A new election may settle a power struggle within Iowa’s Meskwaki Indian tribe. Shortly after taking office, tribal officials chosen in the last election took several moves that were controversial, and late in March a group occupied tribal offices in Tama, saying they’d been appointed as tribal leaders, by hereditary chief Charles Old Bear. The challengers say they mounted a petition drive to recall the elected leadership, but Tribal chairman Alex Walker Jr says the petitions were not valid and some members told him they were tricked into signing. Now the opposing groups say they may schedule a new election, possibly as soon as May 27, to settle the dispute.The showdown’s likely to prove costly — though a district court said it didn’t have jurisdiction, the National Indian Gaming Commission’s noted that the casino’s licensed operators are not the people claiming to be running the tribal government right now, and the state of Iowa has halted all talks on renewing the tribe’s compact with the state to permit gambling at its 100-million-dollar-a-year casino in Tama.
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