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Website encourages political involvement
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 01:00

A group of Yavapai-Apache citizens are calling for more effective tribal government, and are threatening to initiate a recall of the entire tribal council.

They’ve set up a website, yavapai-apachevoices.org, to try and get more members of the tribe involved in local politics, especially those members who don’t live on local reservation land, Roberta Pavatea said.

YAN_election_websitePavatea has been outspoken against tribal government as of late. In March, she was one of around 30 tribal members who approached the council after collecting signatures from people demanding the council change the way it disperses per capita funding to each member of the tribe.

Around $8 million in principal funds are set aside under a savings program set up in 2004.

There are also people upset over a perceived difficulty for members who live off the reservation in receiving services, Pavatea said, pointing to the food bank and other social services as an example.

Opponents to increase the amount of money dispersed argued that the money held in an account is a one-time deal and dispersing it would mean there would be less available for future generations, while others argued that if the money is there, it ought to benefit people in the here and now.

The tribal council argued that increasing disbursement of money would result in further cuts to services, according to Gah’nahvah/Ya ti’, the Nation’s newspaper.

Ultimately, Pavatea said she’s arguing for a more transparent tribal government, and the best way to achieve that goal is to get more people involved in the political process. The Nation’s constitution also need to be rewritten, Pavatea said, in order to more clearly define the responsibilities of government and to better suit the needs of the Nation’s citizens in the present.

The council is aware of the talk about recalls, said Fran Chavez, public relations liaison for the Nation, but no paperwork has yet been filed.

Unless that changes, Chavez said the tribal government would have no official comment.

“We’ve heard the talk,” Chavez said, “But until anything is actually done we’re treating it as rumor.”

 

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