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Fort Peck Tribal Chairman Reinstated

Kaitlyn Nicholas
Tribal Executive Board members Kaci Wallette, Jestin Dupree, Dana Buckles and Patricia Iron Cloud Runs Through (left to right) sit in the special board meeting to vote on removal of Fort Peck Tribal Chairman Floyd Azure.

The Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribal Executive Board reinstated suspended Chairman Floyd Azure following a vote on Dec. 3.

During a special public board meeting, attorney Georgette Boggio read nine charges from the Tribal Executive Board against Chairman Floyd Azure, which led to his suspension on Nov. 5.

"The Chairman has acted to create division and violate his oath to serve the best interests of the Tribes," Boggio said.

One of the charges was that Chairman Azure had refused to attend board meetings since August 24 and another was that he inappropriately tried to maintain and pay for services from a close associate’s construction company, BP Construction, even after the Board entered into litigation with the same company for failing to provide services.

During his response, Azure said the Board was being “unfair” and he denied all allegations, saying he was fulfilling his role as Chairman.

"Whether you guys liked me or not, I don't care. That's not my job to be liked in this office. Because I'm not here to make friends," Azure said.

After hearing the charges and Azure’s defense, seven of the 11 Tribal Executive Board members voted to remove the chairman.

Eight votes were required for Azure’s removal.

Emerson Young, one of the board members who voted to remove Azure, said the Board and the Chairman needed to be a united front moving forward.

"It was hard, hard working with you. But, you know, it is what it is. Now, let’s be the better people and work for the best of this tribe. Move forward. Let's work as one," Young said.

When Board member Patricia Iron Cloud Runs Through began urging Azure to retract critical opinion articles he had published about the Board in the Fort Peck Journal, the Chairman stood up, said the decision had already been made to reinstate him, and left before the Board adjourned.

The Tribal Executive Board will continue its ongoing litigation against BP Construction. Azure was reinstated as Chairman immediately after the vote.

Kaitlyn Nicholas is the Report For America Tribal Affairs Reporter.

Kaitlyn Nicholas covers tribal news in Montana.