- Written by John Plestina
The Fort Peck Tribal Court will soon be one of just four
tribal courts in the nation permitted to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence where a tribal member is a victim.
The federal Violence Against Women Act allows tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians for domestic abuse, but there is a
caveat — both the presiding judge and defense attorney must be lawyers. Currently, none of the tribal judges are lawyers, but tribal public defender Anna Sullivan is an attorney.
The tribes’ executive board hired attorney Eldena Nicole Bear Don’t Walk earlier this month. She is a private practice attorney in Saint Ignatius in western Montana and an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe.
Bear Don’t Walk, 41, has a juris doctorate from the University of Montana School of Law. She has about eight years experience as an attorney, is an appellate justice for the Rocky Boy’s Reservation and serves other tribes as a judge. She was also a state public defender in Montana.
She is the daughter of Urban Bear Don’t Walk, one of the first Native American attorneys in the United States and a former tribal judge. He remains in private practice in Billings.
The executive board hired Bear Don’t Walk on a permanent and temporary basis to serve on the bench one week per month. She will begin working in January.
Domestic violence cases will be scheduled for her court, but she also will adjudicate other types of cases.
“I’m excited for this to happen. She’s going to bring our whole court system into the 21st century,” vice chairwoman Patricia Iron Cloud said.
She added that the three judges who currently serve the tribal court are knowledgeable and proficient, but none hold the required law degree to adjudicate domestic violence cases the tribes would prosecute under the Violence Against Women Act.
- Written by John Plestina
Four members of a Brockton family alleged to have stolen $132,563 from the town have filed motions this month to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Great Falls to charges in a federal indictment. Some of the defendants will plead guilty to all charges and others to some counts.
Named in federal court documents are Bernard John Lambert, Desiree Lambert, Kaycee Dinard Lambert and Kayla Lou Lambert.
Federal court documents allege that between Jan. 15, 2013 and March 26 of this year, the town’s then business manager, Desiree Lambert, wrote illegal checks drawn on an account at Independence Bank in Poplar to herself, her husband, daughters and others. There are allegations of forgery of the signature of a municipal official.
The charges also allege that $129,352 in U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services [commonly known as COPS] grant funds were used to replenish the general fund.
Original charges in an indictment filed Aug. 22 include theft from a local government, receiving federal funding and aggravated identity theft.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
(Editor’s Note: The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office distributes an inmate roster each week with charges and communities of residence to The Herald-News and The Searchlight to help keep the public informed and to illustrate that the jail has been dealing with overcrowding issues in the 17-bed facility.)
As of Monday, Nov. 24, 14 inmates were housed in the Roosevelt County Jail. Valley County Detention Center was holding two female inmates and the Fort Benton Detention Center was holding three males to alleviate overcrowding.
The RCSO reported that the following individuals were incarcerated at the jail between Thesday, Nov. 18 and Monday, Nov. 24:
•Adam Alonzo, 31, Williston, N.D./San Bernadino, Calif., criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to sell;
•Malinda Bibb, 31, Minot, N.D., arrested on a warrant for bail condition violation, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Kyle Fuchs, 32, Cul-
bertson, disordelry conduct, partner family member assault, assault with weapon, unlawful restraint, criminal endangerment;
•Alexander Jirone, 33, Rapid City, S.D., criminal endangerment, fleeing or eluding a peace officer, speeding on non-interstate-exceed night speed limit, operating with expired registration, operating without liability insurance;
•Jennifer Johnshoy, 29, Crookston, Minn., criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Gary Jones, 44, Madisonville, Tenn., assault on a peace officer;
•Dakota Kinzie, 23, Wolf Point, assault on a peace officer;
•Jason Knight, 37, Spokane, Wash., criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Darryl Lewis, 45, San Bernadino, Calif., criminal contempt warrant;
•Robert Lindquist, Cha-toroy, Wash., 41, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence;
•Timothy Oglesby, 31, Hot Springs, Ark., out-of- county warrant;
•Michelle Parker, 41, San Diego, Calif., arrested on bench warrant;
•Derek Reed, 32, Seattle, Wash., criminal contempt warrant;
•Jeremy Sepanski, 30, Plentywood, forgery, theft, obstruction of a peace officer;
•Kalob Trowbridge, 22, Wolf Point, assault on a peace officer.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
Culbertson School held its annual Veterans Day Program on Tuesday, Nov. 11, honoring past, present and future military people with music, praise and gratitude. After the ceremony, the veterans and their families joined the students for lunch and cupcakes. (Photo by Nancy Mahan)
- Written by John Plestina
The Fort Peck Tribes welcomed 139 genetically pure bison from Yellowstone National Park Nov. 13. (Photo by John Plestina)
It was history in the making and a crowd braved freezing temperatures as the first two semis loaded with about 100 of 139 wild bison arrived at the Fort Peck Tribes 13,000-acre Cultural Range Unit, 29 miles northeast of Wolf Point, Thursday, Nov. 13.
One of the semis broke down and about 40 buffalo were delivered to the tribes the next day.
The three semis with cattle trailers that were contracted from a Nebraska livestock hauler left CNN founder Ted Turner’s Flying D Ranch near Bozeman the day before for the nine-hour ride to the Fort Peck Reservation. The bison that came from the 4,900-strong Yellowstone National Park herd had been held in quarantine for about eight years on Turner’s ranch. The Yellowstone herd is the largest in the nation.
The 139 bison are being held 10 days in a 140-acre pen and will then be released onto a 13,000-acre pasture northwest of Poplar where they will join 63 Yellowstone buffalo that were transferred to the reservation in 2012, creating the largest conservation herd in Montana outside Yellowstone National Park.
The goal of the quarantine was to create a herd that is genetically pure [no cattle genes] and free of brucellosis, a bacterial cattle disease.
Previous attempts to relocate the bison from Turner’s ranch were unsuccessful partly due to opposition from livestock interests sparked by concerns about brucellosis.
The now nearly 200 bison on the reservation are certified as free of brucellosis.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I’ve been waiting for the Yellowstone bison for a long time,” Laurel veterinarian Don Woerner said.
“I’ve been following this whole quarantine thing. They proved it would work,” he said.
“They have not found any cattle genes,” Woerner said.
National Wildlife Federation Tribal Lands Program Manager Alexis Bonogofsky has worked in partnership with the Fort Peck Tribes and other Western tribes addressing wildlife, energy and cultural issues for more than a decade. The Billings woman was at the Cultural Range Unit when the bison arrived.
“The goal is to continue with these relocations to various tribes,” Bonogofsky said.
The herd on the reservation will help tribal members regain a connection to their history. Bison play a key role in some ceremonies and were welcomed with song and prayers.
Yellowstone bison are descendants of the massive wild herds that roamed the West during the 1800s and totaled up to 30 million. Over hunting and a lack of management reduced the population to about 1,000 by the end of the nineteenth century.
State Wildlife Commission recently announced a decision to implement the recent approval by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to relocate 140 bison to the reservation. One bull was euthanized prior to the trip because it had killed other bulls.
Following the completion of environmental analysis and review of public comments, a decision by the FWP found no significant issues associated with relocating bison to the tribal location, or to three out-of-state locations that were also under consideration.
The finding essentially followed the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s October approval to keep the bison within state borders if a finding of no significance was determined.
In March, state wildlife officials requested proposals from agencies or organizations capable of permanently caring for the bison for conservation purposes. The bison have been held at the Green Ranch, west of Bozeman, during their five-year monitoring period.
Brucellosis, initially introduced to North America through livestock but now also found in Yellowstone bison, has been the main reason for opposition by some individuals and groups to the relocation of Yellowstone bison, even though bison have not been implicated in a single case of transmission of brucellosis to cattle in the wild.
FWP received 10 proposals, four of which were analyzed in the environmental assessment. The examined proposals included one from the Fort Peck Tribes and others from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the Wildlife Conservation Society Zoo Consortium in New York and Ohio.