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South Dakota tribe changing leadership after feud

Wagner, South Dakota (AP) October 2011

A new Yankton Sioux Tribe administration is set to take office, in the wake of a feud that followed the tribal election earlier this month.

Incoming Chairman Thurman Cournoyer Sr. and other officials who were elected Sept. 1 are to be sworn in in Wagner. Supporters had wanted them to take office immediately after the election, but the administration led by outgoing Chairman Robert Cournoyer refused. Robert Cournoyer is a first cousin to Thurman.

The dispute culminated with Robert Cournoyer and other leaders locking the doors to their offices and calling police on Sept. 15. The confrontation went no further.

Thurman Cournoyer says the dispute is political and not personal. But he also says the outgoing tribal leaders weren’t invited to the inauguration.


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