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Category Archives: In The News

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Press Release: Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa Welcomes Senate Passage of Proposed Bill




Meskwaki Settlement – The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi welcomes the passage of Senate Bill 381 by the United States Senate on November 27, 2018. A companion bill had previously been passed by the United States House of Representatives and the bill now moves on for signature by the President. The bill overturns a previous federal law passed in 1948.

“For generations, we took care of our own criminal issues and problems and shared jurisdiction over crimes committed on the Settlement with the federal government.” Said Tribal Chairman Anthony Waseskuk. This all changed in 1948, when the federal government passed a one-sentence law and gave the State of Iowa criminal jurisdiction over the Settlement.”

In many states, Native American tribes have criminal jurisdiction for certain crimes committed by Native Americans against Native Americans on their own territory. This has not always been the case in Iowa, however, due to the federal law enacted in 1948.

In 1948, Congress enacted a law granting Iowa, rather than the Meskwaki tribe, concurrent jurisdiction for criminal offenses occurring on Meskwaki territory, but retaining federal jurisdiction for offenses against federal law. At the time, the tribe did not have its own police force or court system.

“Seventy years after passage of the 1948 Act, the Settlement is a much different place.” continued Tribal Chairman Waseskuk, “The Meskwaki Nation now operates and maintains a fully functional criminal justice system including a court system with law trained judges, prosecutors and public defenders. Our police officers are certified law enforcement officers by the State of Iowa and provide 24 hour police protection to the community.”

Despite making great strides and progress in developing its own criminal justice system, the ramifications of the 1948 Act continued to plague effective law enforcement and the implementation of a criminal justice system on the Meskwaki Settlement.

The ‘48 Act had created a dual-concurrent criminal justice system composed of both tribal and state justice systems. Because a criminal case could be brought both in state court and in tribal court, a Native American defendant who committed an offense on the Settlement would face the possibility of two prosecutions. One prosecution by the state and one by the tribe.

“This was simply unfair and unjust” said Attorney General for the Tribe, Jay Finch. “It resulted in Native Americans being prosecuted twice for the same offense on their own land while non-natives were prosecuted merely once in state court. Being prosecuted twice for the same offense in turn led to additional fines, court costs and incarceration for the Native American defendant.”  Finch added.

Something had to be done. So in 2016, the Tribe began working on getting the support of the State of Iowa.

In 2017 the State of Iowa approved legislation signed into law by then Governor Terry Brandstad calling on Congress to repeal the 1948 law. Since 1948, Congress had never appropriated funds to State of Iowa to prosecute criminal cases which arose on the Settlement and the burden of doing so had fallen on the County of Tama. The passage of the ’48 Act hadn’t been fair to the State of Iowa either who had never been consulted prior to its passage.

“It’s been a very long battle and journey and we are happy that soon another piece of the tribe’s sovereignty which had at one time been taken away has now been restored.” remarked Chairman Waseskuk.

Press Release

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Dirk Whitebreast Named as a Native American 40 under 40 Award Recipient

Press Release For Immediate Distribution: Meskwaki Nation, Tama, Iowa
Dirk Whitebreast Named as a Native American 40 under 40 Award Recipient – Award recognizes young Native American and Alaska Native leaders across the U.S.
Dirk Whitebreast has been named as a 2018 winner of the Native American 40 Under 40 award. The award is bestowed by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Awardees are nominated by members of their communities because they have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication in making significant contributions in their communities.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to the NCAIED committee for selecting me to be a part of this year’s Native American 40 Under 40 class,” Whitebreast explained. “I’ve been fortunate in my young career to experience the successes I’ve had and hope that it serves to motivate other young people in our community to offer up their own leadership. Thank you to my friends, family, MBCH team and the Meskwaki community for your continued support. Congratulations to my fellow 40 Under 40 award recipients. See you in Tulsa!”
The award, in its 10th year, is given to individuals who have devoted their skills and resources to enhancing their communities. Award winners will be honored at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma on October 29-30. From business, academia, healthcare, tribal government, politics, non-profits, journalism, the law, finance, and marketing, 40 under 40 winners are shining examples for all of us to follow.
Whitebreast, a member of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (Meskwaki Nation), is the general manager for non-gaming operations at the Meskwaki Bingo, Casino and Hotel, an avid runner, entrepreneur, and a board member for the Center for Native American Youth.
“We are thrilled to recognize the impressive achievements of Dirk Whitebreast,” said Bessie Scott, Executive Director of Meskwaki Tribal Operations. “A prime example of his leadership capabilities is when Marshalltown experienced the devastating tornado in early July. The storm caused several families to be displaced in the downtown area. Mr. Whitebreast, along with Mr. Jon Papakee, immediately sprang into action and mobilized efforts by converting the main conference room of the casino into a temporary shelter for families affected by the storm.
I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Dirk to receive this distinguished award. Congratulations, Dirk Whitebreast.”
In 2011, Whitebreast ran 10 marathons in 30 days to promote the Center for Native American Youth and suicide prevention awareness. He recently began Red Earth Running Company, an independent running brand, whose mission is to elevate awareness of Indigenous running and runners globally. To learn more, go to https://redearthrun.co or find more on Facebook @redearthrunco.

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Title 16 Article II: Thirty Day Public Comment Period

Notice to Public

At it’s regular meeting convened on September 19, 2018 the Tribal Council approved a draft of Title 16 (Property Code) Article II Assignment of Land of the Code of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. Such approval is subject to consideration of comments that may be forthcoming during a thirty (30) day public comment period.

Accordingly, a copy of the proposed Title 16 Article II is immediately available for public review and comment through October 22, 2018. You may request a copy of the subject law for your review by contacting:

Office of the Attorney General

Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa

349 Meskwaki Road, Tama Iowa 52339

Telephone Number: (641) 484-9220.

All comments should be submitted in writing to the Office of the Attorney General no later than 4:30 p.m. October 22, 2018.

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Meskwaki Tribal Court Announcement: Online Payments

Meskwaki Tribal Court can now accept payments online for Fines and Fees, including Traffic Violations. You may make payments in full or partial payments. Please note: If making partial payments you must pay in full by the deadline given in your order.

To Make a Payment:

  1. Please visit http://www.meskwakicourt.org and click the Pay Fees Online tab located at the bottom of the Home web-page or go to www.citepayusa.com
  2. Select State – Iowa
  3. Meskwaki Tribal Court will automatically pop up
  4. Select “Make a Payment”
  5. The options of “Pay Citation, Fine or Court Fee” OR “Pay Bail Bond” will appear – user should select which option they want
  6. To pay a Fine or Fee, the user must either have their Citation Number and DOB OR their Case Number and DOB.

Disclaimer: Please note these are estimated balances, these may not include the full balance if you have anything pending, jail costs, doing community service, etc. The court is not responsible or liable for any outstanding balances or subject to action based on the amount provided in this system. Please contact Meskwaki Tribal Court with any questions regarding your balance.

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