In a close vote, Dora Jones and Nokomis Hernandez, incumbent members of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians tribal council, were ousted in an election last weekend.
Their replacements are Heather Airey and Patrick Hammond, two of 20 members who challenged for three spots on the council.
Incumbent Tom Walker, tribal secretary, retained his seat.
The election was open, allowing tribal members to check the names of three people they felt best suited for a spot on the council. Walker received the most at 109 votes, Airey 105, and Hammond finished with 86, one vote ahead of Hernandez. Jones received 74 votes.
Saturday’s election was the latest since an embattled vote held last year while the tribe’s Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino was closed.
It followed a year of relative stability after a rival faction, with hired security forces, raided the casino in October 2014. That forced state and federal officials to shut down the facility for more than a year, until it reopened on New Year’s Eve.
Though there have been no public conflicts since the reopening, the council before Saturday’s election recently sent out a new wave of disenrollment notices, some to members of rival groups still feuding with current leadership. Some feel that has rekindled hard feelings amongst divided tribal groups.
The remaining four spots on the council (tribal chair Claudia Gonzales, treasurer Dixie Jackson, and members at-large Morris Reid and Harold Hammond) will be up for election next year.