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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • ND tribal leader withdraws federal lawsuit

  • Roger Yankton Sr. withdraws lawsuit against restraining order
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  • GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Ousted Spirit Lake Chairman Roger Yankton Sr. has withdrawn his lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking relief from a restraining order that had been issued against him by the Spirit Lake Tribal Court.
    The Grand Forks Herald reports that the tribal court lifted the restraining order after the Northern Plains Intertribal Court of Appeals in Aberdeen, S.D., sided with Yankton opponents and affirmed results of a July recall election that removed Yankton from office.
    Yankton had alleged the Aug. 6 restraining order had made him a virtual prisoner on the reservation and prevented him from performing his duties as chairman.
    Leander "Russ" McDonald was elected chairman following Yankton's recall. Yankton and McDonald have been embroiled in a dispute over who is the North Dakota tribe's rightful leader.
    McDonald and other members of the Spirit Lake Tribal Council also had asked the federal court to dismiss Yankton's suit in part because the court lacked jurisdiction in a sovereign tribal matter.
    Yankton's opponents have alleged widespread corruption and mismanagement during Yankton's administration. They also have faulted him for allowing a culture of child abuse and child sexual abuse to worsen on the reservation.
    The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs stepped in last October to bolster and oversee the child protection system.
    Yankton defended his stewardship of the Spirit Lake Tribe and denied allegations made against him by opponents.
    "I didn't do anything improper or mismanage anything," he said. "I didn't take millions or fix up my house (with tribal funds) or anything."

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