Secretarial Election FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions Relating to the Upcoming Secretarial Election

Why is this upcoming election being called? 

The upcoming election is a Secretarial Election that is being called for the purpose of amending Article V, Section 2, of the Constitution of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. The election was requested by the Tribal Council.

What is a Secretarial Election?

A Secretarial Election is a Federal election conducted by the Secretary of Interior under a Federal statute or tribal governing document, such as the Constitution of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana.  See 25 CFR § 81.4.

Why is the Department of the Interior running the election?

Article XVII, Section 1 of the Constitution of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana states:

This Constitution may be amended by a majority of the enrolled, qualified voters of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, voting in an election authorized for that purpose by the Secretary of the Interior or his authorized representative, provided that at least thirty percent (30%) of those entitled to vote shall cast ballots in such election. No amendment shall become effective until it is approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Such election shall be conducted pursuant to the Secretary’s regulations.

Accordingly, in order to amend the Constitution, an election authorized by the Secretary of Interior and conducted pursuant to the Secretary’s regulations must take place.

How is the Secretarial Election being funded?

Secretarial Elections are Federal elections and are federally funded.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.16(a).

What happens if the constitutional amendment is approved? 

If a majority of enrolled, qualified voters vote to adopt the proposed constitutional amendment, the Secretary will approve the amendment within forty-five days after the Secretarial Election, at which point the amended language will take effect.  See 25 U.S.C. § 5123(d).

What happens if the constitutional amendment is denied? 

The current language in Article V, Section 2, of the Constitution of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana will remain unchanged.

Will members of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana be disenrolled if the constitutional amendment is adopted or denied?  

The Council has not taken a position on that question as they must wait for the outcome of the Secretarial Election to evaluate all available options in the best interest of the tribe.

How will votes be counted?

The Secretarial Election will be carried out by the Secretarial Election Board, composed of a Bureau of Indian Affairs employee and, at least, two tribal members.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.19(c).  Secretarial Elections are conducted entirely by mailout ballots.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.35.  All enrolled, qualified voters will receive a packet containing registration instructions and relevant information regarding the Secretarial Election.  See 25 C.F.R § 81.23, 81.35.  Eligible voters must register for the Secretarial Election in order to be able to vote.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.27.  All registered voters will then receive a mailout ballot, which will need to be sent and received by the deadline established by the Board.  After the deadline, the ballots will be counted under the supervision of the Board, both to determine the results of the vote and to determine whether total voter turnout was sufficient to meet the required 30% standard specified under the Constitution and Federal law.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.38.  The Board must then certify the results with all members of the Board present.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.41.

Please feel free to contact a member of the Secretarial Election Committee if you have additional

questions.

Sincerely,

Secretarial Election Committee

Robert Johnson Sr.                                                                  

(318) 308-6593                                                                         

avorxj@paragoncasinoresort.com       

Elyse Lopez

(318) 500-1783

elopez@tunica.org

Tony Pierite                                                                              

(318) 481-3390                                                                         

avotpp@paragoncasinoresort.com

Patrick Lopez

(773) 242-0635

plopez358@gmail.com

Babette Bordelon                                                                    

(318) 240-0946                                                                         

bbordelon@tunica.org 

Richella Malveaux

(318) 359-1373

rmalveaux@mobiloansllc.com

An Update on HR 4913

Tunica-Biloxi Applauds the Introduction of HR 4913 by Congresswoman Julia Letlow (R-Louisiana)

The Tribal Council of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana wishes to thank Congresswoman Iulia Letlow for introducing HR 4913 on behalf of the Tribe. HR 4913 is also sponsored by Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas). HR 4913 would expand the service area of the Tribe to include Harris and Brazoria Counties in Texas to enable to the Tribe to be able to use its purchase/referred care funds from the Indian Health Service to be able to help to provide healthcare to the Tribe’s citizens living in the Houston, Texas area. It is vital that the Tribe be able to do this during a global pandemic. Chairman Marshall Pierite said “Tunica-Biloxi has worked tirelessly to forge strong relationships with members of Congress and the introduction of this legislation shows that our hard work has paid off. Myself and the Tribal Council are dedicated to seeing this legislation pass and are excited to be able to help our citizens in Texas be able to access the healthcare that they need.” The Tribal Council looks forward to a hearing being held for HR 4913 and being able to participate for the passage of this legislation.

The Tribal Council remains dedicated to working to provide access to healthcare to all Tribal members both on and off the reservation.

Paragon Casino Resort and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana sponsor 2021 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Louisiana

Paragon Casino Resort and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana sponsored the 2021 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics last week. The Tunica-Biloxi police department escorted Tyler Couvillion on his way to Covington, LA for this year’s games. Tyler even took a break at Paragon Casino Resort. Congrats to Tyler and this year’s athletes!

Read more here.

Chairman Marshall Pierite Greets President Biden

Tunica-Biloxi Chairman Marshall Pierite welcomed President Joe Biden on his visit to Louisiana on May 6th. Chairman and President Biden discussed the future of southern Louisiana and its rural and native communities. Both the Chairman and President Biden were optimistic about the outlook and the continued investment in these areas.

Position Vacancy: Financial Freedom Board of Directors

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana is looking to find qualified, Tribal-member, candidates to serve on the Board of Directors for the Tribe’s newly formed Section 17 Corporation, Financial Freedom Service Products, Inc. also known as “Financial Freedom.” This Board works to engage in, carry on, and conduct any lawful activity or business in which federally-chartered corporations may engage. 

For more information, click here.