Tribal Government & News

Letters to the Editor -- July 15, 2014

07.15.2014 Ron Karten Letters

Dear fellow Tribal members:

I have two unrelated points to make with this letter, but I will make it as brief as possible.

The July 2 "emergency" amendment to the Enrollment Ordinance:

When I heard of this meeting, my first assumption was that it was a rumor gone wild. The very idea of council deciding to relinquish their duty to vote on whether to disenroll a family seemed too ridiculous to believe. Votes on enrolling and disenrolling members have been a part of Tribal Council's responsibility since Restoration; pawning that responsibility off is just like forcing someone else to pull the trigger. I could not believe that they would make a proposal like this. As a former Tribal Council member, I would not have done it as an "emergency," which means we, as members, don't get to voice our opinions before the amendment goes into effect. For those of you that do not know what I am referring to, Tribal members that the committee recommends for disenrollment will be considered provisional members and most of their rights will be stripped from them until the Tribal Court makes the final determination, including the right to vote, interestingly. Suspending 60 plus voters who are definitely against the whole concept of disenrollment will have an undeniable effect on the election. I don't expect anybody to admit this, but it sure looks like a motive to me. Furthermore, to do it in the middle of a highly visible disenrollment case is a classic example of changing the rules midway because it is obvious you are about to lose.

Council's use of Tribal publications during elections:

This issue was raised years ago at a General Council meeting, January of 2008 to be specific, when the current Chair proposed that council articles in the Tilixam Wawa be voted on as they could be used to campaign. Now, years later, he appears to be doing the very thing which he opposed and even suggested a policy to govern. My issue with his report in the July 1 edition of Smoke Signals is that it came after nominations and he is up for re-election. In the past, council members have been restricted from contributing to Tribal publications while they are up for re-election. This is an unfair advantage. Will he be running more of these reports, using campaign catchphrases like "transparency," "communication" and "accountability"?  If so, then aren't they basically additional candidate statements? Apparently there was never a policy enacted but the advantage here is grossly unfair.

Angie Blackwell

Roll #1089

(Editor's note: The Message From the Chair in the July 1 Smoke Signals was submitted before Tribal nominations occurred on June 29 and is part of the Tribal Chair's regular job duties of writing columns to keep the Tribal membership informed.)