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Protest held in opposition to Kiowa Tribal Council chairman

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:15 PM CDT
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CARNEGIE, Okla. (KSWO) - A recall petition is circulating among the Kiowa Tribe which calls for chairman Matthew Komalty to step down.

More than 100 Kiowa tribal citizens gathered in Carnegie Wednesday to protest what they called corruption in the tribal leadership.

”He doesn’t have a concept of separation of power -- he thinks he IS the power,” one protester said.

The peaceful protest was held in opposition to the Kiowa Tribal Indian Council’s chairman.

Protestors claimed he has violated their constitution since he was sworn in in 2017, withdrawing $6,000,000 from the casino authority and failing to properly go through the nomination process.

They said he’s also shut down the tribal complex in Carnegie and is not serving meals on site.

The tribal executive branch is also accused of misusing federal CARES Acts funds, keeping much-needed assistance from tribal members.

“We dissent from his policies and his practices as a leader, and this is the only way we can,” District 7 Legislator Jacob Tsutigh said. “We haven’t been able to hold a Kiowa Indican Council Meeting -- where that’s the official way to conduct business to address our concerns about the tribe -- we haven’t had one in two years, and that needs to be done as soon as possible. So this is our way of raising our voice, ‘cause we would have got it done through the KIC, through resolution through voting, the proper procedure! But when he ignores us and inhibits our ability to participate, then we have to raises our voices right here on the street.”

Kiowa Tribal Council officials did not want to issue a statement on the protests, but said they have addressed citizens’ concerns in a number of statements on Facebook..

According to those statements, the chairman authorized the distribution of federal funds through the Grants Authorization Act after the Legislatures’ members failed to come up with a funding disbursement plan.

The statement said the Chairman “has always had the best interest of the Tribal membership at heart when he makes these difficult decisions.”

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