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Voters approve new White Earth Constitution

11-20-2013

 

WHITE EARTH, MINN. –White Earth enrollees overwhelmingly approved a new White Earth Constitution on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Community members gathered at the Golden Eagle Bingo Hall in Mahnomen, Minn., and waited patiently for several hours as 3,492 ballots were opened and counted.  In the end, almost 80 percent of the voters approved a new White Earth Constitution.  The final tally showed 2,780 (79.61 percent) voted to approve the proposed Constitution and 712 (20.39 percent) voted to reject.

“I am very gratified the people of the White Earth Nation have spoken,” said White Earth Chairwoman Erma J. Vizenor.  “And we move forward now to transition and implementation.”

Earlier this year the White Earth Tribal Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for a referendum vote on the proposed Constitution.

There have been several efforts for constitutional reform at White Earth in recent decades. Each of these efforts have built upon each other and made important contributions.  In her 2007 State of the Nation address, Vizenor responded to calls from citizens to address constitutional reform and announced her intention to formally begin efforts for constitutional reform at White Earth.

From 2007-2009, four Constitutional Conventions were held.  On April 9, 2009, Constitutional Delegates ratified a proposed Constitution of the White Earth Nation. The proposed constitution has three distinct branches of government with a set of checks and balances among the branches, several advisory councils, and requires lineal descent for citizenship.

“This is a historic moment in our history,” said Vizenor.  “It ensures that our great Nation will endure in perpetuity forever.”

You can find the text of the newly approved White Earth Constitution on the White Earth website at www.whiteearth.com and the White Earth Nation Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WhiteEarthNation