An election aimed at settling the leadership of the Sac and Fox tribe in Tama — the Meskwakis — may be thrown into question as the voting date grows closer. Terry Rainey was appointed supervisor of the process by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but he says the B-I-A on Friday withdrew its recognition of the election. The election notice was “posted” Wednesday but he says it was not the same as the original posting, and the bureau told the parties involved that if the rules weren’t the same as first laid out, the agency would withdraw its participation. The federal oversight and recognition was the main goal of this election, since the Meskwaki Casino won’t be allowed to reopen until federal regulators confirm it’s being operated by the recognized leaders of the tribe. Rainey says the federal agency sent a letter to both factions that have been struggling for recognition as tribal leadership. He says the Alex Walker council was “proceeding by their own rules” when members posted election rules last Wednesday, and that’s when the BIA withdrew from the process. Rainey can’t say what might happen now, explaining he doesn’t know or speak for the BIA’s current opinion of the situation Rainey says the feds are “obviously not happy” with the way things are proceeding, or else the bureau would still be involved, so for now it’ll wait and see. At issue is whether the votes will be cast at the tribal offices, as originally established, or at the settlement’s school, as the Alex Walker faction is now indicating in news releases it’s sent out. Tom Jochum is spokesman for the rival faction headed by Homer Bear Junior.Jochum says there will be an election at the tribal center from eight A.M. to eight P.M., despite Walker’s declaration that there will be a vote at the tribal school, which Jochum says is not the polling place recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Jochum says Alex Walker’s action is jeopardizing the BIA’s recognition of the election’s outcome. The election that’s being held at the tribal school does not conform to the BIA’s directive, nor, says Jochum, to the tribe’s constitution, especially in the area of absentee ballots. This Tuesday night is set for a primary, and October 21st is the date the election was supposed to settle leadership of the tribe and clear the way for the casino to be reopened.
You are here: / / Uncertainty continues to surround Meskwaki election