Law | Politics

Leadership of Blackfeet Nation in dispute amid corruption cases






Montana Sen. Shannon Augare (D). Photo Montana Legislature

The leaders of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana are divided into two camps amid corruption and theft cases on the reservation.

Chairman Willie Sharp Jr. suspended two council members -- . Shannon Augare and Leonard Guardipee -- last week. Augare, who also serves as a state senator, has been indicted in federal court on drunken driving charges, while Guardipee has been accused of failing to carry out his duties.

Sharp then suspended two more council members -- Paul McEvers and William Old Chief . But he reinstated them on Monday.

"I’m in uncharted waters, but as the chairman I’m going forth with it," Sharp said in a press release, The Great Falls Tribune reported.

In addition to Augare's case, six people -- including Augare's father -- have been charged with stealing from a tribal education program that received $9.3 million in federal funds. One person has already pleaded guilty.

Meanwhile, a former chairman of the tribe was sentenced to a year in prison and was ordered to pay $163,000 in restitution. Patrick Charles Thomas pleaded guilty to unlawful conversion of property in connection with a loan from the U.S. Farm Services Agency.

Get the Story:
Battle for the Blackfeet (The Flathead Beacon 10/23)
Blackfeet chairman reinstates 2 council members (AP 10/22)
Blackfeet chairman reinstates suspended councilmen (The Great Falls Tribune 10/21)
Former Blackfeet tribal chairman sentenced for loan fraud (AP 10/22)
Woman pleads guilty to theft from youth program on Blackfeet Reservation (AP 10/22)

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Indicted Blackfeet Nation council member won't quit position (10/15)
Judge allows prosecution of Blackfeet official in federal court (10/2)
Blackfeet leader under indictment called for arrest of protesters (9/5)
Blackfeet Nation chair questions council member's prosecution (9/3)
Indian lawmaker seeks dismissal of charges in federal court (08/21)
Shannon Augare pleads not guilty to drunken driving charges (8/17)