WAGNER, S.D. (AP) — The vice chairwoman and five other members of the Yankton Sioux Tribe's business and claims committee have been suspended without pay for 30 days for alleged misconduct.
The committee members are accused of canceling a June 14 meeting of the tribe's General Council without authority in an attempt to prevent friends and relatives from being fired from the tribally run Fort Randall Casino near Wagner, Tribal Chairman Thurman Cournoyer Sr. told The Daily Republic newspaper.
"We're going through turmoil over here," he said.
The General Council is made up of all tribal members and oversees the business and claims committee. The General Council last Friday suspended committee Vice Chairwoman Ida Ashes and members Jason Cooke, Gail Hubbeling, Nick Cournoyer, Brenda Zephier and Jody Zephier. Thurman Cournoyer said another General Council meeting will be held in a month to determine their fate.
"They are suspended and have no authority to do anything," he said. "If they attempt to, they could be removed permanently."
Telephone listings for Ashes and Nick Cournoyer were not in service Tuesday when The Associated Press tried to contact them. Listings for Cooke and Hubbeling could not immediately be found. Listings for some Zephier families in Wagner were not in service, and AP calls to others rang unanswered.
Thurman Cournoyer, council Treasurer Lee O'Connor and Tribal Secretary Glenford "Sam" Sully remain on duty. The chairman said he has asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Yankton Sioux Tribal Police Department to issue restraining orders to keep the suspended council members out of the tribal offices.