Zero Leadership From Tribal Council
On September 8, 2015, the Isleta Tribal Council met with Randy Jiron, the Head War Chief, to discuss setting criteria for possible membership of descendants having at least one-quarter Isleta Indian blood.
After almost two (2) hours, the Council’s discussion went nowhere. Instead, the Council spun in circles bickering about whether they had any prior discussions on membership criteria and whether those discussions were meaningful.
Barbara Sanchez, Secretary of the Council, stated that if quarter bloods become members of the Pueblo, it would increase the Pueblo’s enrollment by approximately 1,400 tribal members. She also explained that the Council already requested various departments to provide the Council with information on how programs would be impacted, if quarter bloods become tribal members.
Sanchez also read a portion of Council meeting minutes where she quoted Council member Verna Teller stating that — the Council had the authority to develop criteria for membership regardless of the petition.
Currently, tribal members are circulating a petition that would require the Secretary of Interior to hold an election to amend the Constitution. They want the Tribe to vote on a proposed amendment that would enable descendents with at least one-quarter Isleta Indian blood to become members of the Pueblo.
Council members are fearful that the petition will be successful. So, they want petition organizers to stop their efforts until they discuss the Council’s ideas about setting up “criteria” for membership. The Council is toying with the idea of accepting quarter bloods as tribal members based on the Council’s “criteria.”
However, the Council has not developed any “criteria.” Nor, has the Council bothered to seek any input from the community about — what “criteria” should be established for membership.
Teller suggested that the Council establish a date that would allow the community to participate in the discussion of setting up “criteria” for membership. None of the other Council members supported her suggestion.
So, the Council did not accomplish anything during their discussion. They couldn’t even reach agreement on setting up a date for a future discussion on the matter. There was zero leadership from the Council.