Authorities on stand-by at Chukchansi tribal offices

February 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A Madera County Indian tribe is under new leadership, but threats of violence have law enforcement on stand-by.

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Deputies with the Madera County Sheriff's Department were outside the Chukchansi tribal government offices throughout the day Wednesday, after hearing of multiple threats of violence. This comes after a power shakeup on the tribal council last week.

Tribal Chairwoman Nancy Ayala was presented with a referendum -- that required 30% of member approval to select a new council. According to her, that threshold was met since a recent audit revealed there are only 46 legally enrolled members. But opponents say Ayala is misinterpreting the tribal constitution and discounting hundreds of others members.

Former Tribal Council Member Reggie Lewis said, "She didn't have the authority to call for any kind of a vote or anything because to vote on that, you still have to go back to the membership. And the membership is 900 people."

Tribal Chairwoman Nancy Ayala said, "We are not saying that there are not hundreds of members, but the point is that there are legally enrolled members that meet all three criteria of our membership."

Both sides say they don't want a repeat of last year's violence that left three people injured after a disputed election. Both sides plan to meet with mediators on Friday.


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