January 16, 2013 | LXXII, No. 42

Members are exercising recall right

Letters to the Editor

As many in the Colville Tribe and surrounding communities are aware of, there is currently a Tribal Council Recall effort under way. It is within the constitutional rights of the membership to initiate such an action when there has been a breach in the leadership amongst Council representatives.

This letter is not to provide evidence of what those breaches are, but to provide support and documentation of this legal effort amongst tribal members.

While all members do not share the viewpoint that there has been any wrongdoing within the tribal governing body, there are an equal amount who do believe this and they have the right to proceed with their Recall Effort as is stated in the Colville Tribal Constitution per Amendment IV, Section 3: “Upon receipt of a petition signed by one-third (1/3) of the eligible voters in any district calling for the recall of any member of the council representing said district, it shall be the duty of the council to call an election on such recall petition. No members may be recalled in any such election unless at least 40% of the legal voters of the district shall vote in such an election.”

The constitution clearly states the recall process, which at this time is being followed by Colville tribal members on and off the reservation. This amendment also states clearly that it is not at the discretion of council to decide whether or not to accept the petition, but to call an election on it. It is my understanding that this Amendment supersedes the original Article.

It is my hope, and the hope of many members involved in this effort, that Tribal Council will follow procedures outlined in the Constitution allowing the members a voice and a choice, without prejudice, and without further retaliatory actions against members exercising this right.

Michelle Covington

Reader Comments

(3)

Laurie E Sison writes:

I am hearing from Connie Lynds who is the main proponent and speaker for our recall. She let us know yesterday that Colville Council people Billy Nicholson, Nancy Johnson, Luana Boyd, Andy Joseph and Sneena Brooks have changed their stance about a referendum vote. They are the only ones seeing reality-that the council as a whole have not been listening to the membership. I totally expected Andy to be listening from the beginning since he is a seasoned council and has typically been one to listen and act with reason. The others coming to terms with the 2700+ petitions signers is a refreshing, albeit overdue response that is appreciated.

Laurie E Sison writes:

From Connie Lynds. AGAIN our council refuses to recognize the 2700 COLVILLE TRIBAL MEMBERS: Once again the Council did not want to listen to what the people had to say !!! I tried to hand in a recommendation sheet requesting a referendum vote be put out to the people today for the remaining 50% and was told that they would not accept it in the meeting today that it was the wrong committee and that it needed to be turned into the Tribal Government Committee and when I told them that was hard to do when that committee chair person will not even let us on her agenda! And the Billy N. the chair of the management and budget committee said that those petitions should never have been accepted in the first place!! This is the council once again telling us that they don't have to or need to listen to the people!!

Laurie E Sison writes:

I believe that the numbers who support council and those who are petitioning for recall are not equal. I believe that there is a majority who want change, recall, to be listened to....anything but what is happening now from our council.I have 'heard' that council is going district to district offering each district 1 million dollars to do with what they wish-elders centers, community support etc and I have to wonder what strings are attached? What are they trying to do to communities plagued by unemployment and rampant need for even the most basic things? I am tired of being ignored when I seek information that we all should be given freely and often. I am tired of those who benefit from their council connections trying to make it look like we are all about the money. OF COURSE the money matters, but what matters equally is our distrust and the distaste council has put into the minds and hearts of their own people. ON or OFF reservation people are tired. The petitions continue and they speak volumes. At one of the recent rallies for recall, Chairman Sirois point blank said they declared their plan law and they would not ever consider the petitions. What this says is that if something the people are seeking crosses their paths, they will disregard at their own will. For anyone who trusts in council...good luck to you. Next time, your issue, your pain, your heartache could be the one they ignore. Good luck. I do not envy your challenge to get them to listen...they likely won't