Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.
Tribal Councilwoman Patt Iron Cloud argues a point of order during full Tribal Executive Board meeting after it was recessed for a day by Chairman Floyd Azure.
0 0
Read Time:14 Minute, 9 Second

Tribal leaders arguing over a motion ended up dragging on a meeting into two days. 

During the March 27, 2023, full board meeting, a motion was read by councilman Alex Smith to amend the construction policy and leave bonds up to the decision of the director and to add ten percent retain-age fee. 

Councilwoman Patt Iron Cloud questioned where the motion came from and why was the amendment being proposed. A few council members groaned when she asked questions, and while she was speaking Chairman Floyd Azure recognized councilman Wayne Martell, who called for the question. 

Iron Cloud called for a point of order, saying she wasn’t done speaking. These motions need to be discussed before they are made otherwise they could get in trouble with the federal government. 

Over her objections, Chairman Azure took the vote from present council members. The final vote was five for, five opposed, with the Tribal Chairman breaking the tie for the measure.

After taking the vote a 10 minute recess was called.

When the meeting resumed, the Chairman recognized Councilwoman Iron Cloud, who called for a point of order. The motion is a “crooked motion” and it’s wrong for the Chairman to cut off any council member. In the middle of her address, Chairman Azure declared the meeting recessed until 9 a.m. the next day.

Councilman Terry Rattling Thunder said this was wrong, the TEB has the right to discuss these issues in a public meeting. Doing this is silencing their voices on the council, he said. 

After the meeting recessed, Sgt.-At-Arms Bruce Damon looked up the issue in Roberts Rules of Order. Once the motion has been passed, it cannot be brought back up again, he said. 

The next morning, the issue was addressed before the meeting started.

Tribal leaders Leonard Hamilton, left, Bruce Damon, Terry Rattling Thunder, Alex Smith, and Vice-Chairman Charles Headdress have an informal discussion after the meeting Monday, March 27, 2023 was recessed early by Chairman Floyd Azure.

Chairman Azure said he adjourned the meeting early to maintain some kind of order. He implied Damon was a coward afraid to take action. 

Councilwoman Iron Cloud said it was wrong to accuse Damon of being a coward. He was a warrior who survived the horrors of Iraq. As a leader and a warrior he deserves our respect, she said. 

The following are highlights from the two day board meeting starting Monday, March 27, 2023.


No Appointment

A resolution approving the hiring of Tom Brown Jr. as the Brockton School Board member was sent back to the Education Committee for further review. 

Tribal Human Resources Director Jackie Azure informed the Finance Committee the position on the school board was closed, and Brown was the only applicant. The biggest issue with this is he resides in Brockton but also serves on the Fort Peck Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. Rattling Thunder said Brown lives in Poplar, minutes state.

Ultimately the decision is up to the TEB, she said.



Tribal leaders approved of giving a $1,000 payment and a new star quilt in honor of the late Jackie Weeks.

The long time Tribal Operations Manager and Secretary Accountant passed away after a long battle with cancer. 

Weeks worked over 50 years for the Tribes. Her impact on tribal employees was obvious by the closure of the Tribes last Friday (March 24, 2023) for her funeral.

The motion states the payment and quilt go to Rita Weeks, Jackie Weeks sister.



Head Start’s plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among students and employees.

The motion to approve the Fort Peck Head Start Program’s COVID-19 Mitigation Plan and Protocols, according to federal safety practices.



The Home School Advocate position with the Tribal Education Department was changed.

According to the motion, the Home School Advocate position will be reclassified with a pay scale rate of Grade 11, Step One. 

In a separate motion from the Tribes Work Force Investment (477 Program),The Day Care Manager position was also reclassified from 11 to 12 at $28.22 per hour, or $58,697.60



The Fort Peck Tribal Enrollment Office brought in two resolutions for approval. 

Enrollment Department Director Twyla Red Eagle brought in the recommended changes to the Fort Peck Tribal Rolls from the Enrollment Committee.

After approving the recommendations, the TEB approved a motion to allow Red Eagle to reach out to In-House Legal Counsel Cher Steward regarding the enrollment laws.

Both were approved without questioning. 


Head Start

The Fort Peck Tribal Head Start brought in a resolution requesting the TEB for permission to buy three vehicles from the American Rescue Plan Act funds, totaling $110,462 and purchase skirting for the Poplar Head Start Center two for $13,200 from fiscal year 2023 funds, upon approval from the granting agency. 



Tribal leaders authorized the Chairman or Vice-Chairman to accept and sign any and all documentation that pertain to the US Treasury’s Community Capital Project Fund Grant Program with supporting applications and documents, thus furthering the selected 2.5 Ghz Initiative submitted and accepted by the IT Department to the Economic Development Committee. 


Retirement Gifts

After working for over 30 years in the Tribal Courts, former Public Defender Mary Lou Azure retired from her position. 

The Tribal Council voted to give Mary Lou Azure a retirement gift of a star quilt and $500. She is retiring after 31 years with the Tribal Courts. 



A request calling for the State of Montana to recognize the Tribes proposed hydrogen project so they can apply for a federal grant was tabled by the TEB.

The original request was for Tribal Economic Development Director Rodney Miller to request Montana Governor Greg Gianforte to draft and provide correspondence which conveys formal Fort Peck Tribal authorization to the State of Montana to include Cyan H2 LLC’s application for assistance into the Heartland Hydrogen Hub’s application for assistance to the US Department of Energy. 

There are still some unanswered questions with this motion and the council wanted to wait on approving this resolution until they could be answered. 


Lawyer bills

The council approved paying nearly $100,000 in legal bills. 

The bill for $97,422.70 is from the Sonosky Law Firm in Washington DC.



Tribal checks for COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer available.

A resolution approved by the TEB set the vaccination check deadline, offered as an incentive for tribal members to take the COVID-19 vaccine, at March 31, 2023.

However, there is still time to receive the Family Assistance payment offered by the Tribes. These checks were issued in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the harm it caused to employment and income. 


Head Start money

A budget amendment was approved that adds $3.5 million to $12 million already budgeted for all reservation Head Start facilities. 

Councilman Rattling Thunder pointed out Brockton’s Head Start facility is not included in this motion. 

Committee minutes state it’s mainly outer laying communities and aging school facilities as reason for the amendment. 



Former Tribal Court Judge Dana Runsabove was selected as the new director of the Tribes Indian Child Welfare Act office. 


Tribal Credit

The Tribal Credit Department was approved of opening a $50,000 five month CD with Independence Bank that will automatically renew.


Tribal Executive Board members Justin Gray Hawk, right, and Bryce Kirk listen to the discussion of the TEB while Tribal In-House Attorney Cher Stewart listens from the audience section.

In-House Attorney

Tribal In-House Attorney Cher Stewart has been having a hard time getting paid from the Tribes. 

Invoices for her work are not being honored by the Tribes, according to her contract, she said.

“My contract has been hijacked,” she said. “You need to honor your contracts, if you won’t honor it then we need to speak further,” 

Under her contract, the Tribes have paid a retainer of $30,000, which is to be replenished monthly, and the Tribes are a month late in paying her, according to committee minutes. 

Stewart works at the behest of the council and is there to do the many legal issues of the Tribes without having to go to Washington DC and meet with Sonosky on everything. 

The TEB voted to pay $25,943.35 to In-house attorney for February 2023.

In a later committee meeting, councilwoman Iron Cloud asked Chief Financial Officer Randy Redpath about the retainer paid to In-house attorney Stewart in the amount of $240,000. Redpath said the legal costs must be approved individually before the council, and the Tribes never paid a retainer before. Iron Cloud said it was paid every month. 


DC Attorneys

A payment of $27,970.70 was approved for an invoice from the Sonosky Law Firm in Washington DC. 



A payment of $16,166.92 was approved for the Indian Child Welfare Act bill.


Support Letter

Chelysa Owens Cyr

Chelysa Owens Cyr, a tribal member who won a national contest, was given a letter of support from the TEB for a national leadership award. 

Owens Cyr, 23, is in the running for the 2022 Unity’s under 25 Native Youth Leadership Award.

In 2022, Owens Cyr won the Creative Native grand prize and her artwork was featured nationally. 



Tribal leaders approved of a Public Service Announcement for Epoxy Stripping Wolf Point Division to be signed by the Chairman on behalf of the Tribal Transportation Program/Indian Reservation Roads.

The council also approved of the submission of a Montana Department of Transportation grant application for a multi-use path project in Poplar.

Finally, the council approved of a budget amendment for the Fort Peck Tribes TTP/IRR Program for $4,306,114.24. 



Tribal Transit was allowed to apply for funding 5311 and TRANSADE funding through the Montana Department of Transportation for the Fort Peck Transit Dial-a-Ride Program operating funds. Transit will be using 5311 rural area grant funds in the amount of $370,415 and the TransADE in the amount of $26,986 for a total of $397,401. Fund 5311 will be used for wages and TransADE to be used by Fort Peck Reservation ADA and wages.

Transit will be sub-recipient of these funds and will be obligated to those who manage those funds. 



Charles DeCoteau and Sharon Red Thunder.was approved for an enrolled-member new home-site leases.

Enrolled member renewals were approved for the Fort Peck Tribes Farm and Ranch Manager Raymond Hamilton. 

John D. Anderson was approved for an enrolled member lease renewal. 

Fort Peck Tribal Farm and Ranch Manager Raymond Hamilton was approved for an enrolled member renewal.

A lease was approved for Robin Jetta for 380 acres.

The council approved purchasing the Bridge Farm after receiving information about these acres from Myrna Walking Eagle, of Tribal Minerals. This was appraised, and determined to be worth $1,220,000.

With this purchase, it adds another 660 acres to the growing land base courtesy of the Land Buy Back Program. 



The TEB approved of a Construction Manager Position classified at Grade 12, with a salary schedule of $35.53 of $73,902.40 per annum.

Other positions approved include a Civil Engineering Technician position and a financial management specialist position both with classification at Grade 12, Step one, salary at $25.09 per hour or $52,187.20 per annum.



The TEB approved three regular/kinship licenses and one regular/emergency license for foster care placement. 



The position of Program Assistance and Data Entry Operator position to a grade six with the incumbent salary of $15.32 per hour.

Minutes state this is with the Tribes Community Services Program. 



The policy regarding smoke in the Cultural Centers was amended to allow smudging, an indigenous cultural practice, provide facilities for wake, funerals, cultural events, recreation, social and education events.



By recommendation of Tribal Enterprise Director Mitch Youngman, the council approved of upgrading a job position from assistant plumber to plumber. 

The original custodian position advertised by the Tribes Human Resources Department has been updated.



Health Promotion Disease Prevention was authorized to schedule site visits and provide reimbursement for site visitors.



A contract with Dr. Roman Hendrickson was approved and will be effective from February 1, 2023, through October 21, 2024.

Dr. Hendrickson is the Chief Medical Officer for the HPDP Program. According to Ruby Valley Medical Center in Sheridan, Mont., he treats primarily viral infections, bronchitis, and asthma. 



Tribal Health was approved for using the Informed Consent Form to be used for BINAXNOW testing and the test will be recognized by the Tribes for emergency sick leave.

Minutes state Tribal Health Director Dennis Four Bear distributed reports for February 2023 from the CHR program, which provides rides to and from health care in other locations. Out of town transports include seven for Billings, four for Glasgow, 38 for Williston, ND, one for Great Falls. Local transports made up 565 rides that includes people from Frazer, Wolf Point, Poplar, Riverside, Brockton and Fort Kipp. 

Dialysis transports by CHR’s have seven patients getting a ride three times a week to the the Tribes Dialysis Center. 

Animal Control also submitted a report for February 2023. Poplar had three dogs captured, while the rest of the towns had none. Animals taken to the landfill (ie taken to the dumps and shot dead) include 20 animals from Poplar, 

Complaints and calls they responded to include 15 in Poplar, 15 in Wolf Point, five in Frazer, three in Brockton, and none in Oswego or Fort Kipp. 

A total of 15 animal bites were reported and investigated. 


Red Bird Woman Center

Several positions within the Red Bird Woman Center have been reclassified and updated by the Human Resources Department. 

According to the motion passed, the financial director was upgraded to grade 14, step two at $35.57; a lead trauma informed advocate at grade 10, step four at $23.39; office support staff billing specialist to grade eight step two at $17.48; and project manager/elder advocate at grade 12, step one at $25.09 with funding approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 



A motion was passed to have the Sonosky law form and other legal services to assist in the development of the Tribes contract documents and/or the negotiations of funds relating to the Indian Health Service Fort Peck Service Unit Dental Program and Public Health Nursing Program. 

According to minutes, the Tribes are to take over these programs on October 1, 2023 for Fiscal Year 2004. 


Self Banishment

Now, nobody can use “self-banishment” as a way to get out of going to court or trying to evade charges.

The council approved removing the self-banishment part of the Tribal Comprehensive Code of Justice. It’s rarely, if ever, used.


Fort Peck Inc.

A seventh board member was added to the articles of incorporation and bylaws for the Fort Peck Inc., with the Tribal Chairman to serve as the incorporator to file the amended articles and bylaws of Fort Peck Inc.

Also, the TEB reaffirms the Fort Peck Inc. board of director appointment of Alexander Smith Lawrence Hamilton, Stacey Summers, Elmer DeCoteau, Natasha Garfield, Val Moran, and calls for the Human Resource Director to advertise for the seventh director in accordance with the qualifications described in the amended articles of incorporation and bylaws. 



The TEB approved of making Betty Bear from temporary to permanent employee at the Adult Tribal Jail. She works there as a corrections officer. 


Enrollment Clerk

The position of Enrollment Clerk, better known as the Tribal ID card office, has been reclassified to an enrollment specialist with the above specified grade and pay effective March 10, 2023. Enrollment Specialist Grade 10, $20.02 per hour, $43,721.60.



The TEB approved the cross deputization for William Charboneau of the Wolf Point Police Department. 


Finish Carpenters

Tom Weeks went to the committee to report his crew is working very well and he wanted to develop some new positions; Finish Carpenters.

The TEB approved the development of the position finish carpenter. Weeks said there was enough money in the budget to create these jobs, minutes state.


Past Due

Cellular phones for jail employees that are past due from 2022 are going to be paid using Fiscal Year 2023 budget funds for previous years past due from Verizon invoices totaling $940.29. Nemont invoice is included for $2,404.91


About Post Author

Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com
0 0 %
0 0 %
0 0 %
0 0 %
0 0 %
0 0 %

By Louis H. Montclair

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

Related Post

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Leave a ReplyCancel reply