The final list of candidates for the Tribal Executive Board was released today.
Deadline to file to run was September 15, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.
Unlike other tribal leadership positions, the TEB is the only position where the only real requirement is no felony conviction. Prior experience, degrees of academic achievement, even age take a back seat (see separate story).
So far, the following people will be running for Tribal public office.
The Tribal Chairman is not a very powerful position. Constitutional duties include carrying out the resolutions of the TEB, vote in case of a tie, and to oversee the daily operations of the Tribes.
To date, four have filed for the position: Incumbent Floyd Azure; current TEB member Jestin Dupree, newcomer Kris Fourstar, and former Chairman and board member John Morales.
Azure has served on the TEB for years, first as a councilman and later as Chairman. Earlier this year, the TEB attempted to remove Azure on allegations of refusing to carry out resolutions of the Tribes and deliberately interfering in tribal business by being involved in a transaction between the Tribes and BP Construction to build a new headquarters for Tribal Enterprises. BP was paid for this, but to date has not built the structure or even pour the foundation.
Ultimately the removal attempt failed by lack of votes from the council.
Dupree has been on the council two times and got his start in tribal government by being elected as Sgt.-At-Arms. During that time, Dupree would keep a daily log posted as to who was showing up for work as part of a daily blog to keep the public informed as to the daily workings of the TEB. This type thinking was continued by the next Sgt.-At-Arms, who continues to post this and other announcements online.
Before being on the TEB, Dupree served years in the Army and was stationed in Iraq.
Finally there is Morales. He served as a councilman and Chairman for years. After being defeated for re-election, he has repeatedly run for Chairman
Morales was removed as Chairman once already and was re-elected to the position again. He ran the Tribes with fear, consistently firing employees for personal reasons.
According to the Tribal Constitution, the only duty is to fill in for the Chairman.
Incumbent Charles Headdress filed for re-election.. He has been the Vice Chairman for the past few administrations.
Other candidates include Lance Fourstar, Mike Youngman Sr., and Juanita Cantrell.
Incumbent Bruce “Cubby” Damon filed for re-election.
Leslie Menz filed to run. He is the only challenger to Damon.
Duties of the Sgt.-At-Arms consist mainly of keeping order in the meetings. Though not required, the Sgt.-At-Arms keeps a public blog for the Tribes.
The Tribal Council
The TEB is the governing body of the Fort Peck Tribes. Decisions made by the council affect the lives of 13,000 tribal members. They also do business with outside governments including the federal and state government. The TEB also makes laws and decide how to spend millions of dollars. The job carries a large salary, travel benefits, and job security.
Majority of the current TEB members filed for re-election including Alex Smith, Terry Rattling Thunder, Emerson Young, Frank Gourneau, Justin Gray Hawk, Dana Buckles, Patt Runs Through, Carolyn Brugh, Kaci Wallette, Leonard Crow Belt
Other candidates include Ona Windchief, Mary Lou Azure, Grant Stafne, Carrie Manning, Melody Red Eagle, Elizabeth Decoteau Lingle, Frank Smith, Marva Chapman, Thomas Brown, Bryce Kirk, Tristan Miller, Shannon Dionne-Martell and Frances Weeks, Georgia Gibbs-Atkinson, Sandi Azure, Sean Bighorn, Don LaRoque, Leslie Long Hair, Orin Cantrell, Garrett Big Leggins, Lawrence Hamilton, Stacey Summers, Wayne Two Bulls, Della Pipestem, Vernette “Susie” Perry, Louella Douglas-Contreras, Roger White, Darren Long Hair, Morris Tatoo, Francine Boxer, Ronald Jackson, Larry Burshia, Charles “Chug” Knowlton, Tatum Evenson, Fred Bighorn, Robert Welch, Nancy Steele, Rick Kirn, Wayne Martell, Peter Dupree, and Mary Follette.
Judicial elections are also set for this year.
Current Associate Judge Mike Headdress is not running for re-election . Instead, he is running to be on the TEB.
Judge Lonnie Headdress and Judge Imogene Lilley filed for re-election as Tribal Court Judges.
James Bighorn, Terry Boyd Sr., and Melissa Buckles also filed for associate judge positions.