Chief from Narragansett Tribe faces questions about residency

Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas is seen at a Narragansett Tribe powwow in Rhode Island. Photo by morningstar401 / Tumblr

The leader of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island is facing calls to step down amid questions about his residency.

According to records reviewed by WPRI-TV, Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas lives in Florida. He secured a driver's license and registered to vote there, a potential violation of the tribe's requirement that leaders live in Rhode Island or within a 50-mile radius.

“I believe the chief should step down,” Darlene Monroe, a member of the tribe's election committee, told WPRI. “He’s rarely here and we know it.”

Monroe led a protest on Monday after six council members were removed from their positions despite serving more than a year. One of those ousted leaders told WRPI that council meetings were often canceled because Thomas hasn't been around.

An attorney for the tribe said Thomas remains a resident of Rhode Island but acknowledged the chief's penchant for travel. “He is in Rhode Island more than Florida," William Devereaux told the station.

Get the Story:
Records show Narragansett’s Chief Sachem Thomas is a Florida voter (WPRI 12/9)

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