SAULT STE. MARIE — President Barack Obama recently announced the
selection of seven nominees for key administration posts. The
chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of
Directors, Aaron Payment, is among them.
“I am confident that these experienced and hardworking individuals
will help us tackle the important challenges facing America, and I am
grateful for their service,” said Obama in an Aug. 26 announcement.
“I look forward to working with them.”
Payment is appointed to membership on the National Advisory Council on
Indian Education. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the
council consists of 15 American Indians appointed by the president from
lists of nominees furnished by Indian tribes and organizations. Council
members serve as special government employees to provide advice and
recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Education. The council receives
travel expenses to attend two meetings each year, but an appointed
designated federal official for the council may call other meetings and
at least eight members must attend to constitute a quorum.
Payment indicated an appointment would not have expiration and the
council meets once a year in person in Washington, D.C., along with a
few other times in conference calls and hearings are conducted from time
to time throughout the country. He noted his nomination came after his
involvement in sessions with the U.S. Department of Education and the
U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) on
reforming the BIE.
When the vacancy came up, the National Congress of Indian Affairs made
the nomination as Payment serves on the NCAI Human Resources Committee
and Education Subcommittee.
Reflecting on the task of the council and responsibility of council
members, Payment said, “The position directly advises the Secretary of
Education on issues affecting Indian Education like Title VII Indian
education funding, Johnson O’Malley and Impact Aid. While 8 percent
of Indian education is managed though the BIE, 92 percent of Indian
children attend public schools. Real systemic change needs to focus not
only on those programs and initiatives under the auspices of the BIE,
but also for the mass majority of Indian children in the public