Nez Perce Tribe
The 2020 Spring General Council of the Nez Perce Tribe, which was postponed because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, is now scheduled to be held on June 18-20, 2020, at the Pi-Nee-Waus Community Center in Lapwai, Idaho. The Nez Perce Tribe General Council committee made the decision to move forward with the newly scheduled 2020 Spring General Council based on guidelines from Nimiipuu Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Idaho for safely conducting large gatherings.
The Spring General Council, typically held the first full weekend in May, is a large event that invites the entire Nez Perce Tribe membership to attend a three-day meeting to receive updates from all tribal entities and discuss important matters. The event also includes the General Election for three seats on the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee.
The original postponement of the 2020 Spring General Council for safety reasons was confirmed after a small, brief gathering occurred on the originally scheduled date, May 7, 2020. During the meeting, the General Council Committee Chair, Julia Davis-Wheeler, pursuant to recommendations from an accredited parliamentarian, made a motion to postpone the General Council until a later date. The motion was seconded, all attendees were in favor, and the motion passed.
This year’s Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee elections were also postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The final results of the rescheduled Primary Election were tallied on Friday, May 29, 2020. On the day of the final count for the primary election, 892 ballots had been received. This was a record return.
In previous elections, tribal members were required to vote in person. During the General Election at General Council, on average approximately 645 ballots are received. This was a historic milestone for the Tribe; conducting the first vote by absentee ballot for all tribal members over the age of 18.
Moving forward into the General Election for Seat One will be Samuel Penney and Rachel Edwards who both received the most votes of the six candidates on the ballot. The vote tally was: Bridgette Greene (93 votes), James Spencer (36 votes), Allen Slickpoo Jr. (113 votes), Samuel Penney (264 votes), Rachel Edwards (261 votes), and Keith Kipp Sr. (116 votes). Nine ballots were considered invalid. For Seat Two of the General Election, McCoy Oatman (incumbent) and Quintin Ellenwood will be on the ballot. For Seat Three, Casey Mitchell (incumbent) and Louis Harris will be on the ballot.
The General Election ballot count will occur on Saturday, June 20, 2020. The deadline to submit ballots for the General Election will be by the end of the business day on June 19. The count will be streamed online via Face Book Live, through the Nez Perce Tribe Face Book page.