Little Shell tribal factions strike agreement

Great Falls, Montana (AP) July 2011

Opposing factions of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians have set up a temporary dual chairmanship and have agreed to hold elections within 90 days.

The deal was reached during a June 25 mediation session and announced last week.

The landless tribe’s schism occurred over a May 2009 election dispute, resulting in two chairmen and two tribal councils.

That mediation agreement says the heads of the two factions, John Sinclair and John Gilbert, will be joint leaders as the tribe seeks to win federal recognition and negotiates land claims. Sinclair will serve as the primary contact.

Gilbert says it might be best if no current member of either tribal council runs in the election. He says new leadership would help put the internal strife to rest.