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Disgraced Tribal Chairwoman Loses Appeal; Corrina Bow Wins Special Election to Fill Vacancy

A tribal chairwoman who was removed from office in April for receiving gifts from the Washington football team was denied an appeal last week, the tribe reported. A new chairwoman was elected May 1.

A tribal chairwoman who was removed from office in April for receiving gifts from the Washington football team was denied an appeal last week, the tribe reported.

A few days later, on May 1, Corrina Bow of the Kanosh Band was elected as tribal chairwoman of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah following a special election. She received a total of 68 votes. 

A month earlier, the tribe unanimously passed a resolution accusing former Tribal Chairwoman Gari Pikyavit Lafferty of willful misconduct for going on an all-expenses-paid VIP trip to Washington, D.C., where she and family attended a Washington football team game in September of last year.

The Paiute Indian Tribe in Utah removed former Chairwoman Gari Pikyavit Lafferty, above, after she admitted to receiving gifts from the Washington football team's Original Americans Foundation.

During a hearing on March 31, Lafferty admitted to the accusations and on April 2 she was officially removed from office.

“The Tribal Council has a solemn obligation and duty to uphold and implement the Tribe’s laws, and, if they are violated, to take action in order to protect the sacred trust of the membership,” interim Chairwoman Jeanine Borchardt said. “Removal of the tribal chairwoman based upon her violations of the Tribe’s Ethics Ordinance, its Standards of Conduct, and most importantly, its Constitution, ensures that those laws have meaning, and that elected tribal leaders will be held accountable for their actions.”

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On May 4, Bow was sworn in as the new chairwoman, tribal spokeswoman Kara Briggs wrote in a statement.

Soon after taking office, Chairwoman Bow commented on the recent scandal concerning Lafferty saying it’s time “start healing.”

“The Paiute Indian Tribe has gone through a period of negativity, so now we must clear the air; it is time for the Tribe to start healing,” she said. “There are no winners in a situation like this, but the Tribal Council can unite and move forward and refocus on what is important for our Tribe, for our people and our children.”