Federal Court Dismisses Claims Relating to Cheyenne & Araphoe Tribes’ Leadership Dispute

Here are many of the materials in Wandrie-Harjo v. Prairie Chief-Boswell (W.D. Okla.):

Wandrie-Harjo vs. Janice Prairie Chief-Boswell – Order

Prairie Chief-Boswell Motion to Dismiss

C&A Motion to Dismiss + Exhibits

Plaintiff Opposition to Special Appearance Motion to Dismiss

Cheyenne-Arapaho Members Protest Southern Plains Regional BIA Office

The first part of the article from The Republic:

ANADARKO, Okla. — Supporters of a woman who says she is the rightful governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes protested Tuesday outside a regional Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Anadarko, urging the agency to quickly resolve a tribal dispute in her favor.

But a BIA deputy regional director told The Associated Press it’s unlikely the power struggle between former political allies Janice Boswell and Leslie Harjo will be settled soon because the matter is tied up in an appeals process. Boswell has remained in office as governor, even while Harjo maintains that’s now her job and seeks recognition by the BIA.

“We hope that maybe some change or understanding will come about to resolve the dispute within the tribe,” said Terry Bruner, the deputy regional director for Indian services for the BIA’s Southern Plains Region.

The March 28th Interior Board of Indian Appeals Order Vacating Decision and Remanding (referenced in the article) can be found here.

Tenth Circuit Affirms Conviction for Embezzlement from C&A Tribes

Here is the unpublished opinion in United States v. Island from the Tenth Circuit, in which a tribal council member’s secretary had used wire transfers from a gaming revenue checking account to gamble in Vegas, apparently.

Of note, the court mentioned how the Cheyenne & Arapho Tribes had handled their gaming revenues:

In 2001, Ms. Island was hired as a secretary/assistant by Robert Tabor, the chairman of the business committee and elected representative of Arapaho District A-2. Initially, the committee used a single checking account for net gaming proceeds from which any of the eight members could write checks. Later, the committee implemented a system by which its treasurer and Cheyenne District C-4 representative, Eddie Whiteskunk, would divide the proceeds among individual committee members, including himself and Mr. Tabor.

Beginning in 2002, Ms. Island worked exclusively for Messrs. Whiteskunk and Tabor and ran their offices on a daily basis. Part of her duties included writing checks from their respective gaming proceeds checking accounts to tribal members who needed financial assistance – authorized expenditures under § 2710(b)(2)(B). During this same time and on trips to Las Vegas, Nevada,and Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ms. Island obtained money from those checking accounts (wire transfers) for her and others’ personal use, which formed the basis of her ensuing indictment for conspiracy and embezzlement. The evidence was that she obtained more than $15,000 that was later divided among the participants. Following a two-day trial, the jury found her guilty of five counts of embezzlement of less than $1,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 1163, and one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States under 18 U.S.C. § 371.

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Copyright Infringement and RICO Case against Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes

The Western District of Oklahoma refused to dismiss a claim against the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes. The plaintiff, Southwest Hotel and Casino Corp., sought to voluntarily dismiss the claim without prejudice after C&A received a positive tribal court judgment and moved for summary judgment in the federal court action. Instead, the court will decide the C&A summary judgment motion.