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White Earth to begin Chairwoman Vizenor removal petition process

WHITE EARTH -- For the second time in three months, a removal petition has been presented to the White Earth Reservation Tribal Council.

In a letter that was hand delivered to the individual who submitted the petition, the Tribal Council members explained they would abide by the process as outlined in the Revised Constitution and Bylaws of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT), specifically Article X, Section 3.

The Tribal Council denied the first removal petition because the petition failed to meet the minimum number of valid signatures.

Joseph Plumer, White Earth Band of Ojibwe tribal attorney, address the situation in a letter Friday, July 9.

He wrote that the law requires each member of the White Earth Tribal Council to receive a copy of the removal petition. After that, the Tribal Council has 15 days to give the accused written notice of the charges and set a date for hearing on the removal petition with at least five days for public notice.

Plumer wrote that District III Representative Gus Bevins, the last of the Tribal Council members to receive a copy of the petition, received it June 30. Consequently, the 15-day period will run until July 15.Vizenor has been notified of the charges, and a hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 9 at the Shooting Star Event Center.

"The allegations do not have merit," said White Earth Chairwoman Erma J. Vizenor. "The procedures defined in the MCT Constitution will be followed. In the end, the truth and facts will prevail, and good government at White Earth will continue."

The petition to remove her from office claims illegal activity in law enforcement and the court system. It also accuses Vizenor of not following the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Constitution.

The White Earth Tribal Council will validate all signatures - the number hasn't been confirmed - and make a decision on whether the charges are valid.