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BIA offers to mediate in Blackfeet tribal dispute

By Associated Press
Published On: Oct 25 2013 03:02:39 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 25 2013 03:02:41 PM MDT
OTD March 11 - Bureau of Indian Affairs

Bureau of Indian Affairs

1824: The United States Department of War creates the Bureau of Indian Affairs, then known as the Office of Indian Affairs, with Thomas L. McKenney appointed as the first head of the office.

HELENA, Mont. -

The U.S. government is offering to mediate in a dispute that has splintered the governing body of the Blackfeet Indian tribe.
    
Acting Superintendent Thedis Crowe of the Bureau of Indian Affairs sent Blackfeet chairman Willie Sharp Jr. a letter Wednesday saying mediation is critical to restore a functioning tribal council.
    
The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council split into two factions after Sharp last week unilaterally suspended two members and reinstated two others who had been suspended last year.
    
Sen. Shannon Augare, Leonard Guardipee and two other council members called Sharp's actions illegal and want the BIA to intervene.
    
The group says the dispute is over their opposition to bonuses that Sharp wanted to approve for certain Head Start employees.
    
Sharp did not immediately return a call for comment Friday.