By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
Several major issues went undecided by the Northern Arapaho Tribe on Saturday because too few members attended a meeting of its legislative branch.
Many agenda items, including one contemplating legalizing alcohol sales in the Wind River Casino, went unheard.
Alcohol vending on the Wind River Indian Reservation, which includes the casino, has been forbidden by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone law and order code since about the late 1970s. Before that, the federal government outlawed it in various forms beginning in 1832.
Federal law now has a soft ban on alcohol sales in Indian Country: the practice can be legalized by host tribes, if the tribes will follow state liquor laws.
Northern Arapaho Tribal policy is largely governed by gatherings of voting-age members at general council meetings, with a quorum, or required minimum attendance, of 150 people.
According to NAT spokesman Matthew Benson, about 131 tribal members came to the Arapahoe School on Saturday to hear issues and vote.
The meeting was cancelled.
Another topic proposed for consideration, this one by tribal member Nicole Wagon, was a resolution to remove Janet Millard, Chief Judge of the Wind River Tribal Court, from her position.
Wagon’s agenda item claimed that Millard did meet “the tribal enrollment requirement” of being an American Indian.
The Eastern Shoshone Tribe, in an email to Cowboy State Daily, countered the claim that Millard is non-native, but declined to comment directly on Wagon’s proposal.
“Both tribes approved (Millard’s) hiring,” wrote EST spokeswoman Alejandra Silva, “as she is a non-enrolled Eastern Shoshone.”
Millard was sworn into her position in August of 2020.
“She is a member, but not enrolled,” continued Silva.
Wagon also was scheduled to present a ballot initiative titled “Prohibition on working for other governments,” that would have precluded tribal employees from working for any state, federal, or local government.
If it had become law, the measure could have forced State Rep. Andi LeBeau, D-Ethete, to choose between her position in the Wyoming Legislature and her job directing human resources for the Wind River Intertribal Council, which is a joint operation run by the NAT and Eastern Shoshone