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Red Lake meeting to deal with election dispute

  • Article by: Terry Collins and Dalton Walker
  • Star Tribune
  • August 7, 2006 - 10:15 PM

It's scheduled to be a moment of celebration in Red Lake.

But today's Tribal Council meeting could turn contentious.

This morning, Floyd (Buck) Jourdain is slated to be inaugurated once again as tribal chairman on the embattled northern Minnesota Indian reservation.

However, his second term could be put on hold if the council upholds a recent ruling by the tribal election board demanding a second runoff election between Jourdain and former secretary Judy Roy. It will be the first official gathering since Jourdain, who defeated Roy by 71 votes on July 19, was accused of buying votes and misusing tribal funds to bring Red Lake members from Duluth to the reservation on election day.

Jourdain has denied the allegations and said the election board overstepped its authority by calling for another runoff.

"I am confident that I will be sworn in as chairman at the next [Tribal] Council meeting," Jourdain said on July 29, a day after the board's ruling.

Due to the level of interest surrounding today's meeting, it has been moved from the small tribal council headquarters to the nearby Humanities Center, which can hold hundreds of people.

Tensions have been high since the allegations surfaced after Archie King, a Red Lake member from Redby, filed a formal complaint in July contesting the runoff.

His complaint included an affidavit signed by Joyce Roy, a former public safety director for the tribe.

Roy, who is not related to Judy Roy, stated July 22 that another Red Laker told her that Jourdain gave him money to vote for the incumbent chairman.

"If we had more time, we would've gotten more affidavits," King said July 25. "I've never been afraid to stand up for my rights." King plans to speak at today's meeting. Tribal officials could not be reached for comment on Monday. The election board said July 28 that it had found merit in King's allegations that Jourdain brought tribal members from Duluth and gave them food and free rooms at a tribal-owned casino before the election.

King also alleged that Jourdain used his official tribal vehicle for election purposes. Several allegations were dismissed by the board.

The political drama is the latest saga for Red Lake, still recovering from the March 21, 2005, shootings that left 10 people dead. Jourdain's son, Louis, was arrested and pleaded guilty in federal court to sending threatening messages in connection with the shootings.

tcollins@startribune.com • 612-673-1790 dcwalker@startribune.com • 612-673-6720

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