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Cheyenne-Arapaho governor files appeal

By Murray Evans
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (AP) May 2011


The governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes formally appealed a ruling by a Bureau of Indian Affairs official that could result in her removal from office.

Gov. Janice Boswell filed the appeal with Dan Deerinwater, the regional director of the bureau’s Southern Plains office in Anadarko, and Betty Tippeconnie, the superintendent of the bureau’s office in El Reno, which falls under the Southern Plains regional umbrella.

Boswell is embroiled in a dispute with Lt. Gov. Leslie Harjo over who is the rightful governor of the Concho-based tribes. Harjo maintains a tribal court has suspended Boswell, making Harjo the governor. The two are running what appear to be separate tribal operations with different judges and each also has their own attorney general.

Tippeconnie, the superintendent of the Bureau of Indiana Affairs office in El Reno, said in a letter on March 28 that the agency would recognize the judges supported by Harjo. Boswell had 30 days to file an appeal of that decision.

Boswell maintains Tippeconnie “has no authority” to issue such a ruling and asks in the appeal that Tippeconnie’s decision be vacated.

Tippeconnie told The Associated Press that “someone else, higher than me” might make another ruling on the issue but that she would not. Deerinwater has not returned numerous phone messages left in recent weeks.

Deerinwater has previously ruled that the bureau recognized Boswell as governor, but the agency’s Board of Indian Appeals vacated that decision and sent it back to Deerinwater on March 28 for reconsideration.

In her appeal, Boswell said that Tippeconnie’s “consideration of this matter is a duplication of the Regional Director’s effort and a risk of inconsistent decisions exist.”

Harjo said Boswell wants “to do appeal after appeal until she gets out of office. What’s the purpose in that? All we’re asking her to do is follow the (tribal) constitution and follow the laws.”

Boswell and Harjo took office in January 2010. Each has accused the other of violating the tribal constitution and various misdeeds.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes claim about 13,000 members and have a thriving casino operation that nets the tribe millions of dollars annually.



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