A power struggle over a Native American settlement in eastern Iowa will apparently be played out without guidance from the courts. Iowa’s Meskwaki tribe may have to struggle with its power play alone, with no help from outside mediators. A district judge Tuesday dismissed a suit by the elected Meskwaki tribal leadership, saying the council didn’t prove a court had any jurisdiction in the case. Native American tribes are considered sovereign nations in the dealings with U.S. government and that’s sometimes a sticking-point for local law enforcement agencies. In this case, the challengers say a petition drive gathered enough signatures last fall for a recall election and they say they were appointed to manage the tribe’s affairs by “hereditary chief” Henry Old Bear. The tribal council had asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order, but District Judge Linda Reade declined, saying in an eleven-page ruling that it’s a dispute within the tribe over which the court has no jurisdiction.
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