Fight For Justice

On the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Reservation

March 1997

Read from the bottom up.

Click here to see Judge Thorne's Order to hold an run-off election for Chief Judge, which of course the council didn't follow.

Click Here to see a copy of the court record on Fred Datoka's Attorney Mark Steven. He plead guilty to conspiring to place explosives with the intent to destroy property and the actual placing of explosives.

March 27, 1997

The following letter is in regards to a letter that Joseph O'leary wrote to the L'Anse Sentinel. In this letter O'Leary wrote:

The local media has recently been filled with hysterical attacks upon Chief Judge Bradley Dakota of the KBIC tribal court. These attacks come from attorneys for the group FFJ and involve the resent enacted standards for practice in tribal court... All this ado about nothing brings to mind the image of crows crawing and pecking away at a mighty eagle who has landed in their midst....Bradley Dakota is one of the finest human beings I have ever known...Brad Dakota has always maintained the highest level of integrity and honesty in both his personal and professional life....Mean-spirited attacks on Brad by FFJ attorneys, were heard and rejected by Judge William Thorne ... who presided over a lawsuit against Brad and issued an opinion which FFJ attorneys misapply and misinterpret...They seem to forgotten that Judge Thorne granted summary Judgement in Brad favor. I am not surprised by their amnesia....

(personal note: To compare Brad to an eagle is an affront to eagles. Eagles would rather be crows if Brad is an eagle.

A letter to the Editor from FFJ Spokesperson, Jerry Lee Curtis

In a recent letter to the editor, Joseph O'Leary argued falsely that Tribal Judge Bradley Dakota (who lacks any law degree) soundly defeated Fight For Justice's best lawyer. He also accuses FFJ's lawyers of misrepresenting the the case and of suffering from amnesia. However, it is Mr. O'Leary who misrepresents that decision and who suffers from amnesia.

The current Tribal dispute began when Fred Dakota and the Tribal Council arbitrarily threw out an election that the Dakota faction lost. The Dakota faction then stripped the right to vote from 202 people. Bradley Dakota tied with Nancy Jondreau Edwards in the Judgeship election. Plainly, the tie vote and the disenfranchisement of 40% of the electorate called for judicial intervention. Predictably, suit was filed. Since Bradley Dakota could not decide a case in which he was a party and had an interest, the Tribal Government invited a respected Indian Judge William Thorne to resolve the dispute. At the time, Fred Dakota, who is Bradley Dakota's father, stated publicly that the government would abide by Judge Thorne's ruling. At this point, people still thought that justice could be had through the tribal court system.

Judge Thorne never got to issue a final ruling. The government discharged him after a preliminary ruling in which he held "A new election must be held within 30 days. In that special election the candidates and the electors shall be taken from the same list as was effective for the 1994 election." In short, the people that Fred Dakota and his Council had stripped of the right to vote would be able to vote in the controversial and hotly contested election. This election was never held. Bradley Dakota, Fred Dakota and the Tribal Council, notwithstanding their promise to abide by Judge Thorne's ruling simply refused. The disenfranchised voters never got to vote. And the people of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community were deprived of the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.

If Fred and Brad Dakota thought that they had won they would have complied with Judge Thorne's decision. And they certainly would not have sent Judge Thorne home without allowing him to complete the case. Moreover, the Dakota factions' deeds should trouble all responsible citizens who prize democracy and the rule of law. By refusing to abide by the Court's order they exercised raw power. Under the guise of sovereignty they simply stonewalled their stunning loss in the courts. Now O'Leary seeks to revise history. He seeks to turn this decisive loss into a victory.

The significance of O'Leary's misrepresentation should not be overlooked.

Fight For Justice came together to fight a clear injustice - the arbitrary and unconstitutional disenfranchisement of a large part of the electorate. We exhausted every lawful means including the Tribal Court system. Only when the government proved itself lawless - like Mexico or Albania - did the people begin the present protest. We now suffer under the persecution of an illegitimate Tribal Court headed by Bradley Dakota.

March 27, 1997

In a letter To the Editor from KBIC member Cynthia Loonsfoot.

Fred Dakota and his faction are complaining that Judge Bell's decision to move Dakota's bribery and tax evasion trial to Grand Rapids is somehow unfair. A few things should be kept in mind.

First. Dakota and his faction are the authors of their own misery. All accounts of the morning of trial show that Fight For Justice protesters stayed away from the Federal Courthouse and allowed jurors to attend unobstructed. As Assistant U.S. Attorney Judd Spray stated to the Court, the American Indian Movement and Fight For Justice protesters didn't come on the scene until after the jury pool was inside the courthouse. However, Dakota or his government caused a community action bus to carry his supporters to Marquette to protest the trial with large red signs reading "Free Fred." Thus, Dakota and his public relations machinery are alone responsible for the protests that caused the Judge to become concerned about the situation. Mr. Dakota can only blame himself for the change of venue. Moreover, the government is also entitled to a fair trial and Fred Dakota's attempts to insure an unfair trial have, quite simply backfired.

Second. The Tribal Council would have the community believe that this is a simple tax evasion trial. The 22 March 1996 Detroit Free Press has reported that the kickbacks that underlie this unreported income came from IGM which "had ties to the Genovese and Gambino organized crime family in New York." Most yoopers pay their taxes. And even those few that do not are not allegedly taking monies linked to New York mob families.

25 March 1997

Excerpts from The Daily Mining Gazette.


The federal trial of Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Chairman Fred Dakota on tax-evasion charges was set to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in Marquette, but a last-minute pretrial conference postponed and moved it.

It also put the 59 year-old Dakota's tax evasion charges back together with other federal counts of conspiracy....Before jury selection got under way Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Judd Spray requested a change of venue in the case, saying he feared jurors might be influenced by demonstrators outside the courtroom building.

Spray noted several "Free Fred" signs displayed on a green KBIC bus by about 21 people in a parking lot at the front of the courthouse. He said signs were in place by 8 a.m., when the jury pool arrived. He noted American Indian Movement and Fight For Justice protesters didn't come on the scene until after the jury pool was inside the courthouse.

U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell agreed to move the trial, scheduling proceedings to begin in the federal courthouse in Grand Rapids on Monday, June 9....He said the Marquette County Courthouse simply cannot be conveniently accessed by jurors to ensure they are not met by a barrage of pro- or anti-Dakota propaganda. The potential for jury contamination outweighs any detriments to moving the trial, he said...

March 25, 1997

A Letter to the Editor from FFJ Attorney, Alan W. Clarke, J.D., LL.M.

On the front page of the March 25, 1997 Mining Journal, Fred Dakota and his attorney are pictured headed for court "prior to jury selection." That picture shows nine people each holding a sign reading "Free Fred." There is also a sign in the photograph which reads "Do not Enter," but it does not appear as if that sign is being held aloft by one of Fred Dakota's supporters. I see no other signs in the picture and, specifically, there are no signs depicting any message opposing or denouncing Mr. Dakota.

On page 4A your editorial states that protesters have taken up residence on the sidewalk outside the Federal Building. You go on to state that many "carried placards denouncing Dakota." The implication is that the anti-Dakota protestors caused the change of venue to Grand Rapids.

Once again, The Mining Journal shows it's flawed and biased reporting. It is clear from the front page picture and from accounts of those who were on the scene that Fight For Justice members heeded the advice of their attorneys and stayed away from the opening of the trial. Moreover, as the Mining Gazette accurately reported, Assistant U.S. Attorney Judd Spray "noted American Indian Movement and Fight For Justice protesters didn't come on the scene until after the jury pool was inside the courthouse." Thus, FFJ and AIM did not cause the change in venue. On the contrary, Dakota is the victim of his own public relations machinery which dictated that a bus should be driven to Marquette and that protesters should be provided with red and white signs reading "Free Fred" and that the Court should be packed with Dakota supporters also wearing the color red.

Mr. Dakota has no one to blame but himself for the change in venue of his trial. The Mining Journal failed to note that the Government is also entitled to a fair trial and Fred Dakota's attempts to insure an unfair trial have, quite simply, backfired.

25 March 1997

The trial of federally indicted KBIC tribal chair Fred Dakota was recently moved from Marquette to Grand Rapids Michigan. Excerpts from a 25 March 1997 article are reprinted below, with permission from The Daily Mining Gazette.

The KBIC Tribal Council also recently set aside $500,000 for what it refers to as a "sovereignty" fund. According to KBIC's highly paid public relations representative, Rich Rossway, this money will be used to pay the picketers it has hired to demonstrate in front of the Marquette County Courthouse, protesting the change of venue. He indicated that it will also be used to pay for Dakota's legal expenses, which currently total around $130,000. (The Marquette Mining Journal, 1 April 1997)

Finally, pro-bono attorneys for Fight For Justice plan to seek federal habeas corpus for FFJ member Robert Curtis Sr. for the violation of his right to counsel under the Indian Civil Rights Act, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. National Lawyers' Guild President Peter Erlinder has also criticized KBIC's newly enacted bar regulations.

March 24, 1997

Today was the first day of Fred trial. The judge order that the trial will now be held in Grand Rapids on June 27, 1997. This decision was made after Fred's supporters picketed the court house in front of the jury. The Judge felt that it would be better to move the trial to a place where the jury would not have to pass through the picketers. Fred has been crying to papers that it is an attack against him and he feel it is unfair to move the trial.

March 17, 1997

KBIC Tribal Prosecuter Gregor MacGregor has dropped charges against Fr. John Hascall.

March 10, 1997

Honorable Douglas B. Gurski
Tribal Court
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
P.O. Box 320
Baraga, MI 49908

Re: People v. Curtis.

Dear Judge Gurski,

I have appeared on behalf of Bob Curtis. Mark Wisti, who has not yet appeared has agreed to assist me in this case and by his signature hereto states that he is prepared to appear in this case. However, neither of us will appear or take any action whatsoever before the Court if Resolution #KB-573-97 regarding rules concerning the admission of lawyers and lay advocates is in anyway applicable. We specifically refuse to be bound by that ordinance for the reasons set forth on the attached letter which we incorporate by reference. This Resolution constitutes an attempt by the Court to intimidate all counsel, and is a functional deprivation of counsel in violation of U.S. and International norms.

Please advise us immediately if this ordinance or resolution will be in effect in any degree so that we can immediately seek federal habeas corpus for Bob Curtis for the violation of his right to counsel under the Indian Civil Rights Act as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which the United States is a signatory.

Sincerely Yours,

Mark Wisi
Alan W. Clarke

March 9, 1997

A Letter from FFJ Attorney Alan Clarke

The new Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Court regulations concerning admission to the Tribal Bar are fundamentally unjust and are a misguided attempt to chill vigorous advocacy and to end legal representation in politically sensitive cases. In particular they constitute an attempt to deprive Fight For Justice of legal representation in Tribal Court. No lawyer with integrity would subject him or herself to the standardless discretion of a discredited and corrupt court system. Therefore, Fight For Justice, and all others in need of legal representation, will now be stripped of counsel in Tribal Court. This letter addresses the reasons for this.

1. This resolution is completely without standards. Unlike state rules governing a lawyer's conduct, this resolution leaves the question of what constitutes misconduct or neglect completely up to Chief Judge Bradley Dakota. It provides no code of professional conduct and no criteria whatsoever for determining when or how one may have violated its terms. Whatever Judge Dakota (who has never been to any law school and who is not a member of any bar) deems to be misconduct will be misconduct. It is the rule of one man rather than of laws. This violates fundamental tenets of law.

"[T]he notion that persons have a right to fair warning of that conduct which will give rise to criminal penalties" is deeply embedded in any civilized society's concept of liberty. Marks v. United States, 430 U.S. 188, 191 (1977). No less authority than Blackstone comments invidiously upon the example of Caligula "who... wrote his laws in a very small character, and hung them up upon high pillars, the more effectually to ensnare the people." 1 Blackstone's Commentaries 46 (Tucker ed. 1802). Fair notice of that which is proscribed cannot be had in a regime that provides no standards whatsoever in determining when conduct is prohibited. The new tribal resolution fails this simple and fundamental test of fairness. At least Caligula wrote his laws in small letters. At KBIC the law of professional conduct is whatever Bradley Dakota, after the fact, says it is.

2. The resolution purports to apply "at all times." Thus, the advocate is covered both in court and out of court. If a member of Mr. Dakota's bar were to strongly criticize the court - to the press for example - Chief Judge Dakota could, under this resolution find them in contempt and fine - or even disbar them. This is entirely different from any other state or the Federal system where out-of- court criticism of the court is protected as free speech and could not ordinarily be subject to discipline. And lest one think well, so what, how could they enforce it - note that the terms of the resolution require the lawyer to submit to the court's jurisdiction for all purposes. So if Judge Dakota determines that an advocate is in contempt, that advocate is for all practical purposes, in contempt, no matter how innocent of wrongdoing he or she would have been in any other court system. The advocate will have submitted him or herself to the Court's jurisdiction. And there would be no appeal except to the Tribal Council headed by Judge Dakota's father federally indicted Fred Dakota.

3. Unlike any other court system the entire authority under this resolution lies with one person. If one arguably commits an act of misconduct in most other court systems, the Judge has only contempt powers (subject to legitimate appellate rights to higher courts). The Judge has no authority to suspend a person's license or to disbar them. The Judge would have to send the case to an independent grievance commission which would provide the accused lawyer with the full panoply of due process rights. No such protections are evident in Judge Dakota's system. He will be the accuser, Judge, and executioner all in one. . . with no effective appeal. Thus, even if this flawed resolution were to be revised to contain standards, it would still fall far short of providing due process to any lawyer accused of wrongdoing.

4. In addition to providing for fines, costs, suspensions, and disbarment, this resolution also provides that Judge Dakota may "order restitution to anyone injured as the result of the violation." We have already demonstrated that there is no way to know in advance what a "violation" might be. If Judge Dakota doesn't like it, it is a violation. But it is worse yet. What could an injury be? If a lawyer were to make critical remarks about federally indicted Fred Dakota, the Judge's father, would his feeling be hurt? If so, that would be an injury for which the Judge could order restitution. Since there are no standards, and no effective appeal to another court of any kind, and since one would have acceded to the Tribal Court's jurisdiction, such a preposterous ruling would nonetheless be enforceable. A lawyer could be bankrupted by Judge Dakota's whim.

5. The resolution provides that "anyone who knows of a violation of these rules by a . . . lawyer may file a written complaint with the Chief Judge." No hearing of any kind is provided for. The accused does not even have a right to a hearing before Judge Dakota. So one could be tried and convicted on the hearsay complaint of some interloper without any hearing before anyone and without any opportunity to respond and without any effective appeal.

6. This resolution provides that a lawyer's fitness to practice law will be determined by Chief Judge Bradley Dakota, who lacks even a law degree much less a bar license. Without any standards to guide him and without any formal legal education this man will decide what constitutes acceptable advocacy.

7. One cannot escape the conclusion that this resolution is politically motivated. By far the most cases involving counsel in Tribal Court over the last 18 months have involved the cases in which Fight For Justice's entirely pro bono attorneys have battled to try to establish some minimal due process for this politically persecuted group. The Court is undoubtedly unhappy about having its ethical lapses exposed publicly. When a Tribal Judge sat on a case in which his own father had an interest, FFJ's lawyers exposed it. When another Tribal Judge ruled that FFJ could not have evidentiary hearings in support of its motions, FFJ's attorneys pointed out that this violated rules of fundamental fairness - that any court in the land would allow a criminal defendant to support their claims with evidence. FFJ's lawyers have been the sole legal voice to many Tribal members and they have provided vigorous advocacy free of charge. Now the Tribe seeks to chill that advocacy by establishing bar admission rules that will exclude all lawyers with integrity. Simply put, Bradley Dakota does not want any effective and vigorous lawyers challenging his father's regime. He seeks to quell criticism through the subterfuge of promulgating bar admission rules. The fraud and hypocrisy in this are blatant, pronounced and deeply disturbing.

Lawyers, of all people must suport justice. We ask you not to support this unfair Tribal Resolution.

FFJ Press Release

March 7, 1997

The resolution is an unprecedented spineless attempt to assist the council in their continued bid to control the people of the KBIC and a most feeble effort to save face for their legal team.

KBIC spokesman Rich Rossway claims there is "an inadequate understanding of tribal law" and that there have been "incidents" that interfere with the administration of justice. We know where the interference comes from; and the inadequacy concern, what law degree, if any, does the Chief Judge possess?

If the Tribal Council, Mr. Rossway, and Chief Judge Brad Dakota are so inclined to re-establish a level of respect and integrity for the tribal court system, why don't they start, as a sign of good faith and testament to their concerns, with an investigation of Tribal Chairman Fred Dakota for possible Tribal Code violations in relation to the federal indictments.

A prime example of blatant interference with the administration of justice is the confidential memo dated April 16, 1996 to the Tribal Council from Tribal Attorney Joseph P. O'Leary. O'Leary states, ". . . Fred Dakota's alleged wrong doing . . . should also be specifically investigated to determine whether charges should be brought against Fred. I truly believe that the best interests of the Tribe will be served by these actions since it will remove any appearance of impropriety from the criminal proceedings surrounding the takeover."

Shortly after this charade of concern, O'Leary, as stated in his memo, conveniently recused himself "from any and all criminal proceedings . . . ." The council and the Tribal Prosecutor's office knew of the alleged improprieties of their chairman months before the federal indictments came down, but was anything done about it. NO! If the present Tribal Prosecutor has any integrity or backbone, he will start an investigation. If not, there lies the answer of where the actual "interference with the administration of justice" lies and the real reasons for the resolution.

March 6, 1997

A letter from FFJ Attorney Mark Wisti.

As a pro bono attorney for the group, Fight For Justice, I feel compelled to publicly write to the newspapers in regard to the latest insidious Resolution of the Keweenaw Bay Tribal Council.

The Tribal council has recently passed Section 1.207, which purportedly will regulate the practice of law before the Tribal Court. Section 1.207 is nothing but a vicious and cowardly action of the tribal council, which as a practical matter will serve not only to deprive Fight For Justice of its pro bono legal team, but will end the rights of all members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community to legal representation on any matter in the Tribal Court. No attorney in his or her right mind would agree to be bound by the provisions of Section 1.207.

It is well established in our legal system that the court has the right to issue contempt sanctions against attorneys. However, it is recognized in our legal system that contempt sanctions are to used only in extreme cases. While an attorney is always under an obligation to use proper decorum in dealing with the court many situations arise where a vigorous advocate must risk offending the court in order to adequately represent his or her client. No fine line can be drawn as to when vigorous advocacy crosses over into contempt and there are many safeguards for attorneys in State and Federal Courts in regards to the power of the court to hold them in contempt. Ultimately, an attorney would have the right to an appellate review in regards to a judges decision to hold him or her in contempt. There is no unilateral right in the Michigan or the Federal Courts for the court to impose contempt sanctions upon an attorney without the opportunity for appellate review.

The Resolution enacted by the Tribal Court provides as follows:

Upon a finding that any lay advocate or lawyer has violated any of the aforementioned rules, or no longer meets the qualification in 1.207 the Chief Judge may;

A. Revoke the advocate or lawyers admission to practice in Tribal Court.

B. Suspend admission for any length of time;

C. Reprimand any lay advocate or lawyer;

D. Assess fines and costs against the lay advocate or lawyer;

E. Order restitution to anyone injured as the result of the violation.

This section gives the Tribal Court unbridled discretion to not only fine a lawyer any amount of money, but to order restitution without hearing, to anyone injured as a result of the violation. This kind of restriction upon the right of an attorney to vigorously advocate for a client is unheard of in any court of the United States. This Resolution would theoretically allow the judge to order an attorney to pay a million dollars to anyone injured - whatever this means - by the lawyers conduct. No right to a hearing is provided by this statute and no right to appeal is provided by this statute. The statute allows the Tribal Judge - who has clearly acted as an advocate of the powers that be in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community - unbridled discretion to continue the political repression which has existed for approximately two years at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. What is particularly disturbing in a democratic society is that this Resolution ends the right of any individual of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community to have independent legal representation in the Tribal Court. The only attorneys who will practice in the Tribal Court will be flunkies of the Dakota regime.

What is most perplexing to me is to why the law firm of Kendricks Bordeau Adamini Keefe Smith Girard & Seavoy, P.C., heretofore, one of the most respected law firms in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, would stop so low as to associate themselves with this type of blatant repression. I do not know if Gregor MacGregor does not want to have any opponents anymore in Tribal court, but as a result if the Resolution he will now have the ability to go against unrepresented people in any type of proceeding in the Tribal court. I publicly call upon the law firm of Kendricks Bordeau Adamini Keefe Smith Girard & Seavoy, P.C. to disassociate themselves from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, in their continued representation of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is akin to representing a third world dictatorship. But, some people will do anything for money.

While this may not seem to affect may non-Indians members of the community, I am reminded of a quote I heard regarding Nazi Germany.

When they came for the gypsies, I didnt care, because I was not gypsy.
When they came for the Jews, I didnt care, because I was not a Jew.
When they came for the Christians, I didnt care, because I was not a Christian.
Now they are coming for me.

It is time for the people of the Keweenaw Bay Indian community to wake up and see exactly what their government is doing.

March 6, 1997

From a letter written by Attorney Steven Pence on the resolution passed by the KBIC council.

How can they claim that they are only developing standards to ensure good advocacy when the tribal judge they employ is a police officer with no training as an attorney? How can they expect the public to believe that their motives are not related to repression, when this controversy boiled over only after the council ignored the ruling of its judge, Judge Thorne, when he ruled that the nullification of the tribal election was wrong?

You obviously will do what you will with this latest development, but in all fairness, isn't it time for an Editorial about peacemaking, about a belated arrest warrant being issued against a priest, about illegal searches of church property and, now, an attempt to silence the pro bono lawyers who have provided the only hope for disenfranchised tribal members?

Where do people go when they feel they have no access to justice?

March 6, 1997

A letter from Mary Kauppila, KBIC Member

Either Control or Destroy

These must be desperate times for the the Keweenaw Bay Tribal council. Declaring the revolution over because they demolished the Tribal Center building was a bit like Nixon declaring "peace with honor" to end the Vietnam War.

It really was a beautiful structure that had many useful, productive years left in it. They could have left the building standing. FFJ even offered to buy it back when the tribal council abandoned it in October, 1995, but they refused.

All that's left is rubble - which seems a fitting tribute to the people who currently control the future and resources of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Anything that they cannot control, they will destroy.

In December, 1994, they lost the election. They couldn't control the choice of the people in a fair and honest election. Rather than accept humiliating defeat, they chose to steal the identity and birthright of nearly 60 percent of legitimately enrolled tribal members. The people excised included their very own spouses, children and grandchildren. It didn't matter who was affected, as long as control was maintained.

Each succeeding election became more oppressive and restrained. Voters turned away by armed police. Every move and action video taped as evidence for some future purpose.

Amazingly, against all odds, the election of 1995 put Gary Loonsfoot on the tribal council - a man whose sole purpose was to restore tribal harmony. He quickly became a one-man chorus. He spoke his mind and refused to become a toady like the others. Noble opposition in the face of overwhelming odds. No wonder the "Committee of Five" refused to identify themselves. How could they look you in the eyes and accuse you of such heinous deeds like watching out for the best interests of your people? Anything that they cannot possess and control, they attempt to destroy. Hang in there Gary, your deeds are righteous and your path just.

FFJ supporters were fired, laid off, or had their jobs eliminated because of their political belief. Their lives were devastated, but when the choice had to be made between blood and a pay-check, they chose their families and friends.

The result of opposing the powers-that-be was not lost on those still working for the tribe. Be careful who you talk to and what you say. You never know who was listening and recording your actions. You, too, could end up like the people on the hill if you weren't careful. The message was chillingly clear: anything that they cannot possess and control, they aim to destroy.

Joe Doe warrants were issued enmasse. You may have only been standing around to see what was happening. And the next thing you know, whether you were filling up your gas tank or buying groceries, you're surrounded by police and hauled off to jail. You were one of Baraga County's Most Wanted and you didn't even know it.

All those arrests. All that bail money. All those trips back and forth from the jails. You might have thought all those people were accused of taking kickbacks or evading taxes the way they were treated.

I wonder what the future holds for us? My guess is the tribe council isn't finished with this tribe yet. If past actions are any indication of the future, anything that they cannot possess and control, they will destroy.

Why would they borrow millions of dollars to set up a retirement scheme when a retirement plan was created decades ago? Aren't the casinos still making money? How can the tribe be so broke? Is it because they individually anticipate a bleak future and are getting their "golden parachutes" ready to bail out when the tribe crashes and burns?

Tribal council: What are you doing behind the walls of silence?

March 5, 1997

The latest attack aimed at FFJ by the tribal council

Before attorneys can appear in tribal court they first must be approved by Brad Dakota, the acting Chief Tribal Judge.

The tribal council passed a new resolution the other day, they are now requiring that all attorneys and advocates be approved by the Chief Judge before appearing in tribal court. This new resolution, they tell us, is to establish a level of expectation for any advocate or attorney regarding their understanding of tribal law.

This would be a good idea, if the person approving the advocate or attorneys was someone other than an x-construction worker. But the real reason I feel they passed this new resolution was to be able to deny FFJ their attorneys of choice.

Like the United States Bill of Rights, the Indian Civil Rights Act provides an accused criminal with the right to be represented by a lawyer. The two systems differ in that United States court an attorney will be provided for you free of charge, while in tribal court if you want an attorney you must pay for it yourself

To read a brief summary of FFJ and it's begining read Tina Lam's Detorit Free Press article

Copyright 2001 by Rose Edwards. All Rights Reserved.