First Interstate Bank freezes Crow tribal funds in midst of dispute over leader

Posted at 2:38 PM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 17:18:30-05

First Interstate Bank said Friday it’s freezing the bank accounts of the Crow tribe because the bank is uncertain who is the tribe’s leader.

The action, where the bank interpleads money from the account, is in response to the battle between A.J. Not Afraid, the tribe’s most recently elected president, and Carlson Goes Ahead, the vice chair who says he’s in charge following Not Afraid’s alleged ouster.

First Interstate says it has filed a petition Friday in U.S. District Court to freeze the assets.

Not Afraid told Q2 News that he learned of the action Thursday, and he said he’s planning to respond in court. Tribal employees were to be paid today, he added.

“First Interstate Bank’s unilateral action has devastated the Crow Tribe. Crow Tribal employees were supposed to be paid today and Crow elders were supposed to receive benefit payments. Now we have to go to the federal court to govern the Crow Tribe’s government,” Not Afraid said.

Goes Ahead said he tried get his name on the account to access tribal funds but could not. He praised the bank’s action.

“First Interstate has done the right thing. It is not choosing sides in an unfortunate internal tribal dispute. This well-thought-out legal action by First Interstate is welcome relief to the Crow people, who deserve to have their monies preserved,” Goes Ahead said.

It wasn’t clear Friday night how much money has been frozen by the bank.

Reporting by David Jay for MTN News