A Different Voice Serving the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

Official Charges Against Vice-Chair

in SWO Politics by

The Official Charges PLUS Two Bonus Charges



Click VCDW_Removal_Charges_10Mar2017 to review the entire 78-page document including “exhibits”.  I received this copy a while back but was asked not to post them because (a) Council had not seen them yet (how did they vote to suspend/remove then, is what I wonder), and (b) Council had allegedly told the Vice-Chair that he is not allowed to talk about his charges to the media including Social Media (Facebook) – essentially a gag-order on him.

No Authority to Act

Also below is an analysis by Michael Roberts, MBA, JD, of the District Motions that Council is basing their authority. There is no unified call for Removal, and no petitions for Removal brought forth.  So why is Council disrespecting the “Will of the People” (by ignoring the election votes) and doing this?

Credit: Michael Roberts


The Vice-Chair Responds with Allegations of Chairman Flute Wrongdoing

Suspended Vice-Chair Donovan White published the following Open Letter to the Oyate in the March 15, 2017 edition of the Sota. The letter is well-written, well-reasoned, and provides details to support their counter-claim (although check #s and accounts drawn from would have been nice.


Here is a spreadsheet of all the Motions related to the project:

Tribal Police served additional charges, including #9, as a consequence of his communication with the Oyate:

Uhhh, what?  Did Council read a different Open Letter?  This doesn’t make me question the Integrity of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.  It does make me question the integrity of our Chairman and the reading and comprehension skills of Lead Attorney Deb Flute (sister to Chairman Dave Flute, and presumedly the author – or at the very least, a reviewer – of the charges), because this doesn’t make sense.  First of all, there are zero allegations or implications in the Open Letter that “three of the homeowners” committed wrong-doing.  In fact, the letter states that the homeowners will have to pay back the Tribe those funds (with interest) spent by Chairman Flute – in essence the three homeowners are victims.

This seems an amateur attempt of grasping at any straw to remove the VC because it clearly has no basis in fact and indeed it provides no facts absolving the Chairman – for example they could have provided Motions by Council that do authorize the Chairman’s expenditures thus proving the Open Letter false.  That would have been simple to do… if they could.

In reviewing all the charges, they all seem petty and lack proof beyond a reasonable doubt – nothing to warrant a Removal.  So the question remains – What is the real motivation behind this removal so early in the term?  Are these payments just the tip of an iceberg?

Lack of Transparency and Consequences

Our elected leaders had plenty of time to do the right thing and explain their actions, yet they choose to keep the Oyate in the dark. If we are going to move forward then we all need to be informed of the basics at least.  In the Sota the reason given for not informing the Public was to protect the Vice-Chair’s “right to due process.”. That statement, my friends is utter bullshit.  They threw “due process” out the window a long time ago and are now violating ALL OF OUR rights.

We are a NATION.  Removing a rightfully elected Executive is a big decision, and we, the voters who put him in office deserve to be informed.  These removals disrupt and destabilize the functioning of our government, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you better believe this turmoil is noticed by other entities – other Tribal Nations, federal government, state government, banks, etc.  It tells the world that the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate can’t handle its affairs, and makes them all wary of doing business with us, affecting services offered, credit-worthiness, and economic development.

So what do we have?

  • no authority for this action in the first place.
  • Retaliation and a de facto gag order on Vice-Chair Donovan White
  • Charges with no basis in provable fact.
  • Secrecy by refusing to release the charges to the Oyate, so we remain in the dark while this is railroaded through. How disrespectful.

So what can we do?  Ummm…??  Suggestions?


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