Comanche tribal elder Eleanor McDaniel is back in the saddle in calling for the recall with tribal leadership and she has seven particulars to consider.
McDaniel, who is known for calling for change of leadership over several administrations, said this one has. Immediate implications with the COVID-19 crisis. She said she came to the conclusion “after giving it a lot of thought.”
“The purpose of the seven petitions is to call for special meetings of the Tribal Council to recall Willie Nelson Sr. as Chairman, LaNora Parker as Vice-chair, June Sovo as Committeeman No. 1, Diana Gail Sovo-Doyebi as Committee Person No. 2, Clyde Narcomey as Committeeman No. 4 and both for the second time Robert Tippeconnie as Secretary Treasurer and Ron Redelk as Committeeman of the Comanche Nation,” she said.
The intent to petition began Thursday. McDaniel has 90 days to gain 1,266 signatures of eligible Comanche voters to call for special general council meetings for each particular.
An open house will be from 8 a.m. dark Saturday and Sunday at 1063 NW Quanah Road in Cache, just off of U.S. 62 and north of the Cahoma Building. Its intent is to provide an opportunity for all tribal members to stop by and sign petitions, McDaniel said. Tribal members are asked to bring their tribal identification.
Among the petition particulars:
•An allegation of neglect of duty by, McDaniel said, “not providing for the common well-being of the Comanche Nation and all its members during a global pandemic.”
McDaniel called the members of the Business Committee’s leadership “incompetent, dishonest, unethical and fraudulent” and said caused a “more devastating impact of COVID-19 on tribal members.” From tribal employee layoffs and the shutdown of essential tribal services, she said they failed to disburse federal COVID-19 funding to all tribal members and didn’t provide significant aide without hurdles to application.
She also claimed that leadership failed to disburse federal COVID-19 funds to tribal members as well and made it difficult to communicate with the tribe programs during the shutdown.
Of note, despite McDaniel’s claim that other tribes have sent financial payments to their citizens, any tribes to receive federal money under the CARES Act are prohibited from making direct financial payments and would be subject to having to repay that money spent. The Comanche Nation received just over $27 million in those funds.
•Another allegation is that the members of the Business Committing “brought disrepute upon the Comanche Nation.” McDaniel claimed they also put the Comanche Nation Gaming Operations and the Annual Tribal Operations and Services Budget in jeopardy by signing the new gaming compact with Gov. Kevin Stitt without the knowledge, input and approval by the Tribal Council, the supreme governing body, according to the tribe’s constitution.
McDaniel claims the entire Business Committee
acted in violation of the National Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and Laws of the State Oklahoma. She said the action has resulted in harsh objections by all Oklahoma tribes.
“Signing the illegal compact with Stitt was seen as rogue actions to destroy the united initiative of 33 Indigenous Nations to protect Indian Gaming in Oklahoma from the detrimental actions of Governor Stitt and according to the Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma Mike Hunter the illegal compact is not authorized by the state’s Tribal Gaming Act,” she said.
Despite objections by the other tribes and Hunter, the Department of the Interior approved the gaming compact on June 8.
Questions remain about how the Comanche Nation will fulfill its constitutional mandate to hold an annual Tribal Council meeting. Due to the state of emergency that followed the arrival of COVID-19, the annual April meeting was postponed.
According to the tribe’s constitution, the meeting is to be held to take nominations for open Business Committee positions as well as for the hiring of the tribal attorney and tribal administrator. It is also necessary for the line-item budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 to be approved and moved to a line-item vote.
These issues are to be accomplished before the end of the fiscal year at midnight, Sept. 30. The tribe has not responded to requests for comment regarding the election and attending issues.