BILLINGS- Crow Tribal Chair Alvin Not Afraid, Jr. officially has signing authority for the tribe’s funds, after a federal judge dismissed a case and canceled a scheduled hearing.
The court was asked to determine who has the authority to pull funds from the tribe’s account.
Vice Chair Carlson Goes Ahead and Vice Secretary Sean Backbone wrote to First Interstate Bank that they were the legal signers.
In an Interpleader Complaint, First Interstate asked the court to hold onto the funds until this could be settled.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters stated that the bank had not shown there are two or more opposing petitioners who may claim entitlement to tribe funds.
She also stated that the Crow Tribal Civil Court already determined that Not Afraid Jr. is entitled to access the funds.
“The court determines that the Crow Tribal Civil Court’s January 29, 2019, restraining order maintains the status quo that Not Afraid Jr. is the Tribe Chairman and prevents Goes Ahead and Backbone from assuming or occupying Not Afraid Jr. and Old Crow’s positions, titles, duties and financial signature authority.”
‘There is NO ‘status quo,’” Goes Ahead wrote. “The deadlock continues as we all wait for the Tribal Court to rule. We will never accept the “status quo” for our Crow People.”
“Secretary Old Crow and I remain committed to seeking peaceful resolution to this issue, while continuing to work in accordance with the Constitution, to fulfill our duties to the Crow People,” Not Afraid said.
The judge said the court does not have interpleader jurisdiction and she dismissed the case.
“The decision by the Federal Court to dismiss the interpleader action clearly demonstrates deference and respect for the Crow Tribal Court,” Not Afraid said in a news release. “This is a victory for the Crow Tribe’s sovereignty and the Crow people.”
“We agree the Federal Court acted properly by showing deference to the Crow Tribal Court,” Goes Ahead said in a news release.
A Crow spokesman says the Crow Tribal Judge will issue an order in the next two weeks to determine who is the Crow Tribal Chair.
Reporting by David Jay for MTN News