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Forum News Service, Published April 20 2013

BIA still sees Yankton as Spirit Lake leader

GRAND FORKS – The Bureau of Indian Affairs continues to recognize Roger Yankton Sr. as chairman of the Spirit Lake Nation, a spokeswoman said.

In a brief response to a query last week, Nedra Darling, spokeswoman for the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, said Yankton “remains in the office of the chairman for the Spirit Lake Tribe.”

Darling said the BIA “has been in contact with the Spirit Lake Tribe and we are monitoring the situation very closely. This remains an internal tribal matter at this time.”

Critics have accused Yankton of corruption, not listening to the people of the reservation and failing to improve child protection, and participants in an emergency general assembly voted last Sunday to replace him with Leander “Russ” McDonald, a tribal college administrator.