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The Oglala Sioux Tribe is holding its primary election for tribal council Tuesday; the general election takes place Nov. 3.

As the tribe struggles with rising numbers of COVID-19 infections, details of the upcoming election are difficult to come by. Peri Pourier, office manager for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Election Commission, announced on Oct. 4 on the tribe's Facebook page that she was in quarantine since she was exposed to the virus.

The Pine Ridge reservation is under curfew between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. due to COVID-19.

A total of 81 candidates are running for 20 council seats plus the offices of president and vice president.

According to the tribe’s constitution, the treasurer and secretary positions are appointed from within the elected council.

Eleven candidates are running for president, including incumbent Julian Bear Runner. Other candidates include: John Yellow Bird Steel, Darla Black, Darrin Merrival, Gregory Ross, Troy “Scott” Weston, Kevin Killer, Lyle Jack, Chase Iron Eyes, Curtis Temple and Rae Ann Red Owl.

The council held an impeachment hearing for Bear Runner on Sept. 14 over accusations of sexual assault. Impeachment requires a two-thirds council vote; the resulting 11-5 vote failed to meet that requirement, so Bear Runner remains in office.

Black was impeached during her term as council vice president and was removed from office last November, with a vote of 16-4, over allegations of creating a hostile work environment.

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Vice president candidates include Alicia Mousseau, Bryan Brewer, Cindy Giago and Ricky Gray Grass.

Tribal council elections are held every two years; candidates represent nine districts on the reservation. Seven districts have two representatives each; the remaining two districts each have three representatives.

This list of district candidates are as follows:

  • Eagle Nest District – H. Duane Yellow Hawk ,Jerome High Horse, Blaine Little Thunder, Jennilee Rooks,Wesley Hawkins, Sr. and Colleen Bettelyoun.
  • Lacreek District – Wanda Johnson, Craig Dillon and Cora White Horse
  • Medicine Root District – Gearald Coumoyer, Jr., Joe Reddest, Howard Rooks, Austin Watkins, Sr., James “Toby” Big Boy, Beau Little Whiteman, Ryan Jumping Eagle and Darrel Mesteth.
  • Oglala District – Debra Mousseau; Wendell Youngman, Jr., Virginia Starr, Valerie Janis, Stanley Star Comes Out, Jason Little, Tyler Yellow Boy and Valentina Merdanian.
  • Pass Creek District – Ron Dubray, Consuelo Means, Julie Bad Wound, Anna Halverson, James Cross and Lydia Bear Killer.
  • Pine Ridge District – George Dreamer, Jr., Julian Spotted Bear. Elvyn D. Bissonette, Robin L. Tapio, Ella John Carlow, Nakina Mills, Jennifer Spotted Bear and Cheryl White Rabbit.
  • Porcupine District – Patrick Ross, Paul John Iron Cloud, Jr., Darrell Hernandez, Eldon Black Bull, Philip Big Crow, Richard Iron Cloud, David Pourier, Randy Lays Bad and Naomi Felicia.
  • Wakpamni District – Norene Mousseau, Joni Morrisette, Vincent “Woodzy” Two Lance, Jr., Linda Red Feather Garcia, Arlene Catches The Enemy, Jaqueline Siers, Sonia Little Hawk Weston, Kenneth L. Hill, Jane Little Hawk Rodriguez and Michael C. Carlow, Sr.
  • Wounded Knee District – Bernardo Rodriquez, Jr., Phillip Jumping Eagle, Garfield Steele, Garfield Apple, Dakota High Hawk, Duane R. Ross, Jr., Glen Gibbons and Cynthia Clifford.

According to the tribe’s Facebook page, official results for the primary election will be released Oct. 15; official results of the general election will be released Nov. 13.

Radio station KILI is featuring candidate interviews through Sunday.

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