Posted: Sep 4, 2013 10:43 AM by Tara Grimes - MTN News
Updated: Sep 4, 2013 10:43 AM
BROWNING - More than 60 people gathered in front of the Blackfeet Tribal offices on Monday for what they called a "peaceful takeover."
Wearing yellow wristbands and necklaces as a sign of unity, members of a group called Blackfeet Against Corruption and other tribal members stood their ground in front of the tribal offices.
BAC member Nathan DeRoche said, "All we ask for is that there be a special election, that the Blackfeet people vote true leadership in, some righteous leadership, that's all we want, that's all the Blackfeet people want."
They say their peaceful gathering turned violent when the four council members inside the building issued an order allowing police to clear tribal grounds with protestors causing an uprising.
BAC says the resolution was passed illegally, and they weren't causing an uprising.
Roberta Cross Guns said, "They actually attacked people. They knocked Rebecca down, they knocked her glasses off, that's when they knocked one of our tribal members over and rebroke her arm. They broke the arm of another gentleman that was trying to protect his sister from being arrested."
Witnesses say seven people were arrested for various charges including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
For the past year, BAC members have spoken out against what they believe to be illegal business meetings, saying several council members embezzled tribal funds for personal use, and recently they became enraged since tribal law enforcement haven't charged council member and Montana state senator Shannon Augare for driving under the influence, obstructing a peace officer, and reckless driving.
DeRoche said, "The law enforcement, how come they didn't do their job? Because we live in a dictatorship. See, Shannon Augare can do whatever he wants to do because he is above the law."
And even though they say their pleas to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S government have gone unheard, they say they will continue seeking justice.
We spoke to the chief of police who declined to comment, and have not been able to reach the tribal council members.