Regarding the issue of reopening the closed of Chukchansi Gold Casino Resort
, and the state of the Tribe itself:
A quorum of all voting members the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians came together Saturday in the largest turnout in the Tribe’s history to affirm the six Tribal leaders of the “Unification Council” to execute the reopening agreement with the NIGC and to administer elections for all seven Tribal Council seats. This was only the fourth time since the Tribe adopted its Constitution in 1988 that a General Council meeting reached quorum and was able to conduct business on behalf of the Tribe. The turnout was the largest in the Tribe’s history and the outpouring of support from members to reopen the casino and have an election was evident throughout the meeting.
All adult members of the Tribe were invited to attend and many hundreds of Tribal members recognized the need to reopen the casino in order to keep the tribal government functioning and to repay holders of bonds issued by the Tribe to pay for the construction of its casino resort. Tribal members affirmed that the six tribal leaders who make up of the “Unification Council” – Chance Alberta, Nancy Ayala, Nokomis Hernandez, Tracey Hopkins, Reggie Lewis and Karen Wynn – have the Tribe’s constitutional authority to act as the Tribe’s interim governing body until elections for all seven Tribal Council seats are contested in an election to be held no later than May 2, 2015. The Tribal members also voted to use the membership list as it was in place for the December 2012 Tribal Council elections.
“This was a historic moment for our Tribe in charting a path to reopen our casino, to restore order to our government, to provide services to our members and to silence any group attempting to sew confusion and discord,” stated Reggie Lewis, Co-Chairman of the Unification Council, a body created by quorums of the elected and recognized Tribal Councils from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Co-Chairwoman, Nancy Ayala stated, “As a proud people, the Chukchansi have had to endure hardship and harsh conditions in order to survive and the overwhelming support that the General Council bestowed upon us as tribal leaders is an honor which we take seriously.”
With the support and recognition of the adult members of the Tribe, the six members of the Unification Council will continue in its efforts to reopen the casino, restore community confidence and resume honoring its obligations to the community.
The General Council loudly confirmed that only members who were listed on the Tribe’s Base Membership Roll on February 21, 2013 are members of the Tribe. A neutral third-party election service company, True Ballot, Inc. oversaw the voting on the resolution adopted by the General Council which was the same procedure used on March 10, 2012 when the Tribe was confronted with a dissident group claiming to be the governing body of the Tribe.