WASHINGTON, DC: Fresh off a controversy surrounding the replacement of its leadership council by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (PRWeek, Sept. 20), Michigan’s Saginaw-Chippewa Indians are again using PR to be heard.
WASHINGTON, DC: Fresh off a controversy surrounding the replacement
of its leadership council by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (PRWeek, Sept.
20), Michigan’s Saginaw-Chippewa Indians are again using PR to be
The tribe, one of the wealthiest in the nation, has tapped The Kamber
Group for help with the grand opening of its ’government house’ in
Washington, DC. According to Kamber AE Gavin McDonald, the government
house is similar to an embassy and will be used to help the tribe boost
its PR presence in DC. It is located near Vice President Al Gore’s
residence in northwest Washington.
While Kamber is not directly involved in the tribe’s lobbying efforts,
McDonald said the firm will attempt to raise the group’s profile both
’politically and culturally’ with key Washington audiences. In addition,
Kamber is providing a range of communication and marketing services, as
well as assisting in the drafting and implementation of a legislative
McDonald took pains to distinguish Kamber’s work from the efforts of Jim
McCarthy, a PR pro who worked for some members of the Saginaw-Chippewa
tribe earlier this year.
The group had hired McCarthy to challenge the ouster of members of its
tribal council, an act which attorney Phil Baker-Shenk described as
’virtually unprecedented in modern times.’ In doing so, McCarthy
incurred the wrath of Kevin Gover, head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
(BIA) and a member of Oklahoma’s Pawnee tribe.
Last month, McCarthy claimed that the BIA had initiated a campaign to
discredit him and that he had been virtually driven out of business as a
result. McCarthy said he is down to a mere two clients.
Gover has denied that the BIA worked to harm McCarthy’s reputation, and
claimed that he interfered with the tribe’s leadership situation
reluctantly and only after newly elected council members asked him to
intercede. His actions, he noted, were upheld by two federal courts.