Former Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele was elected president once again, defeating Bryan Brewer. Brewer defeated Yellow Bird Steele two years ago for the post.
The Native Sun News reported that the election was a landslide in favor of Yellow Bird Steele. This result was part of a trend this election cycle on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation-- there was a huge turnover in the tribal council in the Nov. 4 vote.
In the October 14 primary, Yellow Bird Steele, who is returning to the office which he has held on six previous occasions, came close to the simple majority needed to claim the presidency in the three-candidate race. In that primary he captured 49.4 percent of the vote to Brewer’s 33.2 percent, the Rapid City Journal reported.
In Tuesday’s election, Yellow Bird Steele received 2,181 votes compared to 1,598 votes for Brewer, according to unofficial results posted on the OST’s website.
Incumbent Vice President Tom Poor Bear will retain his seat, defeating challenger William “Shorty” Brewer 1,972 to 1,696.
Yellow Bird Steele was first elected tribal president in 1992. He went on to win the two-year position six times during the next 20 years, according to the Rapid City Journal.
Although voting numbers were not remarkable in this tribal election, they were high for an election that was not held at the same time as a U.S. presidential election, according to Native Sun News.
In addition, the Native Sun News reported on Nov. 6, that there have been allegations of voter fraud, intimidation and late starts at the poll, as well as a controversial decision by newly re-elected South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley to make any votes cast after 7 p.m. “provisional.”