COMANCHE CO, Okla._By bringing tribal members together, one Comanche woman hopes to bring long-awaited change to her tribe. Eleanor McDaniel has started collecting signatures for her petition to call for a special tribal council meeting. With the formal request, she hopes to address everything from budget concerns to higher education in order to have better-served tribal members.
Well naturally, most of what's on the petition has a lot to do with money. McDaniel says the primary bullet point addresses thirty percent of gaming money allotted for community and education development going towards the tribal government -- a category that already receives $4.4 million dollars on its own. But for McDaniel, this petition isn't just about numbers. It's about giving every member of the Comanche Nation a voice to be heard.
"Every tribal member knows what's going on," said Eleanor McDaniel.
Eleanor McDaniel says she acted as a sounding board for Comanche's everywhere when she wrote her petition.
"Our tribal leaders...their primary duties are to look out for the tribe and their primary responsibility is the well-being of our people," said McDaniel.
Among the things listed in the fifteen-page document--to remove the Comanche Nation College from the tribal budget...after lack of accreditation and student enrollment. That alone would free up about two million dollars that McDaniel says could be better spent on lower education. Team that up with tribal government costs like law enforcement and a court spilling over into money for members that provides housing and healthcare and McDaniel says it all goes back to how all that casino cash is being used.
"We've made billions of dollars since we've had our gaming, not millions, but I'm saying billions but yet we still have people who are going hungry, who are homeless that don't get proper medical care. Our leaders have an opportunity to change all that. But they've lost that focus."
Now McDaniel is hoping with her petition, more Comanche's will come out and not only sign her petition, but vote in future tribal council meetings.
"I want our people to know that they have that power and that opportunity to change our government so that it better serves the welfare of our people," said McDaniel.
Gaming money is just the beginning of everything that McDaniel wants to address to the tribal council. If you'd like to see everything that's on the petition, including how tribal ordinances are voted on or even the business council's level of involvement into employee issues, we've posted a link to that website to ours, kswo.com.
McDaniel is holding a meeting tonight at the Lawton Public Library until 7:30 in order to collect signatures. She has ninety days to collect two hundred signatures in order to hold a special tribal meeting.
To see a complete list of items on the petition, go to comanchenationforum.com/newsletter.