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Tribes’ court restraining order issued

  Opposition group to be prevented from assuming any governing authority
By TY BEAVER, H&N 2/23/10
     The Klamath Tribes’ court has issued a restraining order against a group of Klamath tribal members who say they’ve recalled the current tribal government and are seeking control of the Tribes.

   Tribal chairman Joe Kirk said the restraining order doesn’t include any specific provisions other than to keep the opposition group from assuming any authority over tribal government matters and property.

   “ They ’re just supposed to behave,” he said.

   Roberta Frost, a member of the opposition group, declined to comment on the restraining order.

   New judge installed

   The court has installed a new judge and will hear the opposition group’s lawsuit against the current tribal government on March 1. The original judge recused herself earlier this month.  

   Klamath tribal officials have faced dissent since November, when a group of tribal members say they held a recall election after a regular general council meeting. Soon after, about 15 tribal members who said they were legally elected to office tried to remove the sitting tribal council members. Klamath County sheriff’s deputies intervened.

   Actions deemed illegal

   The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs said the opposition group’s actions are illegal, but those in the group said the recall was valid. The group accused the sitting tribal council of violating the tribal constitution, not properly informing tribal members on various issues and not permitting general council meetings to proceed.  

   Since the alleged recall, sheriff’s deputies and Oregon State Police troopers have responded three times to disputes between the opposition and the sitting tribal council. In one instance, a fight broke out between about a dozen people.

   The opposition group is seeking validation of its recall election by asking the court to determine whether it was in line with or in violation of the tribal constitution.

   A hearing on the group’s lawsuit was delayed when the tribal court judge was barred from hearing the case because the tribal council said her contract expired at the end of December.

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