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The Tribal Executive Board tabled a motion to request a new Chief Executive Officer of the Fort Peck Indian Health Service.

Instead, the council decided to solve this problem at the source

The motion was to approve the request among the council to send a letter to IHS asking for the transfer of the current Fort Peck IHS CEO Marjorie Spotted Bird to another due to “her lack of communication and lack of willingness to work with Tribal Health and the Fort Peck Tribes.”

Tribal Councilwoman Carolyn Brugh said this CEO has been uncooperative with sharing information and directly communicating with Tribal Health employees. Even though they are in the same building, IHS keeps tribal workers and patients locked out of direct communication with administration, figuratively and literally. Nobody can go directly to her office and calling Spotted Bird requires going through an operator, she said. 

Councilwoman Patt Iron Cloud reminded the council that Spotted Bird is a federal employee and obligated to follow IHS rules and regulations, which could be hindering communication indirectly.

This happened to Tribal Health Director Dennis Fourbear when he was temporarily appointed as Service Unit Director. While there, he was so tied up with regulations it was one of the reasons he was anxious to resign when another CEO could replace him.

“IHS has too many knots to keep untying,” Iron Cloud said.

Councilman Bryce Kirk, left, chats with councilwoman Stacey Summers during the first and only break at the February 27, 2023 full board meeting.

Fourbear was appointed to IHS during the pandemic and he would find ways to relay vital information on COVID-19 to Tribal Leaders on a regular basis. Fourbear would work with the Tribes on getting important statistical information on tracking the disease. He would go the extra mile to keep the council informed on the number of confirmed infections, vaccines administered, and issues arising with misinformation, Brugh said.     

But when Spotted Bird became the new CEO, that information stopped. The IHS began keeping patients outside and forcing them to wait for test results in the cold, she said. 

In addition, she has been putting up roadblocks to hinder the Tribes in taking over the dental as a 638 program, Brugh said.

Besides that, when Fourbear was CEO he was easy to reach and did not hide behind locked doors. Now, all of the lead decision makers are in their offices that are electronically locked away from the rest of the clinic. They don’t even take phone calls, all phone traffic has to go through the operator at the front desk, she said. 

Councilwoman Marva Chapman said the problem might not be with the director, it’s the leadership of IHS from the regional and national levels.

Councilman Dana Buckles said there was a meeting at IHS recently and the director of the Billings Area Office met with local IHS officials and didn’t bother to stop by the Tribal Council Chambers or even notify anyone about the visit. 

Councilwoman Iron Cloud said replacing the director may not do anything because they would still be bound by the same rules of IHS. If they want to do something, they need to take it to the higher ups in IHS. 

Chairman Floyd Azure said in the past he would just call the directors on the phone and they would set up the meeting. It’s not hard, and the TEB can easily do this, he said. 

Councilwoman Brugh said if this is tabled, then there needs to be some kind of work actually done to take care of this issue. Far too often, things are tabled and they are never addressed again. 

With that, the motion was tabled. 

The following are highlights from the February 27, 2023 full board meeting.



Tom Weeks, from the Tribes American Rescue Plan Act office, said he met with Sheila Spotted Bull of Community Services and she said they need new vehicles.

Fort Peck Housing Authority has 15 vehicles, and to transfer them FPHA needs a resolution from the Tribal Council, once housing has their new vehicles. 

The final vote was 12-0 to approve transferring the vehicles from FPHA to the Fort Peck Tribes.


Tribal Credit

An employee was approved of a loan waiver.

Tribal Credit Director Ashley Porras said the program was closed for a week and doing only emergency loans or long term loans, committee minutes state.



Tribal Office of Environmental Program worker Rodney Drum was approved for a temporary 30 day work extension. 



The Tribes agreed to purchase 40 acres of a surface only allotment next to another similar sized section of land the Tribes already own. 

Another allotment was purchased by the Tribes, surface only, an undivided one-sixteenth an interest.

The council declared interest and requested an appraisal of Theresa Stovern’s land, a total of 227.04 acres. Of this, 147.898 acres are pasture land, 102.175 acres of farm land, and 26.967 irrigated farm acres. 

Lanny and Kris Treasure were approved for a non-enrolled member lease renewal. 

The Fort Peck Tribal Farm and Ranch – Raymond S. Hamilton was approved for an enrolled member renewal new lease for 40 acres at $12 an acre.

Nels Holdeman was approved for a non-enrolled member renewal lease for 30 acres of farmland at the rental offer of $22 and 10 acres of pasture land at a rental offer of $6. 

A non-enrolled member renewal lease for Jerome Taflan was approved for 36 acres of farm land at the rental offer of $18, and four acres of pasture land at the rental offer of $6, documents state. 

For the purpose of temporary tax exemptions provided by Montana law, a list of fee-to-trust acquisitions were certified by the council, pending review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Darlyn Grainger and Gary Grainger were approved for an enrolled member lease renewal.

Tribal Buffalo Ranch Manager Robbie Magnan was approved for an enrolled member’s new lease for the ranch.

Non-enrolled member lease renewals were approved for Jay and Ralph Ferdina, and Reid Ranch – care of Wilbur Reid. 

Sue Bauer was approved for a lease extension. 



A set of criteria for using medical equipment was approved by the TEB.

Patients of all ages with various medical needs often require a doctor’s prescription for medical equipment supplies. These include wheelchairs, folding walkers, four wheel walkers with a seat, a shower chair, transfer bench, cane, toilet riser, commode, knee scooted, hospital bed and blood pressure monitor. 

To use the Durable Medical Equipment, the person must be a tribal member, have a prescription from any health care facility, 65-years-old or older, an amputee or dialysis patient for the Tribal Health Department and authorize the Chairman/Vice Chairman to sign any necessary documents. 


Master Plan

All tribal programs that are involved in health care are not required to meet on a monthly basis with Tribal Health Director Fourbear. These include Health Promotion Disease Prevention, Juvenile Detention Center, and Spotted Bull Recovery Resource Center. 



To feed attendees at a Wellbriety Symposium, the council approved donating two buffalo to Spotted Bull Recovery Resource Center.



Tribal leaders approved a new contract with Suzanne Boyd for consulting services with the Spotted Bull Recovery Resource Center in the amount of $25,000, effective immediately ending September 30, 2023. 

A new contract was approved with Our Home Inc., FY23 for consulting services with SBRRC for $200,000, effective immediately until September 2023.



A request to pay a bill for HPDP was approved.

A payment was made to Provo Canyon Behavioral Health Facility for $63,200 for treatment of three patients. 

Another payment for HPDP was approved for $5,300 to Ahana Pediatrics Inc., due to the merger between Ahana and Vyne Medical for the HPDP program. 



Tribal Cultural Resources membership in a monument collection advisory committee was approved by the TEB.

The invitation, brought in by Cultural Resources Program Director Dyan Youpee, invites Fort Peck to be on the Pipestone National Monument Museum Collections Advisory Committee. 


About Post Author

Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com
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By Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com

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