Last Real Indians has a good news story, so far, of the General Council of the Nooksack Tribe standing up for their TRIBE, against the corrupt actions of a few council members.
Because the holdover Tribal Council refused to convene an election for four Tribal Council seats that was constitutionally required by March 19, 2016, and overthrew the Court before the election was about to be judicially compelled, the General Council convened the meeting and held its own election.
Four non-Nooksack 306 members were elected to office: Robert Doucette, Vice Chairman, Bernie Roberts, Treasurer, Ron Roberts, Councilperson, and Jeremiah Johnny, Councilperson. Doucette served on the Tribe’s first Tribal Council after its recognition in 1973, and Bernie Roberts also previously served on the Tribal Council.
The new Councilpersons will soon be sworn in before the remaining four Councilpersons: Bob Kelly, Chairman, Nadene Zapata, Secretary, Carmen Tageant, Councilperson (whose recall from office by the holdover Tribal Council, the General Council also invalidated), and Bob Solomon, Councilperson.
Attendance was high despite now-former Councilperson Katherine Canete, who also serves as the Tribe’s General Manager, having sent an email out to all Nooksack employees just hours before the meeting, threatening any employee who attended the meeting with the loss of their job.
The meeting was held beyond Nooksack tribal lands, at the Deming Logging Show facility, to avoid interference or arrest by the Tribal Police, whose chief has failed to uphold tribal law in taking a court clerk to jail for violating
Read the rest of the story at: Last Real Indians
Good for you guys, way to go. I wish all tribes would follow in suit and start healing their tribes.
It will be interesting to see how the BIA responds to Tribal members acting to restore the democratic institutions of their Constitutional government. We have all watched in horror as the BIA has consistently sided with tyrannical tribal leaders seeking to overturn democracy and to install themselves as the sole political power of the tribe. Individual Indians have no voice, and majority votes of General Councils have been disregarded by the BIA.
In the federal government's eyes the tribal leaders are the tribe. If it was easy to restore democracy every tribe with corrupt, tyrannical leaders would meet and vote them out. In actual practice the BIA reverts to the last duly elected Tribal Committee (or Council depending on the terminology of the governing document) whenever there is a dispute over the leadership.
In Nooksack the members here to meet off rez under threat of termination from the leaders in order to uphold their own laws. Can the BIA actually disregard their legitimate action to restore democracy? Or will the agency support the leaders who suspend meetings, and elections and disestablishing the tribal court and tribal police? We all hold our breath to see if it is possible for a tribe to maintain its government-to-government relationship while it is restoring the democratic process and rule of law.
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