CONSTITUTION OF THE

SAC AND FOX NATION

 



PREAMBLE


We, The People of the Sac and Fox Nation, in order to promote the general welfare, provide for public peace and safety, establish justice, and to secure to ourselves and our descendants our common heritage and inherent right of self-government, as well as any rights or powers which may be granted to an organized Indian tribe pursuant to the Thomas-Rogers Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of June 26, 1936, (49 Stat. 1967), and any other law of the United States of America, do hereby ordain and establish this Constitution of the Sac and Fox Nation, which shall supercede the constitution approved by the Secretary of the Interior on October 27, 1937, and ratified on December 7, 1937, as amended.

 




ARTICLE 1 - MEMBERSHIP OF TRIBE

The membership of the Sac and Fox Nation shall consist of the following:

SECTION 1.All enrolled persons whose names appear on the official Tribal Roll as of the date of the ratification of this constitution.

SECTION 2.All persons of one-fourth (1/4) or more degree of total combined Sac and Fox Indian blood at least one of whose parents is a member of the Sac and Fox Nation.

SECTION 3.All person now living and eligible for membership under Article II of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Sac and Fox Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma as amended August 26, 1967.

 
a. All enrolled persons whose names appear on the official census roll of the tribe as of January 1, 1937, and who were living on that date.

 

b. Each child born since the date of the said roll and prior to the effective date of Amendment I (October 16, 1954) each of whose parents was a member of the tribe.

 

c. Each child of Sac and Fox Indian blood born prior to the effective date of Amendment I (October 16, 1954) of a marriage between a member of the tribe and any other person, if such child is admitted to membership by the council.

 

d. Each child who is of one-fourth or more Sac and Fox Indian blood born on or after October 16, 1954, each of whose parents is a member of the tribe.

 

e. Persons born after date of October 16, 1954, who possess one-fourth or more Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma, shall be entitled to membership with the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma, provided an application is submitted in writing to the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma and provided that such person has not been enrolled with another tribe.

 

f. Persons making application for membership under Section 3 (c) above shall be entitled to file application two times only, and if rejected both times, they shall not be entitled to further consideration for membership with the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma.


ARTICLE II - GOVERNING COUNCIL

SECTION 1.The Supreme Governing body of the Sac and Fox Nation shall be the Governing Council, having all the powers herein delegated to it by this constitution. The membership of the Governing Council shall be all members of the Sac and Fox Nation eighteen (18) years of age and older.

SECTION 2.There is reserved to the Governing Council the authority to approve all actions of the Business Committee which result in:

SECTION 3.As required, following the meetings of the Governing Council, the election board shall conduct an election, pursuant to the election ordinance, on the issues presented to the Governing Council which the Governing Council voted to place upon the ballot.


ARTICLE III - BUSINESS COMMITTEE

SECTION 1.There shall be a Business Committee which shall consist of the Principal Chief, Second Chief, Secretary, Treasurer, and one (1) Committee member who shall be elected by secret ballot.

 
a. The Principal Chief shall preside at meetings of the Governing Council and of the Business Committee. He shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Governing Council and of the Business Committee, shall perform all duties appertaining to the office of Principal Chief, and shall see that the laws of the Sac and Fox Nation are faithfully executed.

 

b. The Second Chief in the absence or incapacity of the Principal Chief or if the office of the Principal Chief shall become vacant, shall perform the duties of that office.

 

c. The Secretary shall correctly record the proceedings of all meetings. He shall make out the order of business for the Principal Chief, shall notify all committees of their appointments, shall have custody of the records and all papers of the Governing Council, which records and papers shall be open to inspection in his presence at reasonable times, by any member of the Governing Council desiring to read them. He shall keep a correct list of all members of the Governing Council and the tribe, shall authenticate all actions of the Principal Chief and Second Chief, shall call the meeting to order until a Chairman pro tempore is selected. He shall render a written report at the annual meeting and at the expiration of his term of office. Upon his death, resignation, expiration of term, or removal from office, the records and all papers in his possession shall be turned over to his successor. He shall issue notice of all meetings and conduct general correspondence, as directed by the Governing Council or the Business Committee.

 

d. The Treasurer shall receive all monies and other assets of the tribe and keep all tribal monies entrusted to his care in one or more special accounts and all disbursements therefrom shall be made pursuant to resolution or ordinance of the Business Committee with two approved signatures on each check. At any time that such an account shall amount to more than $50.00, he shall file a bond satisfactory to the Business Committee and the Governing Council. The cost of such bond shall be paid out of tribal monies. He shall render a certified written report at the annual meeting and at the expiration of his term of office. Upon his death, resignation, expiration of term or removal from office, the records and all papers in his possession shall be turned over to his successor.

SECTION 2.The Business Committee shall have power to appoint subordinate committee and representatives, to transact business and otherwise speak or act on behalf of the tribe in all matters on which the tribe is empowered to act now or in the future and to hire and employ legal counsel to represent the tribe, the choice of counsel and fixing of fees to be subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior or his authorized representative, as long as such approval is required, provided that, the Governing Council shall have a veto power after actions by the Business Committee; provided further that, such veto power shall only be binding upon the Business Committee by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Governing Council.


ARTICLE IV - GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE

SECTION 1.There shall be a Grievance Committee which shall consist of three (3) members of the Governing Council who shall be elected by secret ballot.

SECTION 2.The Grievance Committee, under such procedures as shall be provided by the Governing Council, shall hear complaints of misconduct in office by members of the Business Committee and upon a showing of probable cause that misconduct in office has occurred, shall call a special meeting of the Governing Council to act upon such complaints and shall undertake such other duties as it may be assigned by tribal law.

SECTION 3.The Governing Council shall have power, by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote by secret ballot taken after giving the accused a hearing, to remove him from office. The Chairman of the Grievance Committee shall preside at all meetings of the Governing Council called by the Grievance Committee for the purpose of considering the removal of a Business Committee member.

SECTION 4.Grievance Committee members may be recalled from office according to rules and procedures to be established by ordinance of the Governing Council.


ARTICLE V - COURTS

SECTION 1.The judicial power of the Sac and Fox Nation shall be vested in one Supreme Court of the Sac and Fox Nation consisting of five (5) Justices and such inferior courts as may be established by tribal law.

SECTION 2.The courts of the Sac and Fox Nation shall be courts of general jurisdiction and shall further have jurisdiction in all cases arising under the constitution, laws, and treaties of the Sac and Fox Nation. The Supreme Court of the Sac and Fox Nation shall have original jurisdiction in such cases as may be provided by law, and shall have appellate jurisdiction in all other cases.

SECTION 3.The Justices and Judges of the Sac and Fox Nation shall be selected by the Business Committee and confirmed by the Governing Council, provided that, Justices and Judges may be appointed by the Business Committee to hear a specific case at the request of the Supreme Court. A special appointment shall continue only until a final decision in the specific case has been reached.

SECTION 4.The Justices and Judges of the Sac and Fox Nation shall serve six (6) year terms beginning at the date of their confirmation in office and until their successor shall be duly confirmed and installed. At the expiration of his term of office, each Justice or Judge, at his option, shall be considered by the Governing Council for reconfirmation to a new term of office without opposition.

SECTION 5.Justices and Judges of the Sac and Fox Nation may be removed from office in the same manner that Business Committee members may be removed from office upon a showing of habitual neglect of the duties of office, oppression in office for personal gain or advantage, or conviction in any court of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude. In no case may a Justice or Judge be removed from office because of his decision or vote in any case before the court.

SECTION 6.The Tribal Courts are hereby specifically authorized to review, in any case before them, the actions of the Governing Council, the Business Committee, or any other tribal officers, agents or entities to determine whether those actions are prohibited by Federal or tribal law or this constitution. If it be found that the action complained of is not within the scope of authority delegated to that body or person by this constitution, or tribal law enacted pursuant to this constitution, or that the action is being undertaken in a manner prohibited by this constitution, tribal law, or Federal law, the courts are authorized to declare any such legislative or executive action unconstitutional and void, and to enter injunctive relief against unlawful actions by any executive officer or body of the Sac and Fox Nation.

SECTION 7.This article shall be effective upon enactment of enabling legislation by the Governing Council. Until this article becomes effective, the judicial power of the Sac and Fax Nation shall be vested in a Sac and Fox Tribal Court system as created by legislative action of the Business Committee. The Business Committee shall have authority to contract for the operation of the Court of Indian Offenses pursuant to law either separately or in conjunction with any other tribe or tribes within the jurisdiction of that court, and to modify the court created by this article in order to utilize an intertribal court system in conjunction with other tribes in the Anadarko Area Office jurisdiction, such modification to remain in effect so long as the Sac and Fox Nation is a participant in such intertribal court system.


ARTICLE VI- ELECTIONS

SECTION 1.Any person elected to membership on the Business Committee shall not be less than twenty-one (21) years of age and shall be a member of the Sac and Fox Nation. At the time of his election, he shall reside within the geographical boundaries of the State of Oklahoma. Any member of the Business Committee removing from the State of Oklahoma shall automatically forfeit his office.

SECTION 2.In order to provide for staggered terms of office, in the first regular election under this constitution, the Principal Chief, Second Chief, and Committee Member shall be elected to a four (4) year term of office, and the Secretary and the Treasurer shall be elected to a two (2) year term of office. Thereafter, each member of the Business Committee shall be elected to a four (4) year term of office, and shall serve until his successor shall be duly elected or appointed and installed in office.

SECTION 3.Any person elected to membership on the Grievance Committee shall be not less than twenty-one (21) years of age and a member of the Sac and Fox Nation. At the time of his election he shall reside within the geographical boundaries of the State of Oklahoma. Any Grievance Committee member removing from the State of Oklahoma shall automatically forfeit his office.

SECTION 4.In order to provide for staggered terms of office, in the first regular election under this constitution two (2) members shall be elected to a four (4) year term of office and one (1) member shall be elected for a two (2) year term of office. Thereafter, each member of the Grievance Committee shall be elected to a four (4) year term of office and until his successor shall be duly elected or appointed and installed in office.

SECTION 5.Regular elections of members of the Business Committee and members of the Grievance Committee shall be held in each odd-numbered year pursuant to an election ordinance prescribed by the Governing Council.

SECTION 6.No person shall be a candidate for more than one (1) office at any one election, or shall any person hold more than one elective office at any one time.


ARTICLE VII- VACANCIES

Vacancies in any elective office shall be filled by appointment of the Business Committee until the next regular election. At the next regular election the vacancy shall be filled by election for the remainder of the unexpired term, provided that, if less than a quorum of the Business Committee remain in office, the Governing Council shall appoint the new Business Committee members for the unexpired terms at a special Governing Council meeting called by the highest ranking elected tribal official.


ARTICLE VIII - MEETINGS

SECTION 1.There shall be an annual meeting of the Governing Council the last Saturday of August of each year.

SECTION 2.The purpose of the Governing Council meetings shall be to give information and to discuss any matter pertaining to the Sac and Fox Nation. However, decisions on the issues discussed, and any actions taken with respect to the authority reserved to the Governing Council by this constitution shall be made only by a subsequent general election held in accordance with, and within the time specified in the election ordinance, which election shall be open to all members of the Governing Council.

 
a. Special meetings of the Governing Council may be called at the discretion of the Principal Chief, and shall be called by him within thirty (30) days upon the written request of a majority of the Business Committee or upon the written request of fifty (50) members of the Governing Council, provided that, at least ten (10) days notice shall be given in each instance.

 

b. Unless some other point under the Shawnee Indian Agency jurisdiction is designated in the call or notice, all meetings of the Governing Council shall be held at the Sac and Fox tribal grounds.

SECTION 3.Regular meetings of the Business Committee shall be held at a regular time and place to be designated by the Business Committee which will then announce and give public notice of the meeting at least five days (5) days prior to the meeting.


ARTICLE IX - QUORUMS

SECTION 1.The Business Committee shall provide for its own rules of procedure and three (3) members of the Business Committee shall constitute a quorum to transact business at any meeting.

SECTION 2.The Governing Council shall provide for its own rules of procedure and sixty (60) members of the Governing Council shall constitute a quorum to transact business at any meeting.

SECTION 3.Once a quorum is established, a meeting may proceed until adjournment; provided that, if said meeting is recessed for more than eight (8) hours, a quorum must be established to conduct any further business except adjournment.


ARTICLE X - BILL OF RIGHTS

The Sac and Fox Nation shall not:

 
1. Make or enforce any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble or to petition for a redress of grievances.

 

2. Violate the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, nor issue warrants, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.

 

3. Subject any person for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy.

 

4. Compel any person in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.

 

5. Take any private property for a public use without just compensation.

 

6. Deny to any person in a criminal proceeding the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and at his own expense to have the assistance of counsel for defense.

 

7. Require excessive bail, impose excessive fines, or inflict cruel and unusual punishment.

 

8. Deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws or deprive any person of liberty or property without due process of law.

 

9. Pass any bill of attainder or ex facto law.

 

10. Deny to any person accused of an offense punishable by imprisonment the rights, upon request, to a trial by jury of not less than six (6) persons.


ARTICLE XI - AMENDMENTS

Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by a majority vote of the Business Committee or by a petition signed by thirty percent (30%) of the members of the Governing Council and if approved by the Secretary of the Interior, shall be submitted to a referendum vote of the adult members of the tribe, and shall be effective if ratified by a majority vote.

ARTICLE XII - SAVINGS CLAUSE

All resolutions and ordinances currently in force shall, insofar as they are not inconsistent with this constitution, remain in full force and effect until such time as they may be changed by the appropriate tribal authority.

ARTICLE XIII - RATIFICATION

This constitution shall be effective when approved by the Secretary of the Interior and ratified by a majority vote of the adult members of the Sac and Fox Nation voting at an election called by the Secretary of the Interior for that purpose, provided at least thirty percent (30%) of those entitled to vote cast their ballots under the rules and regulations which he may prescribe pursuant to Section 3 of Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of June 26, 1936, (49 Stat. 1967).

ARTICLE XIV - CERTIFICATION OF APPROVAL

I, Ross O. Swimmer, Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs by virtue of the authority granted to the Secretary of the Interior by the Act of June 26, 1936, (49 Stat. 1967), and redelegated to me by 209 D.M. 8.3, do hereby approve this Constitution of the Sac and Fox Nation. It shall become effective upon ratification by the qualified voters of the tribe in an election in which at least thirty percent (30%) of those entitled to vote cast ballots; provided, that nothing in this approval shall be construed as authorizing any action under this document that would be contrary to Federal Law.

Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs
Washington, DC