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Colorado River Indian Tribes Vote To Recall 2 Councilmembers

Members of the Colorado River Indian Tribes in Western Arizona voted to recall two members of the Tribal Council, including chairman Dennis Patch.

Patch lost his recall by just two votes, 469 to 467. Tribal members also voted to oust Council Member Valerie Welsh-Tahbo, 495 to 441.

Seven other council members were on the recall ballot but got enough votes to retain their seats.

Here are the other results:

Keith Moses, tribal vice-chairman: 442 to 468
Amelia Flores, council member: 334 to 586
Granthum Stevens, council member: 450 to 483
Johnny Hill Jr., council member: 403 to 535
Bobby Page, council member: 358 to 575
Herman “T.J.” Laffoon, council member: 415 to 490
Johnson “J.D.” Fisher, council member: 365 to 565

A statement from the Tribe said a special election will fill the vacant seats on the council, although there’s no date for that yet. Both Patch and Welsh-Tahbo are eligible to run and have said they will.

The recall came after the Arizona Daily Star reported the tribe was negotiating with water agencies in the state. This angered recall organizers, who insist leasing out the rights to tribal water will hurt the tribe’s economy and culture.

The Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) has about 4,277 tribal members. Its reservation spans roughly 300,000 acres and occupies land on both the Arizona and California sides of the border.

Bret Jaspers was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2017 to 2020.