Ute tribal dissidents, fighting for control of tribal courts now controlled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, will discuss a "political solution" to their dispute with the tribe's ruling Business Committee, an attorney said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Winder postponed a hearing on a motion by tribal dissidents concerning whether to overturn an ordinance passed by the Business Committee to dissolve the courts and transfer them to the BIA's jurisdiction.That thwarts a court challenge to the ordinance, which the Business Committee says will end an appearance of conflict of interest on their part, but which dissidents call a ploy to prevent the court from taking action against the committee.
Danny Quintana, attorney for Ute dissidents, said instead of seeking a court injunction against the move he will discuss with his clients the possibility of seeking a political end to the turmoil on the eastern-Utah reservation.
"What we're going to discuss is a political solution to this tribal court matter . . . let's just take the matter to the people directly," Quintana said, adding litigation would cost thousands of dollars and take years.
Dissidents have organized a recall election to remove five of six Business Committee members and regular primary elections for three committee seats are scheduled for March 29. Final elections are scheduled for April 18.
Meanwhile, on Monday the BIA seated two judges in their court who have Indian law experience, said BIA Superintendent Perry Baker, of the Uintah-Ouray Agency. Hearings are scheduled for Thursday, he said.