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Lower Brule Council Meets - Big Issues Ignored

Courtesy Lower Brule Sioux Tribe

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Council met on Wednesday/yesterday for the first time since October 2014. The gathering came as the direct result of a court order requiring tribal leaders to work out their differences.

But there can be a huge gap between dealing with routine tribal business and dealing with long-standing complaints against allegedly corrupt tribal leaders.

About two dozen tribal members braved frigid winter weather to attend the first Lower Brule Sioux council meeting in 5 months.

The long delay between meetings came after 3 newly-elected tribal leaders confronted 3 tribal leaders who were already seated with allegations of corruption and mismanagement of funds.

The battle between the Lower Brule Sioux officials culminated in a February court date that saw Tribal Judge B.J. Jones advise both sides to convene a quorum and settle their differences or be in contempt of court.

Credit Courtesy Vicki Ziegler
Lower Brule Sioux grass roots tribal member Vicki Ziegler

Vicki Ziegler is part of a grass roots group of tribal members who’ve been waiting for the opportunity to address the poor leadership they blame on Tribal Chairman Mike Jandreau. Ziegler says that opportunity didn’t come today.

“It was a meeting to comply with the court order,” observes Ziegler. “Have a meeting. Have an agenda. Have a quorum. Conduct business. And this was just general business…none of the big issues that a lot of the people are concerned about.”

Those big issues include mismanagement of federal funds causing shortfalls in finances available for schools, water and economic development and millions of dollars missing from the questionable purchase of a bankrupt Wall Street firm that later went belly-up.

Ziegler says the primary problem is that items for discussion on any tribal council meeting’s agenda have to be approved by the Tribal Chairman. Since the issues mentioned point directly at Mike Jandreau, Ziegler feels it’s unlikely he’ll approve them for discussion. Which brings those complaining about Jandreau’s leadership back to square one.

Newly-elected Lower Brule Sioux Vice-Chairman Kevin Wright is among those who aren’t happy with Jandreau or how the “required” council meeting went. He says the grass roots people have shown respect where respect wasn’t deserved.

But Kevin Wright adds that neither he nor those he represents plan to limit their options for obtaining answers to their allegations of corruption within the Lower Brule Sioux tribal leadership.

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