Tribal Council

From left to right: Audrey Bennett, Shelley Buck, and Lu Taylor  – standing from left to right: Johnny Johnson and Ed Buck

President – Shelley Buck


President Shelley Buck is serving her third term on Prairie Island Tribal Council. Prior to being elected Tribal Council President for the 2016-2017 term, Buck held other positions within the Prairie Island Indian Community government, such as the Tribal Council Secretary, enrollment clerk in the Prairie Island Enrollment Office and Tribal Lobbyist. She has also served on the Pow Wow, Constitution Revision and Enrollment Committees.

Buck has a bachelor’s degree in business accounting from Indiana University and master’s degree in Sports Management from Concordia University. She is currently serving as a board member of the Twins Community Fund and has also served as a board member of the Native Vote Alliance of Minnesota.

A native of Indiana, Buck has lived on Prairie Island for ten years and has two daughters – Kachina and Sage. In her spare time, Buck enjoys playing and watching sports, helping out at the community schools and hanging out with her daughters.

Vice President – Lucy Taylor



Vice President Lucy “Lu” Taylor is serving her eighth term on Prairie Island Tribal Council. Taylor’s first term on Tribal Council was in 1984 where she served as Secretary. After her first term, she worked for the Tribe as the Indian Child Welfare Worker for seven years. Throughout the years since, she has served terms as Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, Secretary, Treasurer and Vice President of the Tribal Council.

Lucy Taylor was born in Redwood Falls, Minnesota and was raised on the Prairie Island Indian Reservation. She is the oldest of eight children, with four sisters and three brothers. Her parent’s names are Howard Albert Taylor Sr. and Carol Ann Dow. Taylor is a full-blood Mdewakanton Dakota as her parents and both sets of grandparents are descendants of the Sioux Uprising.

Taylor went to school in Red Wing until the 10th grade, when she went to live with relatives in St. Paul. She graduated from Washington High School in 1978 and from the College of St. Catherine in 1983 with a degree in Social Work.

Taylor has a daughter named Ellen Elizabeth Jacobson and son named Cole Michael L. Jacobson. She is married to her partner, Sheila Lewis, and has two step-children – Brittany and Erik – and last, but not least, a Grandson named Ayce.

Secretary – Ed Buck


Secretary Edward Buck is serving his third term on Prairie Island Tribal Council. Buck has also served as Treasurer of the Tribal Council and has held other various roles inside the Community for more than 15 years. Prior to serving on Council, he was as manager of the Prairie Island Indian Community Public Works Department, Executive Director of Gaming Commission, Commissioner of Compliance and as Commissioner of Employee Licensing for the Gaming Commission. Buck started working for the Community as a staff member of the Water and Wastewater Department.

Buck’s priorities include ensuring the Community’s economic self-sufficiency remains strong for future generations and working to seek the removal of nuclear waste from Prairie Island as soon as possible.

A graduate of Red Wing High School, Buck grew up in the Prairie Island area, where he has lived his entire life. He is married to wife Rachel and has four children, Ruby, Demetria, Dante and Dayton.

In his spare time, Buck stays active by playing golf, bowling and basketball and following his kids’ various sports activities. The family also enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, hunting, fishing and swimming.

Treasurer – Johnny Johnson



Treasurer Johnny Johnson is serving his eleventh term on Prairie Island Tribal Council. During his last term, Johnson served as assistant secretary/treasurer. Prior to serving on Tribal Council, Johnson served as education director for the Prairie Island Indian Community for seven years. In this role, Johnson achieved a marked increase in the graduation rate for the high school. During his tenure, Johnson saw the formation of summer school, driver’s education, GED and North Dakota Independent Studies programs as well as tutoring services. These programs and services have been very successful among Community members.

Johnson is a former member of the Human Rights commission of Red Wing, MN, and previously sat on the boards for the Red Wing School Foundation and the Red Wing Hockey Association. He remains actively involved with the hockey program in the Red Wing area.

Johnny Johnson has lived in and around Prairie Island his entire life. In his free time, Johnson enjoys spending time with his wife Terrie, their four children, Scott, Blake, Grant and Kennedy, and his grandchildren. He enjoys attending youth sporting events, watching hockey, golfing, playing softball and traveling in his new RV.

Asst. Secretary/Treasurer – Audrey Bennett


Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Audrey Bennett is serving her seventh term on Prairie Island Tribal Council, having first been elected in 1997. Known for many honorable accomplishments within the Tribal Community, as well as the greater Red Wing community, Bennett was the first women elected as Prairie Island Tribal Council President and served 10 years in that role. Prior to serving on Tribal Council, Bennett represented Prairie Island as a government relations specialist, working to protect the tribe’s rights and interests before the Minnesota state legislature and the federal government. She has remained very active in politics, working across party lines to improve outreach and increase voter participation especially among Southeast Asian, Somali and Native American voters.

During her tenure on Tribal Council, Bennett has effectively advocated for issues important to the Prairie Island Community and all Native Americans. She has met presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress, governors and members of the Minnesota state legislature, always ensuring the concerns of her community were heard.

In particular, Bennett has played an instrumental role in the ongoing fight against nuclear waste being stored near our reservation, representing the tribe in numerous national media appearances which brought a new perspective to this debate. She also played a significant role in the first-ever Executive Order signed by Gov. Jesse Ventura reaffirming the government-to-government relationship between the state of Minnesota and the Indian tribes.

In 2011, Bennett was featured in a TPT documentary entitled, “Women Making Change,” which told the story of women from Goodhue County who were active in Minnesota politics and the challenges they have faced. In 2003, Bennett received the Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award presented by the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). The award recognizes many of her accomplishments, including her commitment to peace, ease of suffering and injustice, fair governance and the advancement of inter-cultural understanding.

Bennett has been actively involved in and sat on a number of boards of Indian organizations including the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association and the National Indian Gaming Association. She is a Chairwoman of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and is a former chair of the National Intertribal Public Relations Network. Bennett is also an active member of the organization, Parents of Murdered Children, since her son, Benny’s death in 2000.

Bennett especially enjoys working with young people and considers the involvement of youth in native traditions essential to ensuring the community’s future is rich in culture. She encourages young people to participate in politics and tribal government and to interact frequently with tribal elders. She also is very spiritual and believes her involvement with the Native American Church has played a role in her success as a leader.

The Prairie Island Mdewakanton Dakota Tribe holds an election every two years for positions on Tribal Council. The five-member Tribal Council maintain their positions for a two-year term. It is respectful of Mdewakanton Dakota culture to follow the proper protocol when looking to contact Tribal Council members.
All inquiries should be directed through Tribal Council’s Administrative Assistant:

Deborah McCoy 651-267-4062

*Tribal Members should contact Tribal Council Secretary Ed Buck with inquiries.

Tribal & State Courts

Minnesota state courts have been fairly deferential toward Tribal courts and have even adopted a state law abstention doctrine for certain disputes that arise in Indian country. As the Minnesota Supreme Court indicated in Gavle v. Little Six, Inc., 555 N.W.2d 284 (Minn. 1996), abstention by a state court is appropriate when the exercise of state court jurisdiction would “undermine the authority of the tribal courts over Reservation affairs” or “infringe on the right of Indians to govern themselves.” A Tribe may also wish to assert aggressive jurisdiction over domestic relations matters especially involving its children both on and off the reservation that may implicate the Indian Child Welfare Act. Although tribal courts lack criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians the federal courts have recognized that tribal courts retain extensive authority to remove non-Indians from their territories.

Tribal Court

All correspondence for the Tribal Court should be sent to:

Prairie Island Tribal Court 5636 Sturgeon Lake Road Welch, Minnesota 55089 Fax: 651-267-4008

The Court consists of a Chief Judge, an Appellate Court, a Clerk of Court, Guardian ad Litem, and a Probation Officer. According to the Judicial Code of the Prairie Island Indian Community there are no Ex Parte communications allowed. If you have any questions or communications for the Court they should be directed to:

Clerk of Court Deb English 651-385-4161

Tribal Court Forms

Family Court Forms


General Court Forms


Judgment Creditors Court Forms


Legal Representation Court Forms