President Julian Bear Runner of the Oglala Sioux Tribe addresses the National Congress of American Indians in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on October 23, 2019. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

OST President Bear Runner suspended for 30 days

PINE RIDGE - Julian Bear Runner, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, was suspended for 30 days and put on a 14 day quarantine during an emergency council meeting July 8.

Robin Tapio, a representative from the Pine Ridge District, made the motion to suspend Bear Runner and the vote passed 13-7. Bear Runner is suspended with pay. Tom Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has taken over presidential duties.

The emergency council meeting was called by Bear Runner to discuss a now-cancelled 72 hour lockdown previously issued by Bear Runner on July 6.

Any questions you may contact The Health Administrator at (605) 407–8472 or the CHR Director (605) 454–4488... #maskupwashupdistance

Posted by Oglala Sioux Tribe - OST on Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The lockdown forced many tribal members to stay home, and blocked any non-essential travel through the reservation. But, when put in place, Bear Runner was unable to be reached by council members who did not know that the lockdown was even being considered by Bear Runner.

Several council members have expressed frustration about not being able to answer their constituent’s questions while being put in the impromptu lockdown.

“We were all in the dark,” one council member said while speaking with the Native Sun News Today. “We were getting so many phone calls from people who didn’t know what was going on, and we didn’t know what was going on. People were in stores and the cops were telling the stores to close. Everyone was scared like there was something serious going on they hadn’t heard about.”

Speculation of a plethora of reasons why Bear Runner was suspended have been brought forth through social media, but a council person confirmed that “the only main reason he was suspended was because he called for a lockdown and didn’t notify the council.”

Many council members expressed their concern for not being able to contact Bear Runner while being caught off guard by the lockdown order, and said that the suspension was to give the president time to reassess his governing strategies. The 14 day quarantine was placed on bear Runner as his whereabouts during the time of the lockdown were brought into question.


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