Tribal Government & News

Constitutional election ballots due July 8

06.30.2016 Dean Rhodes Elections, Enrollment

Tribal members who registered to vote with the Bureau of Indian Affairs regarding two proposed constitutional amendments have until Friday, July 8, to get their ballots to the Grand Ronde post office to count.

According to the voter list released by the BIA, 1,546 Tribal members registered to vote.

The two proposed amendments to the Tribal Constitution, which were sent to voters in identical 5-2 Tribal Council votes on April 6, would affect the powers of General Council and enrollment requirements.

The first proposed amendment would reduce the General Council participation requirements for exercising the power of initiative or referendum and the calling of special General Council meetings.

The amendment would reduce the number of General Council signatures required for an initiative or referendum petition from 33 percent of the voting-age membership to 15 percent. Using current Tribal enrollment numbers, the amendment would reduce the number of signatures needed from 1,323 to 601.

In addition, the amendment would reduce the number of qualified voters who must vote in an initiative or referendum election from at least 30 percent – or 1,202 Tribal members using current enrollment numbers – to 20 percent, or 802 Tribal members.

The amendment does not affect the required margin of approval, which would remain at 66.7 percent of those actually voting to make the election results binding on Tribal Council.

The amendment also reduces the number of General Council member signatures required to call a special General Council meeting from 33 percent to 15 percent.

The more controversial constitutional amendment proposal is about changing Tribal enrollment requirements.

Currently, Tribal membership requirements for new applications include, among other things, that applicants have at least 1/16th Grand Ronde blood quantum, were born to a parent who was a member of the Tribe at the time of the applicant’s birth and at the time of application, unless the parent is deceased.

Grand Ronde blood is currently defined as “all Indian blood derived from a direct ancestor whose name validly appears on the official Tribal membership roll prepared under the Restoration Act, which may be corrected by Tribal Council with approval from the Secretary of the Interior.”

The proposed amendment would eliminate the requirements that an applicant be born to a parent who was a member of the Grand Ronde Tribe at the time of their birth, as well as the requirement that their parent be a Tribal member at the time of their application.

It also would change the definition of Grand Ronde blood to allow applicants to use all Indian blood derived from a direct ancestor who not only validly appears on the Restoration Roll, but also the Tribal membership roll prepared by the Tribe between Nov. 30, 1984, and Sept. 14, 1999.

Tribal members are encouraged to watch the 47-minute video of an educational session presented by the Tribal Attorney’s Office on the Tribal website at by clicking on the News tab and then Video.

In addition, Tribal Council signed an authorization to proceed to mail out a special edition of Tilixam Wawa that included the PowerPoint presentation used at the educational session. The special section was sent to the Tribe’s printing contractor on May 24 and was mailed first class.

Thirty percent of those who registered to vote must cast a ballot – 464 – in the July 8 election and two-thirds of those voting must approve of the proposal for an amendment to be incorporated into the Tribal Constitution.