Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Kiowa: News coverage made the difference

News media statement

June 3, 2010—Don Tofpi was recalled and removed from office as Chairman of the Kiowa Business Committee by ballot vote of the Kiowa Indian Tribe. The special recall election was held on May 29, 2010, and results to recall have been certified by the Kiowa Election Board.
Two-thirds of those who voted said yes to recall Don Tofpi on charges filed by Charles “Buddy” Toyebo in March 2010 for violations against the Kiowa people and the Tribe’s constitution that jeopardized sovereign assets. The final tally that was officially certified by the Kiowa Election Board, including absentee ballots, was 373 yes to recall and 221 no to recall.
Mr. Toyebo said gratitude was his first response to news of the certified vote.
“Thank God for the Kiowa people and the ability to speak with sovereign authority at the ballot box, especially in times when it truly counts,” said Toyebo.
He said he is also thankful for media coverage that made news headlines nationally, which provided Kiowa with information on the issues involved and helped overcome obstacles during the recall. A judge’s restraining order was lifted shortly after news media reports appeared, and the special recall election proceeded.
The certified results of the recall of Donald Tofpi were sent Wednesday from the Kiowa Election Board to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
After the recall, reports indicated that Don Tofpi still disputes the election vote as invalid.
“Isn’t that the line every loser in every election sings loudest? In the Kiowa’s case, the audience has already left the theater, clearly unhappy about what it cost them for his performance as Chairman of the Kiowa Business Committee,” said Toyebo.

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