Welcome to the Website of Lac Courte Oreilles

Henry Bearheart – lco-nsn

Lac Courte Oreilles

Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe

Candidate Statements

We, the Anishinabeg, the people of Odaawaa-Zaaga'iganiing, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band, will sustain our heritage, preserving our past, strengthening our present, and embracing our future. We will defend our inherent sovereign rights and safeguard Mother Earth. We will provide for the educational, health, social welfare, and economic stability of the present and future generations.

Naashikewe’waasin niindizhinikaazowin miinaawaa migizii niindoondem, Odawa’zaagaiganing niindoojaba. My name is Lone Thunder and I am of the Eagle Clan. I am from Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. I was given my name by Archie Mosay, I was told the story behind my name was of two brothers who lived together. One had set out to go hunting for food and the other brother stayed back to take care of the fire. That evening, the brother knew something was wrong when his brother didn’t return home. So he set out the next day to go find him in the direction his brother went, he walked West for days calling out for his brother. One day that he called for him, he heard thunder in the distance when he called for his brother. He knew that his brother answered him and knew then his brother wasn’t coming home.
I am Henry Bearheart, father of nine-year-old daughter Palin and seven-year-old son Nolan and husband to Courtney Bearheart. I was born in Minneapolis, MN, my parents moved to Hayward when I was one year old and lived here a majority of my life. I moved to Burnett County when I was hired as a police officer for St Croix Tribal Police in April of 2002, I was K9 Handler for 9 years of that time and on the department’s SWAT Team and Honor Guard.  I came home in 2014 when the Gang Investigator position opened up at Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Police Department, about a year later I was hired as Chief Warden at the Lac Courte Oreilles Conservation Department.
Prior to my law enforcement career, I was a firefighter, first responder & Fire Inspector for Lac Courte Oreilles Fire Department. I was the Assistant Fire Chief and eventually became the Fire Chief for LCO Fire Department. During this time, I was an EMT with the Sawyer County Ambulance Service and Dispatcher for Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office until April of 2002.
I attended Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School from Kindergarten and graduated as Valedictorian my Senior year in 1993 at LCO School. Currently, both of our children attend Hayward Primary School.
I am running for Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board as I believe that a tribal council member must be responsive and receptive to the community at large, encouraging an open dialog. A Tribal Council Member is a trustee of the community that elects him or her, That Trustee must be accessible and willing to collaborate with all members of the community. Anyone that comes before the Tribal Council has the right to be heard. A Tribal Council Member must build public understanding, support, and participation.
My efforts as a Tribal Council Member would center on serving all tribal members in the community; one tribal member is no more important than another. With my background and knowledge in Public Safety, I feel I can help to provide the necessary leadership to keep our tribe on an even keel. I am a critical thinker and always exploring for new ideas to make things work or finding ways to reach a compromise and will always strive for our Members and Tribal Council to be self-sufficient.
 I’ve served one 2-year term on the Town of Hayward Town Board as a Town Board Supervisor, I’ve gained knowledge of working with and maintaining a balanced budget for the Town Board and listening to Town of Hayward Residents and working with community organizations.
In July of 2022, I was elected President of the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society’s Great Lakes Region Training Board, which oversees training for Tribal Conservation Officers/Game Wardens in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Upper & Lower Michigan & Iowa Tribes. I am a strong advocate for Treaty Rights and protecting our Natural Resources.
I grew up in a traditional family that attended Big Drum ceremonies regularly, both of parents are members of Midewin with my siblings and I making arrangements to go through as well. My father taught me the ways of our ancestors of hunting, gathering, including spending every spring in our family sugar bush. My parents also explained how and why we are able to do these things under our Treaty Rights, which is why I am in the position I am in today. I was raised to protect our natural resources and to only take what we need to provide for our family.
My main focus if I am elected to the Tribal Governing Board is to Explore ideas and ways to Establish a SUPPORTIVE HOUSING program and Implement it to help our tribal members get back to a normal living condition rather than living out of a hotel room. Tribal members that would be going through this process would get members back into the workforce and back on track to living a healthy lifestyle.
My second focus would be ESTABLISHING infrastructure in the event tribal members decide to proceed with retrocession or to just be autonomous from Sawyer County, the focus would be having our own 24 hour LCO Police Department Dispatch Center that would receive 911 calls from anyone within the LCO Reservation Boundaries. Our Dispatch would be responsible for handling citizen complaints and dispatching officers or paging fire departments, first responders and ambulances to calls within the reservation. Our tribal law enforcement already has one police radio channel established, we would implement more radio towers to provide better police radio coverage for our tribal law enforcement.
With this part of infrastructure established, the next would be having our own jail and take back criminal court proceedings within the reservation. Doing this would allow us to better rehabilitate our members through our programs and end the cycle of abuse and addiction rather than enabling by handing out hotel and gas vouchers.
While there are other tribal council members on the board with their opinions and beliefs, I can not make promises. But I do promise if I am elected, I will be working to help better programs and resources to all members. I had devoted a large portion of my Police, Fire & EMS career to helping people in their most desperate and tragic times of need, I will help our members be able to help themselves.