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Name: David Stewart
Tribal Affiliation: Crow
Interview No.: CR039DS041304
Topic: Christianity, Crow Chairman
Language: English/Crow
Time Code In: 03:08:20:13
Time Code Out: 03:11:29:24
Tape 1 of 2 - Original
Q: “David, you were elected as a Chairman in 1972. Did you always have a desire
to be in Tribal politics?”
A: “I never had. No. It just so happened that about a month before the election we were
in just the last week in April that year. I was at home one day when somebody came and
approached me and asked me if I would care to run for the Chairmanship. And I thought
the guy was just joking, you know, and we laughed about it, you know. And I said,
“Sure, I’ll be glad to be a big Chairman, you know.” We laughed about it and I didn’t
realize that it was going to happen. This person said, “No, I mean business. There are a
lot of people that are asking me to come and see you. See if you see if you’d care to run
for the Chairmanship. They are looking for someone to run. I said, “Is that right?” He
said yes. We would like to see you take a chance on that. Well, okay but then I’ve got a
problem. I told him I said, “I’m a federal employee. I can’t run for politics and hold my
job and I said, “I know how the tribal politics are. It can get pretty dirty and it can be real
mean. I could have some problems with my run. Meaning to the Tribe and then again, I
could have some problems if I run, I said. What if I lose my job? As a civil service
individual, I can’t run in politics and hold onto my job. I’d have to resign and then if I
resign that means I may not be able to come back again but I said, “I’ll inquire about this
and see what happens.” And the guy said, “Okay, do that and let me know next week.”
So that Monday, when I came to work, this was on a weekend, when I came to work I
approached the Superintendent. I said, “I have been approached to run for the
Chairmanship. What are the chances of running for the office and what if I get elected
and what if I don’t? What are the chances of coming back in if I don’t get elected?” He
said, “Well, I’ll tell you, Dave,” the Superintendent said, “today, you are very fortunate.”
I asked him, “What do you mean?” He said, “There’s a new law that came in just about a
couple of weeks ago where a federal employee can become a Chairman, a tribal official.
But he can come back if he wishes to come back to his position in the BIA. He can
always come back. They will just let you have a furlough and leave without pay.” I said,
“Is that right?” He said, “Yes, you can take that if you want. Do you want to try it?” I
said, “Well, are you sure now?” He said, “Yes. You can take leave and come back in
again after the Chairmanship.” I said, “Okay, I’ll try it then.” At which time I applied
for leave of absence and his secretary came in and wrote it up, you know, and submitted
it to the Area Office and he said, “I’ll let you know. It has to be approved by the Area
Director, Jim Cannon.”
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