Apache council wants transparency - Albuquerque Journal

Apache council wants transparency

LAS CRUCES – The Mescalero Apache Tribal Council on Wednesday pushed back against an apparent lack of transparency within the tribe’s administration by voting to put President Frederick Chino Sr. and Vice President Sandra Platero on paid administrative leave for the next month.

While Chino and Platero are on leave, council members will conduct an “operational and programmatic review of the Tribe’s activities,” according to a news release issued Wednesday.

No other details about the nature of the review were publicly disclosed. No wrongdoing by Chino and Platero has been alleged, according to the news release.

As to the reason for Chino’s temporary removal from office, long-time Tribal Council member Alfred La Paz, who was designated acting president in Chino’s absence, said, “. . . A number of Council members had concerns about the level of communication that existed between the president and the Council.”

Four members of the Tribal Council did not return calls seeking comment, and two others who were reached declined to comment.

Several Apaches who have been critical of Chino’s administration, however, said they were excited by the move, and one said he hoped the fact-finding exercise will eventually result in Chino’s impeachment and removal from office.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” said tribal member Justine Peralto. “They’ve been very secretive about everything, and then we find out after the fact.”

Two Tribal Council members have previously said they were unable to obtain basic information about the tribe’s budget, and reservation residents say they are not permitted to attend meetings of the council. Neither Chino nor Platero could be reached for comment.

Peralto pointed to a raucous general meeting of the tribe on April 19 as a turning point in relations between residents and the administration of Chino, whose two-year term ends in December.

The April general meeting was the first time most residents heard details from Chino about exploratory drilling aimed at determining the financial viability of mining rare earth minerals on the reservation’s east side. Several speakers vocally protested the plan, while others criticized other initiatives: plans to buy a new plane for the tribe; an effort to build a new youth center on land that a family was forced to vacate; and the sale of manufactured homes obtained from the federal government.

“Nowadays everything is hidden from us,” said former council member Joseph Geronimo. “No one knows what’s going on.”

La Paz, in the news release, said that tribal business will continue as usual. The Mescalero Apache tribe, located in the Sacramento Mountains in south-central New Mexico, operates the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino and Ski Apache.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Emptying the Notebook: Even hurt, Fresno State's star was ...
ABQnews Seeker
Here are some extra notes, stats, ... Here are some extra notes, stats, observations and other odds & ends I emptied out of the old notebook after Tuesday's Lobo hoops game ...
2
Bernalillo County seeks help at the jail
ABQnews Seeker
Commission approves emergency resolution to deal ... Commission approves emergency resolution to deal with staffing shortage
3
Petroglyphs defaced outside SF
ABQnews Seeker
La Cieneguilla site dates back 8,000 ... La Cieneguilla site dates back 8,000 years; 10 works damaged
4
NM reports 3,354 new COVID cases; 25 deaths take ...
ABQnews Seeker
Health officials say the new variant ... Health officials say the new variant not as lethal as previous ones
5
The price of a pothole
ABQnews Seeker
Bad roads are costing us thousands ... Bad roads are costing us thousands in vehicle upkeep
6
Canine search-and-rescue group seeks volunteers
ABQnews Seeker
Nonprofit is looking for handlers, navigators ... Nonprofit is looking for handlers, navigators and base camp operators
7
New Mexico lawmakers propose $1 million for 'baby boxes'
ABQnews Seeker
Proposal would increase options for parents ... Proposal would increase options for parents who want to give up their babies
8
Social Security tax bill stalls in first House committee
ABQnews Seeker
Backers: Measure would bolster economy, reduce ... Backers: Measure would bolster economy, reduce burden on NM seniors
9
Space tourists in NM may face taxing situation
ABQnews Seeker
State wants to place levy on ... State wants to place levy on pricey tickets