Tribal chairman’s response on NARF inappropriate
Now I understand why so many tribal members expressed fear of retaliation if they signed the People’s Voice petition asking for a referendum vote on the payout of the remainder of the Salazar settlement payout. CSKT Chairman Joe Durglo and NARF Execute Director John Echohawk’s letter in the Feb. 20 Valley Journal, responding to my letter published Jan. 10, appears to be meant to intimidate me and mislead the tribal membership.
It appears that you are trying to “correct my misconceptions, mischaracterizations, etc.” about NARF’s role in the Cobell settlement. The “misconceptions and mischaracterizations” you repeatedly speak of are not mine. If they do exist, they are that of the Indian Country Today newspaper, not Joelene Frey’s. If you look again at my letter, you will find that I never expressed my personal opinion; I directly quoted the information from Indian Country Today’s Aug. 12, 2012, article titled “Cobell and NARF lawyers battle over money.”
Your statement of my “mischaracterization of NARF as having dropped the Cobell plaintiffs at a critical juncture in this litigation” is a word-for-word quote in the 11th paragraph of the article. I didn’t “mischaracterize” NARF; the Cobell attorneys did. In fact, I strongly encouraged members to read the article and draw their own conclusions (paragraph 8 of my original letter). You appeared to deliberately not mention in your response that the information came from Indian Country Today, as I clearly specified in my letter. So, wouldn’t your letter to me have been better served had you sent it to the actual source of information, Indian Country Today?
All I did, Mr. Durglo and Mr. Echohawk, is provide the source of the information to the tribal membership and ask the question, “Do we want to donate money to NARF?” The remainder of my letter was encouraging the tribal membership to get more involved in their Tribal Council’s decision-making by attending meetings and asking questions. I firmly believe the entire tribal membership has the right to “scrutinize” any and all of the Tribal Council’s decisions. I did not get a feel from your letter that you agree.
Your inappropriate tongue-lashing gives rise to many more questions the membership could possibly have for you — questions like, did we not pay our own attorneys to work on this case? Are we members going to be chastised by you every time we put information out to the membership that is pertinent to an issue? Why do so many members express fear of the Tribal Council retaliating against them if they express their opinion or sign a petition?