Blackfeet Nation Elects New Council Members

Due to concerns about coronavirus, tribal officials implemented drive-thru voting for June 30 election

By Tristan Scott
The Blackfeet Nation this month received nearly $500,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to assist with violent crime prosecutions in both tribal court and in U.S. District Court. Beacon File Photo

The Blackfeet Nation elected new members to its tribal council on June 30, when voters turned out for a general election held with social-distancing precautions in place due to concerns about COVID-19.

Because the Blackfeet tribal constitution requires in-person voting, officials this year implemented “drive-up” voting, where voters were able to cast ballots from their cars to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Eight candidates competed for four spots on the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council in an election that saw 2,348 voters cast ballots.

In the Browning District, voters elected incumbent Timothy Francis “Kink” Davis over James “Jim” McNeely. In Heart Butte, incumbent Terry Joseph Tatsey lost to Virgil Clyde Laststar. In Seville, Lauren James Monroe Jr. defeated incumbent Carl Dennis Kipp. And in Old Agency, Marvin Richard Weatherwax Jr. edged out Tony Sinclair Sr.

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council is the governing body of the Blackfeet Nation, responsible for exercising all powers of government under the Blackfeet Constitution and its bylaws.

The council oversees the management of tribal lands and resources, business enterprises, and programs and services of the tribe. The council consists of nine members from four districts who are elected by tribal members to serve four-year terms. Terms are staggered, and elections are held in June of every even numbered year.

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