Tribal Appeals Court Upholds 2013 Election

Chairman reinstated after being forced out 18 months ago due to a federal investigation

By Justin Franz

HAVRE — The chairman of the Chippewa Cree Tribe — who was suspended more than 18 months ago and later re-elected — was sworn in to office Thursday afternoon.

The tribal council said it suspended Ken Blatt St. Marks in March 2013 for neglect of his duties and misconduct, but St. Marks said the real reason was his cooperation with a federal corruption investigation.

St. Marks received 453 votes in a July 2013 special election compared to 315 for Richard Morsette. However, the tribe’s election board invalidated the results because 12 prison inmates cast their votes in a van and may not have used the proper identification.

The Havre Daily News reports the tribal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a tribal court ruling that said even if those 12 votes were thrown out, St. Marks still would have won.