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Osage Nation votes to remove chief

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Story by: Janai Norman
Updated: 1/21 8:20 pm Published: 1/21 10:58 am

The Osage Nation has voted to remove its chief.

FOX23 reported in November that Principal Chief John Red Eagle is accused of misconduct for abusing his power. The allegations were presented to the Osage Nation Congress.

The vote on Tuesday morning is the first of the kind for the nation.

“It was a difficult decision on a personal level,” Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead said. “But certainly a decision that had to be made.”

Buffalohead was part of the congress that found Principal Chief John Red Eagle guilty on five of six allegations, effectively and historically removing him from office.

“You have the members of congress who are sitting effectively as the jury on something they also investigated, but it’s unique to any impeachment and removal process,” Attorney Mark Lyons said.

What Lyons calls unique, others, like John Star Bighorse, call unfair.

“All these ducks were put in a row by that Congress in there for the conclusion they wanted from the get go,” Bighorse told FOX23. “This was all determined, in my eyes, in my opinion of it, from day one.”

Among the allegations, Chief Red Eagle is accused of misusing his powers and even paying a man $73,000 for work he didn’t do.

Lyons tells FOX23 during testimony, the Chief unapologetically admitted his guilty.

“He also said, with regard to the open records act violation, he would violate the law again in the future if he felt a need to do it. That was just exceedingly compelling evidence.”

One congressman argued the chief “valued his friends more than he valued Osage law,” but Bighorse says it’s a biased opinion

“They were the jury, they were the judge,” Bighorse said.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Lah kota - 1/21/2014 5:55 PM
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No big surprise here... They brought the allegations in the first place... That part of the Osage Nation constitution is like the fox(ON congress) guarding the hen house(ON government)....The ON congress should have recused themselves and amended the ON constitution to provide for a more ethical and appropriate judge/jury pool... No entity that has initiated the adversarial proceedings, whether they removed the chief or not... should ever adjudicate or legally be the decider in any such case... Such a system causes all of the appointed committee work as well as any other part of the proceeding to be an absolute waste of time, as well as an unjust action, in the eyes of fairness and truthful unbiased justice... There is an absolute official conflict of interest...
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