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Father and son now represent tribes' Omak District


Voters in the Colville Tribes’ Omak District Sunday voted in a longtime member to fill a vacancy on the Colville Business Council, seating him next to his son, whom they had voted in for another vacancy March 1.

Mel Tonasket, a one-time chair of the CBC, garnered 79 of 172 votes, according to a tribal press release issued Tuesday.

His son, Richard Tonasket was chosen earlier for the first of two seats recently vacated as one member resigned and the council expelled another.

The elder Tonasket is to be sworn into office today (March 19), replacing Benjamin Marchand, who was expelled on ethics charges dealing with credit card use. The term expires in 2015.

Mel Tonasket, 75, chaired the council in 1989, but resigned his chairmanship at one point in order to cast his vote on a council split over the Colville Tribal Enterprise Corporation. He has 20 years experience on the council and is past president of the National Congress of American Indians.

Richard Tonasket replaced Ernest “Sneena” Brooks, who resigned following his Feb. 14 arrest on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation on a rape charge.

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