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Northern Arapaho Business Council Retains D.C-Based Law Firm

Northern Arapaho Tribe Facebook page

In a release posted to the Northern Arapaho Tribe's Facebook page, the Northern Arapaho Business Council announced that the Lander-based law firm, Baldwin, Crocker & Rudd, will no longer represent the Tribe "in any capacity."

"This decision was made to preserve the sovereignty of this Tribe and to secure self-governance for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren," the release said.

Four of the business council's six members, including Chairman Lee Spoonhunter, signed off on the decision. Co-Chairman Anthony Addison and Councilman Samuel Dresser did not.

This comes two weeks after Chairman Spoonhunter informed tribal citizens that James Conrad, who has served as CEO of the Wind River Casino and Hotel for over 14 years, will not have his contract renewed. In that statement, Spoonhunter said the council was "disappointed" in the law firm as well as with Conrad, and that both had "acted to frustrate the NABC’s efforts."

Credit Wikimedia Commons
Attorney Keith Harper will represent the tribe temporarily.

Attorney Keith Harper of Kilpatrick Townsend, a law firm based in Washington D.C., will represent the Tribe during its search for a permenant firm. 

"It is vitally important that the tribes are the ones that are making the decisions for themselves," Harper said. "The people that work for tribes, whether CEO of the gaming establishment or their lawyers, are supposed to be at the service of those who are elected by the tribe."

Harper is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation whose practice focuses on Indian law.

Citizens of the Northern Arapaho Tribe are invited to an informational meeting about the change at 6:00 p.m. on June 18 at Great Plains Hall in Arapahoe.

Savannah comes to Wyoming Public Media from NPR’s midday show Here & Now, where her work explored everything from Native peoples’ fraught relationship with American elections to the erosion of press freedoms for tribal media outlets. A proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, she’s excited to get to know the people of the Wind River reservation and dig into the stories that matter to them.
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