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BIA still sees Yankton as Spirit Lake leader

The Bureau of Indian Affairs continues to recognize Roger Yankton Sr. as chairman of the Spirit Lake Nation, a spokeswoman said. In a brief response to a query last week, Nedra Darling, spokeswoman for the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs i...

Roger Yankton
Roger Yankton, the Tribal leader at Spirit Lake Nation. Herald photo by Eric Hylden.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs continues to recognize Roger Yankton Sr. as chairman of the Spirit Lake Nation, a spokeswoman said.

In a brief response to a query last week, Nedra Darling, spokeswoman for the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, said Yankton "remains in the office of the chairman for the Spirit Lake Tribe."

Darling said the BIA "has been in contact with the Spirit Lake Tribe and we are monitoring the situation very closely. This remains an internal tribal matter at this time."

Critics have accused Yankton of corruption, not listening to the people of the reservation and failing to improve child protection, and participants in an emergency general assembly voted last Sunday to replace him with Leander "Russ" McDonald, a tribal college administrator.

McDonald participated in a traditional swearing-in ceremony on Monday but later met with Yankton and agreed that the tribal constitution requires a petition and popular vote to replace the chairman. A recall petition is circulating.

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Call Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1102; or send email to chaga@gfherald.com .

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