John J. Robinson

Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne leader ousted from post

The following story was written and reported by Cinnamon Spear, Native Sun News Correspondent. All content © Native Sun News.

Northern Cheyenne President removed
By Cinnamon Spear
Native Sun News Correspondent

LAME DEER, MT- After serving only eight months of a four-year term, John J. Robinson was removed as president of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

On July 10th, the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council voted 9-1, with one abstaining, to vacate the office. Wednesday’s hearing accused Robinson of violating the due process of a fired employee.

The plaintiff, Darlene Soldier Wolf, was terminated after allegedly abusing children while she was the director of the Rosebud Lodge- an emergency shelter and group home for abused and neglected children located in Busby, Montana.

Robinson terminated Soldier Wolf based on an investigation by the tribe, but because he did not follow appropriate procedures and involved the BIA in the decision-making, her right to due process was violated.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Robinson began to feel ill and was rushed to Billings Clinic for an emergency appendectomy. While absent, a closed executive session took place. Soldier Wolf was reinstated as director, and the council carried out the vote to remove Robinson.

The former president stated, “In hearing this case, the council has demonstrated a great concern for tribal members’ due process; yet in their official action, they did not afford me [mine].”

Councilwoman Donna Fisher was the only member to vote in opposition: “I voted no because I didn’t feel the hearing was finished. We set the law there and we didn’t follow our own law.”

A special session of the tribal council took place the following morning and solidified Robinson’s removal. By unanimous vote, the vice president, Winfield Russell, was appointed to serve as acting president of the tribe.

Robinson plans to go back in front of the council on Monday, July 15th, to ask them to reconsider. If the council rejects Robinson’s appeal, the tribe is required by the Constitution to call for nomination and election of a new president within 60 days of the declared vacancy.

Copyright permission by Native Sun News

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