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« Letter to the Nation from Tracy Stanhoff | Main | New Name, New Logo, and Bingo News »

May 22, 2007


Leslie Morgan

You are so right, the very people who wish to destroy one, will eventually destroy us all. We will forgive them, and stop them and bring them with us to a better existance for our tribe.

Thomas M. Wabnum

May 23, 2007

Once again, tribal members have exercised their treaty rights, congressionally mandated Indian laws and enforced their tribal constitution rights or law of the land.

What is a Tribe? A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states, though some modern theorists hold that contemporary tribes can only be understood in terms of their relationship to states.

The term is often loosely used to refer to any non-Western or indigenous society. Many anthropologists use the term to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups (see clan and lineage).
In common modern understanding the word tribe means a social division within a traditional society consisting of a group of interlinked families or communities sharing a common culture and dialect. In the contemporary western mind the modern tribe is typically associated with a seat of traditional authority (tribal leader) with whom the representatives of external powers interact.

What is a government? “A government is a body that has the power to make, and the authority to enforce rules and laws within a civil, corporate, religious, academic, or other organization or group.[1] In its broadest sense, "to govern" means to rule over or supervise, whether over a state, a set group of people, or a collection of people. [2]
A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office. Along with the initiative, referendum, and direct primary, it was one of the major electoral reforms advocated by leaders of the Progressive movement in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”

Why is this recall happening? It is about the old and the new. It is about the traditional and the contemporary. It is about a difference of opinion. What caused this recall? As it is with the federal government, a breach of trust. Being truthful and not. It’s historical and it’s a clash of governing ideas, our and theirs. Its about a outsider form of government forced on Tribes without an understanding of the whiteman’s culture. We understand now that its about control and takeover of lands and an erosion of tribal sovereignty. We are once again being removed from a traditional site to new site that is evicting us closer to State control. A recall is our constitutional tribal right. It’s about checks and balances and our assurance business is being done right, not politically correct.

This action cannot happen unless we are lead to it in a coereced and unscrupulous manner. This authority also came from our tribal constitution but is outdated as some other clauses. Were there safeguards or other protective measures? Yes, but they didn’t speak up or act as representatives of the people.
What is a Separation of Powers Doctrine? Separation of powers is a political doctrine under which the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are kept distinct, to prevent abuse of power. This US form of separation of powers is widely known as "checks and balances."

Proponents of separation of powers believe that it protects democracy and forestalls tyranny; opponents of separation of powers, such as Professor Charles M. Hardin[3] have pointed out that, regardless of whether it accomplishes this end, it also slows down the process of governing, it promotes executive dictatorship and unaccountability, and it tends to marginalize the legislature. (Wikipedia Dictionary).

There are many pro’s and con’s for the separation of powers doctine. By observing todays political weaseling in our federal government, this leaves no doubt that man is inherently corrupt.

Where does that leave us? Gary Mitchell, Tribal historian, former Tribal Council member writes this about our history on the tribal website:
“In the history of the tribe, most decisions were made by the entire tribe, not a few individuals. Many tribal members were older people who were suspicious of anything they didn't fully understand.

Another stumbling block for tribal members was that the Indian Reorganization Act wasn't designed to recognize sovereignty, nor did it encourage it. Most decision-making had to be approved by the Secretary of the Interior or Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Nevertheless, this particular bureaucratic mechanism was installed against the wishes of the Potawatomi and remained a problem for years. A tribe couldn't embark on any business venture, handle its own trust money, or pass any major change in their government without first seeking bureau approval.

All future dissent of the tribe can be directly traced to a form of government imposed on the tribe. A ruling body was never part of the Potawatomi story, and though changing times dictated this concept, it was never accepted nor were the leaders that became part of the new tribal body politic.”
In his book, Clifton says: “In 1964 I had forecast, with some sense of hope for the Prairie People’s own future, that when they gained access to their claims case funds and as they obtained experience with managing their own affairs under the 1961 constitution, they might begin to prosper, to improve the quality of their own lives, and to become better integrated as a community. This was no more than wishful thinking. A visit to the reservation in 1975 soon confirmed that these things had never occurred. Indeed, except for some exciting, emotionally rewarding experiences during the previous decade, it was apparent that they had not moved far politically, economically, or as a people. They were, I thought, disturbingly rigid, frozen into a self-defeating posture that had characterized their relations with the larger world for a half a century. To be certain, they had learned some new slogans, a few novel tactics, and their words and gestures were more violently, hostile; but their basic disposition was the same. They remained very adept at thwarting and disrupting of one another’s efforts and those of outsiders charged with the responsibility of dealing with them, but they had not again learned how to create and to harmonize, nor to build cooperatively. (Clifton: The Prairie People)

This is partially true but a definite clash of the cultures and those governing both. It is an outsider’s perception of us but still not one of us. For us to accept the enemy as the same enemy that is U.S. Constitutionally charged to protect us is unacceptable. For us to accept a governing document based on their values and a principle while at the same time rejecting ours is cultural suicide. Each new generation must understand it is not just another casino, bingo hall or per capita that makes us Prairie Band.

We have seen our enrollment double since the PB Casino opened that means many did not have connection with the homeland reservation. They are still included in the Nations enrollment and vote on what kind of issues? Tribal members vote on issues that affect them more. Some voters want more per cap because they live elsewhere than the reservation. Some voters want more programs and on reservation benefits but would like a large per cap also.
Whatever the issue is we may never organize it if we don’t understand what we are able to do. Our problems are aged over federal time especially our health, education and welfare as well as land and money. The federal trust responsibilities that are now handed down to tribal governments to fix are without an adequate federal budget. So Tribes are now using their own generated funds to fix federal problems. Maybe soon there will be no federal Indian budget.

We now know that our Constitution is the law of the land but we must update it and change it constantly to always safeguard our traditional lifestyle and business ventures. But it must come from one of our own with total tribal member support that corrects the governing problem as we grow. If not, then we see it as unconstitutional and illegal. Tribal leaders don’t leave their people behind they take them, with their decisions and move forward together. We have been lied to and cheated for centuries that it’s easy for us to feel mistrust and its our natural character not to trust outsiders encroaching on what we feel is sacred to us. In short, if we all understand where we are coming from and where we are going to and how to do it together, we can then praise our leaders for they truly represent the people.

All Native Nations have felt that their healing must come from within their own kind. Our troubles are not just ours but many Nations struggle with the same growing problem. We have recalled many but didn’t document our mistakes. Some tribal leaders fall into the same greed as other cultures and we condemn them as corrupt. As with all elected and political appointees, just one lie or untrustworthy action will put your public and political life into a forever tailspin.

Whatever the outcome is, we need to band together and live with written laws that grow with us well into the future for our Nation and its people to survive.

Thomas M. Wabnum


Last I counted, there were 7 people on Tribal Council and the chair only votes during a tie. I guess if one person controls the other 6 votes we have a problem with the whole council not just the chair.

Leslie Morgan

We cannot constantly be harassing the people we elected as leaders, it has become a pattern with our tribe to do this. We elected these people and if we do not like what they do we don't vote for them the next time, otherwise you have constant upheaval, chaos and we lose credibility. In other words, we look like we cannot manage our own government and if we continue down this dangerous path, the federal government will do it for us. Reserve recall for what it was intended for, criminal acts, none have occurred, leave the chairperson and council alone let them do the people's business, what we elected them to do.

The Local Crank

Hey, could be worse. You could have the BIA refusing to recognize your constitutional amendments, the Congressional Black Caucus threatening to cut off your funding, and a federal judge waiving your sovereign immunity...

Leslie Morgan

The Local Crank is right and that's exactly where we are headed.

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