Kawaiisu Tribe of the Tejon Indian Reservation Home Page
Kawaiisu Tribal Council
- David Laughing Horse Robinson - Chair
- Althea Cline - Vice Chair
- Rodina Mannatt - Secretary
- Judy Weldon - Treasurer
- - Member At Large
CONSTITUTION OF THE KAWAIISU TRIBE OF THE TEJON INDIAN RESERVATION, CALIFORNIA
We, the people of the Kawaiisu Tribe of the Tejon Indian Reservation, California, acknowledge our ancestors who since the beginning of time have lived and died on Kawaiisu aboriginal lands. We honor the sacred trust they have passed on to us, to maintain our Kawaiisu culture and preserve our tribal identity.
In order to form a more representative organization,
1. To exercise the duties and responsibilities of a representative tribal government,
2. To conserve and develop our tribal lands and resources for ourselves, our children and our descendants,
3. To provide a higher standard of living, better home life and better homes within the reservation,
4. To promote education for our children,
5. To extend to our people the right to form business and other organizations,
6. To maintain peace and order,
7. And to preserve the good things of Kawaiisu life,
We, the people of the Kawaiisu Tribe of the Tejon Indian Reservation, California do adopt this constitution as a guide to our self-government.
ARTICLE I - TERRITORY & JURISDICTION
Section 1. Territory.
The authority of the Kawaiisu Tribe, of California, shall extend to all of the territory within the Spanish rancheria grants defined by Father Garces and designated as Cobaji, Nochi and Quabajai on the 1777 Fr. Pedro Font map which illustrated Father Garces’ travels, and shall further include the original confines of the June 10, 1851 Treaty ceded and reserved land boundaries at Camp Persifer F. Smith, including the eleven Kawaiisu villages: Texon, Castake, San Imirio, Uvas, Carises, Buena Vista, Sena-hu-ow, Holo-cla-me, Soho-nuts, To-ci-a, Hol-mi-uh, and shall further include the original confines of the Tejon Indian Reservation boundaries as established by the Act of Congress, March 3, 1853 and surveyed by H.D.Washburn, and to such other lands as the United States may acquire for the benefit of the Tribe, or which the Tribe may acquire for itself. The territory of the Kawaiisu Tribe shall include, to the fullest extent possible under Federal law, all lands, property, airspace, surface rights, subsurface rights, other natural resources and any interest therein, tenements hereditaments, all water rights and all accretions, which are either now or in the future owned by the Tribe or owned by the United States for the benefit of the Tribe or for individual tribal members, notwithstanding the issuance of any patent or right-of-way in fee or otherwise, by the governments of the United States or the Kawaiisu Tribe, existing or in the future.
Section 2. Jurisdiction.
The Kawaiisu Tribe shall have jurisdiction over all persons, subjects, property and all activities occurring within the boundaries of the reservation or on other lands within its territory as defined by this Article. Nothing in this Article shall be construed to limit the ability of the Tribe to exercise its jurisdiction within or without its territory based upon Federal law or upon its inherent sovereignty as an Indian Tribe. Any person who enters the Territory shall, by entering, be deemed to have consented to the Jurisdiction of the Tribe. Every license or permit issued under the authority of the Tribe shall include a provision submitting all parties and their assigns to the Jurisdiction of the Tribe. Any employee of the Tribe shall, by accepting employment, be deemed to have submitted to the Jurisdiction of the Tribe. The Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall have the power to assert the Sovereignty and Jurisdiction of the Tribe by law over all matters that affect the interests of the Tribe. The Jurisdiction of the Kawaiisu Tribe shall extend to and include extra-territorial jurisdiction for the purposes of protecting the rights of the Kawaiisu Tribe within the original confines of the treaty boundaries of June 10, 1851, including but not limited to burial sites, geoglyphs, pictographs and petroglyphs.
ARTICLE II - MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Requirements.
The membership of the Kawaiisu Tribe shall consist of:
(a) All persons who were qualified for and were accepted into membership in the Kawaiisu Tribe under the membership requirements as of the date of enactment of this constitution. It is the responsibility of each enrolled Kawaiisu tribal member to provide genealogical documents proving lineal Kawaiisu descendancy with a roll number.
(b) All persons having Kawaiisu blood who are descended from a member of the Kawaiisu Tribe.
(c) All persons adopted into the Kawaiisu Tribe under the terms of a tribal membership ordinance.
Section 2. Enrollment Ordinance.
The Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall have the power to pass ordinances, which are consistent with and pursuant to this constitution governing future membership, loss of membership, adoption and all other necessary procedures of enrollment.
Section 3. Membership Roll.
The membership roll of the Kawaiisu Tribe shall be kept current by the Kawaiisu Tribal Council by adding thereto the names of persons who qualify for membership and by deleting therefrom the names of persons who have relinquished in writing their membership in the Tribe. Upon receipt of death certificates of deceased members or other evidence of death satisfactory to the Kawaiisu Tribal Council, the names of these deceased members shall be removed from the roll. The Kawaiisu Tribal Council, by majority vote, may decide questions of membership unless otherwise delegated by ordinance.
ARTICLE III - GOVERNING BODY
Section 1. Governing Body.
The governing body of the Kawaiisu Tribe shall be known as the Kawaiisu Tribal Council and shall consist of five (5) members: a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and a Member At Large, chosen as follows:
Chairman, by popular vote of the Tribe.
Vice-chairman, by popular vote of the Tribe
Secretary, by popular vote of the Tribe
Treasurer, by popular vote of the Tribe
Member at Large, by popular vote of the Tribe
Section 2. District Defined.
For the purposes of voting and representation on the Kawaiisu Tribal Council, the district shall be defined as follows: one district including all enrolled Kawaiisu Tribal Members. The Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall have the power to redistrict the reservation and establish separate voting precincts or communities to guarantee fair representation in proportion to the changing numbers of qualified voters residing in tribal territories.
Section 3. The Council.
The Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Member-at-Large of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall be elected for a term of five years by popular vote of the Tribe. Candidates for such office shall possess the qualifications required of candidates for Council membership, as set forth in Article XII.
ARTICLE IV - POWERS OF THE COUNCIL
Section 1. Powers of the Council.
In addition to all powers vested in the Kawaiisu Tribe through its inherent sovereignty or by existing law, the Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall exercise the following powers, subject to any limitations imposed by this constitution:
(a) To represent the tribe and act in all matters that concern the welfare of the Tribe and to make decisions not inconsistent with or contrary to this constitution.
(b) To negotiate, make and perform contracts and agreements of every description, not inconsistent with Federal law or this constitution, with governments and persons, with any Federal, State and local agency, with any person, association, or corporation, with any municipality or any county, or with the State of California or the United States, including agreements with the State of California for rendition of public services.
(c) To employ legal counsel, to present and prosecute any claims or demands of the Kawaiisu Tribe and to assist members of the tribe in presenting their claims and grievances before any court or agency of government.
(d) To veto the sale, disposition, lease or encumbrance of tribal lands, interests in tribal lands, tribal funds or other tribal assets that may be authorized by any agency or employee of the Federal or State Government.
(e) To protect and preserve the wildlife, plant life, forests, natural resources and water rights of the Tribe, and to regulate hunting, fishing and gathering rights on reservation lands. The Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall have the authority to enact ordinances to provide rules and regulations governing these rights.
(f) To cultivate, encourage and foster the Kawaiisu language, Indian arts, crafts, culture and traditions.
(g) To regulate the uses and disposition of tribal property.
(h) To manage all economic affairs and enterprises of the Tribe including tribal lands, restricted funds, timber and other natural resources, farming, mills, community stores, surface and subsurface leases and royalty disposition and any other tribal activities and to purchase or otherwise acquire lands or interest in lands within or without the reservation.
(i) To create and maintain a Tribal treasury, to accept grants and donations from any person, State or the United States.
(j) To appropriate tribal funds for tribal purposes and to expend such funds in accordance with an annual budget, the annual budget to be prepared for tribal review at the June Council meeting.
(k) To borrow money from any source and pledge or assign chattels or future tribal income as security therefore.
(l) To provide by ordinance for the assignment, use, or transfer of tribal lands within the reservation.
(m) To enact ordinances in accordance with applicable law covering the granting of both surface and subsurface leases for such periods as are permitted by law.
(n) To levy and collect taxes and to impose license fees. To regulate and license all business or professional activities conducted upon the reservation and to levy assessments for public purposes.
(o) To enact ordinances to provide for the adoption of minor children.
(p) To enact ordinances establishing and governing tribal courts and law enforcement on the reservation for the purposes of safeguarding the peace and safety of the Kawaiisu people, including regulating domestic relations of persons within the jurisdiction of the Tribe, providing for appointment of guardians for minors and mental incompetents, regulating the inheritance of real and personal property of persons within the jurisdiction of the Tribe, and to provide, by ordinance, for the removal or exclusion from the reservation of any non-member of the Tribe, or person not legally entitled to reside therein, whose presence may be injurious to the peace, happiness and welfare of the people or property of the reservation.
(q) To enact ordinances governing the activities of voluntary associations organized for purposes of cooperation or other purposes.
(r) To adopt resolutions to regulate the procedure of the Tribal Council itself, and of other Kawaiisu Tribal agencies and Tribal officials of the reservation.
(s) To appoint subordinate committees, commissions, boards, advisory or otherwise, tribal officials and employees not otherwise provided for in this constitution, and to regulate subordinate organizations, prescribing their tenure and duties, for economic and other purposes.
(t) To promote and protect the health education and general welfare of the members of the Tribe and to administer welfare aid and such other services as may contribute to the social and economic advancement of the Kawaiisu Tribe and its members.
(u) To administer unrestricted tribal funds
Section 2. Future powers. The Kawaiisu Tribal Council may exercise such further powers as may be in the future delegated to the Tribal Council by members of the Tribe or which is vested in the Tribe through its inherent sovereignty or by Federal law.
Section 3. Reserved powers. The foregoing enumerations of powers are in addition to, and shall not be construed to limit the powers of the tribal council, but all powers of tribal government not expressly entrusted to the Kawaiisu Tribal Council by this constitution shall be reserved to the legal voters of the Kawaiisu Tribe and such powers may be exercised through the adoption of appropriate by-laws and constitutional amendments.
ARTICLE V - RIGHTS OF MEMBERS
All members of the Kawaiisu Indian Tribe shall be accorded equal political rights and equal opportunities to participate in the economic resources and activities of the Tribe, and no person shall be denied freedom of conscience, speech, press, religion, worship, association or peaceful assembly, or the right to petition for the redress of grievances.
ARTICLE VI - ELECTIONS
Section 1. Regular Elections.
Regular elections for Kawaiisu Tribal Council Members shall be held every five years on the second Saturday in August. The most recent election for Council members having been held in August, 2002, the next election for Tribal Council Members will be held in August, 2007.
Section 2. Notice.
All elections shall be announced by special notice posted at least fifteen days before the election at the voting places and other convenient public places.
Section 3. Eligibility to vote.
All enrolled members of the Kawaiisu Tribe eighteen years of age or older shall have the right to vote.
Section 4. Polling places.
The voting shall be held in three communities: South Lake/Weldon, Twin Oaks/Tehachapi and Bakersfield, or as may be otherwise established by the Kawaiisu Tribal Council.
Section 5. Nomination of Council Members.
Any enrolled member of the Tribe who desires to be nominated, whose name is presented at least fifteen days before the election, to the Kawaiisu Tribal Council Secretary or to the Chairman, or in the Chairman’s absence, to the Vice-chairman of the Council, by petition signed by at least ten percent of the voters of the district, of the age of not less than eighteen years, shall be declared by the Tribal Council to be regularly nominated as a Council member and to be a candidate for the office of a Council member as indicated in such petition. It shall be the duty of the Tribal Council Secretary to post the names of all qualified candidates in a public place at least ten days prior to the election.
Section 6. Signing of Nomination Paper.
Each signer of a nomination paper shall sign but one paper and only one time on that paper, for the same office unless more than one candidate is to be elected to such office, and in that case, not more than the number of nomination papers equal to the number of candidates to be elected to the office. Signatures of persons in violation of this section shall be disregarded in determining the regularity of a nomination.
Section 7. Election Requirements.
All elections shall be by secret written ballot. The Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall have power to prescribe ordinances governing the conduct of referendums and elections. All elections shall be held in accordance with the rules and regulations set down by the Kawaiisu Tribal Council or by an Election Board appointed by the Tribal Council. Such ordinances shall prescribe the duties of the election board, procedures for casting and canvassing resident and non-resident ballots, method for challenging right to vote, conduct and results of elections, and settlement of any election disputes.
Section 8. Certification.
All elections shall be certified by the Kawaiisu Tribal Chairman and Tribal Secretary and notarized within five (5) days after such election.
Section 9. Expiration of Term.
The terms of office of the outgoing members of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall expire on the third Sunday in September after the election, thereby allowing for two Council meetings to bring new Council candidates up to speed on tribal business.
ARTICLE VII - REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
Section 1. Forfeiture or Resignation of office.
If any member of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council resigns, fails or refuses to attend two regular meetings in succession unless excused due to illness or other causes for which he or she cannot be held responsible, shall be removed for cause, or shall be convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral integrity, or has been found guilty of habitual drunkeness or any gross neglect of duty or misconduct reflecting on the dignity of the tribe or Council, the Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall declare his or her position vacant and shall elect to fill the unexpired term on the Council by a majority vote of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council, provided that the person elected to fill the unexpired term is an eligible tribal member.
Section 2. Vacancies.
Any vacancies on the Kawaiisu Tribal Council resulting from death or from the application of the section immediately preceding shall be filled at once by a majority vote of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council. The Vice-Chairman shall fill a vacancy in the office of Chairman. Persons so appointed shall serve the unexpired term of the office or member.
ARTICLE VIII - REFERENDUM
A petition for a referendum on any ordinance or resolution of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall be in writing, shall be signed by at least twenty percent of the eligible voters of the Tribe, shall set forth the ordinance or resolution with respect to which referendum is requested, and shall be filed with the Chairman of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council. If the petition is in accordance with the requirements of this section, the Tribal Council will call a referendum upon the ordinance or resolution specified in the petition to be held not less that 30 days nor more that 60 days from the date of such call. Voting will be held at the same polling places as designated in the previous election.Voting shall be by secret ballot. If at least 30% of eligible voters cast votes and at least two-thirds of the votes cast are against the ordinance or resolution, the ordinance or resolution shall be null and void, as of the date of the referendum, and shall not be reconsidered for a period of at least six (6) months. Any ordinance or resolution may also be submitted to popular referendum upon the request of the majority of the members of the Tribal Council.
ARTICLE IX - RESERVATION LAND
Section 1.Unallotted land.
The parts of the reservation land which are unallotted shall remain tribal property, shall not be mortgaged or sold and shall not be allotted to individuals in severalty, but assignments of land for private use may be made by the Council in conformity with ordinances which may be adopted on this subject.
Section 2. Transfer of Other Lands.
Notwithstanding any other provision of the Constitution, interests in real property within the Territory shall not be conveyed or otherwise transferred, by sale, gift, devise, descent, forfeiture, or otherwise, to any person who is not a Member, and any such conveyance or transfer shall be deemed void and any action to execute such a conveyance or transfer, if intentional, shall constitute a crime as determined by law for persons who are subject to the jurisdiction of the Tribe, and any property subjected to such conveyance or transfer determined to be criminal shall escheat to the Tribe.
ARTICLE X - AMENDMENTS
Section 1. Requirements.
This constitution may be amended by a majority vote of the qualified voters of the Tribe voting at an election called for that purpose Provided, That at least thirty percent of those entitled to vote shall vote in such election.
ARTICLE XI - DUTIES OF OFFICES
Section 1. Chairman of the Council.
The Chairman of the Council shall preside over all meetings of the Council, shall perform all duties of a Chairman and exercise any authority given her/him specifically by the Tribal Council or by a general meeting of the Tribe. The Chairman shall have power to vote at any meeting.
Section 2. Vice-Chairman.
In the absence of the regular Chairman, the Vice-Chairman shall preside at meetings and shall have all powers, privileges, and duties of the Chairman. She/he shall succeed to the office of Chairman in the event of the Chairman's death, resignation or forfeiture of office. She/he shall have power to vote at any meeting.
Section 3. Secretary.
The secretary shall conduct all Tribal Council correspondence and keep and maintain copies of minutes of all Council meetings and resolutions of the Tribal Council, shall provide reproductions of ordinances and resolutions to tribal members and shall act in the capacity of Vice-Chairperson in her/his absence, and shall act in the capacity of Treasurer in her/his absence. She/he shall have the power to vote at any meeting.
Section 4. Treasurer.
(a) In the absence of the Secretary, the Treasurer shall preside and have all powers, and privileges, and duties of the Secretary.
(b) The treasurer shall accept, receipt for, keep and safeguard all funds of the Tribe in the custody of the Council. The treasurer shall deposit all such funds as directed by the Kawaiisu Tribal Council and shall keep an accurate record of such funds and shall report on all receipts and expenditures and the amount and nature of all funds in his or her custody to the Council at regular meetings and at such other times as requested by the Council. The treasurer shall not pay or otherwise disburse any funds of the Tribe in the custody of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council except when properly authorized to do so by a motion duly passed and properly read by the Council.
(c) The books and records of the treasurer shall be audited at least once a year by a competent auditor employed by the Council and at such other times as the Council may direct.
(d) The treasurer shall be required to give a surety bond to be approved by the Council.
(e) All checks shall be signed by the treasurer and shall be countersigned by the Chairman of the Council, or in his absence, by some other officer designated by the Council.
(f) She/he shall have the power to vote at any meeting.
Section 5. Member at Large.
The Member at Large shall keep the peace and order in meetings of the Tribe. She/he shall have the power to vote at any meeting.
ARTICLE XII - QUALIFICATIONS OF COUNCIL MEMBERS
Section 1. Qualifications.
Any enrolled member of the Kawaiisu Tribe who has reached the age of twenty-five years old. No person who has been convicted of a felony in the last three years shall be eligible to hold office in the Council. No person who within the past year preceding the election has been convicted of a crime involving moral integrity, shall be eligible to hold office in the Council. The following crimes, and no others, shall be considered crimes involving moral integrity, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, fraud, forgery, misbranding, perjury or theft.
Section 2. No Federal Employees.
No person shall become a member of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council, or serve on any Board of Directors of any tribal enterprise or on any other committee, commission or board which is under the jurisdiction of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council, if employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs or by any other Federal agency.
Section 3. No Tribal Employees.
No person shall become a member of the Kawaiisu Tribal Council if employed by the Kawaiisu Tribe.
ARTICLE XIII - MEETINGS OF THE COUNCIL
Section 1. First Meeting.
At the first meeting of the Council after a regular election, the outgoing Tribal Council shall install the newly elected candidates and shall see that all newly elected members have a correct and clear understanding of the constitution and the management of the tribal and reservation affairs, as well as the rules for the conduct of their own body.
Section 2. Regular Meetings.
The Council shall hold its regular meeting on the third Saturday in each month at noon, unless for some reason the Chairman shall issue notice that the meeting will be held on another date and time. Regular meetings shall alternate location between the three communities represented by the polling places.
Section 3. Special Meetings.
Special meetings of the Council may be called by the Chairman, or the Chairman shall call a special meeting upon written request of three or more members of the Council, or by petition signed by 30% of the legal voters of the tribe. Written request shall be filed with the Chairman or Secretary and all Tribal Council members shall be notified at least 24 hours before the date and time of the special meeting.
Section 4. Open Meetings.
All sessions of the tribal council (except executive) shall be open to all members of the tribe.
Section 5. Executive Session.
The council may, upon motion duly passed, go into executive sessions. At such sessions all persons shall be excluded from the council chamber, and any such person whose presence shall be required before the council shall be designated by the Chairman, and no other persons shall be allowed to be present other than the members of the Tribal Council.
Section 6. Conduct of Business.
In the conduct of business, recognized rules of order shall be chosen and made applicable. Voting at the Council meeting may be by voice, but at the discretion of the Chairman or upon the request of any two members of the Council a secret vote shall be taken.
Section 7. Order of Business.
The order of business at any regular or special meeting of the Tribal Council shall be as follows:
(a) Call to order by the Chairman.
(b) Roll Call.
(c) Reading of and acceptance minutes of last meeting.
(d) Unfinished business.
(e) Reports – Treasurer, Secretary (correspondence), Committees
(f) New Business.
Section 8. Quorum.
Matters of business for the Council shall be decided by a majority vote of the Tribal Council. A quorum of the Council shall be constituted if three (3) or more members are present.
Section 9. Restriction of Voting in the Council.
In any matter coming before the Council which involves any person or company, no member of the Council that may be permanently connected with the party so involved shall be permitted to vote without the special consent of the remaining members of the Council.
Section 10. Salaries and Expenses.
The Tribal Council shall prescribe such salaries and expenses for officers or members of the Council, as it deems advisable.
ARTICLE XIV - MEETINGS OF THE TRIBE
The Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall from time to time call meetings of all voters of the Tribe to lay before them such matters as may come before such a general meeting. A general meeting of the Tribe shall be called upon request of a majority of the qualified voters of the tribe.
ARTICLE XV - ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
Section 1. Ordinances and Resolutions.
Every ordinance shall begin with the words, "Be it enacted by the Council of the Kawaiisu Tribe." Every resolution shall begin with the words, "Be it resolved by the Council of the Kawaiisu Tribe." All resolutions and ordinances should be signed by the Chairman or acting Chairman and attested-to by the Tribal council secretary.
Section 2. Notice of Proposed Ordinances.
All proposed ordinances of the Council shall be posted in each district at least ten days before final action by the Council.
Section 3. Public Inspection of Ordinances.
All ordinances shall be recorded in a binder and shall be open to public inspection.
Section 4. Public Inspection of Resolutions.
All resolutions shall be recorded in a binder that shall be open to public inspection.
Section 5. Majority Vote.
All questions of procedure shall be decided by motion of the Council or by a ruling of the Chairman if no objection is heard. In all ordinances, resolutions, or motions, the Kawaiisu Tribal Council shall act by majority vote.
Thank you for visiting the Kawaiisu Tribe of the Tejon Indian Reservation Home Page.
For more information contact us at
The Kawaiisu Tribe, P.O. Box 20849, Bakersfield, CA 93390.
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