A water tower in
Browning, Montana, the headquarters of the Blackfeet Nation. Photo from Blackfeet
Tribal criminal cases have put Montana on top a nationwide list of judicial districts with the most government corruption prosecutions.
According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, there were 18 active corruption cases in Montana between October 2013 and April 2014. The high number is attributed to a program known as the Guardians Project, which has been focusing on Indian Country since 2011.
"Their efforts have unearthed widespread criminal activity and flagrant abuses of trust with regard to federal programs and grants designed to provide for the common good of our Indian communities," U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter told The Great Falls Tribune.
This year's high profile cases involve employees and officials from the
Chippewa Cree Tribe and the
Nation. Those cases appear to account for all 15 in the Syracuse list.
A historical list provided to the Tribune showed cases from three additional reservations in the state. In total, there were 28 people on the list, according to the paper.
"Where is the dignity and the honor and the integrity of our leadership, nowadays?" Tommy Christian, a council member for the Fort Peck Tribes, told the paper. "This is what colonization has done to us as a people."
Get the Story:
Montana tops federal corruption prosecution listing
(The Great Falls Tribune 7/12)
Four sentenced for theft
from Blackfeet Nation youth program (06/27)
Ex-employee found guilty
of stealing from Chippewa Cree Tribe (06/27)
Another person pleads
guilty for Chippewa Cree Tribe scandal (5/13)
Former lawmaker pleads guilty
in Chippewa Cree corruption case (04/03)
More criminal cases filed in
thefts from Chippewa Cree Tribe (10/30)
Chairman of Chippewa Cree
Tribe blocked from taking office (10/08)
Group forms to battle corruption on reservations in
New indictment in theft
case involving Chippewa Cree Tribe (10/2)
Chippewa Cree Tribe delays
swearing-in of chair amid challenge (08/08)