Snoqualmie Tribe holds election after leadership dispute

It looks like a long-running leadership dispute within the Snoqualmie Tribe of Washington is coming to an end.

Tribal members chose a new chairwoman, a council member and two alternates on Monday. Chairwoman Shelley Burch said she hopes to heal the rifts that resulted in the banishment of several tribal members, including her predecessor.

"My goal is to try to heal this tribe and bring it back together as a group, instead of fractions here and there," Burch told The Seattle Times"They never should have been banished in the first place."

The tribal members who were banished won a lawsuit in federal court last year. The tribe hasn't officially reinstated the group but one of them said she was happy with Burch's election.

"We are very happy that we have an honorable chair and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of change to unite the Snoqualmie Tribe," Carolyn Lubenau told the Times.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs provided $10,000 to the tribe to pay for a consulting firm to conduct Monday's election.

Get the Story:
New Snoqualmie chairwoman wants to heal tribe's rifts (The Seattle Times 4/14)

Court Decision:
Sweet v. Hinzman (April 30, 2009)

Related Stories:
Banished Snoqualmie members win case in federal court (5/4)
Judge hears case over Snoqualmie banishment (2/20)
Judge asserts jurisdiction in Snoqualmie dispute (9/10)
Banished Snoqualmie members in federal court (8/27)
Eight banished from Snoqualmie Tribe file suit (6/2)
Snoqualmie group banishes, disenrolls rivals (4/28)
Snoqualmie Tribe in dispute amid casino work (4/25)