Clara Caufield: Some Northern Cheyenne leaders shirk their duties

A sign on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. Photo from NRC

Reservation politics: A continuous source of frustration
A Cheyenne Voice
By Clara Caufield

The Cheyenne Reservation, like most others, is divided into geographic districts from which tribal council members are elected, based on population. The districts are akin to states in America or counties in a state, forming the basis of a representative government.

At Northern Cheyenne the districts include: Lame Deer (Black Lodge) 5 council; Ashland, (Shy Ones), 2 council; Muddy/Ree District (Yellow Water Country), 1 Council; Birney (Scabby Robes), 1 Council; and Busby (White River), 2 Council. In addition to the elected and paid Council members, each district elects non-paid officials to conduct district business, recognized by the Tribal Constitution and tribal ordinances. In effect, the districts are meant to be a communications link between the “grassroots” community members and the governing body (Tribal Council and administration).

The districts meet on a regular basis, normally once per month; requiring a quorum to conduct business; the meetings are recorded; motions are made and voted upon; and at Northern Cheyenne, each district receives an annual financial allocation to provide assistance to elders, youth, emergency needs, education and charity, those funds administered by committees elected at the district level.

Each district also identifies concerns and priorities, charging the district chairman to relay these to the Tribal administration and Council. On a monthly basis, the Tribal Council agenda reserves a spot for the District Chairs to report, but this rarely happens.

In addition, the Tribal President is directed to regularly consult with the District Chairs, reporting on tribal activity and, more importantly, to seek their advice. Some tribal Presidents have faithfully done that. Others have not.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Reservation politics: A continuous source of frustration

(Contact Clara Caufield at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

Join the Conversation