Tribal Law Gateway | Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota | Tribal Constitution, Table of Contents
Revised Constitution and Bylaws of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, South Dakota
Approved:: November 15, 2006
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We, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, in order to form a better tribal government, exercise tribal rights and responsibilities and promote the welfare of the people, do hereby establish this Revised Constitution and Bylaws.
The jurisdiction of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate shall extend to lands lying in the territory within the original confines of the Lake Traverse Reservation as described in Article III of the Treaty of February 19, 1867 and those lands subsequently acquired by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. (As amended by Amendment No. X effective November 15, 2006.).
Section 1. The membership of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate shall consist of:
(a) All persons of Indian blood whose names appear on the official census roll of the tribe as of January 1, 1940, which shall be the basic tribal membership roll. Corrections may be made in this roll by the Council. (As amended by Amendment No. W, effective November 15, 2006.)
(b) All persons of Indian blood born after January 1, 1940, the date of the basic membership roll, and prior to October 16, 1946, the date of approval of the original Constitution, to members of the tribe.
(c) Children born on or after October 16, 1946 the date of approval of the original Constitution, and prior to December 21, 1959, to members of the Tribe who were residents of the Lake Traverse Reservation at time of the birth of said children. (As amended by Amendment No. XX; effective December 12, 1994.)
(d) All persons of one-eighth (1/8) degree or more Sisseton~Wahpeton Sioux Indian blood born to members on or after December 21, 1959, and prior to November 21, 1978. (As amended by Amendment No. IV, effective November 21, 1978) .
(e) All persons of one-fourth (1/4) degree or more Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Indian blood born to members on or after November 21, 1978. (This section added by Amendment No. IV, effective November 21, 1978).
(f) All persons applying for membership under Article II, Section I. (a), (b), (c), and (d) (on or after the effective date of this amendment) must be one fourth (1/4) degree or more Sioux Indian blood. (As amended by Amendment XI, effective December 20, 1985.)
(g) All persons applying for membership under Article II, Section 1. (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) (on or after the effective date of this amendment) may be Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux blood and other Sioux Indian blood, totaling one-forth (114) degree or more Sioux Indian blood. (As amended by Amendment XIII-A, effective
December 28, 1990.)
(h) All persons applying for membership under Article II, Section 1. (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) (on or after the effective date of this amendment) may be Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Indian blood and other Native American Indian blood, totaling one-forth (1/4) degree or more Native American Indian blood. (As amended by Amendment XIV-B, effective December 28, 1990,)
Section 2. A member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation SHALL NOT be dually enrolled in another tribe. (This Section added by Amendment No. XII. effective November 15, 2006.)
Section 1. The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (people) of the Lake Traverse Reservation shall be governed by a Council consisting of seven (7) Councilmen and three (3) Officers. Except for the Officers, one Councilman shall be elected from each of the seven districts and shall possess the voting strength according to population. The Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary ofthe Council shall be elected at large, which Officers shall constitute an Executive Committee. The Vice-Chairman and the Tribal Secretary shall each have one vote in Council meetings. In meetings of the Council, the Chairman shall vote in case of a tie. (As amended by Amendment XXlI and Amendment XXIll, effective April 15, 1997 and further amended by Amendment IV, effective December 19, 2002)
Sec. 2. The Executive Committee, in formal session, shall have the power to speak and act for the Tribe when the Council is not in session and to carry into effect all properly enacted resolutions and ordinances of the Council and to appoint any boards, committees, or associations necessary to the transaction of tribal business. The Council shall review any action taken by the Executive Committee not delegated to it either in this Revised Constitution or in the enactments of the Council. The review shall be limited only to the next meeting of the tribal council following notification of the action of the executive committee.
Sec. 3. Members of the Council shall serve terms of two (2) years commencing on the date of the first regular meeting in January, 2007, and thereafter in January of odd numbered years and until their successors have been elected and seated. Any Council and Executive Committee member shall serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms for a total of four (4) years in the same office. Any Council member or Executive Committee member may again file for office after a two (2) year time period. (As amended by Amendment XXI, effective April 15, 1997 and Amendment I, effective December 19,2002, and further amended by Amendment No. II, effective November 15, 2006.)
Sec. 4. There shall be a General Council composed of the enrolled members of the Tribe eighteen (18) years of age and over. A quorum for a General Council shall be at least ten percent (10%) of the registered members. It shall be the duty of the Tribal Council to call and notice, at least twice in each calendar year, a General Council meeting where tribal member questions will be addressed. The first General Council meeting will be held on the last Thursday and Friday of June where the following presentations will occur: (1) Financial reports for tribally owned gaming operations; and (2) Office of Vice-Chairman financial report of the past calendar year and budget for the current calendar year. The second General Council meeting will be held on the third Thursday and Friday of December where the following presentations will occur: (I) financial report for other tribally owned economic development ventures; and (2) the Council, all Tribal Committees, Associations, and organizations shall present a report on the past year's activities, and insofar as it is possible, explain the proposed programs for the ensuing year. The General Council may be convened only by action of the Tribal Council. (As amended by Amendment No. I, effective October 18, 1972 and Amendment XVI- C, effective December 27,1994 and further amended by Amendment IV, effective December 19, 2002.)
SECTION 5 ADDED BY AMENDMENT NO. V, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 21, 1978
(a) There shall be a judicial branch comprised of a Tribal Court consisting of one Chief Judge and two Associate Judges with supportive staff; and an appellate court. (Section 5 added by Amendment V, effective November 21. 1978 and further amended by Amendment XVII -D, effective December 27, 1994.)
(b) Judges shall be appointed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote ofthe Council for a term of four (4) years;
(c) Upon appointment, Judges may be removed only by provision of recall and impeachment procedure by tribal ordinance;
(d) Rules of operation shall be provided by the tribal ordinance.
Section 1. There shall be seven (7) deliberate district councils, viz: (1) Veblen, (2) Long Hollow, (3) Buffalo Lake, (4) Enemy Swim, (5) Big Coulee, (6) Old Agency, and (7) Lake Traverse.
Sec. 2. Each District Council shall consist of the adult members of the Tribe registered on a district voting roster which will be maintained by the district secretary.
Sec. 3. The Councilman elected from each District shall call a District Election in January of odd-numbered years to elect for the District: (1) a Chairman; (2) a Vice-Chairman; (3) a Secretary; (4) a Treasurer; and such other officers and committees as may be deemed necessary. (As amended by Amendment No. III, effective November 10, 1976)
Sec. 4. Each District shall manage its own affairs not inconsistent with the Tribe's Constitution. (As amended by Amendment No. XXVII, effective December 7, 2000.)
Section 1. The first election of the tribal council under this Revised Constitution shall be called, held and supervised by the present tribal council within 120 days after its approval. Successful candidates at this first election shall assume office when duly seated at the regular January 1967 meeting of the council. Where more than two (2) members have filed for an office, a Primary Election shall be held at least thirty (30) days prior to the General Election. Only the two (2) candidates for each office receiving the most votes at such primary election or convention shall be eligible to run for office in the General Election. Where no more than two (2) members have filed for an office, a Primary Election will be unnecessary.
Sec. 2. Any qualified registered member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate twenty-one (21) years of age or over may announce his candidacy for the Council in writing of his candidacy at least forty-five (45) days prior to the election. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to post at least ten (10) days before the Primary Election the names of all qualified candidates who have met this
requirement, Notice of all elections shall be given as prescribed by ordinance.
(a) Candidates for Council Officers shall file for the office of their choice at least sixty (60) days before the General Election.
(b) Councilmen shall be elected from each of the seven (7) voting Districts according to population. (As amended by Amendment No. III, effective November 10, 1976)
(c) No person may be a candidate for more than one office.
Sec. 3.The Council, or an Election Board appointed by the Council, shall supervise the maintenance of the District voting rosters, and shall determine rules and regulations governing elections, including absentee voting, qualifications for office, election dates and recall elections. The Council shall certify to the election of members after the election has been held.
Sec. 4. Any enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, who is eighteen (18) years of age or over, shall be entitled to vote in the District in which he is registered. (As amended by Amendment XXV, effective November 25, 1998.)
Sec. 5. Members of the Tribe shall register, vote and hold office in the District of their residence, or, if they are non-residents, in the District of their former residence, or if they never were residents, in the District of their choice. Tribal members who have never been residents, registering in the District of their choice, cannot change their Voting District unless duly authorized to do so by the Council.
Section 1. If a Councilman or Officer shall die, resign or be removed from office for cause, the Tribal Council shall declare the position vacant. (As amended by Amendment No. XXVlll, effective December 7, 2000.)
(a) The affected District shall fill the vacancy of a Councilman by holding a special election within sixty (60) days of the declared vacancy. If an Executive Officer position becomes vacant, a reservation election shall be held to fill the vacancy within sixty (60) days of the declared position. (As amended by Amendment No. XI effective November 15, 2006.)
(b) If an Executive Officer position becomes vacant, a reservation wide Election shall be held to fill the vacancy within forty-five (45) days of the declared vacancy.
Sec. 2. Any Councilman or Officer who is proven guilty of improper conduct or gross neglect of duty shall be removed from the Council by an affirmative vote of five of the Council members, provided that the member shall be given full opportunity to reply to any and all charges at a designated Council meeting; and provided further that the member shall have been given a written statement of the charges against him at least five (5) days before the meeting at which he is to be given the opportunity to reply. The Councilman or Officer found guilty of improper action shall not vote on his own removal. (As amended by Amendment XXIV, effective April 15, 1997.)
Sec. 3. The voters of any District, by petition signed by twenty percent (20%) of the Registered voters in the District, may request the recall of a District Councilman for cause. The recall of members of the Executive Committee may be requested by a petition signed by twenty percent (20%) of the registered voters from the Reservation-at-large. The Tribal Council shall hold a special election on all such recall petitions. Any resulting vacancies shall be filled under Section I of this Article. No more than one recall election for each Councilman or Officer shall be held for each term of office. (As amended by Amendment No. XXIX, effective December 7, 2000.)
Sec. 4. Any Councilman or Officer, who fails to attend three (3) successive monthly meetings without excuse, shall be considered to have resigned his office. The Council shall then declare the position vacant and fill the vacancy pursuant to
the provisions of Section I, ofthis Article.
Sec. 5. Any petition for recall for cause shall clearly state specific charges or reasons which may include but is not limited to: abandonment of office, dereliction of duty, dishonesty, incompetency, or heedless of public opinion. (As added by Amendment No. XXX; effective December 7, 2000.)
Section 1. The Council shall have the following powers as outlined in this revised Constitution, which may be exercised pursuant to the tribe's inherent sovereignty, treaties and applicable federal statutes, rulings or regulations. (As amended by
Amendment No. Ill, effective November 15, 2006.)
(a) To represent the Tribe in all negotiations with federal, state and local governments and to advise and consult with representatives of the Department of the Interior on all matters affecting the tribe.
(b) To acquire, own, use, manage, lease and otherwise encumber, and to dispose of tribal property, both real and personal, wherever situated.
(c) To engage in any business that will further the economic development of the Tribe and its members, and to use tribal funds or other resources for such purposes. (As amended by Amendment No. XII, effective December 20, 1985.)
(d) To make rules governing the relationship of the members to the Tribe, to tribal property, and to one another as members ofthe Tribe, and to assess fees ofmembers to effectuate Tribal purposes.
(e) To hire employees and agents, including legal counsel, directly or as independent contractors, and to compensate them for their services. (As amended by Amendment No. VII, effective November 15, 2006.)
(f) To deposit tribal funds to the credit of the Tribe, without limitations of the amount in any account, in any national, state bank or federal credit union, whose deposits are insured by an agency ofthe United States, and security authorized by federal laws for trust investments, and in addition, to invest and reinvest tribal funds in any security issued by a company in which the Tribe has a majority or greater interest.
(g) To take any action by ordinance, resolution, or otherwise which are reasonably necessary through committees, boards, agents or otherwise, to carry into effect the fore-going purposes and to add such further
powers, as may be permitted by law, through appropriate amendment to this Revised Constitution.
(h) To promote public health, education, charity, and such other services as may contribute to the social advancement of the members of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.
(i) To adopt resolutions regulating the procedures of the Council, its officials and committees in the conduct of tribal affairs.
(i) No authorities contained in this Revised Constitution may be delegated by the Council to tribal officials, district councils, or associations to carry out any function for which the Council assumes primary responsibility, except by ordinance or resolution duly enacted by the Council in legal session and excepting also those specific requirements contained in the By-Laws of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.
(ii) The Council is hereby authorized to recognize any district committees, associations or other organizations open to the members of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and to approve such organizations, subject, however, to the provision that no such committee, association or organization may assume authorities specifically granted to the Council unless by a proper delegation of authority by the Council.
(k) To promulgate and enforce ordinances governing the conduct ofpersons under the jurisdiction of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. (As amended by Amendment No.ll, effective June 8, 1973 and further amended by Amendment No. IV, effective November 21, 1978.)
(l) To enact resolutions or ordinances not inconsistent with Article II of this Revised Constitution and By-Laws concerning membership in the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. (This section added to powers by Amendment No. VII, effective November 21, 1978.)
Sec. 2. The Tribal Council shall reapportion the fifteen weighted votes within the first sixty (60) days after they are seated. (As amended by Amendment No. XXXII, effective December 7, 2000). (Former section 2,"Manner ofReview " deleted in its entirety by Amendment No. XXXI, effective December 7, 2000.)
Section 1.The Council shall meet regularly on the first Tuesday of each month, or upon call of the Chairman ofthe Council. It shall be the duty of the Chairman to call a special meeting upon request of a majority of the Council.
Sec. 2. At any meeting ofthe Council, either a simple majority offour (4) Districts and one (I) voting Officer of the Executive Committee or a simple majority of five (5) Districts shall be present to constitute a quorum, with no less than nine (9) votes present. (As amended by Amendment No. XXXIII, effective December 7, 2000 andfurther amended by Amendment III, effective December 19, 2002.)
Sec. 3. The Executive Committee shall meet upon call of the Chairman. At any meeting of the Executive Committee two (2) members shall constitute a quorum.
Section 1. All members ofthe Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate shall be accorded equal political rights and equal opportunities to participate in the economic resources and activities of the Tribe, and no person shall be denied freedom of conscience, speech, association or assembly, or due process of law, or the right to petition for the redress of grievances. The members of the Tribe shall continue undisturbed in their religious beliefs and nothing in this Revised Constitution and By-Laws will authorize either the Council or the General Council to interfere with these traditional religious practices according to their customs.
Section 1. Any matter of concern to the Tribe not previously considered or acted upon by the Council may be presented for action by the Councilor vote of the registered voters, provided a petition signed by at least ten percent (10%) of the registered voters of the Tribe and setting forth the matter to be considered is filed with the Chairman. The Council shall consider the matter to be considered is filed with the next regular or special meeting. If the Council fails to act or disapprove the matter within ninety (90) days after filing of a proper petition with the Chairman, it shall be put to a vote at the next General Election, whichever occurs first. The vote of a majority of the registered voters voting on the issue shall be conclusive and binding upon
the Council. (As amended by Amendment XVI-C, effective December 27. 1994.)
Sec. 2. Upon the filing of a petition with the Chairman of the Council, signed by at least ten percent (10%) ofthe registered voters of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate within sixty (60) days of the enactment or upon the request of a majority ofthe members of the Council within a like period, any enacted ordinance or resolution of the Council shall be submitted by the Council to a popular referendum, such referendum to be called and held within thirty (30) days of the date of filing or request. The vote of a majority of the registered voters voting in such referendum shall be conclusive and binding on the Council. (As amended by Amendment XVI - C, effective December 27, 1994.).
1.The Revised Constitution and By-Laws may
be amended by a majority vote ofthe Registered
voters of the Tribe voting in an election called for
that purpose provided at least thirty percent
(30%) of the registered voters shall vote in such
an election. It shall be the duty of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to call an election on any proposed Amendment at the
request of a majority of the Councilor upon the presentation of a petition signed by at least ten percent (10%) of the registered voters of theTribe. (As amended by Amendment No. IX, effective November 15, 2006.)
Section 1. Chairman
(a) He shall preside at all regular and special meetings of the general council, tribal, council, and executive committee. The chairman shall be an ex-officio member of all subordinate committees.
(b) He shall have general and active management of the business activities of the Tribe except that he shall not act on matters binding the Tribe until either the General Council, the Council, or the Executive Committee has deliberated and enacted appropriate resolutions or motions.
(c) He shall see that all ordinances and resolutions of both the General Council and the Council are carried into effect.
(d) He shall sign on behalfof the Tribe all official papers when authorized to do so.
(e) He shall give supervision to all other officers and employees ofthe Tribe and see that they carry out their duties.
(f) He shall prepare a report of the activities of the Council and make this report at each regular meeting ofthe General Council. He shall include in this report all matters within his knowledge which the interest of the Tribe
may require to be brought to its attention.
(g) He shall not vote in either the General Council or Council except in case of a tie.
Sec. 2. Secretary
(a) He shall keep minutes at the principal place of business of the Tribe of all meetings of the General Council, Council and the Executive Committee.(d) He shall attend to all such correspondence assigned to him by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman in the absence of the Chairman. (As amended by Amendment XXII effective April 15, 1997.)
(b) He shall give and serve all notices of the General Council and the Council as required by this Revised Constitution and By-Laws.
(c) He shall keep the membership roll of the Tribe, showing all changes as required by this Revised Constitution. In addition, he shall keep a current voting list.
Sec. 3. Vice-Chairman
Section 4. CODE OF ETHICS for all elected or selected officials. Gross neglect and improper conduct shall be interpreted by the Council in accordance with these defmitions. (New section added by Amendment No. VI effective November 21, 1978, andfurther amended by Amendment No. XXX; effective December 7,2000.)
(New Section 3 pursuant to Amendment No. XXII effective April 15,1997, as follows:)
In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman shall preside and shall have all powers, privileges, and duties of the Chairman, and may cast a vote only in the case of a tie. When presiding in the absence of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman shall not cast the one vote set forth in the Revised Constitution Article III Section 1. (As amended by Amendment Ill, effective December 19, 2002.)
(a) In the Absence ofthe Chairman, the Vice-Chairman shall preside over the Council and may cast a vote in the case of a tie only. (As amended by Amendment III, effective December 19, 2002.)
(b) In the Absence ofthe Chairman, the Vice-Chairman shall preside over the Council and may cast a vote in the case of a tie only. (As amended by Amendment III, effective December 19, 2002.)
(c) If the Chairman is removed from office, the Vice-Chairman shall assume the duties of the Chairman until the Tribal Council appoints aperson to fill the vacancy pursuant to Article VI, Section I.
(d) The Vice-Chairman shall serve as an ambassador when the Chairman is unavailable.
(e) The Vice-Chairman shall see that all ordinances and resolutions pertaining to financial matters ofthe Tribal Council are carried into effect.
(f) The Vice-Chairman shall oversee all financial and business matters of the Tribe.
(g) The Vice-Chairman shall sign on behalf of the Tribe all official papers when authorized to do so by the Tribal Council.
(h) He shall prepare and make a report of all financial and business activities of the Tribe at each regular meeting of the Tribal Council and shall make an annual report at the General Council. (As amended by Amendment No. XXVI, effective November 25, 1998.)
(a) Gross Neglect: As evidenced through any or all of the following:
1. Gross incompetence: unable or unwilling to perform the duties of office.
2. Inability to handle private affairs as evidenced through garnishment proceedings or court actions or ordering payments of delinquent loans or debts.
3. Abandonment of office: not attending three consecutive District meetings. (As amended by Amendment XVIIl- F, effective December 27, 1994.)
4. Excessive absenteeism: five days of unexcused absence in any thirty (30) day period.
(b) Improper Conduct: Determined by Council or District Chairman Association.
1. Converting tribal property or monies without authorization through omission or misrepresentation of facts.
2. Misuse of office: unauthorized personal use of tribal equipment, manpower or materials.
3. Public conduct so as to question the integrity of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.
4. Malfeasance of office: including gross partiality or oppression.
(c) Improper Conduct: Conviction by legal courts.
1. Conviction of a felony2. Three low misdemeanor convictions within a twelve (12) month period.
3. Crimes in office: corruption, extortion, fraudulent claims for compensation, salary, mileage and per diem or an unaccountable period oftime.
4. Contempt of Court.5.Any high-misdemeanor, including but not limited to rnaliciour mischief, statutory rape, hit-and-run, assault, battery, or assault and battery.
6. Driving while under the influence of alcohol. (As amended by Amendment No. XlX-G, effective December 27, 1994.)
(d) Improper Conduct: Alcohol and drug-free lifestyle while in office. ( This section added to Code of Ethics by Amendment No. XX-H, effective December 27, 1994.)
1. Failure to promote and live an alcohol and drug-free lifestyle while in office.
2. Failure, while in office, to abstain from the use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs.
3. Failure, while in office, to submit to random alcohol and drug testing.
Before assuming a position on the Council, each member shall subscribe to the following oath or affirmation:
"I, , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that 1 will support the Revised Constitution and By-Laws of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and the Constitution of the United States, and will faithfully and impartially perform the duties of my office to the best of my ability and will work to promote and protect the best interest of the Indians of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, and will assist them in every way within my power toward better citizenship and progress."