The Northern Cheyenne Tribe's capitol building in Lame Deer, Montana. Photo: Jimmy Emerson, DVM

Clara Caufield: Discouragement

Although my goal is to write positive columns, sometimes that is not always possible, especially with a constant stream of discouraging news from back home, the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

Not a phone call goes by but there is news of yet another death, many times our cherished elders or someone who is terribly ill. Recently, the news has been even more horrific – murders, drug dealers, etc. These developments seem to have many people on edge.

The vast majority of the Northern Cheyenne people are law abiding folk, respectful of the law, staying home, tending to business and family. However, in any society there is a fringe element and given the current deficient law enforcement on the reservation, some are taking advantage of the situation.

And there is always the scuttlebutt about the Tribal Council, what they are doing or more precisely, what they are not doing, even simple stuff such as going to work, answering phone calls, returning phone calls or having meetings. Not to tar all of them with the same brush, as there are a few faithful Council members. They do, however need a certain number present in order to conduct business and all too often, that has not been happening.

This issue of the paper includes two stories related to some of the turmoil on the Reservation: one addressing the serious law and order problem and the other about the running conflict between the military societies and Tribal President/Administration. There are some Council members who support the societies, which only makes for more tension and confusion. What is the old saying? Kind of hard to get the cork back in the genies’ jar.

It was amazing to receive a communication from a Tribal Council member and the Tribal President’s office detailing her views and response to the conflict with the military societies. Usually, while the regular Tribal folk love my stories, the Council often does not, maybe because sometimes the truth is in order. But funny how it works, when you want to tell your story what better way than Native Sun News Today.


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Clara Caufield can be reached at

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