|BMIC Tribal Chair Jeffrey Parker | Not being honest with |
Flint Township voters so he can get re-elected at Bay Mills.
Section 107(a)(3) authorizes the earnings of the Land Trust to be used for two specific purposes: (1) improvements on tribal land and (2) the consolidation and enhancement of tribal landholdings. Bay Mills does not suggest or argue that the Vanderbilt Tract constitutes an “improvement on tribal land.” Bay Mills defends the purchase as authorized by the second purpose. In the context of this provision, the statutory language has a plain and obvious meaning. The word “consolidate” means “to bring together or unify.”9 The word “enhance” means “to improve or make greater” or “to augment.”10 Obviously, the purchase of the Vanderbilt Tract is an enhancement of tribal landholdings, as the additional land augmented, or made greater, the total land possessed by Bay Mills. However, the statute does not authorize every enhancement. The statute uses the conjunction “and” between the word “consolidation” and the word “enhancement.” The use of the word “and” cannot be ignored. See Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 404 (2000) (“It is, however, a cardinal principle of statutory construction that we must ‘give effect, if possible, to every clause and word of a statute.’”) (citations omitted). In order for the purchase of land to be an “enhancement” authorized by the § 107(a)(3), the purchase must also be a “consolidation.” The statute requires any land purchase to be both a consolidation and an enhancement. Under §107(a)(3), Bay Mills may use the earnings from the land trust to acquire additional land next to, or at least near, its existing tribal landholdings. The statute does not allow Bay Mills to create a patchwork of tribal landholdings across Michigan.