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Published April 22, 2013, 05:43 PM

Spirit Lake petition gaining signatures

Members of the Spirit Lake Nation tying to oust tribal chairman Roger Yankton say they've nearly collected enough signatures to petition for Yankton's removal.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

Members of the Spirit Lake Nation tying to oust tribal chairman Roger Yankton say they've nearly collected enough signatures to petition for Yankton's removal.

This comes just a day after the BIA reaffirmed Yankton as tribal chairman, after his opponents swore in a new chairman last week. Yankton's opponents knew the new chairman would likely not be recognized, but they're hoping the petition will officially oust him from office. Tribal Council member Clarise Brownshield says petitioners have collected at least 400 signatures to remove Yankton from office. About 560 signatures are needed according to the Spirit Lake constitution.

The petition was launched last week when a group of tribal members tried to install Russ McDonald as the new chairman. A BIA spokesperson says Yankton is still in power, but the agency says they're monitoring the situation closely. Brownshield says she hopes the the petition will work where previous efforts haven't.

Brownshield: "We knew that we're gonna have trouble with everybody not allowing people to be heard, doing what they want, what they recommended."

If petitioners collect enough validated signatures Yankton would then be subject to a recall vote. Brownshield hopes to have enough signatures to turn in the petition within a week.

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