Eastern Shoshone Tribe continues to manage joint programs and defend its sovereignty

*(Fremont County, Wyo.) -*The Eastern Shoshone Tribe as a party of the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868, has sovereign authority to manage the resources and assets of the Shoshone Reservation. Our people have inhabited the Wind River country from time immemorial and our ancestors negotiated with the United States to establish the Warm Valley as a homeland for our people. Because the federal government failed to uphold its treaty obligations, the Northern Arapaho were settled here. In 1938, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe allowed the Northern Arapaho to participate in the management of the resources of the Shoshone Reservation by creating the Joint Business Council (JBC). On September 10, 2014, the Northern Arapaho Business Council (NABC) withdrew from the JBC, by NABC Resolution No. 2014-428. However, JBC was not dissolved by their action. In heir press release it was stated that there would be a "management team" comprised of three individuals who would improve the relations and process for management of jointly owned assets, this process never materialized as the Shoshone Business Council never met with this management team. After months of grandstanding and assurances from Northern Arapaho leadership that we were "delusional" for maintaining our commitment to the Tribal Law and Order Code, and completion of 638 applications, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) awarded several self-determination contracts to the Shoshone and Arapaho Joint Business council with management and oversight by the Shoshone Business Council. BIA's award of the contracts and our management of the programs is consistent wit the Law and Order Code of the Wind River Indian Reservation. In 1987 the Shoshone and Arapaho Law and Order Code (SALOC) was adopted by both tribes as the legal document to protect and uphold the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Wind River Indian Reservation. Included in the code are Tribal Court, Fish and Game, Tribal Water Engineer, Environmental Quality Commission, Tribal Employment Rights and other ordinances. The Shoshone and Arapaho Joint Business Council is the body referred to in the SALOC to oversee all aspects of the code. The Northern Arapaho Business Council and its legal counsel have now challenged the BIA's action and our management of the programs in their latest lawsuit. They seek to maintain the "status quo" and undo any reforms we have made. The status quo for joint programs however is no longer acceptable. A recent BIA review of the Tribal Court and the Joint Finance Office uncovered serious problems. We have responded by adopting corrective action plans that will improve accountability and effectiveness for those programs. Many land management issues remain at a standstill including homesite leases, farm and pasture leases, business leases, range unit leases and other issues that affect members of both tribes. We, the SBC are willing to meet and address this backlog in our efforts to work in the best interest of tribal members. We are discouraged that the Northern Arapaho Business Council have completely abandoned the tradition of Indian tribes dealing with one another directly instead of relying on attorneys and lawsuits challenging BIA actions they have chosen to surrender their sovereignty to a federal district court in Montana and an Appeals Board in Washington D.C. We still welcome Northern Arapaho Business Council participation at JBC and we are committed to working together in a good way. Despite the lawsuits and efforts to derail much needed reforms, we will fulfill our obligation and authority to protect, manage and administer all land, resources and assets within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation. The Eastern Shoshone Tribe will provide administrative oversight for the awarded self-determination contracts including the Tribal Court, Tribal Water Engineer and Tribal Fish and Game. The Eastern Shoshone Tribe will continue to explore options for maintaining other programs supported by self-determination contracts and grants. -Chairman Darwin St. Clair, Jr., Eastern Shoshone Tribe #sponsored #news #county10