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Yakama tribal member, critic face off in election
Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A member of the Yakama Nation of Washington and a vocal critic of tribal sovereignty are seeking a seat on the Toppenish City Council.

Derald Ortloff is the facilities manager for the Yakama Nation. He said he wants the city to improve its relationship with the tribe.

Elaine Willman, who claims Cherokee ancestry, shares that goal. But she said the tribe and and the city must be mindful of jurisdictional limits.

Willman is the founder and executive director of the Citizens Standup Committee. The group tried to challenge the Yakama Nation's ban on alcohol but lost in federal court due to sovereign immunity. Willman also fought the Yakama Nation's utility tax but recently lost a decision before the Washington Supreme Court.

Willman previously served as president of the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, a national group opposed to tribal sovereignty and federal Indian policy. The group is allied with One Nation, an anti-sovereignty group based in Oklahoma that tribal leaders describe as racist. At CERA's recent annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Willman debuted a book and video "expose" of tribal sovereignty.

Get the Story:
Toppenish candidates want to motivate community (The Yakima Herald-Republic 8/29)

Relevant Links:
Citizens Equal Rights Alliance -
One Nation -

Related Stories:
Washington court refuses to halt tribe's utility tax (08/12)
Non-Indians question Tulalip Tribes authority (08/04)
One Nation leader faces disenrollment from tribe (07/07)
Appeals court to rehear tribal jurisdiction case (06/08)
Court to hear dispute over Yakama Nation utility fee (04/07)
Supreme Court takes on tribal-state tax dispute (03/01)
U.S. Supreme Court asked to rule on state taxation (12/02)
Court bars state from imposing gas tax on tribe (08/13)
Appeals court rules against tribal jurisdiction (08/09)
Tribal authority over all Indians still unsettled question (06/23)
U.S. Supreme Court won't touch Indian tax ruling (05/25)
Supreme Court affirms tribal powers over all Indians (04/20)
Wash. targets companies for passing on tribal fee (05/23)

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