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Petition filed seeking recall of Spirit Lake chairman

Opponents of Spirit Lake Tribal Chairman Roger Yankton Sr. filed petitions today seeking to recall him as chairman.

Erich Longie, one of seven Spirit Lake Tribe members who presented the petitions to the tribal secretary, said they contained about 580 names, or about 40 more than they were told are required by tribal law.

He said the tribe has seven days to verify the petition and signatures and convene a recall meeting of all interested members of the tribe, at which Yankton and those who seek his ouster would be allowed to make their case.

Members present then would vote by secret ballot, he said. If the vote were to go against Yankton, "he would be out at that moment," nominations for a new chairman would be made "and the highest vote-getter would be sworn in."

Dissidents have accused Yankton of oppressive behavior, corruption and failure to provide proper leadership, including but not limited to his handling of the ongoing child protection problems that have brought the tribe much negative attention.

"We are tired of living in fear," said Longie, who operates a consulting business on the reservation. "We want the chance to restore what little rights we have. We want to be free of fear of being fired (from reservation jobs) without due process ... We want to live free of tyranny."

Yankton was not immediately available for comment on the petition.