CONCHO, Okla. — Despite election season ending for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, questions remain over who are the tribes’ legitimate leaders as an intra-tribal split persists.
Late Friday afternoon, Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman Nedra Darling confirmed that the federal government does not officially recognize the Eddie Hamilton government nor the Darrell Flyingman administration as the tribe’s legitimate authority at this time. Both were sworn in on Jan. 4 after each of the two factions within the tribes conducted fall 2013 elections.
“Until the IBIA rules on the tribes’ pending appeal, the BIA will not recognize either administration as the government of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes,” she said.
No timetable has been given on when the Interior Board of Indian Appeals will rule on the appeal over who is the tribes’ legitimate authority. In November 2013, the Native Times was advised that seven cases are ahead of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes’. The tribe has been dealing with a leadership split for more than three years after a series of disagreements split the political partnership between now former governors Janice Prairie Chief-Boswell and Leslie Wandrie-Harjo.
Due to the BIA’s late response, neither claimant governor could be reached for comment before deadline.
Darling’s pronouncement is consistent with other recent actions by the BIA, including a late November 2013 decision to not allow a multi-million dollar draw down from the tribes’ lease fund account that would go towards per capita payments for tribal citizens. Ultimately, that per capita payment was funded through a loan from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tax Commission.
Daniel Webber ,Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Supreme Court Justice, swears in Eddie Hamilton, one of the two newly elected tribal governors on Jan. 4, 2013 at the Concho Community Center in Concho, Okla.
Rebecka Lyman | PHOTO COURTESY Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune