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Congress to investigate allegations against Chief Red Eagle

With 11 unanimous “yes” votes, the Third Osage Nation Congress approved a motion to form a Select Committee of Inquiry to investigate the 15 allegations raised against Principal Chief John Red Eagle. The committee will determine whether sufficient grounds exist for a removal trial.

The July 9 vote during the sixth special session is the first of several steps the legislative branch will take in reviewing and considering action on the allegations issued in writing during the July 8 session. Those allegations state that Chief Red Eagle allegedly “abused the power of his elected position” several times and allegedly did not uphold Osage and federal law in several separate events starting in 2010, with those alleged events occurring as recent as this month.

The Select Committee of Inquiry will be comprised of five members of Congress, appointed by an ON Supreme Court Justice, and will be charged with conducting a comprehensive investigation limited to the allegations raised in the motion, according to Congressional rules regarding the removal process.

Congressional Speaker Raymond Red Corn said he sent a formal letter to the ON Supreme Court that same afternoon, notifying the high court of the vote. The Supreme Court has 10 days to appoint members to the committee after such a motion is approved.

A legislative proclamation has been announced for the seventh special session to commence Monday, Aug. 19, with the Select Committee of Inquiry as the lone item of business consideration at this time. The committee may only meet when Congress is in session.

Per Congressional rules, the Congress issued their July 9 votes without debate on the issue. Congressman Archie Mason was absent during the special session.

Chief Red Eagle was not present during the July 9 session, but later issued the following statement denying the allegations:

“Recently I have been accused of abusing my authority. I assure you that this is not the truth,” said Chief Red Eagle. “I look forward to having the opportunity to show that these allegations are unfounded. I am certain that our process will be fair and reasonable as I continue to uphold our Osage Constitution and defend the Osage people. The Osage Nation is a developing government under a new constitution. It is an honor to serve my people at such an historical time.”

This is the first time in the young Osage government’s history that an elected official is being considered for potential removal from office.

When the committee meets, it will elect a chairperson and the committee will hold all of its investigatory proceedings in executive session. During this time, the committee has the power to gather evidence, interview witnesses, take testimony under oath and subpoena documents, according to Congressional rules.

Once the committee work is finished, it will provide a written report to the Congress providing details on the evidence in support of the allegations that qualifies as grounds for a removal trial. If the Congress votes to hold a removal trial, an ON Supreme Court Justice will preside over the trial – held in public – with the 12 Congress members serving as the jury.

To see the full list of allegations against Chief Red Eagle, click on the link:http://app6.websitetonight.com/projects/1/2/1/5/1215402/uploads/Motion_for_Select_Committee_of_Inquiry.pdf


By

Benny Polacca


Original Publish Date: 2013-07-10 00:00:00

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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.
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