Constitution of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians
Adopted: June 1, 1985
We, the members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, acknowledging the powers of inherent and aboriginal tribal sovereignty, and exercising the right of self-determination, and with the desire to organize pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 476 and the Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat., 984), hereby adopt this Constitution and our Tribal Government in order to:
(1) Continue forever, with the help of God our Creator, our unique identity as members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and to Poarch identity from forces that threaten to diminish it;
(2) Protect our inherent rights as members of a sovereign American Indian tribe;
(3) Promote our cultural and religious beliefs and to pass them in our own way to our children, grandchildren, and grandchildren's children forever;
(4) Help our members achieve their highest potential in education, physical and mental health, and economic development;
(5) Maintain good relations with other Indian tribes, the United States, the State of Alabama, and local governments;
(6) Support the Government of the United States and encourage our members to be loyal citizens;
(7) Acquire, develop, and conserve resources to achieve economic and social self-sufficiency for our tribe;
(8) Insure that our people shall live in peace and harmony among ourselves and with all other people.
Section 1. Eligibility
Membership of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians shall consist of:
(A) All persons enumerated as Indian on the following official documents:
(1) 1870 U.S. Census of Escambia County, Alabama
(2) 1900 U.S. Census of Escambia County, Alabama and
(3) 1900 U.S. Special Indian Census of Monroe County, Alabama.
NOTE: For the purpose of computing blood quantum of their decedents, for tribal membership, all Indians eligible under Section 1(A) are hereby declared as fullblood (4/4) Creek Indians and shall constitute the base roll of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
(B) All living descendants of those eligible under Section 1(A) of at least one fourth (1/4) degree Indian blood, provided they are not enrolled as members of any other tribe, group or band of Indians.
(C) All children of at least one-fourth (1/4) degree of Indian blood born to an enrolled member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
Section 2. Powers of to Determine Membership
he sole authority to determine membership of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. No decree of any Court purporting to determine membership in the Poarch Hand of Creek Indians, paternity, or degree of Creek Indian or other blood shall be recognized as determination of membership in the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
Section 3. Membership Ordinance
The Tribal Council shall enact an ordinance establishing procedures for processing membership matters including application procedures and blood degree corrections of the roll as provided in Article I, Section I of this Constitution, within six months of the First Tribal Council's Election to office under this Constitution. That ordinance shall contain procedures, including the right of appeal.
Section 4. Adoption and Loss of Membership
The Tribal Council shall have the power to prescribe rules and regulations governing the adoption of members and loss of membership.
Members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians shall have the following rights: The right to equal opportunity to participate in the economic resources and activities of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in accordance with eligibility requirements set by the Tribe; and the right to exercise the tribal rights and privileges of members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians where not in conflict with other provisions of this Constitution, tribal laws and ordinances, or the laws of the United States.
Section 1. Territory
The jurisdiction of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians shall extend to all lands now held in the name of the Band or which hereafter may be acquired for or by and held in the name of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
Section 2. Authority
The authority of the government established by this Constitution shall extend over all persons and property now or hereafter included within the jurisdiction of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, except and only as limited by this Constitution and the Laws of the United States. The government shall not inhibit any person's right to enjoy freedom of worship, conscience, speech, press, assembly and association, and other rights enumerated by Federal Law.
Section 3. Savings Clause
Any rights or powers heretofore vested in the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, but not expressly referred to in this Constitution, 2 of 12 not be lost by their omission but may be exercised by the adoption of appropriate amendments of the Constitution.
Section 1. General Council
Members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians who are eighteen (18) years of age or older shall constitute the General Council. In accordance with Article V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX of this Constitution, the General Council shall have the powers specified in Section 2 of this Article.
Section 2. Powers of the General Council
(a) Elect Tribal Council members;
(b) Exercise the powers of initiative and referendum;
(c) Recall elected tribal officials;
(d) Amend this Constitution pursuant to Article VIII; and
(e) Make advisory recommendations to the Tribal Council.
Section 3. Tribal Council
The Tribal Council shall consist of nine (9) members elected by the General Council to terms of three years each, except as provided in Article VII, Section 6, and each member shall continue until his or her successor is duly elected and installed. The Tribal Council shall elect from its membership a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, and a Treasurer. Five members shall constitute a quorum.
Section 4. Powers of the Tribal Council
(a) Prevent the sale, disposition, or encumbrance of tribal trust lands, interest in lands, or other tribal assets, unless prevented by the terms under which such lands were acquired;
(b) To employ legal counsel for the protection and advancement of the rights of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians;
(c) Consult, negotiate, contract, and conclude arrangements on behalf of the tribe with federal, state, and local governments on all matters within the powers of the governing body authorized and included in this Constitution;
(d) As authorized by law, manage, lease, permit, or otherwise deal with tribal lands, interest in lands or other tribal assets and purchase of otherwise acquired lands or interests in lands within or without the reservation, provided tribal trust lands shall not be sold without the approval of the General Council;
(e) Engage in any business that will further the economic well-being of the members of the tribe, or undertake any programs for the economic advancement of the people;
(f) Make and perform contracts and agreements of every description, consistent with the provisions of this Constitution;
(g) Borrow money from the Federal Government, or other sources, and to direct the use of such funds for productive purposes;
(h) Prepare an annual budget and administer any funds within the control of the tribe; make expenditures from available funds for tribal purposes, including salaries and expense of tribal officials or employees. All expenditures of tribal funds shall be authorized by resolution in a legal session and the amounts so expended shall be a matter of public record for tribal members;
(i) The Tribal Council shall cause to be installed, maintained, and audited, a complete and detailed accounting system; and such safeguards as bonding officials and employees responsible for the safety, accuracy, and maintenance of such records and funds. All checks, drafts, and other orders for the payment of tribal money, notes or other indebtedness issued in the name of the tribe shall be signed by such officers, or agents, as provided for in this Constitution;
(j) Advise the Secretary of the Interior with regard to all appropriation estimates or federal projects for the benefit of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians prior to the submission of such estimates or projects to the office of Management and Budget and to Congress;
(k) Establish and enforce ordinances governing the con duct and civil relations of the residents within the territorial jurisdiction of the Tribe and establish a civil and criminal law enforcement code and judicial system governing the conduct of the Indian residents within the reservation lands of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians by a separate and independent judicial system whose powers and duties shall not be encroached upon by another branch of tribal govern government except as may be provided for by this Constitution or any amendment thereto;
(l) Levy and collect taxes, including general and special assessments from any member or other person or entity residing on or engaged in an activity on the tribal lands of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians;
(m) Regulate trade, inheritance, land holdings and use, and private dealings in tribal land among members and other persons or entities residing on or engaged in activity on the tribal lands of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians;
(n) Exercise its powers under this Constitution and to exercise all inherent powers of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians not expressly excluded from its authority by the US Congress;
(o) Organize and maintain subordinate committees, organizations, profit and/or nonprofit corporations.
(p) Approve or disapprove any salary or wages paid for performances of Tribal Council duties;
Section 1. General Council
The General Council shall hold meetings in accordance with the following procedures, and shall exercise its electoral power in accordance with the provisions of Article IV of this Constitution.
(a) Annual meeting of the General Council shall be held on the first Saturday of June. The meeting shall include the election of Tribal Council members;
(b) Special meetings of the General Council may be called by the Tribal Council upon one month's notice to the membership of the General Council. The Tribal council may call such meetings upon its own motion, but it must call such meetings at the request of the Election Board which presents a properly verified petition signed by thirty (30) percent of the General Council of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
(c) The agenda for the General Council meetings shall be set by the Tribal Council, provided that any member may submit, in writing, items to the Tribal Council for consideration for the agenda, and provide further that each agenda shall include time for discussion of items from the floor regardless of whether said items appear on the agenda. The agenda shall be posted at a public place at the tribal center and available to individual members upon request;
(d) The Tribal Council Chairman shall chair General Council meetings;
(e) A quorum shall consist of thirty (30) percent of the General Council for all purposes.
Section 2. Tribal Council
The Tribal Council shall hold meetings and take actions in accordance with the following procedures, which it may augment but its own rules of procedures so long as they do not conflict with any provisions of this Constitution:
(a) Regular meetings of the Tribal Council shall be held monthly at a time and place to be set by the Tribal Council;
(b) Special meetings of the Tribal Council may be called by the Chairman at his or her discretion, but the Chairman must call a special meeting upon written request of three or more members of the Tribal Council. No special meeting shall be called without at least twelve hours notice to each member, unless each member shall waive the notice requirement in writing;
(c) The agenda shall be set by the Chairman, provided that it shall include any item submitted upon the written request of three or more members of the Tribal Council. The agenda shall be available to tribal Council members no less than five days prior to any regularly scheduled meeting, and at the time notice is given of any special meeting. Items may be added to the agenda at a Tribal Council meeting upon concurrence of three or more members;
(d) Matters of business shall be decided by majority vote, except where otherwise required by this constitution or the Tribal Council's own rules set forth by ordinance. Voting shall be by roll call votes and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in minutes'
(e) All meetings of the Tribal Council shall be open to membership of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians; however, the Tribal Council may recess at its discretion to discuss any matter in a closed or executive session, provided that the general subject matter discussed is expressed in the motion calling such session and no final or official action is taken thereon in the closed or executive session.
(f) All final decisions of the Tribal Council on matters of general and permanent interest to the members of the tribe shall be embodied in ordinances. The Ordinances shall be collected and made available to tribal members and other affected persons upon reasonable request;
(g) All final decisions of the Tribal Council on matters of temporary interest shall be embodied in resolutions. The resolutions shall be collected and made available to tribal members and others affected upon reasonable request;
(h) All questions of procedures shall be determined by Robert's Rules of order;
(i) No Tribal Council member shall vote on any matter wherein he or she or a member of his or her immediate family has a direct personal interest, including but not limited to employment contracts, project funding, and appointments to tribal committees;
(j) A written record shall be kept of Tribal Council proceedings. The record shall be open for inspection by all members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
Section 1. Chairman
The Chairman shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and shall preside at the Poarch Creek Tribal Council meetings and shall carry out and implement all ordinances, resolutions, and directives of the Council. In the event of his absence or in the event of his death; disability, resignation, removal, or if for any reason he is unable to perform his duties and responsibilities, the Vice-Chairman shall act as Chairman.
Section 2. Vice-Chairman
The Vice-Chairman shall preside at any meeting in the absence of the Chairman and in the event of the Chairman's death, disability, resignation, or removal from office, he shall serve the remainder of the term as Chairman.
Section 3. Treasurer
The Treasurer shall supervise the financial affairs of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in accordance with policies, direction, and subject to controls as are established by the Poarch Creek Tribal Council, and he or she shall be responsible for maintaining the necessary financial records. The Treasurer shall provide financial reports at least annually to the Poarch Creek Tribal Council.
Section 4. Secretary
The Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining the records and files of the Poarch Creek Tribal Council other than the financial records. The Secretary shall be responsible for taking and recording the minutes of all Tribal Council meetings and such other official meetings as the Tribal Chairman may direct.
Section 1. Voters
Members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians who are eighteen (18) years of age or older shall have the right to vote in all tribal elections.
Section 2. Election Ordinance
The Tribal Council shall enact an election ordinance consistent with the provisions for appointment by the Tribal Council of a three-member objective Election Board. The ordinance shall include provision for settlement of election disputes, including the right to appeal to the tribal judiciary to be established under Article IV, Section 4 (k) of this Constitution.
Section 3. Manner of Voting
All elections shall be secret ballot, except that the General Council may make advisory recommendations to the Tribal Council~ by voice vote or show of hands at General Council meetings. 8 of 12 Voting by mail and absentee ballots shall be provided for by ordinance. The ordinance shall require that such ballots be made available to members sufficiently in advance of any election to permit the ballots to be submitted by voters to the tribal office prior to the scheduled date of the election. Ballots so submitted shall be counted along with ballots cast in person at the poll.
Section 4. Tribal Council Election
Elections for the Tribal Council shall be held on the first Saturday in June. The time and place of voting shall be designated by the Tribal Council. New Tribal Council members shall be certified by the Election Board. Installation shall occur on the day following the certification of election results.
Candidates must be members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians who will be at least twenty-one (21) years of age on the date of the election, and who have never been expelled in accordance with Article VIII, Section 3, and who have never been convicted of a felony. Candidates must file statements of their candidacy with the Election Board not less than thirty (30) days before the annual election. The Election Board shall make public a list of candidates, and the time and place of the election, not less than twenty (20) days before the election.
Each voter shall be allowed to cast one vote for each vacancy on the Tribal Council. No more than one vote per candidate shall be cast. The winners shall be chosen by plurality according to the rank order of votes received. In the event of a tie, the winner shall be chosen by flipping a coin under the supervision of the election Board.
Section 5. Tribal Council Officer Election
Each Council officer shall serve for a term of three (3) years or until the end of his term as a Tribal Council members, whichever shall come first.
Tribal Council officers shall be elected following installation of the newly elected Tribal Council member, if a vacancy exists.
Section 6. First Election
The first Tribal Council elected under this Constitution shall be elected with three members at three year terms, three members at two year terms, and three members at one-year terms, or until his successor is duly elected and installed. The winners shall be chosen by plurality according to the rank order of votes received. In the event of a tie, the winner shall be chosen by flipping a coin under the supervision of the Election Board. Thereafter, in 1986, there shall be an annual election in June and the term-of-office shall be three years in length, or until successors are duly elected and installed, provided that if there are more than 24 candidates, there shall be an immediate run off election among the top 18 candidates.
Section 7. Election Board
The members of the Election Board shall serve for staggered three-year (3) terms of office and shall be removable prior to the expiration of their terms for cause. No person who holds any elective tribal office or is a candidate for such office shall be eligible to serve on the Election Board. The Election Board shall supervise all tribal elections, verify petitions by tribal members, and perform such other duties as are set by the Election ordinance.
Section 8. Vacancies
In the event that any elective tribal office becomes vacant between elections, the Tribal Council shall elect a person who meets the qualifications of a candidate for that position to fill the vacancy. Such person shall assume office and serve until the next annual Tribal Council election at which time the members of the General Council shall elect a person to serve the balance of the three year term of the office which became vacant.
Section 1. Initiative
Upon receipt and verification by the Election Board of a petition of at least thirty (30) percent of the General Council of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians a proposed ordinance or resolution made by the people shall be submitted for a vote by the General Council at a regular or special election to be held within sixty (60) days of verification of the petition by the Election Board. The vote of a majority of those actually voting shall be conclusive and binding upon the Tribal Council.
Section 2. Referendum
Upon the request of two-thirds of the total membership of the Tribal Council, any proposed or previously enacted ordinance 10 of 12 or resolution of the Tribal Council shall be submitted for a vote by the General Council at a regular or special election to be held within sixty (60) days of the vote by the Tribal Council. The vote by a majority of at least thirty (30) percent of the General Council shall be conclusive and binding upon the Tribal Council.
Section 3. Recall
Upon receipt and verification by the Election Board of a petition of at least thirty (30) percent of the General Council of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, it shall be the duty of the Election Board to call a special election to consider the recall of the elected tribal official named in the petition. The election shall be held within sixty (60) days of receipt of the petition by the Election Board, provided that if the petition is received less than six (6) months prior to the annual election, the Election Board may direct that the matter be placed on the ballot of that election. If a majority of those actually voting favor the recall of the official, the office shall be declared vacant and filled in accordance with Article VII, Section 8 of this Constitution. If the recall fails, that officer cannot be recalled again for twelve (12) months.
Section 1. Election to vote on proposed amendments to this Constitution shall be authorized by resolution of the Tribal Council. The General council shall have the right to initiate proposals to amend this Constitution by submitting to the Tribal Council a petition signed by at least thirty (30) percent of the General Council. If the petition is determined to be valid pursuant to the petitioning provisions of the tribe's Election Ordinance, the Tribal Council shall then consent to the proposal by an appropriate resolution for authorization of an election to vote upon adoption of the proposed amendment.
Section 2. If adopted by a majority of the qualified voters voting in an election authorized by a Tribal Council Resolution at which election at least thirty (30) percent of those qualified to vote cast their ballots, the amendment shall become effective.
The Tribal Council shall develop an Administrative Plan of Operations in a formal ordinance which shall further specify duties and responsibilities of the tribal officers and employees.
This Constitution,when adopted by a majority of vote of the qualified voters of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians voting at an election called by the Tribal Council, in which at least thirty (30) percent of those entitled to vote shall cast their ballots, shall be adopted upon certification of the Tribal Election Board.
Pursuant to an order issued on APRIL 9, 1985, by the Tribal Council of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, this Constitution of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians was submitted for adoption to the qualified voters of the tribe and was on Saturday, June 1, 1985, duly adopted/rejected by a vote of 292 for, and 65 against, in an election in which at least thirty (30) percent of the 1031 entitled to vote cast their ballots.
Tribal Election Chairman
Election Board Member
Election Board Member
Election Board Member
[Signatures are found on the original document.]