By Sheila Stogsdill
MIAMI, Okla. — A two-month dispute over who will lead the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe for the next two years has been resolved by a declaration of nonjurisdiction in the Court of Indian Offenses, according to the tribe.
The re-election of Chief Paul Spicer was upheld last week. The two-term chief won with 523 votes to 373 votes in the June 2 tribal election.
The election was contested by former Chief Leroy Howard and his supporters because of an increase in the amount of absentee votes, according to a tribe spokesman.
Howard did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
Several protests were filed regarding the validity of the election, but a previous election committee threw out the protests and certified the election, citing Spicer as chief. A newly seated election committee then upheld the protests and called for a new election.
The dispute led to Judge William Wantland issuing a temporary restraining order staying the certification of the election.
After hearings on July 20 and 27, Wantland ruled Friday that the court does not have jurisdiction over tribal election disputes and allowed the unanimous confirmation of the tribe’s election committee to stand.
The one-page ruling said the court found that the General Council of June 2 was adjourned upon a motion, a second to that motion and a voice vote, and that no appeal was taken from the chief’s declaration of adjournment.
“Therefore the resolution to give the court jurisdiction in election disputes is null and void, and the court does not have jurisdiction,” the court record states.
“Our tribal members have spoken with a strong and clear voice in support of the direction we have led the tribe over the last two years,” Spicer said in a prepared statement.
The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma has 4,400 members.
Oklahoma is the home of 39 tribal governments, according to Oklahoma Indian Legal Services Inc.
As sovereign, independent nations, the tribes have the authority to operate their own tribal courts, the legal organization states on its Web site.
Oklahoma tribes use two types of courts: tribal courts and courts of Indian offenses.
<img src="http://www.joplinglobeonline.com/images/zope/extra.gif" border=0>Tribe: Court’s decision resolves election dispute<font color="#ff0000"> w/ link to Seneca-Cayuga Tribe Web site and certified election results</font>
By Sheila Stogsdill
- Local News
Last two safe room projects up for Joplin School Board approval
The Joplin Board of Education during its meeting tonight will consider more than $2.4 million in bid packages for safe rooms at Columbia and West Central elementary schools.
Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Mosaic pieces together purpose
Today I want to tell you about a man named John — a man I never knew existed until last week. And yet he’s making a difference in my community. He is an individual served by Mosaic of Southeast Kansas, which also, I learned, is making a difference.
Jo Ellis: Carthage Historic Preservation to re-create trolley era
Recapturing history is difficult, but recapturing history without a building, an artifact or a singular focal point is even harder. To celebrate National Historic Preservation Month, Carthage Historic Preservation wants to recapture an era and an experience that have been gone from the city for almost 80 years: the era of the trolley (or tram) cars that provided public transportation.
Susan Redden: Candidates for associate judge address GOP group
The response was all but unanimous among four candidates seeking two Jasper County associate circuit judge positions. Asked to cite the biggest obstacle to justice in Jasper County, three of the four said the most prevalent challenge is getting the needed time on a busy court docket.
Money to area lawmakers slows down but doesn’t stop
With the Legislature back in session, the flow of campaign cash to local candidates has slowed. But in this election year, the money did not completely stop. All members of the local delegation to the Missouri General Assembly are on the ballot this year, but only two lawmakers are facing opposition.
Joplin City Council to hear baseball plan details
Proposed redevelopment plans for Joe Becker Stadium will be discussed with the Joplin City Council in a work session at the end of its regular meeting tonight. The WLD Suarez partnership has obtained a franchise of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball that succeeds the El Paso (Texas) Diablos.
Contaminated mine tailings could be used on west bypass
About 500 acres of former mining land at Wildwood Ranch have been reclaimed by contractors working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More than 1 million cubic yards of contaminated mine tailings in the form of chat and waste rock have been consolidated in a surface repository that someday could be part of the roadbed for a limited-access highway that transportation planners hope to build on the west side of Joplin.
VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends
A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.
Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events
Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.
SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support
When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.
- More Local News Headlines
- Last two safe room projects up for Joplin School Board approval