Dakota offers another side of the KBIC issue

I was away on vacation, but I did come back to represent myself before the entire Keweenaw Bay Tribal Council on Thursday morning last week.

I am writing to inform the community on what actually happened after what became a very confusing matter at the public Council meeting on Thursday August 14, 2014.

Bottom line. The lights are back on at the Courthouse and we are back to administering justice. There never was a suspension. As I have been saying all along, one man does not have the authority to suspend an elected official from a separate branch of government.

Even though a deceptive councilman named Edwards had a preprepared resolution which included an acknowledgement of our suspension for a five-day period, it was not supported by the entire council. Despite heavy handed leader Shalifoe’s obvious threat to me that he had an 8 to 4 vote to support his actions.

What else?

There were several other items in the resolution like the dismissal of the law suit against councilman Edwards and President Shalifoe which in my opinion do not hold water. First, taking the resolution as a true and valid document, defendants in a law suit do not possess the authority to dismiss an action against them in any court.

Only the Plaintiff and the Court have that ability or authority. Secondly, neither councilmember Edwards or President Shalifoe should have cast a vote on that resolution because they had a direct interest in the outcome. The case goes away.

I liken that action to me being sued in my court and then refusing to recuse myself and then dismissing the case. Seems patently unfair to me.

Even though I have stayed a mile away away from this case, I have had to take the punishment from the people holding the “checkbook.”

I have done nothing other than be born with the wrong last name for this new administration. For a group that refers to themselves as the “Forward moving council” it confuses me as to why they keep going further and further back in the history of the law to exert their way upon anyone who questions them.

When the Tribal Council passed the Tribal Code in 1973 they envisioned three separate branches of government with equal authority.

Now in 2014 the new administration says “no that’s not true. We, Eddie Edwards and Donald Shalifoe, two leaders on tribal council executive board have all of the authority and if you don’t listen to us we will suspend you and turn you lights off.”

The real solution and answer to end these kinds of problems is to amend the constitution to say there is a separation of powers between the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches of government, with the judicial branch to possess the power of judicial review to determine the constitutionality of the laws enacted by the other two branches.

Right now we are the third branch of government under Tribal law but we are actually treated like any other tribal program under the organization chart.

This begs the question of whether or not the tribal council will provide the continued minimal funding to support our Healing To Wellness Court this next budget period or if they will hold it hostage because of me.

I guess we will wait and see.

Bradley Dakota

Tribal Judge

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community