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Leaders of Chippewa Cree Tribe try to remove chairman again

Ken St. Marks. Photo from Native News Project / University of Montana

Council members of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana are once again trying to remove Chairman Ken St. Marks from office.

But St. Marks is fighting back. He refused to let an outside attorney read a series of allegations against him at a meeting on Monday that The Havre Daily News described as raucous.

"I have nothing to hide, and, in fact, I think that right now, you're trespassing on Rocky Boy," St. Marks told the attorney, who was identified as Derek Hines, an attorney based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

St. Marks was first removed by the tribal council in March 2013 but won his seat back in a special election in July 2013. However, his rivals prevented him from taking office, leading to a lawsuit in tribal court .

The tribe's appeals court eventually ruled that St. Marks should have been seated. He took office on November 20 but the tribal council served him with a list of allegations the next day.

St. Marks contends his rivals are upset with him because he has encouraged federal prosecutors to investigate corruption on the reservation. So far, the U.S. Attorney's Office has indicted at least dozen tribal leaders, employees and associates.

St. Marks, on the other hand, has never been charged in any court -- tribal or federal. "When I'm indicted legally, I will walk out of here, but you're not going to come in here and just lay out all kinds of false charges on me and think that it's going to work," he told Hines, the Daily News reported.

Two more people from the reservation, in fact, pleaded guilty to more charges in federal court. John "Chance" Houle, a former council member, admitted to bribery, theft and obstruction of justice, the Associated Press reported.

Wade Christopher Colliflower, the former vice chair of the tribal rodeo association, admitted to a single count of theft and aiding and abetting theft.

Get the Story:
St. Marks won't respond to attorneys (The Havre Daily News 12/2)
Raucus meeting at Rocky Boy, no action (The Havre Daily News 12/2)
Montana tribe alleges chairman stole $2.3 million (The Great Falls Tribune 12/2)
Houle, Colliflower agree to plea deals (AP 12/1)

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