Comanche Nation Encouraged to Register to Vote in BIA Secretarial Election

Published February 23, 2018 

Bureau of Indian Affairs conducting Secretarial Election through March 21st

LAWTON, OKLAHOMA – The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is conducting a Secretarial Election by absentee ballot only regarding three amendments to the constitution of the Comanche Nation.  Eligible voters must register for this election by March 2nd and return their ballots to the BIA by March 20th.  The ballots will be counted on March 21st.

Amendment A: 

This amendment clarifies the Powers Clause and emphasizes the Comanche Tribal Council is the supreme governing body of the Comanche Nation. The Tribal council consists of all duly enrolled members of the Comanche Nation who are eighteen (18) years of age or older.

Adding the Powers Clause is to make sure each eligible voting member has a voice.

This amendment reinforces the requirement that all meetings require a legal quorum which shall consist of one hundred and fifty (150) Tribal Council members and that all business up for discussion will be approved by secret ballot then taken to Election.

Amendment B: 

This is an effort to expand the qualifications of the tribe’s leadership by enhancing the requirement of candidates to run for office. It will ensure the Nation is protected by having leaders who do not have a criminal record or owe the tribe money, that there is no improper addition or removal from tribal rolls and they’d be ineligible for candidacy if they fail a drug test.

Amendment C: 

The sole intent of this amendment change is to remove the Chief Executive status from the Chairman’s duties. It confirms the Chairman exercises the authorities and powers as delegated to his office by the Constitution and the Comanche Tribal Council.

Comanche Tribal Chairman William Nelson

Comanche Tribal Chairman William Nelson stated, “For 50 years, the Constitution of the Comanche Nation has been interpreted; many times loosely based on an individual’s perspective. Interpretations from past hired attorneys called the Annual Meeting and the entire Tribal Council a gray area. Today’s population of 17,000 Comanche’s living worldwide cannot be dictated by 76 people in a 150 legal quorum setting. We need to solidify the substance and allow for the entirety of the Tribal Council to be heard.”

Under the leadership of the Comanche Business Committee (CBC), the tribe has seen tremendous progress since spring of 2016. From the brink of bankruptcy, the CBC has not only been able to get the Tribe off the BIA’s “high-risk” list but an audit in February 2018 has labeled the entirety of the Comanche Nation government as “low risk”.

With the clean financial audits the Nation is poised one year from now to have its Federal 638 contracts becoming self-governance which will allow for the PL 93-638 indirect contract funds (costs of the BIA administering the 638 funds) to be transferred to the Nation. This will allow for exponential growth in job opportunities for Comanche Tribal members. This potential was deemed impossible just two years ago when the Nation was on High Risk status by the BIA which limited the Nations options.

The audit also revealed the Comanche Nation’s total governmental assets increased $5.5M during the year and total governmental net position increased by $4.8M. The results indicate the Departments improved its financial condition from the prior year. There were no questioned costs and the Nation was compliant in all financial findings in all major areas. Also, in November 2017, tribal members received the highest per capita check in the Tribe’s history – more than $1,500.

“Passing these amendments will continue to move our tribe forward instead of staying stagnant or falling back,” said Susan Cothren, Comanche Nation Vice Chairwoman. “We are powering forward to empower the Numunu.”

Any member who does not receive a Secretarial Election Notice Packet by mail, or received and misplaced their packet, may pick up one in person at:

Southern Plains Regional Office

100 Riverside Drive

Anadarko, Oklahoma

Tribal members may also contact the BIA at (405) 247-1534.

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