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ON Congress special session will consider Chief’s removal

Osage Nation Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle has called for a 10th special session of the Osage Congress to be convened on Nov. 15, a day after the tribal legislature is scheduled to begin consideration of removal proceedings against the Chief.

The ON Congress ended an eighth special session Oct. 29 following release of a report on an investigation into 15 allegations of wrongdoing which had been made against Red Eagle. A two-month-long probe had been conducted by a Select Committee of Inquiry comprised of five congressional members.

According to the report, the investigating committee found evidence sufficient to support seven of the allegations against the Principal Chief. The committee recommended that the ON Congress place six of the allegations on a motion calling for Red Eagle’s removal from office.

Included in the allegations are claims of malfeasance in office, arrogation of power, abuse of government process and disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office. Two of the charges involve alleged interference by Red Eagle in an investigation by the Osage Attorney General’s office.

A motion based on the committee findings is scheduled to be considered during a ninth special session of the tribal Congress scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14.

In an executive proclamation filed with ON Congress Clerk Barbara Rice late Wednesday (Oct. 30), Red Eagle called for a 10th special session of the tribal Legislature to be called for 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15. The Principal Chief’s proclamation asked that the Congress consider four items: three involving modifications to recently-passed budget actions and a fourth on an amendment to a budgetary act.

Calling of the congressional session by the Chief was done in accordance with the Osage Constitution, tribal staff concluded. On Friday, they said that the Congress should be able to provide for the back-to-back special sessions.

“Since the ninth session will more than likely proceed to (November) the 15th, the current plan is to continue that meeting at 9 a.m. Friday before the start of the 10th session at 10 a.m.,” said Shana Walker, a member of ON Congress legislative staff.

It is possible that an 11th session of the Congress may be called so that a trial could be conducted on removal of Red Eagle from office. According to the Osage Constitution, an ON Supreme Court justice would preside at a removal trial and the 12 congressional members would serve as the jurors.

The committee report pointed out that, if the ON Congress proceeds with a removal trial, “the Principal Chief and his legal counsel will have the opportunity to present a legal defense, call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses and submit evidence on his behalf.”

Red Eagle has consistently denied the allegations. An expanded response by the Osage Chief can be found in an accompanying article on page A4.

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