FROM THE ARCHIVE

US audits Cheyenne-Arapaho

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JUNE 8, 2000

The Inspector General of the Interior Department is conducting an audit of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe in Oklahoma for fiscal years 1995, 1996 and 1997.

The Interior Department is performing the audit based on a request from the Tribe's Finance and Oversight committee in 1998. The committee wanted to ensure that the funds were being spent properly.

A Tribal Spokesman, James Pedro, said that in 1988 that this committee did not have the authority to make such a request and instead claimed that the committee was disgruntled tribal members. He then went on to claim that the investigation was being used as retribution for the tribe seeking to establish recontrol of Fort Reno.

Fort Reno is a research station that contains a graveyard sacred to the Cheyenne-Arapaho, but is currently under federal control. Senator Don Nickles (R-Oklahoma) currently has language in a pending bill that continues funding for the research station which would prevent transfer of the land back to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe.

The Cheyenne-Arapaho have been involved in many different controversies involving the transfer of Fort Reno including return of political contributions to the Democratic National Committee, and an appearance on a Bill Moyers PBS documentary that decried the current state of campaign fundraising.

A Frank Lucas, a Republican member of the House from Oklahoma, said he communicated with an Interior Dept Spokesperson who said that Pedro's allegations of retribution were "totally inaccurate." Lucas continued to say that a tribal member wrote a convincing letter giving them reason to investigate.

Get the Story:
Tribal leader says audit is retribution (The Daily Oklahoman 6/8)