Chairman is voted out in the Spirit Lake Nation(WDAY TV) -- Turmoil continues in the Spirit Lake Nation, A General Assembly came together today for a special meeting and voted to oust Tribal Chairman Roger Yankton.
By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ, WDAY
(WDAY TV) -- Turmoil continues in the Spirit Lake Nation, A General Assembly came together today for a special meeting and voted to oust Tribal Chairman Roger Yankton.
This comes just 4 days after tribal elders voted to kick out the entire council.
With a near unanimous majority.
Donovan Robertson/Tribal Member: "I would like to make the motion to remove our chairman."
Tribal members voted to oust chairman Roger Yankton at an emergency general assembly. Yankton didn't attend the meeting.
Erich Longie/Tribal Elder: "I asked them in a good way to be here, all of them."
His absence highlighted what tribal members call a lack of accountability from the council.
Erich: "There was no general assembly for eight months, and all we wanted to do was ask the council to do their job, and call a general assembly."
Erich: "I hear horror stories about them taking our money from the casino all the time. I don't know if that's true, but I can't question them."
The assembly voted in a new chairman... Russ McDonald, V-P of Academics at Cankdeska Cikana Community College.
Russ: "I'm a full supporter of what happened today. I'm not in full agreement of some of the decisions that were made by out council."
But McDonald warns that a simple vote might not be enough to change tribal leadership.
Russ: "If we were to go to court on this, the chair would legally stay in office."
The Spirit Lake Constitution says a petition is needed to remove the chairman...Tribal members are working on covering their bases.
Erich: "If we need to go a petition route, I'll be writing one up tonight just in case."
Opponents of Yankton are expecting a fierce legal fight over the vote. But for today, they're glad people on the spirit lake nation are finally speaking up.
Donovan: "If that's what it took to get people together, then I'm glad that it happened."
Despite what the Spirit Lake constitution says, several tribal members say previous leaders have been removed by a popular vote at a general assembly.