will be thinking as a Chairwoman. Women have responsibilities the Creator has blessed us with that others do not,” said Boyd. “I intend to lead the administration and work with the Council with this in mind while channeling all the strength of the amazing women in my life and the four previous power-house Chairwomen.”

Priorities under Boyd’s Administration
Boyd has executed many important projects during her time leading the Planning Department, and is set to continue those projects.

“My number one mission is to ensure the efforts from the past several years are sustained,” said Boyd.

For the community, Boyd intends to focus on education, land use, Ojibwe language and culture preservation, economic development, housing, workforce development, and health services.

“I am most passionate about education, and you will hear me talk a lot about this during my administration,” said Boyd. “There are also things within the government operations I intend to address through evaluation processes and change if needed.”

Boyd’s focus on education comes as no surprise given her education background. After graduating from Bayfield High School, Boyd earned an Associates Degree in Human Services from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University, followed by a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from UW-Superior, and a Masters Degree in Tribal Administration and Governance from UM-Duluth in 2014.

Boyd credits much of her success and work rate to her family and role models.

“My parents were my first role models. They instilled my value system and have shown me great examples of work ethic,” said Boyd. “My husband Daryl is my biggest support system for me and our family. My husband and parents have allowed me to achieve many goals.”

Boyd also points to some extended family, community members, and elders who have shared their wisdom and guidance. Boyd’s great uncle Lavern Basina, former owner of Buffalo Bay Store, helped her learn about business principles and community services. Lynne Basina and Ken Defoe were mentors to Boyd while at the Prevention Center where she learned a great deal about AODA and mental health.

Boyd said her time at the Early Childhood Center was the most supportive environment that fostered her strengths and educational goals. Boyd said she learned so much from Dee Gokee-Rindal, Lavonne and Rob Goslin, Dawn Nixon, Julie Erickson, Pat Kenote-DePerry and many other amazing co-workers at the ECC. Boyd also said she looks up to Diane Erickson and Beth Paap as professional mentors and extraordinary women leaders. Finally, Boyd acknowledged Tadd Johnson and Brian McInnes as instructors at UMD, who “are very much still role models who I can turn to for any guidance.”

Boyd would like to thank her husband Daryl, daughter Alexia, son Davis, and parents Brian and Paulette Bresette for all of their support.

Boyd’s two-year term will expire in July of 2025, at which time she can choose to run for re-election for another two-year term. Community members are reminded that they are invited and encouraged to attend Tribal Council meetings every month. See scheduled meeting dates, agendas, and minutes online.

Please contact the Red Cliff Tribal Administration Building with any questions at 715-779-3700.