The GRIC Constitution: Past, Present, and Future
April 22, 2016
As the past becomes the present, and the present moves forward into the future, societies can experience changes in culture, economy, technology, and more. Whether those changes move slowly or quickly, progressively or conservatively, the rules and laws of society that hold communities intact, may also need to change as a society evolves.
This is something that the forefathers of the United States knew all too well, detailing in Article Five of the U.S. Constitution the two-step process for amending the Constitution, which has been amended twenty-seven times since its inception in 1789.
Benjamin Franklin was aware of the importance of being able to change the constitution even if one disagrees with a proposed change, saying during the last day of the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787, “I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.”
This is also something that the past leaders of the Gila River Indian Community knew when creating the Initial Constitution & Bylaws of the Gila River Indian Community on May 14, 1936. Since then, the Constitution has been amended on four separate occasions, in 1946, 1960, 1974 and most recently in 2013.
Once again the Community’s Constitution may be changed and every Gila River Indian Community registered voter will have the opportunity to make their voice heard, May 3, as polls open for the Special Election on several proposed constitutional amendments. Whether voting for or against the proposed amendments, it is important for Community members to inform themselves as much as possible about the upcoming Special Election, and to vote in the way they feel is best for GRIC and its people.
In an effort to help inform the Community about the upcoming Special Election, over the past several weeks, the GRIC tribal government held presentations on the proposed amendments in Districts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 in their respective Service Centers.
Presentations were also held at the Governance Center in District 3, the Boy & Girls Club – Komatke Branch in District 6, both for GRIC employees, and at an Elderly Concerns Meeting in District 2’s Multipurpose building.
This Gila River Indian News Special Edition contains GRIC’s current Constitution, background on the Tribal Constitution Reform Project, detailed information about the proposed amendments, and frequently asked questions Community members asked during the proposed amendment informational meetings.