Federal officials will allow a California Indian tribe to vote today on changing its constitution despite congressional concerns that the election could be rigged.
Assistant Interior Secretary Neal McCaleb, who oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, told a West Virginia congressman that he would not intervene in a long-running dispute that has divided families in the Ione Band of Miwok Indians.
Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) also sought an investigation of whether BIA employees who are members of the dominant faction have exercised undue influence on the process.
Separately, California Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) pushed for a delay in the election until questions are resolved about the tribe's membership rolls, including whether any people registered to vote are members of other tribes.
But McCaleb said federal officials would wait until after the election before determining whether it was valid.