On Oct. 22, 2022, the General Council of Quapaw Nation met to decide on approved language for possible amendment changes to the Governing Resolution. The Governing Resolution has led the Quapaw Nation for over half a century, but for Quapaw Nation citizens, it has become clear some changes are needed.
In 2020, the Constitution Committee sent out a survey – available in print and digital form – to the citizens of Quapaw Nation. The goal of the survey was to try and pinpoint priorities based on what the citizens deemed most important to them; the proposed amendments were built off of the priorities established through that survey.
The General Council of Quapaw Nation was able to approve several measures to be placed on an impending ballot, with others to be addressed Jan. 28, 2023, when the General Council returns from recess. Before General Council approved language on 16 other amendments, the Constitution Committee asked them to immediately approve the following:
1. By Majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council give authority to the Constitution Committee of the Quapaw Nation to make non substantiative edits to all governing documents. Non substantiative edits are to include;
(i) numbering of paragraphs, consistency of terms, syntax, consolidation of documents, and reconciliation of said documents effective immediately and until such time the Quapaw Indian Council decides to disband the Constitution Committee.
The measure was met with a few questions before a vote approved and confirmed the authority of the Constitution Committee granted by General Council.
Amendment language approved by General Council
1. By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council amend Section 1 to add Subsection (c), and (d) to provide:
(c) All proposed Resolutions shall be made public at least ten (10) calendar days prior to a Business Committee vote and posted on the official Quapaw Nation website. All passed Resolutions and minutes shall be posted within ten (10) calendar days of enactment posted on the official Quapaw Nation website. In the event of an emergency, the Chairman of the Business Committee may request a phone poll or email poll of Business Committee Members to take action
regarding an issue. The proposed emergency Resolution will be posted immediately on the official Quapaw Nation Website with the reason the action taken was deemed an emergency.
(d) The Business Committee shall conduct all Quapaw Nation electronic business using Quapaw Nation issued technology and assets i.e., telephone, email address, computer, software, etc., in the event they are unable to meet in person.
2. By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council amend Section 5 of the Governing Resolution regarding Resolutions involving approval of membership by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to strike:
. . . and, so long as the affairs of the Quapaw Tribe are under the general supervision of the Federal Government, of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs or his authorized representative.
3. By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council amend Section 1 of the Governing Resolution to add Subsection (e) to provide:
(e) Any enrolled tribal member over the age of eighteen (18) may submit in writing a Freedom of Information request. The Business Committee however may redact personal identifying information, medical information, unaudited financial information, or pending litigation. The Business Committee shall respond in writing to all Freedom of Information requests within 30 calendar days of receipt of the request. The Business Committee has authority to provide by duly adopted resolution additional exceptions for redacting information not mentioned above; however, the Business Committee must include a written statement with the redacted information to any Freedom of Information request explaining the reason for the redaction or denial. The Business Committee shall create a process for Freedom of Information requests.
4. By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council amend the Governing Resolution Section 4 to add Section 4 (a) and (b) to provide:
(a) All Business Committee members are to be compensated fairly for their work as an elected official of the Quapaw Nation. All compensation of the Business Committee is to be presented by the Business Committee and shall be voted on annually by the Quapaw Indian Council provided that the voting membership has had proper notice (30 days) to review the proposed compensation and the method for its determination. It will be the Business Committee’s duty to present any and all proposed changes of compensation to the Quapaw Indian Council for approval and that adjusted compensation shall be effective beginning the next term of office for each position.
(b) The Quapaw Indian Council reserves the authority to suggest and vote on additional compensation for immediate implementation by motion from the floor.
5. By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council amend the Governing Resolution Section 4 to add Section 4 (c) to provide:
(c) Compensation to the Business Committee members will be paid solely and directly from the Quapaw Nation. Compensation from any other Quapaw tribal entity is prohibited. If a new compensation amount is not approved by the Quapaw Indian Council, the Business Committee members’ compensation shall revert to the most recent approved compensation amounts by the Downstream Development Authority; once the Quapaw Indian Council approves the first Business Committee compensation, any future non approvals shall trigger no change in compensation.
6. By majority vote shall the Quapaw Indian Council amend Section 6 (a) of the Governing Resolution regarding the Grievance Committee by striking the language “consisting of three persons of Quapaw Indian Blood” and replacing it with:
“consisting of five (5) persons of Quapaw Indian blood.”
Amendment Language tabled pending clarity to General Council
This vote was tabled and is pending discussion of potential ramifications.
Business Committee has committed to getting a legal memo and will provide that to the Nation ahead of reconvening in January.
By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council amend the Governing Resolution Section 4 to add Subsection 4 (d) to provide:
(a) Unless changed by vote of the Quapaw Indian Council, all Quapaw Nation commissions, agencies, instrumentalities, and entities, shall report to the Business Committee. This excludes any commissions or instrumentalities elected by and answerable to the Quapaw Indian Council. Each Quapaw Nation entity charter or organic document is hereby amended to include the provision that no Business Committee member may be a member of those entities’ governing boards. This section and section 4(c) shall be effective six (6) months from the day of passage of this provision.
All following amendments were tabled until the return from recess of Special General Council January 22, 2023
1. By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council amend Section 6 (a) of the Governing Resolution to provide:
(a)… Elections for the Members of the Grievance Committee, unless a vacancy is being filled, shall take place at the Quapaw Indian Council Meeting of the Quapaw Nation and shall be held by nominations and
votes from the floor. Three (3) Members will be elected in even number years and two (2) Members will be elected in odd number years.
2. By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council replace Subsection (b) and add Subsection (c)-(e) to Section 6.1 to provide:
(b) The Grievance Committee shall investigate all complaints of professional and personal misconduct regarding Business Committee Members.
(c) The Grievance Committee may have access to information from all Quapaw Nation commissions, agencies, instrumentalities, and entities related to a grievance.
(d) Grievance Committee Members may serve two (2) consecutive terms and must take two (2) years off between serving in the same capacity.
(e) Grievance Committee Members shall adhere to the Quapaw Nation Code of Ethics.
3. By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council add Subsection (f)-(h) to Section 6.1 to provide:
(f) A vacancy on the Grievance Committee occurring during a current Member’s term of office will be filled by the next candidate in line based on the votes cast for Grievance Committee Member from the most recent Grievance Committee election. If no replacement is available, the Grievance Committee will continue to operate independently, and the position will stay vacant until the next Quapaw Indian Council.
(i) If more than one vacancy occurs, a special Quapaw Indian Council election shall take place the first Saturday following 60 days from the last vacancy.
(g) Grievances must be written and signed by an enrolled member of the Quapaw Nation. Grievances may be sent via email or mailed to Grievance Committee Members. A statement of facts including, dates, times, witnesses, allegations of wrongdoing, and the remedy requested must be included in the grievance.
(h) The Grievance Committee may seek the assistance of, or work with the Ethics Commission as it deems necessary.
4. By majority vote, shall the Quapaw Indian Council add Subsection (i)-(l) to Section 6.1 to provide:
(i) The Grievance Committee may obtain legal counsel for assistance and advice payable by the Quapaw Nation. Approval from the Business Committee shall not be required.
(j) If the Grievance Committee finds cause for a Special Quapaw Indian Council meeting, the Grievance Committee shall request the Chairman to call a Special Quapaw Indian Council meeting. Should the Chairman fail to call the Special Quapaw Indian Council meeting, then the Business Committee may call the Special Quapaw Indian Council meeting. Should the Business
Committee fail to call the Special Quapaw Indian Council meeting, the Grievance Committee shall have the authority, after acquiring legal counsels supporting opinion, to call a Special Quapaw Indian Council meeting for the purpose of hearing and acting upon grievances or complaints so long as 30 days’ notice is given to the members of the Quapaw Nation directly by certified mail, and appropriate publicity by social media, print, and broadcast media to the major neighboring communities.