Tribe might vote on membership

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NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) – Members of the Three Affiliated Tribes might vote this fall for a second time on a legal definition for tribal membership.

Voters would decide whether to keep lineal descendency, which requires that a tribal member be a child of an enrolled member. The other option would be eligibility based on blood quantum, or whether a person is one-eighth Mandan, Hidatsa or Arikara.

The tribe voted last year to change membership criteria to lineal descendency, but Tribal Chairman Marcus Levings said many people thought the voter turnout of less than 1,800 was too small to justify such a sweeping change.

A second vote will be held this fall if enough members register to take part. Registration is currently taking place. The Interior Department has authorized the BIA to hold an election if 30 percent of eligible voters are registered.

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