The tribal dispute that could lead to the closing of the Meskwaki Casino in Tama may come to an end with an election tomorrow. The dispute involves a council appointed by the tribe’s hereditary chief, which took control of the casino from a council elected in 1999. Tom Jochum, a lawyer for the appointed leadership council, says the election will settle the issue.He says the election will state once and for all who the people of the community support. He says a required number of people signed recall petitions for the elected council — but those petitions were ignored. He says another election also had a majority voting to remove the elected council. Jochum says people who’re trying to get federal and state agencies to rule on the legitimacy of the tribe’s leadership are going about it in the wrong way. He says there seems to be a great scramble of people seeking state and federal officials to recognize a government, when he says the real people who should be choosing a government are the members of the community. The National Indian Gaming Commission ordered the casino shut down after the appointed council took over. L.Leo Peters, a spokesperson for the elected council, tried to speak at today’s news conference — but didn’t get very far as he was shouted down by the audience. A tribal member from the crowd says the appointed council will prevail. She says they have a majority of the voters members in favor of the appointed council, and she says they will win. The elections begins tomorrow morning at eight o’clock and the polls are open until eight in the evening.
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