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Published September 10, 2013, 05:46 PM

McDonald reinstated as Spirit Lake Chairman

Russ McDonald was reinstated as tribal chairman Tuesday on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Today marked the second time McDonald was installed as chairman to replace Roger Yankton.

By: Cynthia Johnson, WDAZ

Russ McDonald was reinstated as tribal chairman Tuesday on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Today marked the second time McDonald was installed as chairman to replace Roger Yankton. McDonald joked that he may have a Guinness world record for how many times he's been sworn in to different offices on the Spirit Lake Reservation.

Dozens of supporters turned out to the ceremony, which comes as a result of the decision made by an appeals court Friday to overturn the tribal court's July 16th decision reinstating Roger Yankton.

Until Tuesday, McDonald has been serving in recent weeks as the Fort Totten District representative for the council. He addressed a number of issues he wants to tackle, including child safety, substance abuse, housing and employment. McDonald also says he hopes to rid the reservation of nepotism and create a separation of powers between the council and court system.

"Family members shouldn't be working directly under family members. That's the main issue I see with regard to corruption," said McDonald. "The other part is that our authority as tribal council shouldn't override the decision made by the court system. I think those are two that are very apparent to us".

The council will hold a special election in the next two weeks to fill the Fort Totten representative position. The state Department for Children and Family Services will also visit the reservation September 16th to assess the reservations child protection services, foster care and judicial system.

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