By Staff Writer
On May 19 ,2012, the Muscogee (Creek) National Council held their Regular Session in the Mound Auditorium at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Capital Complex. Prior to the regular order of business, Mark Randolph was sworn in as the new National Council Representative for Wagoner District Seat B. Pastor Jesse Wind of High Springs Baptist Church was present to give the invocation.
The first order of business was the election of a new 2nd Speaker for the National Council. The position of 2nd Speaker for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation had been left vacant due to the resignation of former Tulsa District Rep. Cherrah Ridge. Two National Council members, Tulsa District Rep. Robert Hufft and McIntosh District Rep. Adam Jones III, had been previously nominated but a tie vote resulted in the postponement of the election until the entire council could be present. Tulsa Rep. Robert Hufft was elected by a vote of 8 to 7 to become the new 2nd Speaker of the Muscogee (Creek) National Council.
Twenty-seven pieces of legislation were up for consideration by the National Council at the May regular session. Legislative topics would include the confirmation of more executive nominations, various appropriations, and the authorization of a constitutional referendum. All the items on the legislative agenda were passed by the National Council and sent to the Office of Principal Chief to be signed.
Five people were confirmed to serve in various positions within the Muscogee (Creek) government. Angela Diane Barnett-Meeker was approved to serve on the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Election Board. James Pratt, who has previously served as the tribes Controller, was once again confirmed to serve as the Controller of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Jeff Fife was confirmed to serve as the Director of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Division of Tribal Affairs. Cherrah Ridge was confirmed to serve as the Director of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Division of Community Services. And Christopher M. Ray was confirmed to serve on the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Gaming Operations Authority Board.
Various appropriations were approved at the National Council’s regular session for the month of May. The largest appropriation ($476,191) went to supplement the Employment and Training Summer Youth Program for the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget. The second highest appropriation was for $227,500 and is to be used to hire and retain Watts Partners for consulting and advisory services. And the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Division of Health had a $86,930 appropriation approved to update the Medical Alert Device System.
Several chartered communities were approved to receive funds to provide for Internet services. Weleetka Indian Community was approved to receive a $10,000 appropriation. The National Council approved a $13,000 appropriation for Hickory Ground #1 Baptist Church. Several Muscogee (Creek) students were approved to receive appropriations for financial assistance.
The highlight of the National Council session was the passing of NCA 12-074 which is a proposed law “…to require a referendum on a proposed correcting amendment of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Constitution”. The referendum, if passed, would restore Article VI, Section 2 and Article IV, Section 8 to reflect certain language from the 1979 Constitution. The referendum would essentially eliminate ‘At-Large’ voting for National Council representatives but would still limit the number of seats on the National Council to sixteen.
According to the language in NCA 12-074, the National Council found that “the Constitutional Convention Committee without regard for the Constitution Convention process fraudulently added additional ‘At Large’ language to the adopted A67 amendment without discussion, consultation or authority, thereby corrupting Amendment A67 and the Constitution Convention purpose and process.” The findings went on to state that the “invalid and corrupted version of Amendment A67” was then put on a ballot, in error, by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Election Board during the November elections in 2009. Lastly, the findings under NCA 12-074 explain that the voters of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation “unknowingly ratified” the amendment A67 by a vote of 1272 yes and 1100 no.
The Muscogee (Creek) Constitutional Convention of 2009 was marred by controversy long before and long after the two day event actually happened on November 7-8, 2009. Conflict about who could serve on the Constitutional Convention Commission led to a court case in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court before the Convention had occurred. After the convention had occurred another lawsuit was filed with the MCN Supreme Court challenging the legality of several actions taken by the Constitutional Convention Commission after the convention had convened and other legal challenges were made to amendments including A67. The Constitutional Convention and A67 were also at the center of four petition attempts to impeach former Principal Chief A.D. Ellis for his knowledge and role in the controversy.