Tribal council vows to remove St. Marks again
October 7, 2013
If Ken Blatt St. Marks is sworn in as Chippewa Cree tribal chair, the tribal council will once again remove him.
Then he will be prosecuted in tribal criminal court, they said.
The announcement came in a release signed by interim chair Rick Morsette and the other seven council members.
The council recalled that it had removed St. Marks for “gross misconduct and neglect of duty,” earlier and those charges are still true today. St. Marks has created a “political circus” on Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, the council said.
St. Marks said Saturday he was frustrated by the council’s continuing efforts to prevent him from serving.
“It seems like they want to keep having elections until they win one,” he said.
St. Marks said it was time that people on and off the reservation rose up to fight the council’s continuing efforts at Rocky Boy.
“What they are doing is against the law,” he said. “They are violating the election process.”
St. Marks was elected chair last year, but was removed by the council. After winning a protracted legal battle to get on the ballot for a special election, he won his chairmanship back.
But the tribal election committee invalidated the results of that election. St. Marks went to tribal court, and the judge ruled for St. Marks.
Now the election committee is considering an appeal.
The council said it removed St. Marks for illegal use of credit cards, improper purchase of a new vehicle, verbal and sexual abuse of tribal employees. Members said they feared for their safety and the safety of their families if St. Marks is allowed back in office. Council members said they had “an ethical responsibility to remove him.”
But St. Marks vehemently denied the allegations and said tribal leadership wants him out of office because he is cooperating with the U.S. attorney’s office and other federal agencies in an investigation into widespread corruption on the reservation. Nine people have been charged so far, though charges against John “Chance” Houle have been dropped. Houle was reinstated to the tribal council and signed the statement promising to remove St. Marks from office again.
St. Marks said it was time for people in Havre and elsewhere in Montana to join in the effort to stop corruption at Rocky Boy.
He said millions of dollars in federal aid to the reservation have been squandered in the scandal.
“This is tax money,” he said. “My tax money and everybody’s tax money.”
“If senators and congressmen won’t do anything about it, we should get new senators and congressmen.”