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Little Shell moves office from Great Falls to Havre

Great Falls, Montana (AP) June 2010

The Little Shell’s main office in Great Falls has been moved to Havre as part of a security measure spurred by a funding dispute between the tribe and state officials.

Tribal President John Sinclair says the state is withholding grants that would have paid for staff to be in the Great Falls office. But without that funding, he says, the office was vacant and unsecured.

Concerns about the tribe’s accounting practices led state officials to withhold $200,000 in stimulus funds marked for the Little Shell, along with a $70,000 grant from the Montana Department of Commerce. Commerce Department spokeswoman Marissa Kozel says the department is withholding the money because of continued unanswered questions, but she declined to elaborate.

Enrollment and other functions were being performed at the Great Falls office, and Sinclair says he is confident that will continue in Havre. The tribe was holding most of its meetings in Havre long before the move.

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