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Dennis McKelvie2~ Flags Posted at Half Mast in Honor and Memoriam ~
During Home Coming Powwow Week
July 1 through July 7

Sugar Island, MI ~ First elected in 2002 to the Tribal Board of Directors, Dennis “Denny” McKelvie served as a Unit 1 Board Member and Treasurer for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He first served from 2002 to 2010, was returned to office in 2012 and served until he crossed over to the spirit world on Friday – June 28.

Denny is best known for his no-nonsense approach to problem solving and for having a big heart for those in need. In addition to his public service on the Board of Directors, Denny donated and raised funds for those in need including Secret Santa, Thanksgiving and holiday dinners at the Sugar Island Community Center, fixing cars for tribal members, plowing Elders’ driveways, and often passing the hat to raise funds for just about every cause for anyone in need. Most touchingly, Denny has always been there for families whose loved one passed, preparing their final rest spot, and tending to the Wilwalk Cemetery as a volunteer with no compensation.

As the only veteran on the Board in recent times, Denny acted in an unofficial capacity as advisor to the Tribe on issues related to veterans including health care and access to services. This, along with the advocacy of several tribal veterans, led to articulation of a Memorandum of Understanding for the United States Veteran Services and the tribes to allow for billable services at the Sault Tribe Health Center. Additionally, based on Denny’s critical assessment of the VA, the Tribe also entered a partnership with Veteran’s Affairs to reach out to Tribal Veterans to ensure they are connected to the services for which they are entitled. If you know of a Veteran who needs advocacy, please call the main number at 906‑635‑6050 and ask to be connected to the Sault Tribe VA Outreach Worker.

Denny was conservative but had a big heart for the people of the Tribe. According to Tribal Chairperson Aaron Payment,

“He was always ready to fight for the underdog and distinguished himself as an employee advocate to give Kewadin, Enterprise and Governmental Team Members one more chance. His presence and visiting of team members throughout the casino and tribe will be missed.”

Denny’s formal obituary and services will be posted on the Tribal Web Page, as soon as, they are made available.

Baama Pii, Anishnabe Ogitch’da* Denny McKelvie!

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY