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  Comments (3) Total Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
 
UPDATE: BIA, Homeland Security Try to Remove Blackfeet Councilors
Federal officers entered tribal headquarters Friday to remove councilors amid political impasse
Federal officers, including some from the Department of Homeland Security, entered Blackfeet tribal headquarters on Nov. 8 to remove three councilors at the middle of the political gridlock that has crippled the government east of the divide.

The officers, shielded in riot gear according to witnesses, were acting on a tribal judge’s order to remove councilors Bill Old Chief, Paul McEvers and Cheryl Little Dog. All three were suspended in 2012 but recently reappointed by Chairman Willie Sharp Jr. The officers were led by Robert DesRosier, head of the Blackfeet Nation Homeland Security Program, but were unsuccessful in locating the councilors.

“They had military-type rifles and guns and whatnot,” Sharp said later. “They were dressed like they were ready for battle.”

The attempted arrests came after weeks and months of political unrest and dysfunction on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council has been at an impasse since early October after it split into two factions. Two weeks ago the divisions led to a temporary government shutdown. On one side are Chairman Sharp, Old Chief, Little Dog, McEvers and Forestina Calf Boss Ribs and on the other side are Shannon Augare, Roger Running Crane, Earl Old Person and Leonard Guardipee.

On Nov. 8, Thedis Crowe, acting superintendent of Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Blackfeet Agency, issued a letter reviewing executive actions taken by Sharp’s faction to appoint a new treasurer and personnel director for the tribe. Crowe said the appointments were void because they were not approved by a vote of the full council. According to the Blackfeet Plan of Operations, “Two-thirds of the members of the entire BTBC must be present to constitute a quorum to legally transact business of the BTBC.”

She concluded the letter by writing that the quorum clause also pertained to other tribal council actions, including the suspension and recent reinstatement of Old Chief, Little Dog and McEvers.

“BIA also takes this opportunity to remind you that the quorum requirement applies to other actions that may be internal to the BTBC, like the suspensions of council members Old Chief, McEvers and Little Dog,” Crowe wrote. “If these council members were suspended by a BTBC resolution supported by a quorum, then to remove them from suspension and bestow voting privileges would also require an action by BTBC resolution that meets the quorum requirements.”

Immediately after receiving the BIA letter, Running Crane issued a press release stating the BIA’s position on Old Chief, McEvers and Little Dog. Later, Chief Judge Allie Edwards drafted court paperwork ordering BIA Law Enforcement, Blackfeet Security and Homeland Security officers remove the three councilors. The court documents, posted on a Facebook page called Blackfeet Against Corruption, listed Running Crane, Augare, Old Person and Guardipee as plaintiffs.

Late in the afternoon, DesRosier arrived at tribal headquarters to evict the three councilors. Unable to carry out the order by himself, DesRosier came back a little while later with additional officers but Old Chief, McEvers and Little Dog had already left tribal headquarters for the day.

“Homeland Security has no authority or jurisdiction to act in such a manner and it is disappointing and confounding to see this attempt to overturn any avenues of reconciliation,” Sharp said.

Tribal offices were closed on Monday, Nov. 11, but Sharp said he expected police to return on Tuesday to try and arrest the three councilors again. He said he planned on standing with them because “they haven’t broken the law.”

Attempts to contact Running Crane and the BIA were unsuccessful on Nov. 11.
 
On 11-12-13, Pigfarmer commented....
    The comments by true and estherlou are laughable but at least entertaining in their stupidity. true, who probably is Bryon would have you believe he has access to Washington D.C. and airline service for his personal mail to the US Congress. Utterly amazing!. This…
 
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