Fight For Justice

On the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Reservation

July 1996

Read from the bottom up

July 26-28

The the 1st annual pow-wow sponsored by FFJ was a huge success. The three day event was held on the Most Holy Name of Jesus chuch grounds in Baraga, Michigan.

Despite negative publicity from the tribal council, the event was well attended with over 1200 visitors from across the country. Dancers and singers came from as far Texas, Virginia, California to attend the the event.

Josh Emery was elected as Senior Brave and his sister Carmen Emery was chosen as the Princess, Lindsay Furr and Melissa McSawby were chosen Junior Princess, while Robert Voakes was picked the Junior Brave, Haven Curtis was picked as Miss KBIC.

Ted Holappa was the master of ceremonies; Donna Bressette head female dance; Joe Dowd Head male dancer; Bill Cardinal was head veteran dancer, other veteran dancers were Bob Jondreau, Judy Smith, Don Chosa Sr., Frank Morlock.

Everyone who attended the event were made welcome at the daily feasts. After the evening pow-wow session ended Saturday, there was a street dance held for the those who still wanted to dance the night away under the stars.

Press Release from Fight For Justice

Today the world is witness to justice in action, with the arraignment of Fred Dakota, who is charged with no less than twenty-four felony counts involving his taking of monies meant for the needy tribal members of Keweenaw Bay, his involvement with the crime syndicate, and his income tax evasion.

It is indeed sad that selected members of the Keweenaw Bay tribal council choose to "Back Fred Dakota 100 %". It is also sad to note that the tribal attorney knew of this activity at a time when something should have been done at the tribal level, but chose to ignore his duties to his real client, the Keweenaw Bay tribe, and not the tribal council. It is also completely ludicrous to even suggest that any member of the tribal government should hide behind the tribal statute of limitations, even though the statute was changed during Fred Dakota's tenure as chairman from the original three-year statute.

Both Fred Dakota and Joseph O'Leary will learn the bitter lesson that there is no statute of limitation on moral turpitude.

The members of Fight For Justice hereby announce that as of Monday, July 15, 1996, they intend to join the recent filing of the select members of the Keweenaw Bay tribal council in federal court as intervenors. We have asked our attorneys for such an action, and we fully intend to have our day in court, thanks to you, Mr. O'Leary, and to the select members of the tribal council, who we feel are just as corrupt as the chairman and his lackey attorney.

We ask the world to recognize that Fight For Justice just doesn't stand for getting our voting rights back, but we got into this fight because we realized the corruption that exists on our reservation, and we had the courage to stand up and do something about it. We ask our own tribal members to look around and see the housing mess, the lack of human services, the employment of discrimination, and then take a good look at who is getting $500 per council meeting, who has private security services for their homes at a cost of over $1,500,000.00 to you who can't even afford to fix up your house, and look at the homes and hunting lodges of your elected leaders. This is what our fight is about. This is one of the reasons we spent a long winter in siege at Assinins - to bring to your attention and the attention of the world what a few corrupt tribal leaders and their attorneys are doing to their own people. Fight For Justice stands for correcting these corrupt activities, so that all of the tribal children will someday be able to live in equality with pride.

July 12, 1996
In a press release from FFJ

FFJ has agreed to allow restristed access to records held on the tribal center grounds.

In order to expeditite the judicial process Fight For Justice will allow restricted access to the tribal records being held in the tribal center building.

In a letter addressed to the Federal Court Judge Timothy Greely, FFj made the offer in response to Fred Dakota's attorney Mark Stevens of Marquette saying the papers that would show Fred inncoint are being held by FFJ.

July 11, 1996
Fred Dakota was arraigned today to a packed federal courtroom in Marquette, MI. With over 70 people in attendance and 20 people outside, most of whom were members of Fight For Justice. Dakota's wife and daughters were there along with only a handful of supporters, absent were his two sons, Chief Judge Bradley Dakota and Tribal Police Dale Dakota.

Dakota plead not guilty to the 29 counts of conspiracy and tax fraud against him

When asked if Dakota understood the charges against him and what his education was, Dakota replied "he finished 7th grade and had started the 8th grade." The Judge than asked Dakota "if he could read and write." Dakota replied "yes he could."

The Judge offered a bond of $150,000.00 along with the stipulation that Fred step down from being tribal chairman/CEO and have no further business dealings with tribal enterprises, also no consumption of alcohol or drugs, turn in his passport, and not to leave Michigan's upper peninsula western district.

Fred told the judge the bond was unacceptable and he would not accept it. Then the Judge ordered the federal marshals to take Fred to jail.

As Fred was handcuffed and lead away, Fight For Justice members stood and silently raised both arms high in jubilation.

A half-hour after Fred was taken away, he was returned to court and agreed to a modified bond agreement: of a PR bond of $150,000.00 and would be allowed to act as chairman while he was on trial but would not be allowed to handle the tribes financial affairs. The other stipulation were still in effect.

The trial was set for Oct 28, 1996. And could be earlier if anything opened up sooner.

July 9, 1996

Keweenaw Bay Indian Tribal Council filed suit in United States District Court against the United States of America Tuesday July 8, 1996. According to KBIC spokesman Richard Rossway, a public relations man, " the tribal council has decided the wait is over."

Named as defendants in the suit were: U.S. District Attorney Michael Dettmer; Assistant U.S. District Attorney Judd Spray; the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA); Ada Deer, assistant secretary of Indian affairs, U.S. Department Of Justice; BIA supervising criminal investigator Wayne Higgins; BIA criminal investigator Levi Carrick; U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno; and Steve Miller a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent assigned to the Upper Peninsula.

Rossway said in a four-page statement issued following a Tuesday press conference in Marquette. "...the federal government has failed to uphold their inherent responsibility to protect and enforce violations of criminal law on the reservation."

In his statement, Rossway alleges the following on behalf of the tribal council: the federal government has intentionally failed to investigate the illegal occupation of federal trust property, the illegal detention of community and federal property; and the illegal interference with federal and tribal programs.

"This lack of enforcement has cause the (KBIC) in excess of $5 million in damages. These damages increase everyday," Rossway stated.

Rossway said the tribe is requesting the court: to award monetary damages as it seems appropriate. Order defendants to immediately take reasonable and necessary steps to protect the community from further loss of the use of property and further destruction of community property...."Simply stated, the tribal council wants the federal government to enforce the law," "the tribal council and the people do not feel they have been given a "fair shake" by the media."

In a press release from Michael Dettmer:

"The ongoing controversy at KBIC is an intra-tribal dispute that in the first instance must be resolved by the tribe itself," he said

"This office has great respect for the sovereignty of each Michigan tribe, including KBIC. It is not our role to interfere in the internal political affairs of a tribe," the statement said

"The U.S. Attorney's office and the Department of Justice have investigated and will continue to investigate violations of federal law committed by any person on the KBIC reservation. This has been the consistent position of the U.S. Attorney's Office, and it has been communicated again and again to both members of the Fight For Justice group and the tribe itself."

"The U.S. Attorney's Office will fully investigate any allegations of violations of federal law by anyone involved in this political dispute and will initiate appropriate criminal actions where warranted," the release said.

July 6, 1996

The Tribal Council met this morning and was presented with a petition from FFJ asking for the removal of Fred Dakota as tribal chairman and ceo for violation of numerous personal policies and also being in violation of the KBIC constitution and by laws. The Tribal Council did not act, Wayne Swartz, KBIC vice president acting on the behalf of the chairman, Fred Dakota who was not present just filed the petition in his notebook and no official action was done.

Tribal Council member Gary Loonsfoot asked for a resolution asking for a secretarial election to change the constitution to follow the past practices of the KBIC and told the other council member that if they had done this years ago like they should have, FFJ would never have been formed. And they can start the healing in the tribe with this election. Gary also told the council it should ask the tribal membership as a whole with this election who should be allowed to be a tribal member and not just the council.

The tribal council voted to table the request (10-1). When Gary Loonsfoot asked when it would be brought back to the council for a vote, he was ignored.

Mitch Walking Elk will be giving a benefit concert at the FFJ compound on July 6th with a sweat lodge before the concert at 6:00 P.M. and after the concert there will be a feast.

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.