There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight for the tribal dispute in Tama County. The tribal council headed by Alex Walker, elected in the last officially recognized vote, had ordered a rival group to vacate tribal offices by midnight this (Saturday) morning. Homer Bear, head of the group that says it’s the tribe’s appointed council, says he and his followers were willing to do that, if some conditions were met. A complete audit of tribal accounts and assets should be conducted, and nothing paid out except expenditures budgeted by the tribe for this fiscal year, until the election takes place. Bear called for a moratorium on litigation between the two groups, and said his group will stay till all conditions are met. Bear says he’s written a letter to the Tama County sheriff explaining the group’s position on issues of jurisdiction, and hopes their point of view will be considered. Bear says it’s the “moral obligation” of his council to resolve the ongoing struggle over who’s in charge. Bear says they should agree on safeguards the tribal membership wants. Bear says the first priority is to safeguard the assets of the tribe. He says that means to assure the employees of the tribe and the casino will remain till the leadership problem’s resolved, and that the tribal records are not tampered with. Bear wouldn’t comment on this week’s blockade of the settlement school by people who said they were followers of his. Tom Yochum, spokesman for the Bear group, said the faction first occupied tribal offices last March and the school operated with no problem after that.And he says summer-school classes went fine too, and no trouble came about till Alex Walker tried to abolish the school board. Yochum says Walker has never been kept out of the tribal center, and he doesn’t think Walker has the authority to tell law-enforcement agencies to remove the Bear group.
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