Terry Lente, a tribal member, continues to move forward with a petition to lower the Isleta blood quantum requirements for tribal membership. Ms. Lente is the Chairperson of the Task Force for Membership. The group wants to amend the Isleta Tribal Constitution to lower the Isleta blood quantum requirements from one-half to one-quarter.
In 2009, Ms. Lente along with a group of core supporters began a petition to lower the Isleta blood quantum. They intended to submit their petition to the Secretary of Interior, the head of the US Department of Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
Ms. Lente’s group, however, never submitted their petition because the Isleta Tribal Council passed Resolution #2009-021, requesting that the Secretary authorize the election, which made submission of the petition unnecessary. The Council, at that time, took that action after hearing strong support from tribal members to hold a Secretarial election to lower the blood quantum requirements.
The election occurred but the initiative to lower the blood quantum failed by approximately 10 votes. The Task Force for Membership wants another vote on the issue because the 2010 vote failed by such a narrow margin. Supporters of the initiative also allege that there was improprieties with the 2010 election such as the failure to count absentee ballots and persons voting on the measure who were not registered.
It is the duty of Secretary of Interior to conduct a special election to amend the Isleta Tribal Constitution:
1. Upon request of the Isleta Tribal Council; OR
2. Upon receipt of a petition signed by at least one-third of eligible voters.
Ms. Lente obtained statistics from the Isleta Tribal Enrollment & Census Office on July 1, 2014, concerning tribal enrollment. She provided Isleta Pueblo Politics with a copy of those stats. This site published that information on August 1, 2014. To view those stats, click the following link: Isleta Tribal Census Information.
Tribal members interested in signing the petition to lower the Isleta blood quantum from one-half to one-quarter may contact Terry Lente at (505)730-7808. To sign the petition, persons must be an enrolled Isleta tribal member, must be 18 years of age or older and must provide an “I” number or birth date. Persons that signed the petition in 2009 need to sign the new 2014 petition.
By Christopher Abeita