As in all governments and political systems, problems and infighting occur on a regular basis.
The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah is currently experiencing such issues.
Curtis Cesspooch, the former tribal chairman of the tribe was involved in these issues. He survived several recall attempts, an effort to remove him from tribal rolls as a tribal citizen, and a move to banish him from the reservation and/or to arrest him.
On Nov. 1, the tribal court dismissed a request to order a recall election because the tribal court’s jurisdiction did not extend to ordering one.
Cesspooch claims that the business committee, the ruling body of the tribe, suspended him without holding a court-ordered hearing, and scheduled a general election Nov. 22 to fill his seat, and named another person as chairman.
“There has to be something in Indian country for situations like this,” Cesspooch said, given that the BIA does not want to become involved in internal political conflict and that tribal courts’ hands are tied in some ways.
Opponents claim Cesspooch was removed for “gross misconduct” that “could involve excessive travel and not reporting back to the people.”