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OST voters approve separation of powers

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  • OST voters approve separation of powers

    OST voters approve separation of powers
    Judiciary decision was only one of many the tribe weighed.

    By Heidi Bell Gease, Journal staff
    Rapid City Journal - 15 November 2008
    OST voters approve separation of powers RapidCityJournal.com

    For Oglala Sioux Tribe members who have pushed for a separation of tribal powers, the second time was a charm.

    On Nov. 4, Oglala Sioux Tribe members voted 349-218 to change the tribal constitution to separate judiciary powers from the tribal council and executive committee. That means tribal judges will no longer be subject to appointment or removal by the tribal council.

    Tribal members also voted 372-260 to change the requirements for tribal enrollment. The amendment allows any child born to a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe to be enrolled, regardless of whether they live on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

    A vote on the issues earlier this year was tossed out because not enough of the tribe's registered voters -- only 30 percent -- participated. Fifty-four percent of the electorate voted this time.

    Results of the election, conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, next go to the Secretary of the Interior for legal review before changes become official.

    Of the 27 proposed amendments to the tribal constitution, 14 passed.

    Results follow:

    Amendment AA:
    Voters rejected an amendment that would have changed the name of the tribe from the Oglala Sioux Tribe to the Oglala Lakota Oyate, 406 to 219. There were 14 spoiled ballots.

    Amendment A:
    Voters approved separation of powers 349 to 218, with 70 spoiled ballots.

    Amendment B:
    Voters narrowly opposed an amendment allowing the tribal council to pass laws governing non-members on the reservation. The vote was 324 to 304, with 12 spoiled ballots.

    Amendment C:
    An amendment allowing the tribe to hire legal counsel without approval of the Secretary of the Interior passed 318 to 311, with 9 spoiled ballots.

    Amendment D:
    Tribal members voted 344 to 281 to allow the tribal council to adopt laws regulating how guardians are appointed for minors and mental incompetents. Thirteen ballots were spoiled.

    Amendment E:
    Voters approved an amendment allowing the tribal council to appoint delegates to represent the tribe in National Sioux Councils. The vote was 334 to 298, with 7 spoiled ballots.

    Amendment F:
    Voters strongly approved a measure allowing the tribe to "regulate, protect, expand, improve and preserve the air, water, natural resources, and sacred and historic sites" as recognized by the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie treaties. The vote was 402 to 231, with 5 spoiled ballots.

    Amendment G:
    Voters narrowly defeated an amendment that would have allowed the tribal council to negotiate with federal, state, local and international governments on behalf of the tribe and tribal members. The vote was 326 to 319, with 6 spoiled ballots.

    Amendment H:
    Tribal members voted 334 to 295 to change the oath of office for elected officials (8 spoiled).

    Amendment I:
    Tribal members voted 323 to 263 to allow the tribal council to adopt a Bill of Rights (52 spoiled).

    Amendment J:
    Tribal members opposed, 350 to 284, a measure allowing the tribal council to buy land and other property for public purposes (4 spoiled).

    Amendment K:
    Voters approved a measure raising the minimum age for council members from 25 to 30 years old and requiring them to live on the reservation. The vote was 344 to 291, with 4 spoiled ballots.

    Amendment L:
    Voters approved, 326 to 298, a measure allowing the council to adopt laws regulating procedures and meeting agendas (6 spoiled).

    Amendment M:
    Tribal members voted 337 to 298 to give the tribal council power to remove trespassers and to banish people from the reservation (5 spoiled).

    Amendment N:
    Voters rejected, 384 to 246, a plan to repeal an article that allows the tribal council to advise the Secretary of the Interior about appropriations before submitting them to the Bureau of Budget and Congress (9 spoiled).

    Amendment O:
    Voters rejected, 343 to 288, an amendment allowing the tribal council to establish salaries (6 spoiled).

    Amendment P:
    Voters rejected, 379 to 246, a proposal allowing the tribal council to regulate private business and levy taxes and license fees on businesses and people (9 spoiled).

    Amendment Q:
    Voters narrowly passed an amendment clarifying the role and responsibilities of the executive committee and making them part of the Constitution. The vote was 297 to 286 (56 spoiled).

    Amendment R:
    Voters rejected, 368 to 265, a measure increasing terms of office for tribal council, president and vice president from two years to four years (6 spoiled ballots).

    Amendment S:
    Tribal members voted 352 to 278 against a proposal allowing the tribal council to charter organizations and regulate their activities (8 spoiled).

    Amendment T:
    Tribal members approved an amendment requiring the tribal council to meet on the last Tuesday of each month, 324 to 252 (50 spoiled).

    Amendment U:
    Voters rejected an amendment regarding the tribal council's power to regulate "the domestic relations of person," 388 to 240, (12 spoiled).

    Amendment V:
    Tribal members voted 385 to 244 to reject an amendment allowing the tribal council to manage all economic and financial affairs and business enterprises of the tribe (9 spoiled).

    Amendment W:
    Voters approved changes in tribal membership requirements, 372 to 260 (8 spoiled).

    Amendment X:
    Voters defeated a proposal removing the limitations of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. laws. The vote was 394 to 234 (8 spoiled).

    Amendment Y:
    Voters rejected, 360 to 269, a measure regarding future powers of the tribal council (8 spoiled).

    Amendment Z:
    Tribal members overwhelmingly approved a measure allowing the tribal council to better regulate, preserve and strengthen Native arts, crafts, culture and the Lakota language, and adopt laws promoting the "health and general welfare" of the tribe and its members. The vote was 401 to 227 (10 spoiled).

    "Be good, be kind, help each other."
    "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

    --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

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