TRIBAL DISENROLLMENT Strips Native Americans of Tribal Citizenship
Friday, October 23, 2015
ELECTION COMMITTEE UPHOLDS CHUKCHANSI ELECTIONS
The Chukchansi tribal council election has been upheld after appeals were filed by four candidates who were not among those who will be seated.
While some on a losing side vow to keep appealing the results, one Chukchansi leader says it is time to move forward so the tribe’s casino in Coarsegold can reopen. It has been closed for more than a year after an armed takeover attempt led authorities to shutter the facility.
The Oct. 3 election favored seven candidates from the Morris Reid faction. Three of those elected were on the federally recognized “interim council” from 2010, which was named by the federal government to oversee council business since earlier this year.
Two members of the 2010 council, Nancy Ayala and Reggie Lewis, filed appeals of the election. Two other candidates, Melvin Espe and Donna Featherstone, who have served on councils in the past few years, also filed an opposition to the results.
One of the major grounds for appeal was the voter rolls. Lewis was opposed to the tribe allowing voter rolls from the 2010 election. He said the rolls from 2012, which removed about 150 voters from 2010 because they were disenrolled, should have been used.
The tribal council voted 4-3 earlier this year to use the 2010 voter list.
Lewis said Friday that the council historically had never allowed people to vote who weren’t members of the tribe. He said he thinks they were the difference in the Reid faction’s victory.