Citizens of the Colorado River Indian Tribes participate in the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on September 21, 2004. Photo: Mark Christal
Environment | National | Politics

Colorado River Indian Tribes prepare for yet another recall election

It's only been two years since the last recall effort so it looks like the Colorado River Indian Tribes were due for another.

And this one looks like a big one. A group with a simple name, CRIT Recall, is seeking to remove Dennis Patch, Vice Chairman Keith Moses and all seven members of the council, The Parker Pioneer reported.

"Save our water," reads the rallying cry on

At issue is an effort to explore the leasing of the tribe's share of water from the Colorado River. Chairman Patch has pitched the endeavor as a generate revenues and spur economic development for the Mojave, Chemehuevi, Navajo and Hopi peoples who make up the tribal nation.

“There was a lot of confusion about people saying we were selling our water; we can’t sell,” Patch told The Arizona Daily Star, which first broke the story last fall. "We had to correct that. We told them about the history of our water rights.”

Recall organizers Tim Stevens-Welsh and Amber Van Fleet see things differently. They found it easy to collect enough signatures to put the entire council up for recall.

“It wasn’t personal,” Stevens-Welsh, who works for the tribe's Special Diabetes for Indians project. “It was in the best interests of my people. Our government made the decision and took the opportunity away from our own people.”

The tribe currently uses its share of the Colorado River for agricultural and irrigation purposes. The river runs through the northwest and western portions of the reservation, which lies in the state of Arizona and California.

Tribal citizens go to the polls on Saturday.

Read More on the Story:
Founder of CRIT Recall says it was never anything personal (The Parker Pioneer April 23, 2018)
Water leases at root of recall effort on Colorado River Indian Reservation (The Arizona Daily Star April 23, 2018)
CRIT Recall Election set for April 28 (The Parker Pioneer April 16, 2018)

An Opinion:
Editorial by John Gutekunst: Tribal members have a decision to make (The Parker Pioneer April 23, 2018)

Related Stories:
Supreme Court puts end to case challenging Colorado River Indian Tribes lease (October 10, 2017)
Colorado River Indian Tribes look to water rights as potential boost for economy (September 26, 2017)
Top leaders of Colorado River Indian Tribes face recall petitions (March 29, 2016)
Recall season proves costly for Colorado River Indian Tribes (April 3, 2012)
Four facing recall from Colorado River Indian Tribes council (March 27, 2012)