Tribal Judge Says Shared Programs Must Be Managed Jointly

Sep 30, 2016

Credit Bureau of Indian Affairs

A tribal court judge issued an order Thursday that prevents the Eastern Shoshone tribe from making management decisions about programs shared with the Northern Arapaho tribe.

The tribes share the Wind River Reservation, but two years ago the Northern Arapaho left the Joint Business Council, which had cooperatively managed the court system, the wildlife department and other programs on behalf of both tribes.

The Northern Arapaho said they had outgrown the joint council and needed to manage their own programs, but the Eastern Shoshone and the Bureau of Indian Affairs continued to operate on behalf of both tribes without Northern Arapaho participation.

In his decision, Tribal Court Chief Judge John St. Clair said the Eastern Shoshone tribe can no longer spend shared money or hire or fire shared employees without the consent of both tribes.  

St. Clair also said the BIA is undermining the sovereignty of the Northern Arapaho by creating a BIA-managed court instead of allowing the tribe to manage their own justice system.