Skull Valley Goshute Chairman Cancels Election

Skull Valley Goshute Chairman Cancels Election

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- For the fourth time in a year, Leon Bear, the chairman of the Skull Valley Goshutes, has canceled tribal elections on the ground of a lack of quorum.

Bear's opponents contend the election was called off before members could organize at the tribal meeting hall.

They say the terms of Bear and his niece, Vice Chairwoman Lori Skiby, ended last year, but Bear is maneuvering to prevent them from electing new leaders.

Some of the opponents of Bear also are opposed to the proposal to store high-level nuclear waste on the reservation.

"We're tired," said Margene Bullcreek, one of the Goshutes opposed to the waste. "We're tired of talking and not being heard."

Bear's opponents said Sunday that it was not apathy but a feeling of helplessness that is causing the low election turnout. Many members have to come from out of state to take part in the elections, and they have grown weary of making the trip only to have the election canceled, Bullcreek said.

The Goshutes have about 121 members, about 70 of whom are adults eligible to vote.

Bear did not respond to a Salt Lake Tribune request to comment, but said in an interview with National Public Radio last month that a majority of members support the nuclear-waste project.

Bullcreek and six other Goshutes opposed to the waste project filed an appeal last week seeking to overturn federal licensing approval for the waste facility.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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