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Recall vote against tribal council representative canceled

Members of the Spirit Lake tribe living in Saint Michael say they're outraged after a recall vote against their tribal council representative was canceled.

The tribal council voted to hold the recall election one week ago, but rescinded the decision.

The council voted last week to hold another recall vote on Saint Michael council member Mardell Lewis, set for Tuesday, but that decision was reversed.

Tribal Chairman Russ McDonald says he spoke with former tribal leaders and the tribe's lawyer, who say it's against the tribal constitution for the council to mandate a recall vote.

Tribal members who supported the recall say the chairman is violating their rights by canceling Tuesday's vote.

St. Michael Representative Richard Yankton said, "That one decision by the chairman saying there's a tie and there's not gonna be any more vote…he voted! He voted for to retain. That's basically what happened."

Spirit Lake Tribal Chairman Russ McDonald said, "I understand that they may be upset with what's going on but in regard to the constitution, we're in line with that, and they had the opportunity at last fall's vote to bring a majority vote and they didn't do it. "

Spirit Lake Tribal council members can only face a recall petition once a year. Lewis won't be eligible to be recalled via petition again until September.

Mardell Lewis declined to comment on the allegations. She says she successfully beat the recall vote last year, and can not face another recall until September this year.

Adam Ladwig

Adam Ladwig joined WDAZ as the Devils Lake bureau reporter in January, 2012. Prior to that he reported for KDUH-TV in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Adam has won multiple awards during his time at WDAZ, including an Eric Sevareid award and a Regional Emmy Award as part of team coverage during the search for Anthony Kuznia.  A Colorado native, Adam graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Journalism. He misses the Rocky Mountains, but the kind people of North Dakota more than make up for that. He is thrilled to be in the Lake Region, telling stories that matter. In his spare time, Adam is usually futilely attempting to get in shape, or cheering for his beloved Denver Broncos.

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