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Jace Killsback

Northern Cheyenne Tribal Chairman L. Jace Killsback. 

The Northern Cheyenne Constitutional Court on Thursday issued an emergency order declaring that ongoing efforts to remove Tribal President Jace Killsback from office are illegal.

The ongoing removal effort is “constitutionally deficient,” the court stated in its ruling. The ruling states the removal effort violates Killsback’s right to due process. The court also ruled that the people behind the effort refused to swear under oath that their allegations were true.

“This removal effort is an illegal campaign started by a small group of dissidents. It is not based on any facts or any laws,” Killsback said in a statement. “A large majority of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe’s voters elected me to serve as tribal president last year. This removal campaign is an attack on their right to vote for their leaders. I will continue to serve in office to protect the rights of all tribal members, and do the job I was elected to do.”

Under tribal law, the Constitutional Court cannot order the members of the Tribal Council to stop violating the law. But, it can rule that certain conduct is illegal. 

The Court’s Thursday ruling makes it clear that if certain members of the Tribal Council continue efforts to remove the tribal president under the existing petition they will be violating the law, Killsback said.

On Sept. 27, Tribal Council member Dana Eaglefeathers filed a complaint with the Tribal Council seeking Killsback's removal. The complaint alleged Killsback “lacks the qualifications to hold his position,” “failed to perform the duties assigned to him,” and that he is “guilty of gross neglect.”

Eaglefeathers’ complaint, however, included no “details of explanation” backing up the allegations, the Constitution Court ruled Thursday. Additionally, the complaint is not “a sworn complaint,” ruled the three-member court, which includes Steven T. Small, Michael A. Monson and Brian M. Murphy.

When reached by The Gazette, Eaglefeathers declined to comment.

The ruling came in response to an Emergency Complaint for Declaratory Relief filed by Killsback Oct. 4.

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