ARCHIVE STORY: Newly elected Winnebago Tribal Council looks to t - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

ARCHIVE STORY: Newly elected Winnebago Tribal Council looks to the future after swearing in ceremony


Just months ago, six councilmembers from the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska were removed or resigned after questionable spending practices.

The tribe made history Tuesday with an election that replaced almost the entire council where it would normally have three seats up for election at a time.

Wednesday, the new council started its journey and was sworn in in front of a crowd of nearly two hundred people.

The ceremony began with drums and singing to welcome the newly elected tribal council.

Five of those members are incumbents and three are newcomers.

The only seat that wasn't up for election belonged to Chairperson Darla LaPointe who says this is an exciting step for the tribe.

"To get to this point it took a lot of effort by the community," said LaPointe. "The community and the tribal members were the ones that stood up and they demanded that change be made and because of that, we are where we are today."

One by one, the councilmembers shared a positive message with the crowd after taking oath at the Blackhawk Community Center Gym Wednesday morning.

"I know that hard work is required to be a councilmember and I'm up for the task," said Councilmember Louis LaRose.

"Through this next twelve months, I'm going to do my best to earn your trust," said Councilmember Frank White.

"We see the young people and we want to do things for them, leave things for them," said Councilmember James Snow.

"It takes leadership to bring people together, the cohesiveness, you know, the unity," said Councilmember Curtis St. Cyr.

"We've done a lot of things, a lot of work so far and there's so much more to be done," said Vice Chair Vince Bass.

"The things that may have worked before don't work for us today and it's okay to reevaluate and look at ourselves," said Treasurer Tori Kitcheyan.

"Being elected through the people, I want to say thank you to all of you for taking time out and voting," said Councilmember Isaac Smith.

"I also want the people that didn't vote for me to give me the opportunity to prove my worth on this council," said Council Secretary Kenny Mallory.

After the swearing in ceremony, members of the new tribal council made their way to the tribal council chambers for their first official meeting. They say this is an exciting time to look towards the future.

"The transparency really needs to be there and it needs to be effective and efficient for this table to run and accomplish a lot that, everything we need to accomplish," said LaPointe.

The new board had a special meeting to elect officers and Darla LaPointe was reelected as Chairperson.

They concluded the morning with their first photo together, a sign of unity and hope for what's to come.

The council isn't the only group excited about the historic election. 

Community members attending the ceremony say they are ready for the changes ahead.

"Yesterday our people spoke and and they said these are the people that we want for our leaders and these are the people that we believe will take us forward into the future," said Keely Bassette, a Winnebago Tribal Member.

"We've been through a lot of changes this last year, some of them good, some of them not so good, and you know we're ready to move forward and be a community and a tribe," said Martina Decora a member of the Winnebago Tribe.

While the council had its first special meeting Wednesday, it will have its first regular meeting on October 19th.

Members will attend two regular meetings per month.


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