Mike has been active in Indigenous affairs, issues and development efforts for more than 30 years, beginning with his participating in the occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969. His activism and work has brought him to work with and be assistance to Indigenous nations, communities and organizations throughout North America and internationally.
Since 1976, he has been a Grand Council appointed member of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) Land Rights Committee which has been charged with the responsibility of addressing Confederacy land issues throughout their homelands in the U.S. and Canada.
In 1977, Mike was hired by the Institute for the Development of Indian Law in Washington, DC, to act as the coordinator of Indigenous delegations to the first Non- Governmental Organizations of the United Nations conference on “The Issues of Discrimination Against the Indigenous Populations of the Americas”. This work led to his being actively involved in the development of international rights and standards pertaining to Indigenous nations and peoples. He was one of the original co-authors of the recently passed “International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.
In 2010, he received the Harvard Kennedy School Asher Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation “Bright Ideas” Award for work in strengthening Indigenous government.
He is a published author beginning with “A Basic Call To Consciousness”, Akwesasne Notes (1977), “Traditional Teachings” North American Indian Traveling College (1980), and “The Power Within People” Tribal Sovereignty Associates (1986) as well as numerous articles and papers for publications and conferences. In addition to his non-fiction work, Mike has written several children’s stories, short stories, and recently begun his first novel. He is currently a regular Op/Ed contributor to Indian Country Today.
As a community organizer and developer he has worked with numerous Indigenous nations, communities and organizations throughout North America, Hawaii, Nicaragua, and Mexico. From 1988-1990 he was the Program Director of “The Seventh Generation Fund” an Indigenous foundation and technical assistance organization. During his tenure the Fund developed a holistic community based training program to assist local organizers and developers in conducting long term, culturally based planning, implementation and development.
Mike is a recognized traditional counselor, and has worked as a Treatment Director with Pedahbun Lodge in Toronto, Ontario in the implementation of a culturally based treatment programming for Indigenous people struggling with alcohol, drugs, and other addictions. This program was recognized and honored by the Canadian federal Medical Services Branch (MSB) in 1992, as “..an innovative and successful approach to reducing and eliminating the affects of addictions within Native peoples.”
Mike resides with his wife, Birdie Lyons, and their four adopted sons at the Leech Lake Territory of the Ojibwe Nation.
Contact Mike at 218-766-6718 or by Email: [email protected]