The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is preparing for elections. The Primary Election on Thursday, July 23, 2020 will determine the top two candidates for ten vacant tribal council seats. So, next week tribal citizens will cast their vote to pick which candidates will appear on the General Election ballot in August.
The tribal council representatives for the communities of Black Pipe, Butte Creek, Grass Mountain, Ideal, Milks Camp, Okreek, Parmelee, Soldier Creek, Spring Creek and Two Strike will be determined by all tribal voters. Tribal elections shouldn’t be a popularity contest. Voters must consider the qualifications, ethics and the ability of candidates to represent the entire tribe.
Tribal council candidates must be experts of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Constitution and Bylaws. Candidates must also be familiar with how legislation is introduced and voted on during tribal council meetings. Tribal council representatives are paid a decent salary to conduct the tribes’ business – whether they attend community, committee or council meetings or not.
Attendance at tribal committee and council meetings is not required for your representatives to be paid; they draw a salary regardless. They also draw their salary when they abstain from voting an issue on the floor up or down. We elect people we believe will show up at all the meetings (community, committee and council) so they can make decisions for all of us.
Last month an important issue was brought onto the council floor during a special meeting. A motion was made and seconded to deal with the issue. Seven council representatives voted yes and one voted no.
However, your incumbent council representatives – who speak for all the people while in session at council meetings – from Black Pipe, Corn Creek, Milks Camp, Parmelee, Rosebud and Swift Bear refused to vote on this particular issue. In addition, the council representatives from Grass Mountain, He Dog, Horse Creek, Ring Thunder, Soldier Creek and Two Strike were absent from this meeting.
This particular issue has been in the forefront for many tribal citizens during the last several months. So, it wasn’t like the council representatives who chose not to vote were unaware of the issue. In fact, the same issue was the focus of a special tribal council meeting held last month.
Electing tribal council representatives, as well as constitutional officers, should be a serious topic of discussion in your Tiospaye. Please discuss the candidates with your relatives who will vote on July 23. Better yet, visit all the candidates running for tribal council from your community.
Some of the topics you can bring up with the tribal council candidates is their knowledge of the RST Constitution, ordinances, resolutions and other documents the governing body deals with. Another topic for discussion is employment practices.
For example, a qualified tribal citizen challenged a non-tribal citizen for a director job with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The tribes’ personnel manual allows for these challenges. The tribal president accepted the challenge and signed the personnel action after researching the qualifications of the tribal citizen who challenged the non-member.
However, the tribal citizen has not been allowed to take the director position because the tribal council chose to make this employment issue political. So, the non-member is still at work and the qualified tribal citizen is still waiting for the issue to be resolved.
As tribal citizens living on the Rosebud, it is in our hands to elect ethical council representatives to vote on legislation presented to them. Tribal council representatives are not supposed to be involved in personnel challenges but they made the decision to micromanage this particular tribal directorship.
Elect candidates who will attend all their required meetings to cast ethical votes on every motion. What have the incumbents done for you?
Cante Hunkesni Win is an award-winning Journalist.