I first served on Tribal Council from 1992-1995. During my first year, discussions took place regarding ethics and the need to establish ethical standards. In August of 1993 we, the Tribal Council, established ethical standards of conduct for Tribal officials by adopting the Tribal Ethical Standards Ordinance (TESO). While this is the primary ordinance that governs the conduct of Tribal officials, ethical standards can also be found in the Election ordinance and the Tribal Council Ordinance.
The primary purpose for having ethical standards, explained in TESO Section (b) Background and Intent, is to preserve public confidence and trust in the Tribal Government, officials should act in an ethical manner.
This would include Tribal officials avoiding actual or potential conflicts of interest, treating all people with respect and courtesy, and carry out their duties with impartiality, fairness, and equity under Tribal law. Specific ethical conduct is then defined in the remainder of the ordinance.
Back in 1993 when we, the Tribal Council, first passed TESO, we could not conceive of the internet or of social media. As Council members and other Tribal officials engage in social media I wonder how this and other ordinances will be amended to govern online conduct.
What do you think? Should Tribal official’s online conduct be regulated by Tribal ordinance? If so, how should online conduct be regulated?