Finally, some good news from the Oglala Sioux Nation. Now, if we can just get the anti-abortion law struck down and the threat of banishment for women and those who seek to help them obtain an abortion.
ICT [2006/07/18] Fire Thunder reinstated
PINE RIDGE, S.D. - Oglala Sioux Tribal President Cecelia Fire Thunder was reinstated as tribal president by Oglala Sioux Tribal Judge Lisa Adams on July 17.
Fire Thunder filed a complaint in tribal court asking for an injunction against the tribal council for removing her from office, as she argues, illegally. She asked that she be reinstated until such time as a formal and lawful impeachment can be brought against her.
The tribal council impeached Fire Thunder from her presidency on June 29 after a hearing that Fire Thunder said violated her civil rights.
Tribal council members who voted against Fire Thunder claimed the justification for her removal was centered on a proposed women's health clinic that her detractors claim was an abortion clinic.
In the complaint Fire Thunder stated that her civil rights were violated because she was not given an evidence from the council so she could prepare her case, that she was not allowed an attorney and that the council vote was improper and not according to the constitution. She stated in her complaint that a two-thirds majority of the council, not of the quorum was needed to remove her. The council impeached her on a nine to four vote with 13 council members recorded as present. The council has 18 members, which Fire Thunder claims requires that 12 votes are needed to meet the two-thirds vote requirement.
She also claims that the council removed her from office on June 29 and a complaint, as is required by the tribal constitution, was not filed until three days later. The complaint, according to tribal law is required to be filed first.
The complaint also stated: ''That your Plaintiff's removal was allegedly based upon her actions as a private person and not as an elected President in violation of the OST Constitution.
''That your Plaintiff's removal from office was purportedly based upon her expression of free speech on a issue that she had the right to express her opinion on under the Indian Civil Rights Act and the OST Constitution and insofar as her removal was based upon her exercise of free speech it was unconstitutional and in violation of the Indian Civil Rights Act.
Councilmen Will Peters and Garfield Steele, who filed the original complaint against Fire Thunder, argued that the tribal council should have been informed of Fire Thunder's decision to start a women's clinic and that she needed council approval to do so.
A formal hearing on the complaint is schedule in tribal court for July 28.