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Published May 08, 2013, 03:57 PM

Spirit Lake petition supporters more confident after election

The Spirit Lake tribal council will soon welcome two new members amid continuing cries to oust tribal chairman Roger Yankton. Now supporters of a petition to remove Yankton say new tribal council members will make it easier to force Yankton into a recall election.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

The Spirit Lake tribal council will soon welcome two new members amid continuing cries to oust tribal chairman Roger Yankton. Now supporters of a petition to remove Yankton say new tribal council members will make it easier to force Yankton into a recall election.

Tribal members seem happy with the results of yesterday's election and hope it's the beginning of a more open tribal government. Mardell Lewis was elected to the Saint Michael district seat, and Russ McDonald won the race for the Fort Totten spot. Voters say they're expecting the two new council members to help create a more welcoming tribal government that better listens to the people. The new council members can also affect the petition to remove Yankton. Petition circulator Erich Longie says any new blood on the council will make it harder for Yankton to dismiss the petition.

Longie: "All four candidates were very strong candidates and all we're asking for is a fair shake once we get our petition turned in. We want to make sure that it's looked at fairly, that it's ran through the process fairly and it's reviewed fairly."

That doesn't mean circulators are ready to turn the petition in yet. Longie says there's no time limit on turning the petition in, so he wants to make sure there are enough signatures to validate it. He says he is hoping to pressure the tribal council into swearing in the new members within the next week.

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