Rocky Boy swearing in deferred
Last updated 11/14/2014 at 11:39am
The swearing in of four Business Committee members at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, scheduled for Monday, has been delayed because of a tribal court injunction.
Wednesday, the election board announced its decision to uphold the election results after taking into consideration Windy Boy’s objection.
Thursday, Windy Boy asked tribal court for an injunction to delay the swearing in of the four people elected in the Nov. 4 elections. This morning, he said the court granted it.
Windy Boy filed the objection because one of the people who voted was an honorary member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe. The Rev. Pete Guthneck, longtime pastor at St. Anthony's in Box Elder and St. Mary's in Rocky Boy, was given the honorary membership. Windy Boy maintains that since Guthneck did not meet all the requirements to become a full member of the tribe, he should not have been allowed to vote.
The requirement in question is that of being at least a quarter Native American blood quantum.
“This has nothing to do with the results of the election,” Windy Boy said. “It’s the principle of the whole deal of the eligibility requirement of the constitution.”
The Rocky Boy constitution states that only a candidate defeated in an election can make such an objection. Windy Boy came in with the fifth-highest amount of votes. Four new members of the business committee were elected and now wait to be sworn in.
“A lot of people say I’m just attacking the priest,” Windy Boy said. “It’s nothing personal against Father Pete. This is a whole different issue. … The constitution needs to be adhered to.”
Lynn Fagen, the attorney for the election committee, said Thursday the swearing in of the new members of the business committee was set for Monday at 9 a.m. at the tribal chambers at the Rocky Boy Agency.
“The question was whether (Guthneck’s) honorary status gave him the right to vote,” Fagen said. “The election ordinance didn’t really speak to that, and they said it was a business committee issue.”
Now that Windy Boy’s injunction was granted, the swearing in will be pushed back to a later date. He said this morning there is no set date for the court to review his injunction as of yet.
He also said this morning that if the judge refused to sign it, he would take it to the tribal appeals court. If they refused, then he would take it to the federal district court.
“The constitution was violated here, and someone is going to listen,” Windy Boy said.
Calls to the election committee members were either unanswered or they refused to speak.