Grand Portage Tribal Council Welcomes First Woman Chair

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: July 10, 2019 11:28 PM

The Grand Portage Tribal Council made history by swearing in the first female chairperson Wednesday at the Grand Portage Log Community Building and many community members came to witness that moment.

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“It's been an overwhelming response and I feel proud to be the first chairwoman,” Beth Drost, the new chairwoman for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said.

“Being a woman it's just part of ojibwe life to have women leaders and finally to have someone at the top of the government is pretty neat,” Drost said.

Community members and council members welcomed Beth with open arms as she promised that she'll preserve, support, and protect the people of Grand Portage.

“I’ve gotten to know her and she's very bright, articulate, a good thinker and I believe her heart is in the right place,” John Morrin, a councilman for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said.

“I’ve been anxious about it I've been waiting for the swearing in ceremony and I wanted to witness a historical occasion,” Marcie McIntire, a community member, said.

Beth is replacing longtime chairman Norman Deschampe who died in February of a heart attack. He led as a chairman for over 27 years.

“I think a lot of people have really good ideas to go forward with our government and I really want to listen right now. From the ground up, I want to spread positivity,” Drost said.

Beth grew up in Grand Portage and said she’s leaving her 11 year career as a National Park service ranger to serve her community in a new way.

“My role in the tribal council is someone who will mediate and somebody who will listen to all sides,” Drost said.

Beth says she wants to recognize the people who are doing good work for the Grand Portage community.

“I want them to know that they are supported and that they're doing good work and there's more work to be done to move forward,” Drost said.

“She is Grand Portage. She's something for all of us and also she wants to protect the environment, she wants to protect us,” McIntire said.

Beth says she has really big shoes to fill but community members say they have no doubt in their mind she'll do good in her new role.


Alejandra Palacios

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