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Tribal member says he sought proper practice of tribal law

May 28, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Eastern Shoshone tribal member Wade W. LeBeau came before the Shoshone General Council and Business Council during a council meeting April 5 with an issue that is not new to the tribe and has been a lingering concern in its internal government.

For a long time, Wade said the tribal government has failed to govern properly the tribe's revenue, expenses, audits, resolutions, history and officials employed by the Shoshone General Council. He pinpointed former business council member Ivan Posey at that council meeting and accused him of not following or enforcing the tribe's resolutions that were set in place several years ago.

LeBeau described it as a "corrupted political regime" that was controlling the tribe and that essentially it was "traditional Shoshones fighting against non-traditional Shoshones."

In an April interview, LeBeau said audits that needed to be done were avoided, the tribe's income was "dwindled down to nothing," and tribal funds in the form of checks were given to family members of business council members.

"These are things we have noticed," LeBeau said. "The elders have been talking about this for years, but they're scared to speak up."

For fear of losing basic amenities and assistance, LeBeau said, Shoshone elders withheld from making allegations. He said it then became his role to step in for them.

"If that takes the heat off the elders then it's my job," LeBeau said. "They told me it's my job to fight because when they're gone, who's going to fight?"

The controversial process that ousted Posey, former council member Wes Martel and Kimberly Varilek was fully valid, LeBeau said, adding that the Shoshone tribe has a unique government that allows tribal members to bring up their topics of choice for discussion. The resolutions have not been changed since they were first presented, but they remain the basis for tribal business.

"They're designed to adapt to the times," LeBeau said. "These core resolutions still have to be followed, and they're not being followed."

LeBeau also said he entered all the required paperwork to run in the special election that would fill the vacancy left by Harrison "Bunny" Shoyo Jr. who died in December. He never made it on the ballot, however, because he said he was told there was missing paperwork, and it disqualified him from being on the ballot.

He said the deadline to turn in all paperwork was extended for tribal members because only LeBeau and another candidate had been on the ballot. The general council approved of the two candidates but that action was not followed either, LeBeau said.

LeBeau said he will continue to encourage tribal members to ask questions of their government.

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Eastern Shoshone