Kevin Abourezk: Leaders of Winnebago Tribe face recall attempt

Chairman John Blackhawk is among those facing a recall petition. Photo from Ho-Chunk Inc / Facebook

Seven of the eight council members for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska are facing removal petitions. Native reporter Kevin Abourezk looks into the fallout from audit into the council's finances:
A community group in Winnebago is calling on seven tribal council members to resign their positions or risk being recalled in the wake of allegations the council members misappropriated tribal funds.

The group, known as Winnebago Tribe for the People, has begun circulating petitions seeking the recall of seven of the council’s eight members. The only exception is Darla LaPointe, who was just elected.

The group’s leaders say they have about half the petition signatures they need to put the recall of the seven other council members to a vote of the tribe’s members. Tribal Chairman John Blackhawk said Friday the group would need to gather about 200 signatures on each petition to put a recall vote on the ballot.

Winnebago tribal council members. Photo from Winnebago Tribe

The group is alleging the council members stole from tribal coffers when they approved hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bonuses, raises and casino gifts in recent years.

Keely Bassette, a Winnebago Tribe for the People leader, said the group helped uncover the payments and gifts to the council members.

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: Group protesting actions of tribal council members (The Lincoln Journal Star 3/2)
Kevin Abourezk: Audit criticizes Winnebago tribal council spending (The Lincoln Journal Star 2/28)

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