Unofficial results of the Wednesday election of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe show Dave Archambault II has been elected the tribe’s new chairman.
Archambault defeated Mike Faith 1,038 to 907, according to the unofficial results. Archambault captured seven of the eight districts, with Faith topping the vote in Porcupine.
Arlene Cordova, election coordinator and acting election supervisor for the tribe, said the results will not be official until recounting is completed by Friday.
Archambault will replace longtime chairman Charles Murphy, who did not run for reelection. Murphy's current stint as tribal chairman began in 2009, and he previously served as chairman from 1983-93 and 1997-2005.
Archambault said his plans for his four-year term as chairman center on uniting the tribe and preparing for coming cuts in funding from the federal government.
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“If we can get unity, then we can start moving forward on different projects to help our tribe become more self sufficient,” he said.
Inauguration is scheduled for Oct. 9. Archambault’s final day at his current job — as director of the Tribal College Consortium for Developing Montana and North Dakota Workforce (TCC DeMaND Workforce) at United Tribes Technical College — is Oct. 4. Archambault also owns and runs Cannon Ball Pit Stop, a convenience store on the reservation.
Archambault plans to increase transparency in the tribal council’s work, as well as help to increase workforce development and grassroots efforts within the tribe’s districts.
He said it will be important for the tribe to look for new funding sources and efficiencies for tribal programs that may face cuts due to the federal sequester. At the same time, the government needs to be reminded of long-standing treaties with tribes to take care of health care, education and other vital services, he said.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge,” said Archambault, adding that he will need the help of the rest of the tribal council and tribal members to find solutions.
Archambault has a personal — if not political — asset in high places. His sister, Jodi Gillette, is the senior policy adviser for Native American affairs for President Barack Obama. Gillette cannot work on issues related to Standing Rock, because her status as a tribal member — and now sister of the new chairman — makes it a conflict of interest. However, Archambault said the two siblings can, and do, bounce ideas off each other, and she may be able to guide him in the right direction.
The new chairman does not plan any major shake ups of the tribal government, and he hopes to build on some of the current administration’s successes. For instance, the tribe’s court system is often referred to as one of the most successful tribal courts in the country because of the lack of tribal council interference in it.
“I don’t plan on changing that,” he said.
Archambault said he ran for chairman, because he wants to help influence the tribe for the better, for the sake of his children and their future children.
“There’s nothing easy about this job. All I can do is try,” he said.
The preliminary election results also showed Jesse McLaughlin elected vice chairman over Sharon Two Bears, 1,337 to 585, and Adele White elected tribal secretary over Katherine Bailey, 987 to 924.
The unofficial results for tribal council are as follows:
- Bear Soldier district: Joe White Mountain Jr. 188, Errol Crow Ghost 107.
- Cannon Ball district: Cody Two Bears 140, Robert Fool Bear Sr., 136.
- Kenel district: Frank White Bull 64, Clyde Walking Elk 40.
- Long Soldier district: James Dunn 334, Henry Harrison 328.
- Porcupine district: Samuel “Ben” Harrison 73, Michael Murphy 57.
- Rock Creek district: Milton Brown Otter 81, Matt Lopez 66.
- Running Antelope district: Robert Taken Alive 94, Frank Jamerson Jr. 87.
- Wakpala district: Duane Claymore 75, Melvin Wayne Looking Back 61.
Reach Jenny Michael at 701-250-8225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.