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SWO Tribal Vice-Chair Donovan White suspended pending Removal by a Chairman Flute-led Tribal Council

What heinous misdeed occurred to warrant such a drastic stomping on the Will of the Oyate? A staffer used a $3 flashdrive to analyze non-confidential budget information.


This solid middle finger to the voters just makes one wonder what Chairman Flute et al. are so desperate to hide. Chairman Flute’s own top political appointee, has a half-million dollar judgment against him from a settlement agreement where he allegedly “misused” Tribal funds. Another Tribal Member, twice-indicted for embezzlement, has been bragging about this removal for weeks (before a month of office was even complete!). Who’s really pulling the strings?

Our government will never serve the Entire Oyate as long as the honest, progressive Leaders (Like Donovan and former Chairman Bruce Renville,) elected by the Oyate are removed for such foolishness.

A $3 flashdrive. A poorly written IT Policy. A disgruntled employee stirring the political pot. Alleged monetary kickbacks, promised board appointments, housing purchases without following policy, Tribal attorneys (Senior Tribal Attorney is the Chairman’s sister) who twist the words of Policy and the Constitution, and a $30,000,000 loan done in secret and concealed from the People.

Is this what the Oyate wanted when they elected Donovan to bring accountability and transparency to the Tribe’s Finances?

Stay tuned to www.hotokeca.com for further updates and documents.

A Real Challenge – Policy That Makes Sense

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I didn’t think the “Flash-Drive Controversy” would go this far, but word has it that the Old Agency District (or just 7 people) voted to remove the Vice-Chairman claiming he “misused a flash drive” according to SWO Policy.  Now that we’ve all gotten beyond our WTF moment, let’s review the policy.  SWO’s Computer Use Policy starts on page 77.

2015 SWO Personnel Policies with Revisions

If you can explain to me how anything within this Computer Use policy, Chapter XIII, applies to a flash drive, I will buy you lunch, hot and fresh – a $8.99 value!  Stay tuned and I will post my analysis of this Chapter as well.

An IT Breach or an IT Failure?

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As I was listening to the District Chairman’s Association, I was struck by how many came in to “Investigate the Vice-Chair’s Office and/or Political Appointees for an IT Breach of confidential information.”  Let’s review what happened.

Apparently, the Vice-Chairman and/or his political appointees wanted to review their budget.  Each office has the right to do that, and furthermore, since the Vice-Chairman’s office oversees all budgets, he has the Constitutional duty to examine all budgets.  They ran into a problem however, because the Information Technology (IT) Department had not yet set them up with computers and the equipment they needed to complete their job duties.  This is an failure on the IT Department, as they had plenty of notice that new persons would be coming on board.  The election was held in November 2016, after all, so that’s two months lead time.

I’m told they spoke with IT and IT gave them a portable jumpdrive to transfer documents to.  The budget specialist then gave them the budget matrix on that drive.  Sounds like a simple solution.

I imagine the political bruhaha started about now.


  1. The Vice-Chairman acted within his authority.  It is the duty of the Vice-Chairman to review and administer the financial affairs of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.  See the By-laws of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Article I – Duties of Officials, Section 3. Vice-Chairman, (f) The Vice-Chairman shall oversee all financial and business matters of the Tribe.
  2. Budgets are not confidential.  Tribal Governement spends our money and we have the right to know how our government spends it.  The budgets are held in a simple Excel spreadsheet with no security whatsoever and are freely shared.  In fact, current Chairman Dave Flute has shared the budget outside of the tribal email system in the past under the same policies in effect now, so I am not sure why anyone would fault the current Vice-Chairman for simply having the file.

I really don’t see the issue with the Vice-Chairman and his political appointees.  If there was a failure of duty, it would fall on the IT Department for not having the Vice-Chairman’s office set up with the equipment they needed to carry out their elected duties.


SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS!!  I’ve heard that people were concerned about the Social Security Numbers within that file.  Oh?  Why would that be?  Social Security numbers should be confidential information and held only by the HR Department.  Then my question is “Why would the budget specialist have social security numbers on her computer?”  Wouldn’t that be a violation of confidentiality on her part then?  Since she was installed with the previous Vice-Chairman, was she directed to keep SSNs on file or did she keep them at her own discretion?  For what purpose?

CHAIN OF COMMAND!!  The Vice-Chairman did follow the chain of command.  As previously established, he has the right to review budgets, he directed his political appointees to begin the process, and the Budget Office reports directly to the Vice-Chairman.

If there must be a call for an “Investigation”, logically the investigation should look at these two departments:

  • Budget Office and Budget Specialists – why do they have SSNs in their files?  For what purpose?  Since this was the previous administration, it would involve looking not only at one remaining budget specialist, but the other budget specialist, the political appointees – Laura Williams (currently working as Chairman Flute’s political appointee) and Viva DuBois, and the previous Vice-Chairman Garryl Rousseau.
  • IT Department – Why didn’t they have the Vice-Chair’s office set up and ready to go when they took office? Why did it take an entire week to accomplish?  The Information Technology department currently reports to Chairman Flute, although, up until December 2016, they reported to previous Vice-Chairman Garryl Rousseau.
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