Our ancestors since the beginning of time have lived and died on the
Coquille aboriginal lands and waters.
The Coquille Indian Tribe is and has always been a sovereign
self-governing power dedicated to:
of Coquille Indian Culture and Tribal Identity.
of social and economic welfare of Coquille Indians.
of our common resources.
of peace and order.
individual rights of tribal members.
Our ancestors have
passed on to us a sacred trust and obligation to maintain and safeguard these
In recognition of this sacred responsibility, we, the members of the
Coquille Indian Tribe, being a federally recognized Indian tribe pursuant to the
Coquille Indian Restoration Act of June 28, 1989, 103 Stat. 91, hereby adopt
this constitution in order to re-affirm our tribal government and to secure the
rights and powers inherent in our sovereign status as guaranteed to us by
federal and tribal laws.
JURISDICTION AND TERRITORY
The authority of the government established by this Constitution shall
extend over all persons, property, and activities within the jurisdiction of the
Coquille Indian Tribe, except as limited by this constitution and federal law.
The jurisdiction of the Coquille Indian Tribe shall extend, to the
fullest extent possible under federal laws, over all lands, waters, property,
airspace, minerals and other natural resources, and any interest therein, either
now or in the future, owned by the Tribe or held in trust by the United States
for the Tribe.
SECTION 2. HUNTING,
FISHING AND GATHERING RIGHTS
Coquille tribal members may exercise tribal hunting, fishing and
gathering rights to the fullest extent possible under federal and tribal laws.
The membership of the Coquille Indian Tribe shall consist of all persons:
names validly appear on the official tribal membership roll prepared pursuant to
the requirements of Section 7 (b) of the
Coquille Indian Restoration Act, 103 Stat. 91;
provided, that such roll may be corrected by the Tribal Council with the
approval of the Secretary of the Interior; or,
b. who are
descended from a member of the Coquille Indian Tribe and have filed an
application for enrollment according to procedures established pursuant to
Section 3 of this Article, and have been accepted as members in accordance with
the tribal enrollment ordinance.
For purposes of this
section, descent from a member of the Coquille Indian Tribe shall include lineal
descent from any person who was named on any roll or records of Coquille Indian
Tribe prepared by the Department of the Interior prior to the effective date of
SECTION 2. DUAL
No person who is an enrolled member of any other tribe, band, or Indian
community officially recognized by the Secretary of the Interior shall be
qualified for membership in the Coquille Indian Tribe, unless s/he has
relinquished in writing his/her membership in such tribe, band or community.
SECTION 3. ORDINANCE
The Tribal Council shall enact an enrollment ordinance establishing
procedures for processing membership matters, including application procedures,
procedures for correction of the tribal roll, the right to appeal a denied
application for membership, procedures for voluntary relinquishment of
membership, and procedures governing reinstatement of former members who have
SECTION 4. LOSS OF
The Tribal Council shall by ordinance prescribe rules and regulations
governing involuntary loss of membership. The
reasons for such loss shall be limited exclusively to failure to meet the
requirements set forth for membership in this Constitution; provided that
nothing in this section shall prohibit a member from voluntarily relinquishing
membership in the Coquille Indian Tribe.
No person who is not of Coquille Indian descent shall be entitled to
membership in the Coquille Indian Tribe pursuant to Section 1 of this Article or
SECTION 1. POWERS
There shall be a General Council, comprised of all duly enrolled members
of the Coquille Indian Tribe who are eighteen years of age or older, which shall
have the power to:
a. Elect Tribal Council
b. Amend this Constitution as
provided by Article VII of this Constitution.
Make advisory recommendations to the Tribal Council upon a majority vote
of those actually voting at a General Council meeting.
SECTION 2. PROCEDURES
The General Council shall hold meetings in accordance with the following
The General Council shall meet at least twice a year at a time and place
to be set by the Tribal Council.
Special meetings of the General Council may be called by the Tribal
Council upon two (2) weeks notice to the membership of the General Council. Such
notice shall include an agenda which specifies the items to be discussed at the
meeting. The Tribal Council may call such meetings upon its own motion.
The Tribal Council must call a General Council meeting upon presentation
of a properly verified petition signed by one-third (1/3) or more of the General
Council of the Coquille Indian Tribe.
The agenda for the General Council meetings shall be set by the Tribal
Council; provided that any member of the General Council may submit in writing
items to the Tribal Council for consideration for the agenda.
Additionally, the Tribal Council in each agenda must include time for
more discussion of items from the floor regardless of whether said items appear
on the agenda.
The Tribal Council Chairperson shall chair General Council meetings.
In his/her absence, the Tribal Vice Chairperson shall chair the meeting.
If both the Tribal Chairperson and Vice Chairperson are absent, the Chief
shall chair the meeting.
INITIATIVE AND RECALL
The General Council shall exercise the power of initiative by submitting
to the Election Board a petition signed by at least one-third (1/3) of the
members of the General Council, setting forth a proposed ordinance or
resolution. Upon verification of
the petition by the Election Board, the proposed ordinance or resolution
shall be submitted by the Election Board to a vote of the General Council
at a regular or special election which must be held within sixty (60) days of
the verification by the Election Board. The
vote of a majority of those actually voting in the election shall be conclusive
and binding on the Tribal Council provided that at least thirty percent (30%) of
the qualified tribal members have voted in the election.
The General Council shall exercise the power of referendum by submitting
to the Election Board a petition, signed by at least one-third (1/3) of the
members of the General Council, setting forth any proposed or previously enacted
ordinance or resolution of the Tribal Council for reconsideration by the General
Council. Upon verification by the Election Board, the proposed or
previously enacted ordinance or resolution shall be submitted by the Election
Board to a vote of the General Council at a regular or special election which
must be held within sixty (60) days of said verification.
The vote of a majority of those actually voting shall be conclusive and
binding on the Tribal Council, provided that at least thirty percent (30%) of
the qualified tribal members have voted in the election.
The General Council shall exercise the power of recall of elected tribal
officials who are guilty of improper conduct or gross neglect of duties as
provided by the election ordinance. The
procedure for recall of elected tribal officials shall be set forth in the
election ordinance. In such an
election, the vote of a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those actually voting in
that election shall be conclusive and binding on the Tribal Council provided
that at least thirty percent (30%) of qualified tribal members have voted in the
All enrolled members of the Coquille Indian Tribe who are eighteen years
of age or over on the date of the election shall have the right to vote by
secret ballot in that election.
TIME OF ELECTION
Elections for the Tribal Council shall be held the third week of October
QUALIFICATIONS OF CANDIDATES
Any enrolled member of the Coquille Indian Tribe who will be 18 years of
age or older on the date of the election.
The General Council shall hold a meeting at least five weeks before
election day for the purposes of nominations of candidates for the Tribal
Council. The only agenda item to be
considered at this meeting is the nomination of candidates.
Nominations shall be made from the floor at the General Council meeting.
Write-in candidates shall be allowed for all tribal offices and the
Election Board will provide space for write-in candidates on each ballot.
The Tribal Council shall appoint an Election Board which shall be
composed of three (3) members and two (2) alternates.
All Election Board members must be enrolled members of the Coquille
Indian Tribe. The duties of the
Election Board shall be to supervise the elections, determine the validity of
tribal petitions, and perform other such duties as are provided for in the
The first Tribal Council elected pursuant to this Constitution shall
enact an election ordinance within six (6) months of their initial election.
The ordinance shall include but not limited to provisions for secret
balloting, absentee voting, validation of tribal petitions and the settlement of
any and all election disputes including the right to appeal to the Tribal Court.
There shall be a Tribal Council which shall have the power to exercise
all legislative authority except that vested in the General Council, and all
executive authority of the Tribe, including the right to delegate authorities as
the Tribal Council deems appropriate. The
Tribal Council's authority shall include but shall not be limited to the
authority to employ legal counsel, the choice of said counsel and fixing of fees
to be subject to the approval of the Secretary of Interior as long as required
by federal law, the power to prevent the sale, disposition, lease or encumbrance
of tribal lands, interests in lands, or other tribal assets without the consent
of the Tribe and the power to negotiate with the federal, state and local
governments. The Tribal Council
shall have the power to submit proposed amendments to this Constitution to the
Secretary of Interior as provided in Article VIII of this Constitution.
The Tribal Council of the Coquille Indian Tribe may exercise such powers
as may be returned to it in the future by the Secretary of the Interior, or by
any other duly-authorized official or agency of government.
SECTION 3. TRIBAL
of the Tribal Council shall conduct themselves in a professional manner and
shall avoid engaging in any behavior which would compromise the integrity of the
Coquille Indian Tribe.
Tribal Council shall hold meetings and take actions in accordance with the
following procedures which it may augment or diminish by its own rules so long
as such rules do not conflict with any provisions of this Constitution:
1) Regular meetings of
the Tribal Council shall be held pursuant to the Tribal Council ordinance;
provided that notice of regular meetings shall be published in the tribal
newsletter and posted in a conspicuous place at the tribal administrative
2) Special meetings of
the Tribal Council may be called by the Tribal Chairperson at his/her
discretion, but the Chairperson must call a special meeting upon receipt of
written request of two (2) or more Tribal Council members.
If after such written request the Chairperson fails to call a special
meeting within one (1) week of said request, the Tribal Court shall have
jurisdiction to direct that a meeting be called and conducted.
No special meeting shall be called without at least forty eight (48)
hours notice to each member of the Tribal Council, unless each member agrees to
waive the notice requirement.
3) The Tribal Council
shall consist of seven (7) duly elected members.
Four (4) members of the Tribal Council shall constitute a quorum.
There must be a quorum present for the Tribal Council to conduct
business. Matters of business shall
be decided by majority vote, except where otherwise required by this
Constitution or by the Tribal Council's own rules as set forth by ordinance. The Chairperson shall vote only in case of a tie.
4) The Officers of the
Tribal Council shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson, a Chief and a
Secretary/Treasurer. All members of
the Tribal Council, including Tribal Officers, shall be elected by vote of the
5) The members first
elected to the Tribal Council under this Constitution pursuant to Section 9 (b)
of the Coquille Restoration Act, 103 Stat. 91, shall hold office until their
successors are duly elected and installed following the Tribal Council election
in October 199-.
At the Tribal Council election in October 199-, the Chairperson, the
Secretary/Treasurer and one Representative shall be elected to three year (3)
terms; the Vice Chairperson and one Representative shall be elected to two year
(2) terms; and the Chief and one Representative shall be elected to one year (1)
terms. Thereafter, in order to maintain the concept of staggered terms of
office, Tribal Council members shall be elected to three (3) year terms.
The annual election shall be held the third week of October of each year.
6) The duties of the
Chairperson shall include presiding over all Tribal Council and General Council
meetings. The Chairperson shall
also perform all duties of the chair and exercise any authority delegated to
him/her by the Tribal Council. The
Vice Chairperson shall assist the Chairperson when called upon to do so by the
Chairperson. In the absence of the
Chairperson, s/he will preside at Tribal Council and General Council meetings
and when so presiding, s/he will have all the rights, duties, privileges and
responsibilities of the Chairperson including the duty to vote only in the event
of a tie. The Chief shall be the
primary cultural and spiritual representative of the Tribe.
Additionally in the absence of both the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson,
the Chief shall preside at all meetings of the Tribal Council and General
7) All meetings of the
Tribal Council shall be open to all tribal members; however, the Tribal Council
may recess at its discretion to discuss any matter in an executive session.
The executive session shall consist of tribal council members and other
invited persons necessary to the discussion.
The Tribal Council must express in a motion calling for an executive
session the general subject matter to be discussed in the executive session.
The Tribal Council shall not take any final or official action on the
matter in the executive session.
8) All final decisions
of the Tribal Council on matters of general and permanent interest to the
members of the Coquille Indian Tribe shall be embodied in ordinances. The
ordinances shall be collected and made available to tribal members and others
affected upon reasonable request.
9) All final decisions
of the Tribal Council on matters of temporary interest or relating to specific
individuals shall be embodied in resolutions.
The resolutions shall be collected and made available to tribal members
and others affected upon reasonable request.
10) A written
record shall be kept of Tribal Council proceedings. The record shall be open for
inspection by all members of the Coquille Indian Tribe during regular business
hours in accordance with established tribal council procedures.
11) The Tribal
Council and other officials of the Tribe shall not deny to any person within its
jurisdiction freedom of speech, press or religion or the right of peaceful
assembly. The Tribal Council and
other officials of the Tribe shall not deny to any person the equal protection
of tribal laws or deprive any person of liberty or property without due process
of law. The Tribe shall provide to
all persons within its jurisdiction the rights guaranteed by the Indian Civil
Rights Act of 1968.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
a. No member
of the Tribal Council may be employed by the tribal administrative office while
serving as a member of the Tribal Council.
b. No Tribal
Council member will vote on any matter in which s/he or a member of her or his
immediate family has a direct personal interest, including but not limited to,
employment contracts, project funding and appointment to tribal committees.
A Tribal Council member who is attending the meeting but unable to vote
because of a conflict of interest will nevertheless count toward the quorum
necessary to conduct business.
For purposes of this provision, "immediate family member" is
defined as father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister or any
other relative living in the same household.
VACANCY ON TRIBAL COUNCIL
If a member of the Tribal Council including Tribal Council Officers shall
die, resign, or be found guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor involving
dishonesty in any tribal, state or federal court, or be removed from office for
any other reason, the Tribal Council shall declare that member's position on the
Tribal Council vacant.
If the Tribal Council declares a member's position vacant within the
first two years of the member's term of office, the Election Board shall
initiate proceedings to hold an election to fill that vacancy pursuant to the
provisions of the Election Ordinance.
If the Tribal Council declares a member's position vacant within the last
year of his/her term, there shall be a special General Council meeting called
within two weeks of the declaration of the vacancy for the purpose of
nominations of tribal members to fill that vacancy.
The nominees from the General Council shall be presented to the Tribal
Council at the next regular meeting following the General Council meeting.
The Tribal Council shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy from the
list of nominees from the General Council.
member of the Tribal Council who, during the term for which she/he is elected or
appointed, is convicted of a felony or crime involving dishonesty, in any court
of competent jurisdiction, shall automatically forfeit her/his office effective
the date of his/her conviction in court.
member of the Tribal Council found guilty of a misdemeanor involving moral
turpitude, gross neglect of duty, malfeasance in office or misconduct reflecting
on the dignity and integrity of the tribal government shall be removed from
office by majority vote of the Tribal Council.
Before any vote for removal is taken, the Tribal Council member subject
to removal shall be given a written statement of the charges against him or her
at least seven (7) days before the meeting of the Tribal Council called to
consider the removal action. The
accused member shall be given an opportunity to answer any and all charges at
the designated Tribal Council meeting. No
Tribal Council member shall preside over the meeting at which his or her removal
is being considered. The final
decision of the Tribal Council may be appealed to the Tribal Court.
There shall be a Tribal Court. The
development of the Tribal Court will begin within two years of adoption of this
constitution by the General Council. The
Tribal Court shall consist of one (1) Chief Judge and such Associate Judges and
staff as are established by the Tribal Council and designated by tribal
ordinance. The ordinance shall set
forth the qualifications for the Chief Judge, and the terms of offices and
qualifications for the Associate Judges and staff.
APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES
The Tribal Council shall appoint the first Chief Judge within thirty days
(30) after the establishment of the tribal court.
The term of office for Chief Judge shall be three years.
The Tribal Council shall have the authority to appoint the Chief Judge.
The Chief Judge may only be removed for conviction of a felony or
misdemeanor involving moral turpitude in court of competent jurisdiction.
The process for removal of the Chief Judge is the same for the removal of
a member of the Tribal Council as set forth in Article VI, Section 6 of this
constitution provided that a two thirds majority of the Tribal Council must vote
RULES OF PLEADING, PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
The Chief Judge, in consultation with the Tribal Council, shall
promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure applicable to Tribal Court
The Tribal Court and such inferior courts as the Tribal Council may from
time to time ordain and establish shall be empowered to exercise all judicial
authority of the Tribe.
The judicial power of the Tribal Court shall extend to all cases and
matters in law and equity arising under this constitution, the laws and
ordinances of or applicable to the Coquille Indian Tribe and the customs of the
Coquille Indian Tribe. Provided that until such time as the Tribal Court is
established, the judicial authority of the Coquille Indian Tribe shall vest in
the Tribal Council.
COURT OF RECORDS
The Coquille Tribal Court shall be a court of record.
The Court shall be open for the transaction of business during regular
MEMBERS' BILL OF RIGHTS
All members of the Coquille Indian Tribe shall be accorded the
opportunity to participate in the economic resources and activities of the
Tribe. No per capita payments shall
be made to any tribal members.
All members of the Tribe shall enjoy the freedom of worship, conscience,
speech, press, assembly, and association.
FOR AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION
This constitution may be amended by a 2/3 majority vote of the qualified
voters of the Coquille Indian Tribe voting in an election called for that
purpose by the Secretary of Interior. The
election shall be conducted in accordance with rules and regulations as set
forth by the Secretary of the Interior. It
shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior to authorize an election on
any proposed amendment at the request of a majority of the Tribal Council or
upon the presentation of a petition signed by at least one third of the General
Council. No amendment shall be
effective until it is approved by the Secretary of Interior.
OF THE CONSTITUTION
This Constitution, when adopted by a majority of the qualified voters of
the Coquille Indian Tribe who actually vote at an election called for that
purpose by the Secretary of Interior, and conducted pursuant to the Department
of Interior's regulations, shall be submitted for approval to the Secretary of
Interior, and shall become effective the date of such approval.
If any provision of this constitution is held invalid by a court of
competent jurisdiction, the invalid portion shall be severed and the remaining
provisions shall continue in full force and effect.