Tribal chairman fends off recall attempt

Apr 6, 2018

Sam McClellan
Credit Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

The leader of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians will keep his job.

Tribal Chairman Sam McClellan was the target of a recall election this week. Voters narrowly elected to keep McClellan despite accusations he misused a tribal credit card last year.

McClellan says those accusations are false.

“The issue they were trying to recall me on was all fabricated,” says McClellan. “There was nothing there, and it’s sad that our nation – the Grand Traverse Band – that we would take it that far.”

McClellan says the recall was really about his outspoken opposition to a proposed casino in Peshawbestown.

“I made my view and apparently, it wasn’t liked,” he says. “But there was no one who repudiated it, or could even show that what I was writing and what I was reporting on was false.”

McClellan says the tribe’s Leelanau Sands Casino loses money, and building a new casino would be a bad idea.

In unofficial results, McClellan won by just 20 votes.