By Vi Waln
ROSEBUD, SD – The Community President’s Association (CPA) of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is working to get 27 Constitutional amendments placed on a Secretarial Election ballot for tribal members to vote on.
The CPA has formed a committee to provide education to tribal members. They have been attending community meetings to inform members regarding the process of amending the RST Constitution.
Several Constitutional Amendments were approved during a Secretarial Election held in 2007 and subsequently incorporated into the RST Constitution and By-Laws. A major update to the Constitution changed the election terms from two years to three years for the tribal president, vice-president and all twenty tribal council representatives. Elected officials are also limited to serving two consecutive terms under the current Constitution.
An amendment which allowed tribal enrollment based on lineal descent was perhaps the most controversial of all the changes which were made. That is, opponents of the lineal descent enrollment amendment contend that services are overburdened with the increased number of recently enrolled tribal members.
Each of the twenty reservation communities is allowed one tribal council representative. The twenty members of the governing body are elected through an at large process which allows all registered tribal voters to have a hand in choosing the entire tribal council. Previously, tribal council representatives were elected by their community voters only.
The proposed amendments are being circulated to the current tribal council members as petition resolutions. There are 27 resolutions and each one contains a single amendment. Each petition resolution must have a minimum of 15 tribal council representative signatures in order to be approved. Each resolution requests the Secretary of the Interior to call for an election for the members of the RST to vote on each amendment.
This process is being carried out as a referendum to put all of amendments which were voted on in 2007 back on a secretarial election ballot. Article VII, Section 2 of the RST Constitution and By-Laws states: “Referendum. Upon receipt and verification by the Tribal Secretary of a petition of thirty (30) percent of the number of persons who voted in the last tribal election or upon the request of two-thirds of the total members of the Tribal Council, any proposed or previously enacted ordinance or resolution of the Tribal Council shall be submitted to a vote of the people at a regular or special election to be held within sixty days of verification of the petition by the Tribal Secretary. The vote of a majority of those actually voting shall be conclusive and binding upon the Tribal Council.”
A summary of the amendments addressed in each resolution is as follows:
RST Resolution 2014-70: to amend the name of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to Sicangu Nation.
RST Resolution 2014-71: to amend the name of the Tribe in the Preamble of the Constitution to Sicangu Nation.
RST Resolution 2014-72: to amend the provision allowing for lineal descent enrollment.
RST Resolution 2014-73: to amend the name of the tribal council to Sicangu Nation/Sicangu Council.
RST Resolution 2014-74: to amend the requirement for all council members, president and vice-president to be at least ¼ degree Indian blood.
RST Resolution 2014-75: to amend the limit of serving two consecutive terms and also to amend staggered terms.
RST Resolution 2014-76: to amend the at-large election process for council representatives.
RST Resolution 2014-77: to amend section 6 outlining qualifications of candidates.
RST Resolution 2014-78: to amend section 6 outlining qualifications of candidates.
RST Resolution 2014-79: to amend the provision for filling offices which become vacant before term ends.
RST Resolution 2014-80: to amend the at large voting process to elect secretary and treasurer as well as the appointment of the sgt-at-arms.
RST Resolution 2014-81: to amend the requirement of the president, vice-president, community representative, secretary, treasurer and sgt-at-arms to be at least ¼ degree Indian blood.
RST Resolution 2014-82: to amend the requirement that the RST electorate determine the qualifications of its officers, council members and community officers.
RST Resolution 2014-83: to amend the dates of the primary and general elections.
RST Resolution 2014-84: to amend the requirement of employing legal counsel.
RST Resolution 2014-85: to amend the section on appropriation estimates or federal projects.
RST Resolution 2014-86: to amend the section requiring a separation of powers.
RST Resolution 2014-87: to amend the section calling for protection of minors, mentally incompetent and others.
RST Resolution 2014-88: to amend the section requiring the council to consider the effect of their decisions on the next seven generations.
RST Resolution 2014-89: to amend the section on limitations of powers of council members.
RST Resolution 2014-90: to amend the section regarding the procedures for removal from office.
RST Resolution 2014-91: to amend the Bill of Rights.
RST Resolution 2014-92: to amend several sections defining the Tribal Court process.
RST Resolution 2014-93: to amend the section outlining and defining the duties of elected officers and the process for reporting violations.
RST Resolution 2014-94: to amend the section pertaining to some duties of the treasurer.
RST Resolution 2014-95: to amend the language contained in the Oath of Office.
RST Resolution 2014-96: to amend the section which defines the process of compensation of elected tribal officials.
For more information contact your Community President. The CPA has their regular monthly meetings on the second Saturday of each month. You may also contact the Tribal Secretary’s office for more information at (605) 747-2381.