Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe pressed to hold school board election

Residents of the Busby District on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation attend a recent meeting. Photo courtesy A Cheyenne Voice

Busby District seeks return of elected school board
By Clara Caufield
Native Sun News Correspondent

BUSBY, Mont –– At the first Tribal Council meeting in May, elected and non-paid Busby District Chairman, Dana Eaglefeathers, will once again request that Tribal Council authorize and schedule a school board election of community members for the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Schools (NCTS), Busby. That would replace a long standing appointed Ad Hoc School Board, comprised primarily of Tribal Council members.

“This is about the 10th time that I have approached the Council with this request from the Busby District, a priority concern to our community,” he said. Eaglefeathers also noted that while NCTS is located in Busby, one of the primary employers in that poverty-stricken community, the issue of a reservation-wide school board should be of concern to the entire reservation community as NCTS is a tribal school, serving students from across the reservation and even students from Crow Agency.

“The Tribal Ordinance requiring an elected school board of tribal members, one from each district, is still in place,” Eaglefeathers noted. “All they have to do is pass a resolution to schedule an election of tribal members and parents to resume local control. Our people are tired of the Tribal Council being on all of the tribal committees with little reporting or accountability to the people. For example, the Busby District has, by official letter, repeatedly requested NCTS budget information and expenditures from the Ad Hoc Committee, with no success. This should be public information, just like it is for other public schools”.

NCTS is funded by the Bureau of Indian Education, a historic institution dating back to the early reservation days, then operated as a BIA Boarding School. In the 1970’s, it was the first BIA school in the nation to be tribally contracted under the authority of P.L. 93-638, Self-determination.

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