Editor's Note: Below is a statement from the Yurok Tribe announcing the resignation of newly elected Tribal Chair James Dunlap after news surfaced about his alleged criminal past. Dunlap's letter of resignation has also been posted online.
The Yurok Tribe’s Chairman James Dunlap resigned today, following the discovery of information from his past.
“There is no doubt about it, this is sad and frustrating day for the Yurok people, but we have prevailed over bigger challenges in our past and we will overcome this, too,” said David L. Gensaw Sr., the Yurok Tribe’s Vice Chairperson. “Every day, the Tribe’s 300-plus employees work hard to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions on the Yurok Reservation and in the surrounding areas. Their good work should not be overshadowed by this situation.”
The Yurok Tribal Council recently became aware of the information related to Dunlap’s personal history and does not have any additional comments at this time, other than to say that all Tribal elected officials are put through a background investigation.
Under the Yurok Constitution, a vacancy that occurs during the first year of a Council member’s term is filled by the Tribal Council appointing the person who received the next highest number of votes in the last election if that person received at least thirty percent of the total votes.