CLT Member Spotlight: Deb White


March 10, 2024

After more than 40 years of service to her community, Cook County Commissioner Deb White will tell you that it all boils down to relationships. Nowhere is that sentiment clearer than in the work she’s engaged in with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

"Cook County residents across the border have a lot to offer the rest of us,” Commissioner White said, referring to the Grand Portage Reservation, which shares geography with her district.

She has been building relationships with bandleaders and members for decades, since working for Grand Portage in their education department as a tutor, counselor, and advocate for students and parents.

During her tenure on the Cook County School Board, White prioritized facilitating a healthy, supportive environment in which representatives from the Grand Portage Band could be at the table with school administration, participating in decisions that affected students and families. That collaboration led to the introduction of a state-approved American history curriculum that emphasizes the viewpoints of Native American communities, as well as an Ojibwe language program that all students in grades 6-8 participate in and can elect to continue through high school.

Now a member of the Cook County Board, Commissioner White applies her relationships-based approach to a variety of issues including aging, transportation, and mental health.

In Cook County, she says, “the community works to take care of one another,” and she sees value in systems and services that ensure everyone has what they need to be healthy and thrive.

We’re grateful for the time and energy she gives to Healthy Northland’s Community Leadership Team!

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