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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Government & Elections
Washoe Tribe Chair ignores tribal member's effort to recall her from office
Over three hundred members of the Washo Tribe of Nevada and California have signed an official recall petition against the tribe's Chair, Wanda Bachelor. So far, Bachelor and her followers at tribal headquarters have responded to the petition -by simply ignoring it. The "leaders" of the tribe have issued a gag order against the tribal members. Under the rules of this illegal "gag order," tribal members are allowed to attend tribal council meetings, -but aren't allowed to speak out, as part of the proceedings.
March 1. 2013
AFFILIATED OBSIDIAN NATION LENDS ITS SUPPORT –ONCE AGAIN- TO TRIBAL MEMBER’S EFFORT TO OUST “LEADERS” OF WASHO TRIBE
by Steve Jerome-Wyatt,
Special to the Affiliated Obsidian Nation KINDTED SPIRIT ARCHIVES
March 1, 2013
... AN UNOFFICIAL INTRODUCTION:
To our Brothers and Sisters everywhere: formed in the Winter of 1984 in northern California, the Affiliated Obsidian Nation of The People Who Live the Legacy is an independent, community-based, American Indian people’s resistance movement of the 21st Century. Our circle is composed of an ever-expanding Constellation of Poets, Warriors, Scholars and Priests. As organizations and individuals, we have each pledged to do everything within our power to defend the rights and basic human dignity of modern-day American Indians as a Free and Independent people. We also strive very hard to promote accuracy in the mainstream print/broadcast media with regard to their portrayal of contemporary American culture.
STATEMENT OF THE SITUATION:
Trouble has made its way once again to Washoe Country. (Carson Valley, Nevada.) Hundreds of tribal members of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California have grown tired of the way that their rights are being trampled upon by the “leaders” of their tribal government. The situation has become such that The People have submitted an official petition to recall the tribe’s Chair. However, -as our friends on the Dresslerville Indian reservation have informed us, the Chair and her sycophants at tribal headquarters have responded to the recall petition -by simply ignoring it.
The A.O.N. has an in-house news publication called the KINDRED SPIRIT ARCHIVES. Our newsletter has published news and information about every one of the seventeen major community campaigns that our group has involved itself in, since we first came together over twenty-nine years ago.
Now, in the Spring of 2013, the KINDRED SPIRIT ARCHIVES has officially picked up this story, which we are calling ”Trouble Returns Once Again to Washoe Wonderland.” It goes without question that we will be publishing more in-depth news and information about it, in the near future.
For now, we present the original, hard-text copy of the Washoe people’s Recall Petition against the current tribal Chair of the Washoe Tribe, Wanda Bachelor:
“Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California Recall
Petition for Chairwoman Wanda Bachelor
We, the undersigned Washoe tribal members, are petitioning to remove Chairwoman Wanda Bachelor for the following factual reasons:
• Ms. Bachelor denied the authority of the Dresslerville Community Council (DCC) to recall two members of it’s council as DCC’s articles allow; deny DCC’s right to be heard at a tribal council meeting and chose to personally ”veto” DCC’s action under Article 7, Section 2 of the Washoe Tribal Constitution. Ms. Bachelor refused to disclose the “reason” why this action was taken and how it was “in the best interest of the local residents of the Washoe Tribal membership as a whole” as the WTNC Constitution requires.
• Ms. Bachelor has a special interest with a small group of Dresslerville residents to prevent removal of the current Tribal Vice-chair based on their frivolous letter of support that the tribal council accepted without verifying signatures that these individuals were Washoe tribal members and current residents of the community.
• It is the responsibility of the Chairperson to lend and facilitate Tribal Council meetings and ensure proper procedures are followed. Ms. Bachelor allowed both Dresslerville representatives to the tribal council to vote to prevent their removal from Tribal Council, not following protocol which is direct conflict of interest.
• Ms. Bachelor and her administrative team developed a code of conduct that Tribal Council members were required to sign and comply with even though all Tribal Council members took their “Oath of Office” to work in the best interests of the Washoe Tribe. This Code of Conduct was used to illegally remove Woodford’s Tribal Council representative when he refused to sign it.
• Woodford’s community chairperson submitted a letter of resignation to the Washoe Tribal Council and relocated. Ms. Bachelor refused to accept the resignation causing delays to fill the vacancy on both the Tribal Council and Woodfords community council, continued to pay the Chairperson, losing $6,000 in tribal funds for that community, addressed in an open WTC meeting in May 2012.
• Under Article 1, Section 2 of the Washoe Tribal Constitution, the Vice-chair is only to assume the duties of the Chair in her absence. Ms. Bachelor created a paid position for the current Vice-Chairman in the wake of a major deficit when a number of tribal positions were eliminated and staff lost their jobs. None of this was reported to the tribal membership.
• In the summer of 2011 Ms. Bachelor allowed the tribal council to disband nearly all tribal committees. This action created significant problems and unnecessary stress for volunteers and staff, as well as undue dissention among tribal members. While tribal elders on the Senior Center advisory committee were insulted when they were disbanded, the Washoe Cultural Resource Advisory Committee that Ms. Bachelor continues to chair was not affected. This created more problems; violated tribal policies and put business at a standstill. Personnel issues, Educational scholarships, Health Board issues, delays for Hunting & Fishing tags, Housing issues, Constitution Committee amendments and proposals, and the Election Board were all affected. WTC scrambled to put people on these boards to conduct business leaving boards vacant. When these committees were reestablished, the Tribal Council provided no parameters, expectations, or direction for improvement.
• Ms. Bachelor proposed to eliminate the Ranch resulting in tribal opposition. Two committees with tribal council representatives were established to discuss options but meetings were continually canceled where vital issues remain unanswered.
• Ms. Bachelor schedules regular Tribal Council meetings in closed sessions where critical information is discussed and major decisions are made. Closed sessions are only to be held for enrollment and personnel. Tribal Council meetings are limited to no more than 2 hours with limited information given to Tribal members. After Ms. Bachelor became Chair, tribal members were no longer allowed the right to speak, and must meet a 10-day requirement to be on the agenda. Tribal members are not given answers to questions regarding steps being taken to secure the future of our tribe. The tribal membership is excluded from any input or decision-making.
• Ms. Bachelor’s ineffective and unstable leadership contributes to a hostile work environment where staff fears for their jobs if they do not support her. Tribal and community council members who work for our Tribe are reluctant to voice their opinions or challenge her. Rather than focusing precious time and energy toward tribal progress, it is wasted in power struggles with the very people she took an oath to fairly and impartially represent. The WTC recently approved a “long house/roundhouse” on the Clear Creek parcel, claiming the Washoes used these houses from the 1800’s to 1930. Several elders are appalled and angered at this action which was not brought before the tribal membership.
Doing what is “right” for the people and “working together in a good way” is simply lip service. Rather than working to elevate our tribe, Ms. Bachelor spends time and energy strategizing against our own people to further her own agenda. After a year and a half of Ms. Bachelor as Chairwoman, what is actually being done for our people? Tribal funds continue to be used for travel, training, planning, etc. but no significant changes are evident, and we seem to get nothing in return. Concerns of mismanagement of federal funding and harassment of staff is inexcusable.
We need a Chair and a leader who will work to uphold our tribal Constitution & Bylaws rather than create unnecessary rules to intimidate and attempt to control others, heed the advice of experts in their fields to establish viable economic development that will lessen our tribe’s dependence on outside funds, lay a strong foundation for viable, positive, long lasting change on behalf of all tribal members rather than using our tribe’s limited resources to benefit a select few, and we need a Chair who will help motivate our Washoe people to work together to retain our cultural values, traditions and language for generations to come, and who works to gain the Washoe Tribe’s rightful status within our traditional homeland.
Ms. Bachelor is not working in the best interests of the Washoe people. These actions contribute to increased divisiveness with Washoe tribal communities and further distance of Off Reservation tribal members. This information has been recorded in community and tribal council meetings and witnessed by tribal council members who can attest to its validity.”