Joan Timeche and Joseph P. Kalt: The Process of Constitutional Reform: Key Issues and Cases to Consider

Native Nations Institute

Joan Timeche and Joseph P. Kalt share two stories of constitutional reform processes undertaken by Native nations and discuss what factors spurred or impeded the ultimate success of those efforts. 

Resource Type

Kalt, Joseph P. "The Process of Constitutional Reform: Key Issues and Cases to Consider." Tribal Constitutions seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. May 2, 2012. Presentation.

Timeche, Joan. "The Process of Constitutional Reform: Key Issues and Cases to Consider." Tribal Constitutions seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. May 2, 2012. Presentation.

Joseph P. Kalt: "This panel arises somewhat unusually for us in the sense that we don't usually do this kind of panel, but it arose when we were talking among ourselves about the curriculum for this event, this session. When one starts talking about the process of constitutional reform, in other words not what are you going to put in your constitution but how do you go through the process, it's very easy, particularly for us professor types, to paint a picture of perfection. We all get together, we have long conversations, we take our time to deliberate, we arrive at collective values and wisdom. And we kind of started to realize, "˜Well, that's a real interesting view, and it's often wrong.' Because in the real world, changing one's government, from the Soviet Union to Cherokee or whatever, is often a very messy process, and yet...well, that's the real world that -- if any of you have invested in these efforts -- you encounter, and so we thought what we would try to do is try to talk about some real-world cases and then have some conversation about and draw out, "˜What do you learn from real-world cases where people change their constitution?' And so that's the goal here is to, "˜Let's get real guys, this is a real messy thing.' I, for example, have had my life under threat, just for being the guy who came and talked at an event. For real. Because for real nations, there are real stakes here, and it gets messy for lots of reasons. People have vested interest in the status quo. People -- the general public -- is often very poorly educated in any country about these kinds of issues. So there are lots of reasons that the real world gets a lot messier than maybe that picture of, have a lot of public meetings, set up a website. Oh, that's how you change your constitution? In most cases, nope. There are different ways. So we thought, that's our purpose here, and Joan is going to start with a case near and dear to her heart, her Hopi heart."

Joan Timeche: "As you know, I am a citizen of the Hopi Nation and I want to tell you, I'm going to make a disclaimer right up front that I'm talking from the perspective of not as an official representative of the Hopi Tribe but as an individual citizen, "˜cause I can see a lot of things, I get frustrated about a lot of things. I'm also -- in our nation I'm also one of the off-reservation citizens, and thankfully our constitution allows off-reservation citizens to participate in all of the elections. So we're able to do so either by physically going on reservation to vote in our villages or either by absentee ballots. So we're able to participate in this whole process, and I just want to say that -- very quickly, before I forget -- that we actually have a large contingent of off-reservation citizens too, probably about 4,000 who live off, and we're very active in what is happening within the nation because oftentimes we're the ones who can understand the complexities of the laws, and we go back home and we share that information with our citizens to help them understand how it impacts them.

So I wanted to just talk very briefly about what had happened at Hopi, because we too have gone through constitutional reform. And you'll see on the screen some photos of Hopi. We've been very fortunate, probably because of our isolation, our distance from metro areas, and if you wanted to come visit Hopi, you really had to have a reason to come visit us because it's so far and distant out there. And that probably, the fact that we live on mesas, high up in high elevations probably helped to keep our language and our traditions and our customs alive. But we still have a lot of that in existence today, despite the decline in our language and some of our loss of our societies because we have people who pass on who don't carry that information on. So you can imagine that on Hopi, if you've ever visited the Hopi Nation, you'll see a real diversity out there in terms of our government. We have 12 autonomous villages and within these villages they control all of the land, they make all of the decisions within their area of jurisdiction, and here comes in the federal government that imposes upon us a constitution. We were one of the IRA [Indian Reorganization Act] tribes that in 1936 we approved the constitution. But like as you heard many other speakers here, our people did not go and vote. They voted with their feet, which meant that they stayed home, because that election that the Bureau of Indian Affairs was conducting was not their form of how we make decisions. Ours was based on clan hierarchy. We were a traditional culture and so all of our leadership was elected and appointed in a different way, and it wasn't a democracy as this IRA constitution was putting us into. So we had these 12 villages. So if you look at what was happening out on Hopi, if you look at the 12 villages, for many, many years after 1936, only eight of those villages decided that they were going to recognize the constitution, and four of them did not. And one of those villages had probably about one-eighth of the nation's population, and today still does not recognize it, so they're not represented in council. I'm not represented either, because I come from a traditional village, the village of Old Oraibi. So there are probably about, we have population today of 12,000. I would guess that probably a quarter of our population is not represented effectively on council because we say, "˜That's a foreign government, that's the [Hopi language] form of government.' But as you all know, what happens out there is we had to be able to get services at one point or another, and sometimes it came down to the decision of almost to the lesser of the two evils. We're in dire need of services so do we accept it, do we not accept it. There's a lot of controversy over whether or not you've accepted it if you take some of the services that are funded by federal governments, on and on -- all of this controversy continued throughout.

And so what ended up happening over the years, Hopi life continued. And I will say that as a child growing up and until probably the 1990s, we really just lived out there and did our own thing and we had this government, this tribal council that dealt with the external forces and all of this. So we had two forms of government ongoing all the time, and over those years, since 1936, we had three amendments. Most of them dealt with citizenship as we moved from half-blood quantum, we moved down to a quarter and so over the years we'd had amendments made to our constitution. And then in the, let's see, I believe it was in 1998 there was a decision made that we need to begin to start changing, to take a look at this, because by then Western culture had come in and there was more, many of us were becoming more acculturated, there was this transition, and so many of us were now looking at the tribal government, this modern form, this IRA form of a government as the government, except for these four villages that continued operating in a traditional way. So you can see the majority were transitioning over, and we were having a number of problems. So some of the things that they looked at in determining why this was happening was we didn't have adequate coverage in terms of our sovereignty. There wasn't a separation, there were disputes over what the roles were, and we really actually had one single council up there. If you can look at that, they had the powers to make law, to be able to adjudicate, and to run the administration. So they were doing everything. They were the be-all of our nation. And so those are some of the reasons why that this change was occurring. And if you talk to an everyday citizen out there like my cousins, my uncles and whatever who don't really have any real connect to the tribal government, they're not employed there, they're just out there living their lives as Hopi citizens, they had no clue. They saw this as just, "˜Oh, we don't know what those tribal, what they're doing down at the tribal headquarters, they're crazy,' kind of a thing. "˜Why don't they all get together, and why don't they just try to meet our needs that we have here out in our community?' So in this effort, the committee, they actually passed a resolution. There was a committee, a constitution commission that was formed. It was supposed to have been represented by -- each of the 12 villages was supposed to have two reps on this committee. That committee never got formed as such. Instead [it] ended up being a seven- or eight-member committee if I remember correctly, and they began to set about going out to working on these issues that had been identified, they went out and conducted hearings and they were moving forward much as we heard from the last two panelists. They were moving forward on their plan of seeking the input, trying to be able to make the changes.

And so around 2002 we...I'm sorry, 2004, all of this just stopped. It just stalled out in the communities. There was beginning to grow dissent within the tribe over what the powers were within the communities. Our people began to actually file lawsuits. Before, we had always resolved our disputes internally within families, within villages. We only used our courts really for criminal kinds of cases, and now we were beginning to see the change of civil kinds of cases coming into our courts. So we were clearly changing there. So they went back -- during the years of 2005 to 2010, you probably have read many articles in national papers and heard about all of our political turmoil that occurred over residency criteria, eligibility criteria for our chairman and then [him] being removed, and then going through another election and basically the council overturning the vote, the results of the election, which said they basically nullified what the people's votes were and there were all of these civil suits that were being put out in the courts by groups and individuals because the council had violated individual civil rights because they nullified our vote, which was to elect a different person than they wanted. So you can see there was all this turmoil that occurred.

We still have turmoil today, but not to the degree that it was at that time. What then happened is it stabilized a little bit. Around 2009, we had a new chairman come in and in 2010 the new chairman, as it happened, was one of the co-chairs of this constitution reform committee back in the day. So one of the platforms that they ran on was that they were going to stabilize the community, they're going to look at whether this in fact has been an illegitimate council that's been operating for years and decades, and they were going to resolve those issues. So one of the ways that they decided to do that was, "˜Okay, let's look at our constitution again and pull that out and figure out what's working, what's not working.' So they went out and the committee, they reconstituted the old committee with as many members as they could get back on there, and they basically -- and here you'll hear my bias -- they came and they took out the old version from 2002, from which they had the hearings that got pushed off, because there was a lot of, it was going, there were many people who felt that it was going to take the powers away from the villages, that the traditional form of government was just going to be diminished, and their powers were going to be diminished by this foreign IRA kind of a concept and a constitution. So what ended up happening, they dusted it off, they reconstituted the committee, they went out and re-held more hearings during the year 2010 and the year 2011. In a Secretarial election, the council passed the motion that this constitution was going to go forward. It went out, they processed the appropriate paperwork with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the notices went out. But the notices went out right around Christmas, and who looks at their mail during Christmas? I was one of those citizens who did not see this letter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in my stack of mail until after the deadline passed. But then I learned that I was not the only person who did not see this notice. So across the State of Arizona, wherever you found Hopi citizens, on the rez, wherever, off rez, there was an effort that got started where there was a civil suit that was filed to halt the election, because there was not adequate notice provided, because as you've heard the BIA requires that you register with them. It didn't matter that I was a registered voter through the Hopi Tribe and through our election ordinance, I then had to re-register with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and this is what created a lot of controversy.

So what ended up happening come January 27, 2012, an election was held, and guess what happened at that election. Think it passed? No, yes, maybe, whatever? Well, what ended up happening is that it got defeated, again back to the fact that what was cited as the reason was, "˜We didn't know what you were proposing to do with this constitution. We gave you comment, but you totally disregarded it. You sat there and you listened, but you made no attempt to modify this constitution that you drafted five years ago or whatever the timeframe was.' So you had citizens out there who said, "˜This is not going to work. We need to go back to the drawing board.' And so I guess, what I wanted to share there was basically we took the steps forward, two steps forward, or actually maybe one step forward, and we took two back, and then we went one step forward and we're going two back. But I think that what's going to happen in this next version -- because we still have a lot of unrest, political unrest -- is that there's going to be a greater effort at citizen education out there, and already you can see groups and entities and individuals who are already beginning to make that attempt. There's greater awareness about and questioning about, "˜What are the roles of our council? What are the roles of our elected officers? What are our roles and responsibilities as individual citizens?' So it's creating all of this flurry out here, and sometimes -- as you probably all have experienced -- sometimes the activity is just heightened, it's on everybody's mind and it's being talked about at the dinner table, and other times it just totally at the bottom and it goes up and down. But what'll come out of this is, as I said, greater citizen education. So again, it's another story of things can't all be perfect. You make the effort, one forward, two back, one forward but we're going to keep trying to resolve and strengthen our government on Hopi. Thank you."

Kalt: "Thank you, Joan. We thought we'd tell a few stories like this and then open it up to questions. Let me tell you a story a little bit like Joan's. While I'm obviously not Native and not a member of the Crow Tribe, I want to tell you about the Crow story. Actually, it has a happy ending. It's a rough and rugged story in the sense that the process that they went through to change their constitution doesn't look like anybody's textbook and it has some unsavory parts to it. And yet at the end of it, in a certain way, they've been successful, and so as I tell this rough and rugged story, it has a happy ending, even though at times it won't sound like it.

And so I'll actually start at the end. I mentioned yesterday the Crow Tribe constitution of 1948, not an IRA constitution. They had rejected the IRA. 1948 constitution written by non-Indian lawyer from Hardin, Montana, had this "˜every voting age member is a member of the tribal council, a quorum is 100 people, tribal council shall meet once every quarter.' It had a fourth clause to it, which was Secretarial approval. It said -- last clause of the constitution -- any changes or amendments to this constitution shall be subject to the approval of the Secretary of Interior or his designee meaning the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs]. That was their constitution from 1948 "˜til 2001.

And the happy ending is, since 2001, they're operating under a constitution that I'll describe in some detail in a moment, but it's actually brought stability to a tribe that had been under tremendous instability. I mentioned that the last three chairs elected under the 1948 constitution became convicted federal felons while in office. I believe from 1967 to '97, approximately not a single chair was not impeached and removed from office. And they've now stabilized that as they've gone through a cycle of one chair who served out a complete term, didn't go to prison, was reelected, then unfortunately passed away while in office from a heart ailment, put in a new chair, went through the transition of power. That chair has survived and so forth, and many other signs of stability being brought to the Crow Nation since 2001.

So it has a happy ending, but how did they get there? So you have this crazy constitution from 1948. Some of the difficulties around the constitution. Not only did you have all the convicted federal felons, not only did you have impeachment of every tribal chair from about 1967 to '97, but you had this phenomenon -- just to give you the flavor -- of a quorum is 100 people in the tribal council. What that meant was kind of the optimal size political faction, there were so few jobs, was 99 of your friends and you, because if you could get yourself elected chair, you would immediately kick out all the employees, the head of natural resources, the head of the police force, whatever, and appoint your 99 friends, "˜cause that's what they expected of you. That's why they were part of your chairman's faction. It was to the point in which good friends of mine -- actually, Miriam was with one of these gentlemen yesterday -- they would self refer, "˜I'm a lieutenant in the chairman's faction, or I'm a lieutenant in the out-of-power faction.' People were very conscious of this need to be in tight little factions and get your chair elected so you could then have jobs for the next 90 days until somebody kicked your chairman out and you lost your job. By the way, the Crow talk openly about this. They know this was a messy system, and in fact by the mid-1980s, by the mid-1980s if you went and interviewed even the man on the street in a sense -- you're talking about your relatives who don't pay much attention like most people, why should you -- people would say, "˜Oh, it's "˜cause of our screwed-up government.' And yet they couldn't change the government, they couldn't change this constitution. And in the late 1980s a very wise gentleman, Chairman Richard Real Bird at the time and kind of one of my mentors in this game, said, "˜We've got to change this system. We're just killing ourselves.' But because everything had become so factionalized, he literally would have to go out, wake up in the morning at 3:00 in the morning, drive over to another faction leader's house, throw rocks at his window, "˜cause he couldn't be seen [saying], 'Hey, we've got to change this constitution.' Because he couldn't be seen doing that in public because, "˜Oh, you're, uh oh, he's not loyal to my faction anymore,' and your own faction would dessert you. And so there was a social breakdown in the ability of leaders to talk to themselves, and that's critical because if you go through constitutional reform, you're going to have people who don't agree with you and they're leaders in the community, and you'd like to be able to talk to each other and say "˜can't we find a way to solve that problem' that Joan just put up there, for example. What, four of the twelve aren't part of the government? So you have a big chunk of the Hopi Nation, Hopi Tribe, that don't even participate. What would you say, 30 percent don't participate or something like that? A quarter? Okay.

So you saw this kind of breakdown. The way these things would be manifested, you'd be chair, you'd get impeached and removed from office on a Saturday at the tribal council meeting, the quarterly meeting, and the next Saturday or so you would go to the office with you and your relatives with pickup trucks and take every piece of paper out of the office, so that the new chair would come in and there would be no paper record for example. This led one time at Crow to the casino being shut down because someone challenged the Crow Nation to show us where your gaming compact is with the State of Montana. And it had been taken out of the office, and they literally ran into these kinds of problems where literally, imagine trying to run a government, build a community, run a language program in the school, get some that kind of situation? Chaos. But there was a deep recognition that there was this chaos, and it was very interesting.

In the late 1980s, this one chair really started a drive to try to change the constitution. And he started to run into opposition of a couple of types that you may run into in your own community of different flavors. One was the 1948 constitution had been culturally associated with a particular elder in the tribe and a lot of people were responding, "˜You're attacking that elder if you change our 1948 constitution.' What had actually happened was this lawyer from Hardin, Montana, had gotten this elder to kind of introduce the constitution, but it wasn't like the elder was deeply connected to it or anything, it was just that's how it kind of happened and got stuck in people's mind that it wasn't the white lawyer in Hardin, Montana who wrote the constitution, it was this elder. He's now very elderly. And you kind of got this opposition of, "˜You're somehow tampering with our elders.' And the chair of the tribe at the time in the late 1980s wrote a new -- they wrote a new constitution, he and his lieutenants wrote a new constitution, put it up for a vote and it was a pretty solid constitution with strong separations of powers, shrinking the legislature from a legislature of about 6,000 adults to like 18 people, a little more manageable, putting in some checks and balances so you couldn't just willy nilly impeach the chairs every three months or so. But as the 1980s came up and the constitution was put up for a vote, in the days leading up to the constitutional vote, the chairman's own faction started to desert him and it lost just hands down, just got clobbered. Why would the chairman's own faction desert the chairman's effort to put in a new constitution? Well, if you talked to people at the time, it was the vested interest in the status quo. "˜If I'm the 34-year-old current head of the natural resources program, I have this job because of this tribal chair. If we get this new constitution, damn, I might not be able to get on that gravy train. It might be a system in which I won't win.' And so you had this kind of sense of risk on the part of even the chairman's faction that this new constitution would end the gravy train of me and 99 of my friends. And so it ended up losing tremendously.

Now fast forward 15 years and behind the scenes, now we're going to go to 2001, where they succeed in changing the constitution. Changing the constitution is still a kind of dirty idea. "˜Oh, don't touch that, don't touch that.' But, some young leaders within the community -- all in their kind of early to mid-30s -- start saying, "˜This is crazy.' "˜Cause some of them had come to sessions like we're doing here and they come away thinking, "˜Maybe the reason we have 80 percent unemployment and suicide rates that are 15 times the national average and people who are taking our land from us right and left, maybe it's "˜cause we've got a messed up government.' So these young leaders say, "˜We're going to try for constitutional change.' And it's very, very interesting what they did. They could not hold big public meetings on constitutional reform. Literally, they were running the risk of physical harm to themselves if they did that. That is that there would be riots at the meetings, and I had friends beaten up behind the racetrack at the State Fair at Billings, Montana one day because they were trying to push for constitutional reform. Crow on Crow, Crow on Crow. So how'd they do it? These young 30 somethings, first they thought hard substantively, "˜What changes do we need to make?' It was easy to say, this every adult member is a member of the tribal council, this sort of chaos, that was easy to say that was screwed up but what do you replace it with, what would work for this community? And I'll say a little bit more about that in a second. Secondly, how do you get the constitution on the agenda? And here's what they did. They started...there was a series of meetings of I think it's called the 107 Commission or Committee, and it deals with a completely different matter at Crow coming from an old dispute over some land and some money compensation and so forth, and many of the older tribal leaders are involved in the 107 Committee. They went to this committee and they started essentially doing the following, "˜Hey, we hear you're going to have a committee meeting about these monies and this land issue, we'd like to come and talk about the new constitution.' Unannounced kind of. It wasn't like it was come to the meeting and full notification. And they started to go around to these meetings and these 30 somethings would come in with the cooperation of elders now on this committee and start talking about, "˜You know, why we're having trouble making decisions about land, it's "˜cause of the constitution' -- started to shift the conversation to maybe "˜it's this messed up constitution that was written not by us in 1948.' And as they started this conversation and they'd get a little, enough support going.

Next step in their process. They succeed in getting elected in this chaotic system a gentleman, a very nice gentleman, who had no experience in tribal politics. I live up, I have a little ranch up there, "˜cause I work so much at Crow. I'm just off the Crow reservation. This very nice gentleman was literally the snowplow driver on my road that comes into my ranch. Nice guy, but no experience in politics. And I don't want to imply, but I am kind of implying, a little bit of a puppet in a certain way. This is the tribal chair. And here they come up to 2001, and here's how the new constitution gets adopted. They'd been going out to these little local meetings, ostensibly not about the constitution, but nevertheless talking about it in these meetings a little bit. They go to the July 1st, 2001 tribal council meeting, every adult member of the tribe is a member of the tribal council, there are several thousand people there, and the Crow, under that old government, had a tradition where they could "˜take the sense of the house' -- I think is the phrase -- where they would decide as the first action on the Saturday morning of the council that everything would be conducted by a voice vote or counted vote, and they decided, "˜Let's do it all by a voice vote. All those in favor?' And it's literally kind of everybody just sort of shouts out, "˜Yay, nay! Okay.' Chairman bangs the gavel, "˜We will conduct the whole meeting by voice vote. First item of business: We need to paint the tribal police station or something. It's going to cost about $1,200. All those in favor?' "˜Aye.' "˜Next item of business...' And there's actually a tape recording of what I'm talking about. "˜Next item of business is the new constitution.' No discussion. "˜All those in favor?' No discussion. "˜Next item of business: the new constitution. It'll help us. All those in favor?' A bunch of people start screaming "˜Aye.' "˜All those opposed?' And suddenly people are screaming, "˜No, no, nay, nay, nay,' and you can hear this on this audio tape. And at least the fellow Miriam was with yesterday, a gentleman I know, said to me one time, "˜If you had a decibel meter, maybe the nays won in the screaming match there.' The lieutenants are sitting -- you're our tribal chair -- the lieutenants are sitting, "˜The ayes won it, ayes won it, bang the gavel, bang the gavel!' The chairman bangs the gavel. "˜The ayes have it.' And they're screaming and yelling and everything else and he's banging the gavel, he's banging the gavel. I don't know exactly what the next item was, but, "˜Next item of business, next item of business. We've got to change the tipping fee on the trash collection from $15 to $18.' They're banging and everybody's screaming and pretty soon things kind of...and they go on and they vote on the tipping fee for trash collection. True story, folks. I don't know if it's tipping fee on trash, but that kind of event.

Next, two more layers to the story real quickly. They then go and they have this new constitution. I want to say a word about what they did with the constitution, because it's very important. These were gentlemen -- these 30 somethings -- who really believe in their community. I can't find a "˜serve myself, get 2800 pairs of shoes' bone in their bodies. They are devoted to helping Crow, but they had to do it in this way because they couldn't figure out any other way to make this happen. What did they do? They wrote a constitution in which they said, "˜You know, I've listened to those people at NNI about cultural match. We used to have a council of clans and a council of warriors, a two-branch government. The council of clans historically in our society concerned themselves with civil life -- divorce in the camp, murder in the camp, whatever might happen, that was the council of clans job.' The council of warriors is what it sounded like. They were foreign affairs. They fought the Lakota, they fought the Cheyenne, they treated with the U.S. government and so forth. They had a very strong separation of powers. So they did two things. They looked around and they said, "˜You know, our clan system is still pretty strong, and it's kind of not perfect but related to districts. People over here in the Pryor District tend to be of this clan. People over here at Lodge Grass tend to be of another clan. Let's create district representatives, three from six districts, 18 people tribal legislature, tribal council.' And what'll happen is, they're thinking like this, "˜We'll tend to get legitimate leaders in the community, the clan leaders, to come now be political leaders in the sense that they'll now be the legislature, three from each district.' And they wrote that into the new constitution. The second thing they said is, "˜We want a really strong separation of powers, council of clan, council of warriors.' So at Crow, I'm told that if I'm the tribal chair, the executive, if I go over to the legislature building which is just sort of caddy corner across the street over here -- I've been out there many times, spoken to them -- I can be arrested if I go in my official capacity because I'm not part of the legislature. I'm the council of warriors. I can fly to Washington and do my work and everything else and I can administer programs, but the council of clans, the Crow legislature, is from the clan leaders in the six districts. So they create this kind of government.

Now fast forward. So July 1st, 2001, bang the gavel, the ayes have it, the ayes have it, the ayes have it. New constitution. They go and they hold elections. How do you hold elections? Well, because now you're kind of empowering the clans, in each district the clans are anxious to hold elections, "˜cause they can now feel, "˜Hey, this is kind of cool. We might have some clout around here instead of this chaos.' They hold the elections. They go for inauguration, and any of you who've been to Crow Fair, kind of down near where ya'll park at Crow Fair, there's a big round building, roundhouse, and as I understand it they go down there for the inauguration ceremonies, and so all the new officers go down to get inaugurated, and another faction takes over the tribal headquarters claiming that the new constitution is invalid. And so now you have a sit-in going on at the tribal headquarters as the inauguration is going on. Interestingly enough, because the clans are starting to say, "˜Hey, we kind of like this new government,' this faction that takes over the tribal headquarters, their argument isn't that the constitution is bad, it's it wasn't adopted legitimately. It had that Secretarial approval clause in it, remember. The Secretary of Interior shall approve or disapprove of any changes or amendments to this constitution. They have a sit-in, I may get the facts a little bit wrong, but basically the BIA and tribal police and state highway patrol are there and they say, "˜We're coming in at 4:30 with tear gas to get you out of there, to the sit-inners.' And they somehow get, at the time Neal McCaleb was the Secretary for Indian Affairs, they somehow get him on the phone and in an act supporting tribal sovereignty he says, "˜Oh, wait a minute, the Secretary of Interior doesn't have to approve the new constitution, because it's not a change or amendment to the old constitution, it's a whole new constitution.' And so now that you've got this constitution...and the sit-inners, he's just pulled their rug out. They walk out. They walk out. And you ended up with a system then in which what was really happening was, behind the scenes, "˜You hothead whose taken over the tribal headquarters -- did I tell you I'm your clan father by the way -- you need to leave before 4:30. Did I tell you I'm your clan...' You're watching the finger wagging of cultural legitimacy supporting a constitution now which was giving power to the legitimate structures and authorities, the cultural match of the Crow people. And while it had this very sort of rough and ready and tumbling start, it sits there stable now. They just had a big meeting on the anniversary basically of, "˜Hey, this is working pretty cool for us.' How is this working? And so I tell you this story because in it is that story of leadership, citizens often aren't paying much attention, for good reason. As you said, they want to live their lives. Go out to the guy here who's parking cars, this young man, he couldn't care less about the constitution of the United States. He's thinking about when is Friday, "˜cause I want to go drink beer or something. Any citizens, the man or woman on the street, doesn't care and quite rightly. Leaders have to step forward. Yes, you have to respect the community, but somehow you've got to strike a balance there where the leaders are the ones putting structure to the process, and that's what those 30-somethings at Crow did."

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