On Saturday, the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians will hold an election for three spots on its tribal council, the latest since an embattled vote last year while its casino was closed.
Twenty names are on the ballot including incumbents Nokomis Hernandez, vice-chair, Tom Walker, secretary, and Dora Jones, a member at-large.
Others seeking to win those seats are: Heather Airey; Jed Davis; Patrick Hammond; Susan Juarez; Kristin Lowery; Andrew Pedroza; Rachel Reid; Irene Waltz; Denise Davis; Melvin Espe; Tina Jones; Kimberly Lawhon; Ruby Peterson; David Works IV and Jimmy, Destini, and Phillip Lust.
The election will be held at the Coarsegold Community Center, with results expected to be announced that night.
It follows a year of relative stability after a rival faction of the current council, with hired security forces, raided Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in October 2014. That forced state and federal officials to shut down the facility for more than a year until it reopened New Year’s Eve.
Though there have been no public conflicts since the reopening, the council has recently sent out a new wave of disenrollment notices, some to members of rival factions still feuding with current leadership. Some feel that has rekindled hard feelings amongst divided tribal groups.
The remaining four seats of the seven-member council (tribal chair Claudia Gonzales, treasurer Dixie Jackson, and members at-large Morris Reid and Harold Hammond) will be up for election next year.