Constitution and Bylaws
CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS OF THE CHIPPEWA CREE INDIANS OF THE ROCKY BOY'S RESERVATION MONTANA
Approved November 23, 1935
We, the original and adopted members of the Rocky Boy' s Band of Chippewas enrolled upon the Rocky Boy's Reservation in the State of Montana, in order to exercise our rights to self- government, to administer all tribal affairs to the best advantage of the individual members, and to preserve and increase our tribal resources, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation, Montana.
ARTICLE I - - - TERRITORY
The jurisdiction of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Montana, shall extend to the territory within the Rocky Boy's Reservation as established by Act of September 7, 1916 (39 Stat. 739), amending the Act of February 11, 1915 (38 State. 807), in the State of Montana, and to such lands as have been or may hereafter be acquired and added to the Reservation by law.
ARTICLE II - - - MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1. The membership of the Chippewa Cree Tribe shall consist as follows:
(a) All members of the Rocky Boy’s Band of Chippewas enrolled as of June l, 1934.
(b) All children born to any member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation who is a resident of the reservation at the time of the birth of said children.
(c) All children of one-half or more Indian blood born to a non-resident member of the Tribe.
SECTION 2. Any Indian, one-half blood or more and a resident of Montana, not a member of any other reservation, may become a member of this organization provided that twothirds or more of the eligible voters cast their ballots at such election, and provided further that two-thirds of those voting at such election vote in favor of such adoption. All elections to membership shall be confirmed by the Secretary of the Interior.
ARTICLE III - - - ORGANIZATION OF GOVERNING BODY
SECTION 1. The governing body of the Chippewa Cree Tribe shall be known as the “Business Committee.”
SECTION 2. The Business Committee shall consist of eight (8) members and a Chairman all of whom shall be elected on an at-large basis. The Chairman shall file for that particular office.
SECTION 3. During the first regular meeting following certification of those committee members elected at the biennial election, the Business Committee shall elect from within its own membership a Vice-Chairman and such officers and committees as it may deem necessary. The services of a Tribal Secretary-Treasurer shall be available to the committee. Such tribal employees shall be hired on the basis of an employment contract.
SECTION 4. The term of office of the Chairman and all other committee members shall be four (4) years, or until their successors are duly elected and installed.
Those members of the Business Committee who are in office on the effective date of this amendment shall continue to serve until their successors are duly elected November 1972 general election and installed in office. At that election a Chairman and eight (8) committee members shall be elected. The Chairman and four (4) committee members shall be elected for terms of four (4) years (November 1972 through November 1976 unless earlier removed from office). The remaining four (4) committee members shall be elected to serve for two (2) year terms. (November 1972 through November 1974 unless earlier removed from office). The differing lengths of terms shall apply only to the 1972 election for the purpose of establishing a system of staggered terms of office. Thereafter, all terms shall be for four (4) years. Primary elections shall be in October on even numbered years and general elections shall be in November of even numbered years. Those eight (8) candidates receiving the higher number of votes in the primary election will compete in the general election for the terms of office.
Candidates who wish to compete for the office of Chairman shall specifically file for that position for a four (4) year term. Those two (2) candidates receiving the higher number of votes in the primary election for Chairman will compete for Chairman in the general election for the term of office.
SECTION 5. The Business Committee shall be empowered to establish by resolution the rates of payment to cover necessary expenses of tribal officials and/or tribal employees in connection with their attending either local or distant meetings considered to be official tribal business. The Business Committee may change the rates of payment for such expenses. However, any increase or decrease in such rates shall not apply until one (1) year from the date the increase was approved.
ARTICLE IV - - - ELECTIONS AND NOMINATIONS
SECTION 1. Tribal members who are at least eighteen (18) years of age on election day shall be eligible to vote in tribal elections.
SECTION 2. To be eligible for membership on the Business Committee, candidates must have the following qualifications:
- Be a member of the Tribe.
- Must have physically resided within the general area which encompasses the main body of the reservation or on any land under the jurisdiction of the tribe for the two (2) years immediately prior to the date of the general election.
- Must be at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the date of the election.
- Should a potential candidate have been convicted of a felony in any State or Federal court or convicted by tribal court of a misdemeanor involving dishonesty or bribery in handling tribal affairs, such persons shall not be entitled to be a candidate until five (5) years after completion of his penalty.
- If a candidate was ever convicted of use, possession or sale of illegal drugs in any State, Federal or tribal court, such persons shall not be entitled to be a candidate until five (5) years after completion of the penalty.
SECTION 3. Any member who wishes to file as a candidate for membership on the Business Committee, shall deposit with the Election Board a filing fee of $15.00 ($25.00 for the office of Chairman), to help defray election expenses. Such fee shall not be refunded unless the potential candidate fails to meet the qualifications. Procedures shall be set forth in the election ordinance regarding the Election Board’s handling of funds received from filing fees. The filing fee may be adjusted by appropriate amendment to the election ordinance.
The Election Board shall be responsible for insuring that only persons who meet the qualifications are accepted as candidates for elective office.
SECTION 4. In filling the four (4) vacancies which will occur each two (2) years, not more than eight (8) candidates receiving the highest number of votes in the October primary election shall compete for those four (4) positions in the November general election. The four (4) candidates receiving the highest number of votes in the general election shall be elected. In filling the one (1) vacancy for Chairman which will be every four (4) years, not more than two (2) candidates receiving the highest number of votes in the October primary election shall compete for that one (1) Chairman position in the November general election.
The candidate receiving the highest number of votes in the general election shall be elected Chairman.
SECTION 5. Successful candidates shall be installed in office by the Chairman of the Election Board within fourteen (14) days following certification of results of the general election.
SECTION 6. There shall be an impartial Election Board consisting of five (5) members responsible for calling and conducting all tribal elections. Three (3) of the five (5) board members shall be those tribal members who are serving as the Election Board for the county election precinct No. 28 which includes the reservation. The tribal members who constitute the precinct Election Board shall appoint two (2) other adult tribal members to serve with them for tribal election purposes. Those two (2) Board members shall meet the qualifications set forth in Article IV, Section 2 of this constitution and shall be subject to the provisions of Article V, Section 3.
In addition, the Tribal Secretary-Treasurer shall serve as clerk of the Election Board in a nonvoting capacity. A board member shall not serve on the Business Committee and the Election Board at the same time. Should either of the two (2) non-precinct board members file as a candidate for any tribal elective office, they shall automatically lose their position on the Election Board. Should any of the other three (3) voting members of the Board file for tribal office, they shall request the County election officials to replace them with other tribal members.
The tribal Election Board shall be created within ten (10) days after the effective date of this amendment. Initial appointments of the two (2) non-precinct members shall be: one (1) member for a two (2) year term and the other for a three (3) year term. Thereafter, as the terms expire, both appointments shall be for terms of three (3) years. Members may be appointed to successive terms. Appointments shall be made as provided in paragraph two of this Section.
SECTION 7. The specific dates of elections and the procedures for their conduct shall be set forth in an election ordinance which shall be drafted by the Election Board and approved by a majority vote of those participating in a tribal referendum called for that purpose by the Election Board pursuant to Article VIII, Section 2. Such ordinance shall include provisions for secret balloting, absentee voting, registration of voters, a procedure for resolving election disputes and compensation for election officials. Provisions shall also be included for an impartial interpreter at the polling place during voting hours to assist those voters requesting help in casting their ballots. Wherever possible, the Election Board shall coordinate tribal elections with State and County elections.
ARTICLE V - - - VACANCIES, REMOVAL AND RECALL
SECTION 1. If any elective official shall die, resign, permanently leave the reservation, or shall be found guilty while in office of a felony or misdemeanor involving dishonesty in any Indian, State or Federal court, the Business Committee shall declare the position vacant and direct the Election Board to call a special election to fill such vacancy. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected. If six (6) months or less remain before the next primary election the vacated position shall remain vacant until it is filled at the general election following that primary, except as provided in Section 1 (f) of the bylaws.
SECTION 2. The Business Committee may by an affirmative vote of at least five (5) members expel any member for neglect of duty or gross misconduct provided that the accused member shall be given full and fair opportunity to reply to any and all charges at a designated committee meeting. It is further stipulated that any such member shall be given a written statement of the charges against him at least five (5) days before the meeting at which he is to appear.
SECTION 3. Upon receipt of a valid petition signed by registered voters equal in number to forty (40) percent of those who voted at the last election, it shall be the duty of the Election Board to call and conduct, within sixty (60) days, a recall election on any individual who fills an elective position. The provisions of this section shall also apply to those election board members indicated in Article IV, Section 6. A majority of those who participate in such election must favor recall in order for it to become effective provided those who vote constitute at least fifty (50) percent of the registered voters. Only one (1) recall attempt may be made for any tribal official during a given term of office. No recall petition shall be acted upon until at least six (6) months of the term has expired. No more than one (1) official at a time may be considered for recall. A recall election shall not be held if an election for that office is scheduled within ninety (90) days after filing the recall petition. Should the recall be successful, the vacancy shall be filled as provided in Section 1 of this Article. Further details needed to carry out the intent of this Article shall be set forth in the tribal election ordinance.
ARTICLE VI - - - POWERS OF THE COMMITTEE
SECTION 1. The Business Committee shall exercise the following powers subject to any limitations imposed by the Statutes or the Constitution of the United States and subject further to all express restrictions upon such powers contained in this constitution and bylaws.
(a) To negotiate with the Federal, State and local governments on behalf of the tribe and to advise and consult with representatives of the Interior Department on all activities of the Department that may affect the Rocky Boy's Reservation.
(b) To employ legal counsel for the protection and advancement of the tribe and its members, the choice of counsel and the fixing of fees to be subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.
(c) To approve or veto any sale, disposition, lease or encumbrance of tribal lands, interests in lands or other tribal assets, including oil, gas, and minerals which may be authorized or executed by the Secretary of the Interior, or the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, or any other official or Agency of Government provided that no tribal lands shall ever be sold, encumbered, or leased for a period exceeding that permitted by existing law, except to the extent required to implement the provisions of the loan program designed to help purchase land in trust as set forth in the Act of April 11, 1970 (84 Stat. 120) provided such participation is permitted by the tribe's charter of incorporation.
(d) To advise the heads of the various Federal departments and other governmental agencies with regard to all appropriation estimates prior to the submission of such estimates to the office of Management and Budget and to Congress.
(e) To approve applications for selections of land in conformity with Article IX of this constitution.
(f) To manage all economic affairs and enterprises of the tribe in accordance with the terms of the tribe's Federal Charter of incorporation.
(g) To charter subordinate organizations for economic purposes and regulate the activities of all cooperative associations of members of the tribe.
(h) To appropriate available tribal funds for tribal governmental operations except that any proposed expenditure exceeding the tribe's anticipated annual income shall be subject to approval by a referendum vote.
(i) Future tribal income may be pledged by the Business Committee only in the manner authorized by Section 5(e) and 5(f) of the tribe's corporate charter.
(j) To levy taxes upon members of the tribe and to levy taxes or license fees, subject to review by the Secretary of· the Interior, upon nonmembers doing business within the reservation.
(k) To enact resolutions or ordinances not inconsistent with Article II of this constitution governing tribal enrollment and abandonment of membership.
(l) To encourage and foster the arts, crafts, culture, and traditions of the tribe.
(m) To acquire and use for public purposes any part of a selection or land assignment provided that adequate compensation is paid by the Business Committee to the holder of such property.
(n) To enact ordinances governing hunting and fishing within the confines of the reservation.
(o) To delegate to subordinate boards or to cooperative associations which are open to all. members of the tribe any of the foregoing powers, reserving the right to review any action taken by virtue of such delegated power.
(p) To enact ordinances including a comprehensive law and order code subject to approval by the Secretary of the Interior governing the conduct of tribal. members and providing for maintenance of law and order. The code shall include such items listed here but not limited to: jurisdiction, court procedures, civil actions, domestic relations, sentences; criminal offenses, and organization and procedures of tribal police.
ARTICLE VII - - - POPULAR PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT
SECTION l. All regular meetings of the Business Committee shall be open to the public, but visitors may not interfere with proceedings, and may only speak with the consent of the Chairman.
SECTION 2. All resolutions and ordinances of the Business Committee shall be placed in writing and posted in public places, and copies shall also be placed with each committee member.
ARTICLE VIII - - - REFERENDUM
SECTION 1. Upon receipt of a valid petition signed by at least one-half (1/2) of the number who voted at the last election or upon the request of a majority of the members of the Business Committee as set forth in a resolution, it shall be the duty of the Election Board within sixty (60) days to submit to popular referendum any enacted or proposed ordinance or resolution of the Business Committee. The vote of a majority of those who cast ballots in such referendum shall be conclusive and binding on the committee, provided at least three-fourths (3/4) of the registered voters participate in that referendum.
Any enactment which has been effective for at least six (6) months shall no longer be subject to referendum.
SECTION 2. For purpose of adopting or amending an election ordinance, the Election Board is empowered to call and conduct a referendum election. In such election, a majority of those who vote shall determine whether the proposal is adopted or rejected provided at least thirty (30) percent of the registered voters participate in the balloting.
ARTICLE IX - - - TRIBAL LANDS
SECTION 1. No lands now within the reservation boundary, held in trust for the tribe, may be alienated nor may title pass to any individual.
SECTION 2. Any head of a family who is a member shall be entitled to the use of not more than 160 acres of land, such land to be known as “a selection".
SECTION 3. Applications for selections shall be presented in writing to the Business Committee.
SECTION 4. The applicant shall be investigated by the Business Committee before action may be taken on his application.
SECTION 5. The applicant upon approval of the application shall reside upon selection and do a reasonable amount of improvement for two years before selection is finally approved.
SECTION 6. All selections approved by the Superintendent of the reservation at the time of the approval of this Constitution shall remain in effect.
SECTION 7. If any man has allowed his selection to run down, and has made no effort to keep up improvements and make a reasonable use of his land, the Business Committee shall have the right to cancel his selection after due hearing, and to reassign his land to an eligible member of the tribe provided that such member shall pay to the former occupant of the land the value of all his improvements as determined by an appraisal board appointed by the Business Committee. This valuation of the board shall be subject to review and modification by the Business Committee upon appeal by the man who loses his selection. The Business Committee may allow the man to remain in his house without the use of the land and reassign the land to any other eligible member.
SECTION 8. Tribal lands not assigned as selections may be used in common for grazing purposes by all members in accordance with ordinances or resolutions enacted by the Business Committee, or may be leased by the Business Committee with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with law. Preference shall be given, first, to Indian cooperative associations, and, secondly, to individual Indians who are members of the Chippewa Cree Tribe. No lease of tribal lands to a non-member shall be made by the Business Committee unless it shall appear that no Indian cooperative association or individual member of the tribe is able and willing to use the land and to pay a reasonable fee for such use, provided no individual member of the tribe or cooperative association shall be given any preference as to the use of tribal land unless the stock of such individual member of association is restricted stock and bears the ID brand.
SECTION 9. Improvements of any character made upon selections may be willed to and inherited by members of the Chippewa Cree Tribe. When improvements are not possible of fair division, the Business Committee shall dispose of them under such regulations as it may provide. No permanent improvements may be removed from any land without the consent of the Business Committee.
ARTICLE X - - - AMENDMENTS
SECTION 1. This constitution and Bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the qualified voters of the tribe voting at an election called for that purpose by the Secretary of the Interior, provided that at least thirty (30) percent of those entitled to vote shall vote in such election, but no amendment shall become effective until it shall have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior to call an election on any proposed
amendment upon presentation of a petition signed by two-thirds of the eligible voters of the tribe.
ARTICLE XI - - - RIGHTS OF MEMBERS
In compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (82 Stat. 77), the Chippewa Cree Tribe in exercising its powers of self-government shall not:
(a) Make or enforce any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition for a redress of grievances;
(b) Violate the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizures, nor issue warrants, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized;
(c) Subject any person for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy;
(d) Compel any person in any criminal case to be a witness against himself;
(e) Take any private property for a public use without just compensation.
(f) Deny to any person in criminal proceeding the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and at his own expense to have the assistance of counsel for his defense;
(g) Require excessive bail, impose excessive fines, inflict cruel and unusual punishments, and in no event impose for conviction of any one offense any penalty or punishment greater than imprisonment for a term of up to one (1) year and/or a fine of five thousand dollars ($5000) or both;
(h) Deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws or deprive any person of liberty or property without due process of law;
(i) Pass any bill of attainder or ex post facto law; or
(j) Deny to any person accused of an offense punishable by imprisonment the right, upon request, to a trial by jury of not less than six (6) persons.
ARTICLE XII - JUDICIAL BRANCH
SECTION l. There shall be established a Judicial Branch within the tribal government to enforce ordinances and laws of the Business Committee, the Election Board and/or to administer justice through a tribal court. The Judicial Branch shall also provide an appellant body for tribal members who are aggrieved by decisions of the tribal court.
SECTION 2. There shall be established, the positions of Chief Judge and two (2) Associate Judges for the tribal court who shall be responsible to carry out the tribe's judicial functions in accordance with an approved tribal law and order code. The tribal appellate court shall consist of a Chief Appellate Court Judge who shall select appellate panel members from a pool of eligible candidates to serve on the appellate court.
The Business Committee shall appoint and contract with the Chief Judge and Associate Judges for the tribal court and the Chief Appellate Court Judge for the tribal appellate court. The Chief Judge and Associate Judges for the tribal court and the Chief Appellate Court Judge and Appellate Panel Judges for the appellate court must have extensive tribal judicial experience and be in good standing to preside over the tribal court and tribal appellate court.
SECTION 1. Organization of Business Committee and Duties of Officers.
(a) The officers of the committee shall be the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and such other officers as may be hereafter designated by the committee.
(b) The Chairman shall be elected at large. The Vice Chairman and any other officers shall be elected from within the committee by secret ballot. A nonvoting Secretary-Treasurer shall be selected from outside the committee and retained on an employment contract.
(c) The Chairman of the Election Board shall administer the oath of office to the newly-elected members of the Business Committee following certification of their election.
(d) In the absence of any officer at a meeting, the Business Committee shall elect a temporary Chairman to preside for that meeting.
(e) The Chairman of the Committee shall preside over all meetings of the committee, shall perform all duties of a Chairman and exercise any authority delegated to him by the committee. He shall vote only in the case of a tie.
(f) The Vice Chairman shall assist the Chairman when called upon to do so, and in the absence of the Chairman, shall preside. When so presiding, he shall have all the rights, privileges, and duties as well as the responsibilities of the Chairman. In case of vacancy, the Vice Chairman shall succeed at once to the office of the Chairman until the next special or regular election for the office of Chairman in accordance with Section l, Article V of the tribal constitution.
(g) The Secretary-Treasurer, selected pursuant to Subsection (b) above, shall conduct all tribal correspondence and shall keep an accurate record of all matters transacted at the business meetings. It shall be his duty to submit promptly to the Superintendent and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs copies of all minutes of regular and special meetings of the Business Committee. It shall be his duty to have the minutes permanently bound and ready for inspection at all reasonable times. It shall also be his duty to receive all petitions, applications, and other business papers and prepare same for presentation to the Business Committee. The Secretary-Treasurer shall serve as clerk of the Tribal Election Board in a nonvoting capacity and shall perform such services as may be set forth in an election ordinance. The Secretary-Treasurer shall accept, receive, receipt for, preserve, and safeguard all funds in the custody of the Business Committee whether they be tribal funds or special funds for which the committee is acting as trustee or custodian. Checks and drafts shall be made out to the "Chippewa Cree Business Committee" and shall be endorsed "for deposit only". The Secretary-Treasurer shall deposit all such funds as directed by the Business Committee and shall make and preserve an accurate record of the money.
Further, he shall report on all receipts and expenditures and the amount and nature of all funds in
his custody. All reports shall be in writing and submitted to the Business Committee at its regular meetings and at such other times it may request. The Secretary-Treasurer shall not pay out or otherwise disburse any funds in his possession except when properly authorized to do so by resolution duly passed by the Business Committee. All checks shall be signed by the Secretary Treasurer and countersigned as designated by resolution of the Business Committee.
The books and records of the Secretary-Treasurer shall be audited annually and at other times as directed by the Business Committee by a competent auditor employed by the Committee. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs may audit the tribal accounts if he deems it necessary. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be required to give a surety bond satisfactory to the Business Committee and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be present at all meetings of the Business Committee.
SECTION 2. Meetings
(a) The Business Committee shall hold regular business meetings each month at the tribal office on a date to be set forth by resolution of the committee.
(b) Special meetings may be called at any time by the Chairman upon ten (10) hours written notice delivered to members of the Business Committee and shall be called and conducted upon petition by five (5) members of the committee.
(c) A quorum of five (5) committee members shall be present at any meeting before the committee may be officially called to order. Only members of the Business Committee shall have the right to vote.
SECTION 3. Order of Business
(a) Roll Call
(b) Reading of the minutes of previous meeting.
(c) Secretary-Treasurer to report business transactions and present any bills, requisitions, claims, etc.
(d) Hearing of applications, petitions, complaints, and other business properly coming before the committee.
(e) Any other business.
SECTION 4. Procedure for adoption of Constitution and Bylaws.
(a) This Constitution and Bylaws attached hereto shall be in full force and effect whenever a majority of the adult voters of Rocky Boy's Band of Chippewas voting at an election called by the Secretary of the Interior in which at least thirty percent (30%) of the eligible voters shall vote, shall have ratified such Constitution and Bylaws and the Secretary of the Interior shall have approved same, as provided in the Act of June 18, 1934, as amended by the Act of June 15, 1935.
CERTIFICATION OF ADOPTION
Pursuant to an order, approved October 18, 1935, by the Secretary of the Interior, the attached Constitution and Bylaws were submitted for ratification to the members of the Rocky Boy's Band of Chippewas of the Rocky Boy's Reservation and were on November 2, 1935, duly adopted by a vote of 128 for, and 23 against, in an election in which over 30 percent of those entitled to vote cast their ballots, in accordance with Section 16 of the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984), as amended by the Act of June 15, 1935 (Pub. No. 147, 74th Cong.).
Chairman of Election Board
Chairman of Rocky Boy's Business Committee
I, Harold L. Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority granted me by the Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984), as amended, do hereby approve the attached Constitution and Bylaws of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation.
All rules and regulations heretofore promulgated by the Interior Department or by the Office of Indian Affairs, so far as they may be incompatible with any of the provisions of the said Constitution or Bylaws are hereby declared inapplicable to the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation.
All officers and employees of the Interior Department are ordered to abide by the provisions of the said Constitution and Bylaws.
Approval recommended November 15, 1935.
Commissioner of Indian Affairs
Harold L. Ickes,
Secretary of the Interior
November 23, 1934
Amended by election held April 22, 1972 and approved by Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Harrison Loesch May 17, 1972.
Amended by election held January 6, 2004, and approved by Rocky Mountain Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Keith Beartusk February 6, 2004.