Northern Cheyenne Tribe disavows group behind 'traditional' court

Representatives of the Northern Cheyenne Traditional Court, from left: Adela Ignacio; Antoinette Red Woman and Crystal Abel Killsnight-Whiteman. Photo courtesy A Cheyenne Voice

Officials of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana are distancing themselves a group that started a "traditional" court on the reservation.

Native Sun News first reported on creation of the Tsistsis & Suhtai Traditional Court in December. But the tribal government does not recognize the entity and is disavowing comments made this week by some of its representatives.

Those comments were reported by MTN News on Monday. The clerk and two judges of the traditional court called on the federal government to release all tribal members from federal custody.

"The federal system does not take everything into account the way we do,” Tim Lamewoman Sr., a judge for the traditional court, told MTN News. “We consider spirituality, forgiveness and retribution.”

The comments came as Thomas Rockroads III was sentenced in federal court on Friday after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a federal officer. The defendant appears to be related to Thomas Rockroads Jr., another judge on the traditional court.

“I just hope what they are saying does not burn any bridges for us,” Chief Judge Roni Brady of the tribe's official court told MTN News. The tribe's administrator also said the group does not represent the tribal government.

Get the Story:
Northern Cheyenne Tribal Court looks to disassociate from "traditional" court, not federal court (MTN NEws 4/19)
Northern Cheyenne Tribal Court wants to end relationship with federal court (MTN News 4/18)

Related Stories:
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne group forms traditional court (12/4)

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