CROW AGENCY- Crow Tribal Chairman Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid blasted an apparent attempt to remove him from office by two other tribal officials, arguing the effort violates tribal law.
Not Afraid was responding to a petition dated Thursday and signed by Carlson Goes Ahead, the tribe’s vice chairman, and Shawn Backbone, the tribe’s vice secretary.
The petition, which was provided to MTN News by a Not Afraid spokesman, sought to remove Not Afraid and Rudolph Old Crow Sr. as secretary for alleged misuse of tribal funds and abuse of authority.
In a statement, Not Afraid said the tribe’s attorney said the document is invalid and violates the Crow tribe constitution. All four officials are elected directly by tribal members.
“Our leaders need to be examples for our people – flaunting the law, or worse yet trying to bend the law to their own will, for their own personal gain, is shameful. I understand that as our Tribe transitions from corruption to
transparency, there are many elected officials who will be frustrated, especially as the light of justice shines in their direction. But trying to take advantage of the Tribe’s difficult financial situation should not be tolerated,” Not Afraid said in a statement.
MTN News was unable to immediately reach Goes Ahead or Backbone for comment.
The power struggle comes after federal auditors found major faults with tribal record-keeping in recent months. This summer, the Department of the Interior’s inspector general’s office said the tribe couldn’t account for $14.5 million in federal transportation grants. Not Afraid blamed the previous administration for the lapse and vowed to fix it.
A separate audit in October found the tribe couldn’t account for almost $13 million in federal money designed for water-system improvements.
Not Afraid defeated incumbent Darrin Old Coyote in 2016 to become chairman.
Reporting by Erik Olson for MTN News