Feds could step into Snoqualmie tribal dispute
A membership dispute and tribal infighting has the
Snoqualmie Tribe at risk of a federal takeover.
An ongoing, independent membership audit indicates the
chairman of the tribe and two council members are not
qualified to lead. The tribal council has not had an
election in two years, but may be forced to have a special
election to find new leadership.
The Seattle Times
reports the problem stems from a failure to agree on
criteria for membership after the tribe was officially
recognized in 1999.
Since then, the Snoqualmie Tribe has sold $330 million
worth of bonds to finance construction of its casino in
North Bend and invested $1.5 million in a gambling
enterprise in Fiji. Those financial moves require
oversight by a tribal authority.
Recently, a newly formed emergency tribunal insisted an
election will happen to replace the chairman and council
members that are not qualified to lead the tribe.
The northwest director of the federal Bureau of Indian
Affairs, Stan Speaks, says the federal government doesn’t
want to step in. However, the Snoqualmie Tribe is close to
losing self-governance it does not find a solution.