Osage Nation Congress Investigating Principal Chief

Monday, October 21st 2013, 5:59 pm
By: News On 6

The Principal Chief of the Osage Nation is under investigation by his own congress.

Chief John Red Eagle faces more than a dozen charges of misuse of power and ethics violations.

The investigation began earlier this summer, when the Osage Nation Congress was told of 15 allegations against its Chief. Many tribal members thought the final report was going to be released Monday, but the congress says it's simply not ready.

John Red Eagle has been Principal Chief of the Osage Nation for three years. Members of the tribe's congress met Monday morning behind closed doors, as part of their investigation into the chief.

"I have big problems with the process, because I feel like no one's been given due process," said Deidre Bigheart, the tribe's Executive Director of Government Affairs.

Bigheart is a big supporter of Chief Red Eagle.

"They just have not liked the way Chief has conducted business, based on what they've heard in gossip and rumor," Bigheart said.

The 15 allegations include ethics violations in the Chief's personnel decisions, charges that he interfered with a government board, and charges that he interfered with this very investigation.

"Well, I think, the bottom line that you have to realize is, not one of the allegations is criminal in matter," Bigheart said.

Osage Congressman William Supernaw brought three of the allegations. He declined to answer our questions after Monday's special session.

"Oh well, I don't think I'm supposed to speak on this. We have a spokesman," he said.

The spokesman would not provide details of the investigation.

Supporters of Chief Red Eagle say he's done a lot for the tribe, pointing to his agreement to provide pipeline job training for tribal members and a partnership with Tulsa Community College to bring college courses to Osage County.

Chief Red Eagle was at a funeral Monday, but issued a statement saying, "Many of the committee's questions focused on drawing out how people felt, rather than seeking facts. The investigation concentrated too much on imagined wrongs and too little on reality."

The congress is not saying when the report will be released. Once it is released, the next step would be for a vote on whether a trial should be held to remove Chief Red Eagle from office.