Isleta Pueblo Politics

By Christopher L. Abeita

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250 Signatures Needed for Special Election on Tribal Membership

Petition to Amend the Isleta Tribal Constitution

Tribal members are very close to obtaining 30% of the signatures necessary to require the Secretary of Interior to hold an election to amend the Isleta Tribal Constitution. According to Phillip Jojola, they need only 250 signatures to reach their goal.

On June 15, 2015, tribal members asked the Isleta Tribal Council to vote on requesting an election to amend the Isleta Tribal Constitution. The Council ignored the request and took no action, which forced tribal members to continue gathering signatures for their petition.

The Tribal Constitution requires tribal members to vote on any proposed changes to the Isleta Constitution. An election to vote on proposed changes must be conducted by the Secretary of Interior through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The Secretary must conduct an election upon a majority vote of the Isleta Tribal Council requesting such election. Alternatively, tribal members may request the Secretary to hold an election by submiiting a petition signed by at least 30% of tribal members eligible to vote in such election.

To be a member of Isleta Pueblo, a person must have at least one-half Isleta Indian blood or have one-half Indian blood of any tribe and be adopted or naturalized by the Council. Historically, the Isleta Tribal Council has accepted many persons as members of the Tribe that have at least one-half Indian blood but not necessarily “Isleta Indian blood.” The Council takes these actions in complete secrecy and no one knows how many people that the Council has actually accepted as members of the Tribe.

Many tribal members have family members that have only one-quarter Isleta Indian blood. Persons with one-quarter Isleta Indian blood are classified as “descendants” and they are not members of the Pueblo. This means that they are not eligible to receive all benefits that enrolled tribal members receive from the Pueblo. So, some tribal members are proposing a constitutional amendment that would change the Isleta blood quantum requirement for membership from one-half to one-quarter.

If you wish to sign the petition to request a special election on a vote to amend the Constitution, you may contact:

Phillip Jojola (505) 916-6465;
Hubert Abeita (505) 307-3946; or
Joanne Rael (505) 379-7152.

Petition organizers will also be available to collect signatures near the Isleta Post Office on Saturday, August 15, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. thru 12:00 p.m.

Tribal members that live out of state or anywhere off the Isleta reservation are also eligible to sign the petition AND vote on any constitutional amendments. Contact petition organizers to make arrangements to sign the petition. Or, you may contact me through this website.

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What are your thoughts?

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