Just two out of nine CRIT council members recalled

A recall effort filed against all 9 members of the Colorado River Indian Tribes Council was largely unsuccessful in a recall election Saturday, with the Council Chairman and one other the only members that were recalled.

Chairman Dennis Patch was unseated by only 2 votes in the special election. After canvassing the vote on Sunday and Monday, the results of the Election Committee were then certified by the Tribal Council. Council member Valerie Welsh-Tabho was the other member recalled.

The recall effort was started by tribal members Tim Stevens-Welsh and Amber Van Fleet, who were opposed to talks the Tribal Council had been having that considered ways to address the southwestern water crisis, what role CRIT would have in regional water management, and explored possibilities of using some of CRIT’s unused water rights off-reservation.

They said that water is precious to CRIT, should not be used for economic benefit, and said the Tribal Council was gambling with the tribe’s future and acting in ‘secret’.

The council members responded, saying that because water is precious to CRIT, it has the need to manage it well, considering all options, that the water is an economic resource already, that the tribal council would never ‘gamble’ with the future of the tribe, that the needs of the tribe would be part of any agreement made in the future, and that there were no actual agreements or even formal negotiations yet anyway.

In response to the results of the election, Van Fleet used her public Facebook page to allege corruption, to say that CRIT is being run by “tyrants”, to call the Council “cheating bastards” and to say that because there were some spoiled ballots that were disregarded by the election committee, the integrity of the election was “compromised”. Spoiled ballots are present in every election, and include intentionally and unintentionally spoiled votes. It is normal policy in the United States to have a process for disregarding them.

In the short term, the news means that Vice-Chairman Keith Moses will be acting chairman for a period of time, with a seven-member council instead of nine. A new election will be called in the next few months, which will be open to qualified candidates for the position of Tribal Council Member and Chairman. Both Patch and Welsh-Tabho are qualified to run as candidates for their seats again.


  1. Amber Van Fleet

    How I wish you knew what you were trying to report!

    Ask your buddy Keith, it is more than just spoiled ballots, it is admitted tampering and fraud, even by former Chairman Patch.

    Your friend and others had more ballots in their boxes than what was accounted for, I believe someone referred to it as, stuffing.

    If you knew half of what you claim, you would also know that this was done through early voting which has no code to govern the process, go figure.

    Please stay out of tribal politics, especially when you are highly paid to do these documentaries that the tribes does not appear to have any rights to.

    I doubt you will post this, as I have been muted by your admin on your fake news page.

    Good Day, get a clue, stop getting kickbacks, then come talk to me.

  2. Amber-

    A bit at a time, because I think this is important:

    “How I wish you knew what you were trying to report!”

    Trying to? The above contains only newsworthy facts, reported in the same way that I do everything else that happens in this community. I’ll stand by all of our reporting and its accuracy (for example, we waited several hours longer than the Parker Pioneer because we knew the results were unofficial and hadn’t all been canvassed fully). If more facts emerge, and they’re newsworthy too, we’ll report those also.

    “it is more than just spoiled ballots, it is admitted tampering and fraud” …. “more ballots in their boxes than what was accounted for”

    If this is true, there’s an established process for proving it, and we’ll report on the results of any such process too. That’s how it works. (Same for La Paz County elections, Town of Parker elections and everything else.)

    “If you knew half of what you claim…”

    What sentence in the article above is contrary to fact? Please bring it to my attention so I can issue a correction notice if necessary.

    “Please stay out of tribal politics,”

    Uh, no. CRIT is a big part of this community, the news of which it is my job to cover.

    “…especially when you are highly paid to do these documentaries that the tribes does not appear to have any rights to.”

    More misinformation. CRIT owns every second of footage I shot for the three films, which are available to watch HERE (I highly recommend them!).

    “I doubt you will post this”

    Here it is.

    “Good Day, get a clue, stop getting kickbacks, then come talk to me.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘kickbacks’. I’m a media producer. It’s what I do for a living. What do you do for a living? I’m the editor of this news website, I directed the films you mentioned, and lots of other media-production-related things. Kickbacks is a weird way to say ‘salary’!

    Have a good day.

  3. Exactly! The truth will eventually come out upon completion of an investigation, and those that are corrupt will be exposed for what they are. And John Wright, please do proper research before reporting on tribal matters. Perhaps talk to BOTH parties before presenting a one sided representation of what’s happening within our tribes. I know you’ve been approached in the past by Tim and Amber and you ignored their request for interview. Your report is one sided, it is quite obvious in your choice of wording. Also public: note John Wright is a PAID employee and best friend to a certain tribal member on council so he is not exactly going to be impartial in matters like this

  4. Melissa- I’ll repeat what I asked Amber. What sentence in the above article is contrary to fact? I take factual reporting very seriously. It’s my job. Literally what I do! If there’s something here contrary to fact, I’ll correct it and issue a retraction.

    With respect to this:

    “I know you’ve been approached in the past by Tim and Amber and you ignored their request for interview.”

    This has been repeated by Tim in the past too. Here’s the real story that you haven’t been told: Someone (can’t quite remember who) asked to get on Parker Live about their intentions to collect signatures for recall sometime in 2017 (I can’t quite remember when). At the time, because there was no recall in effect yet, and there was no signatures yet, we decided that it wasn’t news yet. I remember telling the person to come back to me when they had enough signatures and had filed them, because that would be news – there was going to be a recall! They didn’t come back to me, but when the recall was filed, I wrote a story about it and asked Tim for his side of the story. He declined to talk to me. Those are the facts.

  5. While I would love to sit and debate this with you, I choose to put my energy toward a more worthy cause. Tim and Amber have uncovered a lot during their recall process and they are not alone in this fight against this crooked tribal government. They have a lot of support behind them now. I AM aware that you approached them eventually, immediately before going public, AFTER you’d already ignored their request and then interviewed the other nine thoroughly. I couldn’t blame them for declining your “interview”.
    I DO believe if petitioners are seeking a recall against ALL 9 tribal council, that IS big news, even if signatures weren’t yet obtained.. I’m surprised you don’t think do, since you state yourself, “CRIT is a big part of this community, the news of which it is my job to cover”. ????

  6. Melissa- Don’t write a comment and then say you don’t want to expend the energy to defend it. I pointed out exactly where you and Amber are demonstrably wrong, and pointed out where I’d attempted to interview Tim about his side of the story. Sorry, your side shot itself in its foot if you wanted ‘equal’ coverage. Also, I didn’t interview all 9 council members – that’s yet more misinformation. I simply re-printed their public statements (as I did Tim and Amber’s!). Thanks.

  7. Good reporting. These people sound unhinged. They were the ones behind the recall??? No wonder the people voted (mostly) against them.

  8. Tim Stevens-Welsh

    I would love to speak with you on this issue… because there is sooo much just on this election alone.

  9. John Wright

    Tim- Be glad to meet with you at any time.

  10. Ambrose Buford

    “Everything isn’t always going to be peaches and cream. If it is, then it’s fake.” – Blac Chyna

  11. Terilyn Gary

    Just two? Dang its the Chairman and the Treasurer… Its bigly…

  12. Don Davis

    I am proud of the Crit Members They Stand for thier own ,and police there FUTURE w/ purpose ! My wife and children are TRIBAL MEMBERS !????????????????️

  13. You clearly don’t know John at all. He is upstanding and does a fine job of reporting the facts. He is an asset to this community. Try to actually get to know him and I think you’ll find this to be true!

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