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Twenty-eight people file for three spots on Tribal Council

By the time the filing period had closed on the 2006 White Earth tribal elections this past Friday, Feb. 3, a total of 28 candidates had stepped forward to indicate their interest in seeking three open positions on the White Earth Tribal Council.

Incumbent secretary/treasurer Franklin "Bud" Heisler, District 1 committee person Irene "Rene" Auginaush and District 2 committee person Anthony "Tony" Wadena have all filed for re-election; each will be challenged by a full slate of candidates.

The White Earth Tribal Council and election judges withheld the names of the remaining from the media, however, until each of them had completed a background check and was officially certified by the council as a qualified candidate. That certification was expected to be completed this afternoon (Wednesday), according to White Earth public relations officer Gary Padrta.

Part of the reason for the delay in releasing the names may have been the fact that this is the first tribal election to be governed by two new amendments to the Minnesota Chippewa constitution, both pertaining to the tribe's election laws.

With multiple candidates filing for each position, White Earth is expected to hold a primary election on April 4. The top two vote-getters for each of the three open positions will advance to the general election on June 13.

This year's general election is the first to fall under the tribe's revised election laws. Two amendments to the Minnesota Band of Chippewa's tribal constitution, both pertaining to election laws, were approved by secretarial election on Nov. 22.

One amendment prohibits any tribal member convicted of a felony, or a lesser crime involving theft, misappropriation or embezzlement of funds, assets or property belonging to any Indian tribe or tribal organization, to hold an elected office within the tribe.

The other amendment requires all candidates for elected office within the tribe to be an enrolled member of the tribe and to be a resident of the reservation for at least one year prior to the date of election.

All of the candidates on the docket for the April 4 primary will be certified as meeting these criteria; each must also be at least 21 years of age on or before the date of election.

For more information about the upcoming tribal elections, call the White Earth public relations office at 218-983-3285, Ext. 1206.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454