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We the First People : The Catawba Constitution Initiative Creating Laws to Provide Harmony A Constitution by the People for the People General Council.

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Presentation on theme: "We the First People : The Catawba Constitution Initiative Creating Laws to Provide Harmony A Constitution by the People for the People General Council."— Presentation transcript:

1 We the First People : The Catawba Constitution Initiative Creating Laws to Provide Harmony A Constitution by the People for the People General Council Meeting July 12 th 2014

2 Why do we need a new constitution? 1993 Settlement directs the tribe to pass a new constitution1993 Settlement directs the tribe to pass a new constitution The 1975 Constitution served the Catawba people well for many years. But the tribe has changed in many ways since 1975 which has led us to need a new Constitution.The 1975 Constitution served the Catawba people well for many years. But the tribe has changed in many ways since 1975 which has led us to need a new Constitution. Number of tribal membersNumber of tribal members Where tribal members liveWhere tribal members live Federal recognitionFederal recognition Full tribal government with a staffFull tribal government with a staff Grants and programs that benefit tribal membersGrants and programs that benefit tribal members

3 Why is the executive committee trying something new? In order to adopt a new constitution, the 1993 Settlement Agreement requires 30% of all eligible voters vote on the constitution, and over 50% of those people vote for adoption of the new constitution.In order to adopt a new constitution, the 1993 Settlement Agreement requires 30% of all eligible voters vote on the constitution, and over 50% of those people vote for adoption of the new constitution. Since then, four constitutions have been proposed, but we have never had 30% of tribal members vote on the proposed constitution.Since then, four constitutions have been proposed, but we have never had 30% of tribal members vote on the proposed constitution. This initiative is driven by community input.This initiative is driven by community input.

4 Community Meetings and Focus Groups We held a Community Meeting on March 18th to discuss what we all value in a constitution and what our hopes are for the future of the tribe and tribal government and discuss results and next steps.We held a Community Meeting on March 18th to discuss what we all value in a constitution and what our hopes are for the future of the tribe and tribal government and discuss results and next steps. We had 48 people in attendance at the first Community Meeting. We held 7 live focus groups in May and June and created an online focus group where we asked people’s opinions on everything from membership requirements to the structure of our government to why attendance is low at General Council. We had 137 people participate in either live or online focus groups.We held 7 live focus groups in May and June and created an online focus group where we asked people’s opinions on everything from membership requirements to the structure of our government to why attendance is low at General Council. We had 137 people participate in either live or online focus groups. The Process so far

5 Imagine 50 years from now, what do you hope the Catawba Indian Nation is like? Economically- for the tribe to be self-reliant, start-up and maintain successful tribal business, and for tribal members to be able to provide for themselves and each otherEconomically- for the tribe to be self-reliant, start-up and maintain successful tribal business, and for tribal members to be able to provide for themselves and each other Politically- A legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch of the government, united people, strong sovereign nation, honest leadership, people participating in tribal governmentPolitically- A legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch of the government, united people, strong sovereign nation, honest leadership, people participating in tribal government Programs- A community with infrastructure that we can be proud of, education and job placementPrograms- A community with infrastructure that we can be proud of, education and job placement Culturally- For our people to understand our culture and historyCulturally- For our people to understand our culture and history What we have learned so far

6 Why do you think attendance is low at General Council meetings? Complacency/ Apathy/ People think nothing happens thereComplacency/ Apathy/ People think nothing happens there People come in with agendas/ argue and bicker with each otherPeople come in with agendas/ argue and bicker with each other Meetings are unproductive (voices aren’t heard, meetings get off topic)Meetings are unproductive (voices aren’t heard, meetings get off topic) Other responsibilities during the meeting (job, family, etc.)Other responsibilities during the meeting (job, family, etc.) They live too far away from the reservation to attendThey live too far away from the reservation to attend Elderly have a hard time physically attendingElderly have a hard time physically attending Meetings last too long (take up all of Saturday morning and afternoon)Meetings last too long (take up all of Saturday morning and afternoon) What we have learned so far

7 General Council How often should the General Council meet?How often should the General Council meet? Reponses ranged from twice a year to every week Most common response was 4 times a year with special meetings called as necessary Openness and TransparencyOpenness and Transparency People feel there should be a process in which tribal members can receive meeting minutes and other non-confidential information easily from the tribe. What we have learned so far

8 Executive Committee Members/ Elected Officials QualificationsQualifications Enrolled tribal member, passes criminal background check and drug tests, credit worthiness (especially for those dealing with tribe’s money), ethical, cares about all tribal members TermsTerms Responses ranged from 1 year to 8. Most common was 4 years. People overwhelmingly want terms to be staggered. Very mixed views on term limits. How many people on Executive Committee?How many people on Executive Committee? Responses ranged from 3 to 13 people. Most people felt there should be 7 members of the Executive Committee.

9 VacanciesVacancies People overwhelmingly feel the vacancies should be filled through a special election rather than at a General Council meeting. RecallRecall People overwhelmingly feel the tribal members should have the ability to recall elected officials. Secretary/ TreasurerSecretary/ Treasurer People support the idea of splitting the role of Secretary/Treasurer between two people going forward. What we have learned so far Executive Committee Members/ Elected Officials

10 Tribes are encouraged to organize their governments in a way that allows for separation of responsibilities, clear roles, and decision making authority. Tribes are more successful economically when their constitution clearly defines these things Tribes with an independent judiciary are more successful politically and economically What we have learned so far Native Nations Institute Training

11 Citizen Survey A survey for all voting age tribal members to answer questions about what they value in tribal government, tribal leadership, and a future constitution.A survey for all voting age tribal members to answer questions about what they value in tribal government, tribal leadership, and a future constitution. Survey will be based on the input from the community meetings and focus groups and sent out in early August 2014.Survey will be based on the input from the community meetings and focus groups and sent out in early August HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?

12 Evaluation of Public Input and Drafting of Proposed Constitution After all community meetings, focus groups, and the citizen survey are complete, the legal consultant will evaluate the results, work with the Executive Committee, and draft a proposed constitution that reflects tribal members’ input.After all community meetings, focus groups, and the citizen survey are complete, the legal consultant will evaluate the results, work with the Executive Committee, and draft a proposed constitution that reflects tribal members’ input. A copy of the proposed Constitution will be sent to all tribal members by January 2015.A copy of the proposed Constitution will be sent to all tribal members by January HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?

13 Comment and Questions Period of New Proposed Constitution Members will be able to submit comments and questions and if necessary, revisions will be made.Members will be able to submit comments and questions and if necessary, revisions will be made. 2 additional community input meetings will be held2 additional community input meetings will be held We will have a final proposed Constitution ready to be voted on by the July 2015 elections.We will have a final proposed Constitution ready to be voted on by the July 2015 elections. HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?

14 It is our hope that by doing this, we can create a constitution that reflects the values, concerns, and aspirations of our entire tribe.It is our hope that by doing this, we can create a constitution that reflects the values, concerns, and aspirations of our entire tribe. This will make this a constitution that belongs to each of us throughout the process- from the first community meeting all the way to the vote to adopt the new Constitution.This will make this a constitution that belongs to each of us throughout the process- from the first community meeting all the way to the vote to adopt the new Constitution. We want you and ask you to participate and have your voices heard. HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?


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