The Crow Tribe is prepared for the 99th annual Crow Fair, which takes place August 17-21, 2017, in Crow Agency, Montana. Photo: Crow Tribe of Indians
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Crow Tribe votes on potential changes to constitution despite court decision





Citizens of the Crow Tribe went to the polls on Saturday as part of an effort to gauge interest in modifying their governing document.

But the referendum took place despite a tribal court ruling that barred Chairman Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid from moving forward with the effort. The Crow Legislature secured the decision two days prior to the vote and now it's anyone's guess about what will happen next.

“The chairman isn’t trying to create havoc or chaos," Cedrick Black Eagle, who is Not Afraid's senior policy adviser, told The Billings Gazette. Black Eagle is himself a former chairman of the tribe.

According to a post on the tribe's Facebook page, which is controlled by Not Afraid's office, two questions were on the referendum. One asked whether citizens were interested in changing the Crow constitution while another asked whether a water rights settlement that has already been ratified at the state and federal law should be renegotiated.

The tribe last changed its constitution in 2001. According to the document, a referendum can only be scheduled if at least 25 percent of qualified voters sign a petition, The Gazette reported.

Not Afraid did not follow those guidelines -- he scheduled the referendum based on a petition with just 100 signatures, according to the paper. He also has questioned whether the 2001 was validly approved at the tribal level.

As for the water settlement, it was signed into law in December 2010 by then-president Barack Obama, who was adopted into the family of former chairman Black Eagle. A biography on CannaNative says Black Eagle was "instrumental" in securing the agreement.

Read More on the Story:
Crow Tribe votes on tribal constitution, despite court objection (The Billings Gazette August 16, 2017)
Crow government clashes over proposed tribal constitution vote (The Billings Gazette August 10, 2017)