In the Detroit Free Press, here.
When Bryan Newland was 16, he got a job as a dishwasher at his tribe’s casino restaurant. In college, he carried golf bags for patrons at the casino course. Now the chairman of Bay Mills Indian Community, Newland was forced to announce on Wednesday that the tribal government could no longer pay the 400 people employed at Bay Mills casinos, golf courses, and other tribal businesses and departments closed due to COVID-19.
“I understand that many of you are angry, frustrated and scared,” Newland (Ojibwe) told tribal members in a Facebook video address on Wednesday. “You’re not alone in those feelings. The Small Business Administration has abandoned us, and it is failing Indian Country right now.”
Twenty-one Michiganders Selected for the State’s First Environmental Justice Advisory Council
LANSING, Mich. – Twenty-one Michiganders have been selected to the state’s first Michigan Advisory Council for Environmental Justice (MAC EJ) under the direction of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced today.
“Since taking office, I’ve been deliberate and focused on protecting our Great Lakes, cleaning up our drinking water, and combating the real-life impacts of climate change,” said Whitmer. “To address ongoing environmental justice issues, it was absolutely critical that those impacted daily have a seat at the table. We must ensure that the implementation and enforcement of environmental protections, regulations, and policies in Michigan will be fair and meaningful to all Michiganders, regardless of geography, race, color, origin, or income. Actions like these will help to further rebuild trust in our state government.”
The Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team is led by Regina Strong, the state’s Environmental Justice Public Advocate. The MAC EJ will provide public and impacted community input for the directors appointed to the Response Team. The Response Team is also planning regional roundtables around the state to ensure that as many people as possible are at the table on environmental issues.
“Meeting people where they are is vital to our commitment to making Michigan a leader in environmental justice,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “Creating the Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice is an important step in building the framework to ensure all Michiganders benefit equitably from our environmental laws and regulations. Through both the Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate and the Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team, we are working to address inequities that impact communities across this state. The creation of this advisory council will play an important role in helping us achieve that goal.”
The following individuals have been appointed to the Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice:
[moving them to the front]
Bryan Newland, of Brimley, is an active member of the Bay Mills Indian Community and the president and chairman of the Executive Council. Mr. Newland is an attorney with Fletcher Law and he earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Michigan State University College of Law.
John Petoskey, of Northport, is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Mr. Petoskey is currently pursuing his Juris Doctor degree and Master of Science in Environmental Justice and Policy at the University of Michigan.
When I later spoke to Newland, pointing out the cultural and geographical chasm between B.M.C.C. and the downstate, urban neighborhoods so many of their charters served, he shot back that Indians knew poverty as well anyone. “It’s a different stage for the same play,” he told me. “I think we understand it very well.” Were he “designing an education system from scratch,” Newland continued, he’d make funding levels the same for every district and pay teachers “like the white-collar professionals that they are.” But he wasn’t, so he supported charter schools. Unlike Parish, Newland was willing to discuss DeVos. “I learned at a relatively young age not to ascribe malice to people as a motivation,” he said. “I think when she says, ‘I care about having our kids learn,’ I believe that.” But, Newland went on: “She didn’t go to public school. Her kids didn’t go. My guess is she doesn’t hang out with a lot of people who know what it’s like going to a school with 50 percent people of color. And I haven’t seen evidence that she’s taken the time to learn.”
Here is “Presenting … the Class of 2015 Up & Coming Lawyers” from Michigan Lawyers Weekly.
Details here (PDF):