Will the Tribe Choose to Accept Our Children and Grand-children as Tribal Members?
Today, Tribal Members and Tribal Descendents held a meeting at Kimo Construction, Inc., to inform tribal members about their petition to the lower the Isleta blood quantum from one-half to one-quarter. Once enough signatures are gathered, they will present their petition to the Secretary of Interior requesting an election to amend the Isleta Tribal Constitution. This will allow tribal members to vote on whether to reduce the blood quantum.
Approximately 35-40 persons including Council Member Fernando Abeita were attending today’s meeting. The Task Force for Membership endorsed Abeita for re-election for 2015-2016. No other tribal officials were in attendance. The group also endorsed Governor Eddie Paul Torres for re-election.
According to the Isleta Tribal Constitution, there are two ways to request a Secretarial Election. First, the Isleta Tribal Council could request an election by majority vote. Or, second, tribal members could bypass the Council by submitting a petition directly to the Secretary of Interior requesting an election.
The second option requires a petition signed by at least 30% of tribal members that are at least 18 years old. This means that more than 1,000 tribal members would need to sign the petition. Currently, the group has approximately 250 signatures for their petition.
On February 11, 2009, the Isleta Tribal Council adopted a resolution requesting the Secretary of Interior to hold an election on the issue of lowering the blood quantum. The measure was defeated by less than 10 votes. The narrow margin means that another vote on the issue could bring victory for the tribal members fighting to lower the blood quantum for their children and grand-children.