About 50 members of the Meskwaki nation visited the statehouse today, appealing for state lawmakers’ help in convincing federal officials to validate the recent tribal election. Tribal chairman Homer Bear, Junior, the winner of last week’s election, says the people of Iowa need to know the tribe’s predicament. Bear says the closure of the casino — which was ordered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs — affects a lot of people in the Tama/Toledo area.Bear says 13-hundred people work at the casino – and most were not members of the tribe. He says legislators who represent those workers need to be aware of the circumstances of the vote. Bear says tribal election must be recognized. Tom Jochum, a lobbyist hired by the tribe, says there’s nothing legislators can do, directly, but they can use their influence with federal officials. At least one legislator — Senator Dennis Black of Newton — is sending a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is in the Department of Interior. Black says the newly-elected tribal council should be allowed to step in and take over management of the casino. Black says the legislature can’t solve the problem; the Meskwakis, as a sovereign nation, must solve it themselves. But Black says he’s sending a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs about the “tempest in a teapot in Tama County” and telling the Bureau “shame on you.”