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Published August 21, 2013, 04:33 PM

Spirit Lake residents await decision on tribal chairman's fate

Former Spirit Lake Tribal Chairman Roger Yankton says he feels like a prisoner on the reservation after the tribal council got a restraining order barring him from tribal offices, but people working to keep Yankton out of office say it's time he listens to the will of the people and steps down.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

Former Spirit Lake Tribal Chairman Roger Yankton says he feels like a prisoner on the reservation after the tribal council got a restraining order barring him from tribal offices, but people working to keep Yankton out of office say it's time he listens to the will of the people and steps down.

The struggle over the chairman's seat has dragged on since April, but there is hope on the reservation that an appeals court hearing next week will finally end months of controversy. Supporters collected enough signatures to force a vote whether or not to keep Yankton. They voted overwhelmingly to kick him out, but he has taken to tribal court in an effort to stay in office. An appeals court will hear arguments from both sides on August 30th.

Erich Longie, who wrote the petition to oust Yankton, says he thought the issue would have been resolved by now.

"We had no idea that it would take this long," said Longie. "We figured we'd do what usually happens - we would collect enough signatures and we went by the numbers they gave us." Roger Yankton didn't return multiple messages asking for a comment.

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