Gray Hawk To Lead Tribes
The Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes held inauguration ceremonies at Poplar High School for the 32nd Legislative Tribal Executive Board Monday, Oct. 30. A new chairman was sworn in with Justin Gray Hawk Sr., along with new TEB members and tribal judges.
The event marked a major shift in administration following the departure of chairman Floyd Azure who has been in that position since 2015. Azure was defeated in a close race, with the incoming chairman receiving 606 votes to Azure’s 549. Barry Bighorn Sr. received 264 votes and John Morales received 102.
Turnout was strong at Moccasin Square Garden for the swearing-in event. Michael Turcotte delivered the opening prayer and Tommy Christian emceed. Judge Imogene Lilley presided. The host drum was Fort Peck Sioux.
Incoming TEB members include Marva Chapman, 792 votes; Bryce Kirk, 735; Melvin “Terry” Rattling Thunder, 655; Jestin Dupree, 638; Carolyn Bighorn-Brugh, 580; Stacey Summers, 552; Rita Weeks, 545; Benjamin “BJ” Johnson, 532; Wayne Martell, 532; Dana “Sam” Buckles, 515; Lawrence Hamilton, 504; and Roxanne Gourneau, 469; as well as chairman Gray Hawk, vice-chairman Charles Headdress, sergeant at arms Bruce “Cubby” Damon, associate judge Mike Headdress and chief judge Stacie Smith FourStar. Each addressed the audience, beginning with Chapman, the highest vote-getter on the new council.
Chief judge Smith FourStar spoke about the accessibility of the court and invited the community to learn more about the separation of powers in tribal government. She said a new special criminal jurisdiction has added to the court’s powers, leading to increased cases involving non-members.
Three veterans in the community spoke to Gray Hawk prior to his taking office, including Martel Reum, who encouraged the dissolution of the “Tule divide” and said historically estranged communities on the reservation’s east and west sides need to continue working together.
Part of the inauguration included the reenactment of a dream recounted by Gray Hawk, whose address discussed his goal of redefining leadership roles along traditional cultural lines. Following the swearing-in, a reception line was hosted with new officials greeting community members.
Initial election results included 960 votes for Headdress over Patt Iron Cloud at 545 for vice-chairman; Damon received 1,014 votes over JoLynne BadHawk’s 493 for Sergeant At Arms and new Associate Judge Michael Headdress received 955 votes over Marvin Youpee Jr’s 494. Smith FourStar ran unopposed for chief judge.
The total number of voters was 3,982, with 267 coming from Fort Kipp, 261 from Brockton, 1,871 from combined Poplar districts, 1,251 from combined Wolf Point districts, 81 from Oswego and 251 from Frazer.