Yellow Bird: Reservation elections
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"Elections on reservations can be as heated and dicey as some national elections. But I guess when you know the candidate intimately, you can grab a bigger chunk of mud to toss, if that is how you want to play it.

A friend from Turtle Mountain, who is exhausted from all the turmoil swirling around those beautiful mountains, said before the coming of the white man, the leaders were elected for occasions. For example, if there were a battle to be fought, a leader was elected for that occasion - then that person dissolved into the tribe when the battle was over.

As for the tribal council in those times, the women of the tribe decided who was to be on the council and could dissolve that appointment if major problems arose, she said.

In my mind, it is unfortunate that few tribal councils have women as members. There are no female tribal chairmen in this area. I cannot say that women would lead better, but certainly that voice seems to be lacking in North Dakota.

Finally, despite pointing to the lack of good leadership skills among our tribal councilmen (sometimes it is when they don't agree with me), I do see councils growing and maturing. When something is amiss, the people many times will take to the streets to change the government. In this way, many tribal people have taken a hand when something went wrong and changed it. . ."

Get the Story:
Dorreen Yellow Bird: On reservations, may the best candidates win (The Grand Forks Herald 9/17)

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