Isleta Pueblo Politics

By Christopher L. Abeita

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1,023 Isleta Tribal Members Sign Petition

Validating Signatures 

1,023 Isleta tribal members signed the petition to request a Secretarial Election on a constitutional amendment to lower the Isleta blood-quantum requirement from one-half (1/2) to one-quarter (1/4) for tribal membership.

2,857 tribal members are eligible to vote in a Secretarial Election as of November 16, 2015. To be eligible to vote, a tribal member must be at least 18 years of age.

Article XIII of the Pueblo of Isleta Tribal Constitution requires the Secretary of Interior to hold an election to amend the Constitution “upon receipt of a petition signed by at least one-third (1/3) of the voters eligible to vote on said amendment.” One-third (1/3) of 2,857 is 952.  This means that the petition has 71 signatures more than the minimum number required by the Constitution. 

Currently, John Antonio, Superintendent for the Southern Pueblos Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, (BIA), is in the process of validating the signatures on the petition with the help of the Pueblo of Isleta Census and Enrollment Office. Antonio explained that he has 30 days to complete the process. His start date is November 16, 2015.

The validation process could eliminate some signatures from the total count. For example, if a person signing the petition is not a tribal member, their signature could be disqualified. Or, if a person is now deceased, their name could also be removed from the total count.  But, as long as the total signatures are at least 952 or more, the petition will be deemed valid.

Today, December 2, 2015, “Washington” notified Antonio that he cannot use “business days” to calculate time requirements for tribal members to raise challenges to signatures on the petition. Instead, Antonio must use “calendar days.” This reduces the deadline for tribal members to submit challenges to signatures on the petition to Friday, December 4, 2015. 

Antonio explained that he wanted to use business days because the BIA is closed on weekends, which prevents tribal members from inspecting the petition during the weekends. “Washington’s” decision means that tribal members wishing to inspect the signatures on the petition and raise challenges must do so no later than December 4, 2015.

For more information, you may contact John Antonio, Superintendent Southern Pueblos Agency at: (505) 563-3600.


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