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Masten stepping down

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

Yurok Tribal leader Sue Masten is stepping down after six years of representing her tribe from Hoopa to Washington D.C.

"The deadline was last Friday," said Yurok Tribal Enrollment and Election Director Earl Jackson about the last day to file for the Oct. 8 election.

Masten's seat as tribal chairman is up for election along with the position of vice chairman.

She was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The Yurok Tribal Government, formed in 1988, is made up of seven districts, each with an elected position on the Tribal Council Board.

Masten has served two consecutive three-year terms.

Six candidates have filed to replace Masten. Among them are three women and three men: Cindee Carlson, Michael Harder, Sandra Lowry, Judith Marasco, Gary Markussen Sr. and Howard McConnell.

In the time Masten served, the Yurok Tribe and its economic structure have changed dramatically.

Since 2000, the tribe has built a large administration building in Klamath and moved all of its council administration offices there from Eureka.

Many of the tribe's formerly Eureka-based professionals have relocated their homes to Klamath as well.

There is also more housing in Klamath. About 15 new two-story homes were built two years ago in the Klamath town site for tribal members in need.

And in an effort to bring more money into the tribe, the Yurok government has worked through Masten to lay ground for a casino.

The outspoken leader has been a political force for the Yuroks as well.

Masten was elected by 250 of the country's most prominent Native American nations to serve as president of the National Congress of American Indians.

In that role, she advocated for the rights of sovereign nations to the federal government. She testified before Congress and the state government on several occasions.

Most recently, she has traveled to both capitols to fight for the tribe's Klamath River water rights, specifically to ask that less water be diverted from the river to prevent future mass salmon kills as happened last fall.

The Yurok Tribe is the largest tribe in California with more than 4,000 members.

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