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Petition drive opposes Tribal Council
"Members want chairman, treasurer recalled. SUQUAMISH - Suquamish Tribal members circulating a petition for the removal of two Suquamish Tribal Council members are nearing their goal of gathering signatures from 25 percent of tribal members, organizers said Monday. We feel this is the right way to go, said Orlene LaMONT, Suquamish Tribal Elder. The petition seeks the removal of chairman Bennie Armstrong and treasurer Georgia George-Rye from office because they are not representing their people, according to LaMONT Our people are getting run over, she said. Neither Armstrong nor George-Rye could be reached for comment. LaMONT and several others have been circulating a petition for more than a month. They need have about 150 signatures so far, but want to make sure they have more than enough before filing it with the tribal secretary, said Aggie Pratt, tribal member. They are not sure, however, exactly how many eligible voters there are in the tribe since many live outside of Suquamish, Pratt said. The petition questions the leadership of George-Rye and Armstrong and alleges that their unauthorized and unilateral conduct and action had deprived individual tribal members of the civil rights that are secured to each tribal member. After the petition is filed they have 30 days to call a meeting and two thirds of the voters there must approve the recall. This is not the first time council members have been criticized by their constituents. A March for Justice was held in late August of this year to protest the council's leadership and perceived lack of concern for its people. Some of the protesters accused Armstrong and George of belittling them during a tribal council meeting and called for the resignation of the whole council. People have asked me 'Why are we airing our dirty linen for everyone to see?' We are airing it because these seven people have shut the door, Pratt said. "