Montana

Jun 27, 2012 3:32 PM by Tara Grimes - MTN News

Blackfeet turn out for tribal election

BROWNING- Hundreds of people filed into polling places in Browning on Tuesday to cast their votes for the much anticipated Blackfeet tribal general election.

Nathan Derouch says this election is particularly important due to the hotly contested debate about whether or not to open up enrollment to descendants and helping the reservation out of poverty.

"Blackfeet tribal government has not worked in the best interest of the Blackfeet people. Now it's time for change, we need new leadership, we need new leadership that's going to work for the Blackfeet people because over the past few years we have a few individuals that have worked for themselves or their families," Derouch said.

He added he wants tribal members who will stand up against open enrollment for already enrolled members, and not give away privileges they have that are depleted already.

But Blackfeet Enrollment Amendment Reform (BEAR) spokeswoman June Birdrattle Humphrey is confident the enrollment issue will not be in the hands of those elected, but by enrolled Blackfeet members in a secretarial election.

"It doesn't really involve the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council. We are going through a different route, we're going through the petition route to call for a secretarial election, and so that's not really something that this Blackfeet Tribal Business Council will affect," she said.

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