Tribal council suspends Oglala Sioux president Brewer

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Last Updated: 10 years

Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer was suspended by the tribal council Tuesday following allegations that he acted without the approval of the council more than once and mishandled a check for $5,000.

Garfield Steele, a council member for the Wounded Knee district, said the council voted 10-5 Tuesday to suspend Brewer until July 17, when a hearing is scheduled to determine whether Brewer should be reinstated or impeached.

Steele said there are three complaints against Brewer:

• That he signed over the tribe’s power of attorney in order to approve bonds for the tribe without the consent of the council.

• That he re-approved a contract for health benefits to the tribe’s former casino manager without the consent of the council.

• That he mishandled a $5,000 donation made by a business to the tribe.

Steele said he had seen evidence in support of the complaints, but said he would reserve judgment until Brewer was given a chance to defend himself at the hearing.

“I support the president,” he said. “I support a lot of things that he’s done. He’s done good things and the reason why I voted to accept this was to allow him to give his side of the story.”

Steele said the hearing will be overseen by a tribal judge with the eventual decision on impeachment or reinstatement left with the tribe’s 19-member council. A two-thirds majority is needed for impeachment.

Requests for comment late Thursday to Brewer and an associate, Chuck Jacobs, were not returned.

After the suspension vote, the council approved by a 13-2 vote a resolution stating that Brewer did not have authority to oversee economic development programs. The resolution also stated that Brewer had no right to let Raycen Raines sign documents without tribal approval.

Raines’ involvement in the matter was not explained openly.

Councilwoman Robin Tapio, who voted against the resolution regarding Raines, questioned why the action was made so quickly.

“Where is the information? We should have had that information,” Tapio said during debate over the resolution. “We’re going to vote on this without even knowing that this is actually true?”

Last December, the council unsuccessfully tried to impeach Brewer, according to the newspaper Lakota Country Times. But after reviewing a 15-count impeachment complaint in a special session, the council voted 7-5 to dismiss the complaint, the newspaper said.

In June 2013, Brewer was arrested on a charge of writing a bad check. He was released after covering the cost of the check, $191, which was owed to a Gordon veterinary clinic for Feb. 23, 2012, according to previous Journal reports. 

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Contact Joe O’Sullivan at 394-8414 or joe.osullivan@rapidcityjournal.com