Yankton outed, McDonald named Spirit Lake Tribal ChairmanSpirit Lake tribal Chairman Roger Yankton is out, after an overwhelming majority of tribal members vote to recall him. Tribal members named a new chairman as well, bringing resolution to a controversy that has been swirling for months on the reservation.
By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ
Spirit Lake tribal Chairman Roger Yankton is out, after an overwhelming majority of tribal members vote to recall him. Tribal members named a new chairman as well, bringing resolution to a controversy that has been swirling for months on the reservation.
That controversy may not be over with yet, but tribal members who opposed Roger Yankton say Monday was a good day. Tribal members met at four winds school for more than four hours today. The meeting was organized after petitioners turned in petition last week to kick him out of office. They voted to kick Yankton out of office, then voted Russ McDonald, Vice President of Academics at Cankdeska Cikana community college, as the new chairman. Tribal members say Yankton abused power and ignored the tribe's constituion. McDonald says the tribe will need to re-focus on the constitution to move forward.
McDonald: "When everything's built on the constitution for how we govern here on our tribe, we need to put that first. When we deter from that we're going off track in regard to what our ancestors and current generations are put in place."
Yankton says he isn't going to back down quietly. He wouldn't speak on camera, but he says he still views himself as the tribal chairman and is challenging the validity of the petition against him in tribal court. Tribal members say the recall meeting was without incident. The BIA brought in eight additional officers over the weekend to be present at Four Winds School today.
The final vote to oust Yankton was 284-145. McDonald received the majority vote of 190 to win the chairman seat with Robert Thompson following behind with 52 votes, and Skip Longie with 51.