A proposal to amend the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Constitution to remove the federal government’s involvement in future amending of the Constitution was defeated Tuesday by tribal voters on a vote of 72 members against the change and only 40 in favor.
According to a news release from the tribe, a total of 231 tribal members completed and returned the secretarial election notice packets.
Of the 231 eligible voters, 112 voted in Tuesday’s election.
The purpose of the election was to determine if tribal members wanted to amend Article VIII of the tribe’s Constitution.
According to tribal officials, Article VIII defines the requirements for amending the tribe’s Constitution. The proposed Article VIII amendment would have removed the federal government’s process to amend the tribe’s Constitution, and replaces it with a 100 percent tribal process.
According to the news release, because the Article VIII amendment failed, the tribe’s Constitution remains unchanged. The constitution committee will continue their work to educate the membership, and to insure that the tribe’s Constitution meets the needs of the members.
The Lac du Flambeau Tribe’s Constitution is one of many tribal constitutions that were written during the Indian Reorganization Act era, when the federal government used the same template for many tribes’ constitutions.
All of these constitutions included federal oversight with the amendment process.
There had been talk for many years among LdF tribal members about making the proposed change in the tribe’s Constitution.
Eventually a constitution committee, comprised of Gilbert Chapman, Phillup (Bub) Chapman, Betty Jack, Richard Jack (chairman), John LaBarge, Flo Ninham and William (Billy) Schuman, developed the proposed amendment over the course of a year.
Part of the drafting process included six community meetings, where tribal members provided valuable input. Many of the ideas shared at the meetings were used to refine the amendment and to add increased protections for the members of the tribe.
Joe VanDeLaarschot may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.