The Chukchansi Tribe appears to be moving forward. More than half of the tribe showed up to Saturday's meeting. Reggie Lewis won the election and most of the tribe members voted to support the sitting council.
In a statement, Lewis called it an important moment for the tribe and said, "We wanted all Chukchansi tribal members to be heard and they showed up and spoke loudly and clearly."
But every member wasn't heard during the election process. A few dozen people were barred from the meeting and not allowed to vote. A tribe spokesperson said these people participated in a violent takeover of tribal headquarters and were banned from casino property. Instead, the tribe mailed them absentee ballots.
Morris Reid is on the tribal council and also one of the banned members. He said the ballots were numbered and his supporters were afraid to use them. "A lot of people were scared of retaliation," he said.
They're afraid of dis-enrollment or getting kicked out of the tribe. Something the group has been fighting since December when the election dispute started.
Reid said the fight isn't over but the tribe said he is facing disciplinary action for his involvement with the takeover.
The newly elected council will be sworn in on March 26Th. The tribe is looking into starting a tribal court to settle disputes in the future.