April 16, 2006

Three Affiliated Tribes review new constitution


The Three Affiliated Tribes is considering a new constitution to replace one written by the federal government 70 years ago. A tribal committee has been working for more than two years to write a new constitution. It was presented to the tribal council Wednesday. But the council decided to hold more public hearings before taking any action.

Some 25 meetings have already been held.

The new constitution would replace a constitution written by the Department of the Interior in 1936.

The new document includes a tribal bill of rights.It creates a legislature instead of a council and gives members the right to recall and impeach tribal officials.

The new constitution also would allow tribal members to elect their own judges. It also would change name of the tribe to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.

Tribal spokeswoman Glenda Embry said there were calls for more public meetings first to make sure tribal members understand the new constitution. Embry said it’s possible another round of public meetings could be held in May.

It would take a vote by five tribal councilmen to get it to a ballot. If the tribal council doesn’t call for a constitutional election, it could be referred for a secretarial election by petition of 10 percent of eligible voters.

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