Osage Nation Chief Found Guilty Of Violating Tribal Law
OSAGE COUNTY, Oklahoma - Osage Nation Chief John Red Eagle has been found guilty of five of six charges Tuesday morning. Eleven of twelve Osage Nation Congress members voted to remove and disqualify Red Eagle from holding tribal office.
Red Eagle faced six charges during the 8-day trial and was found guilty of five of them.
He walked out of the Osage Nation Tribal Headquarters surrounded by supporters and did not comment.
Roseanne McKee, a supporter of Red Eagle, said, "An innocent man was convicted. So, yes, I'm sad."
Red Eagle was under investigation for violating the Osage Nation constitution.
The charges included trying to get the tribe's attorney general to stop investigating his granddaughter, authorizing more than $70,000 to give a friend a job with the nation even though the friend never did any work, and refusing to comply with the tribe's open records law by refusing to give public information to two newspapers out of fear it would hurt a friend's reputation.
During his testimony last week, Red Eagle said it was not uncommon for tribal employees to cheat a little on their time sheets, but that an investigation focused unfairly on his granddaughter.
He did not believe the investigation should have been a criminal matter.
He also said, "This is an embarrassment, judge. I'm the Chief of the Osage Nation and I don't need to be badgered like that."
Red Eagle's supporters say the cards were stacked against him because it was the congress members who served as both investigators and the jury.
"All these ducks were put in a row by that congress in there to get the conclusion that they wanted from the get go," said Red Eagle supporter, John Star Big Horse.
Supporters also say that Red Eagle did a lot of good for the Osage Nation during his three years in office. He helped more than a hundred tribe members get a job working on a local pipeline and he developed a partnership with Tulsa Community College to bring college courses to Osage County.
"He always dignified the office of the chief, and through this process, he always dignified the office of the chief.
"I believe that we have raised the bar for the Osage Nation, elected officials positions, and I'm confident that our nation will move forward and I am confident that we will thrive," said Buffalohead.
Assistant Chief Scott Bighorse has been sworn in as the new principal chief.
The only not guilty charge involved the election board.