Connect with us


Protesters gather in front of the Little Shell Chippewa office in Great Falls



Great Falls, Montana – On Saturday, December 30, 2023, peaceful demonstrators assembled outside the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe office on Central Avenue West in Great Falls to make the case that the current leadership should be removed from office.

Both tribal and non-tribal people participated in the demonstrations, holding signs and beating traditional drums in support of the current council’s ouster.

“People who are from the original families that settled here should be on that council,” said Sarah LeDeau Schmasow, one of the protesters, “Not people who are so far removed from any of the families and are so out of touch of who we are or any of the practices.”

To remove Chairman Gerald Gray and other tribe members from the council, the protestors assert that they have two legitimate recalls.

In line with the Little Shell tribal election code, the Little Shell Chippewa tribe states in a news release that it “is not aware of, nor have we received, any legally valid recall petition.”

“That council’s not the tribe,” LeDeau Schmasow said, “We are the tribe. We are the tribal people.”

The demonstrators contend that Chairman Gerald Gray has undue influence over the tribe’s members and is stifling dissenting opinions and disregarding the recall.

Additionally, they believe that funds belonging to the tribe are being spent in ways that do not directly benefit Little Shell members.

“They lock us out. They disqualify us for voting,” LeDeau Schmasow said, “They disqualify us to even be candidates to maintain their power.”

The demonstrators invited the council members to the event even though the program office building was unoccupied because of the holidays.

The tribe expressed their disappointment with the demonstrators’ accusations in a press release.

“Their lack of concern of not even showing up when we invited them is a demonstration for their lack of respect for the original families of Great Falls,” LeDeau Schmasow said.

As the demonstrators marched across Central Avenue West and around the building, passing cars blared their horns in support of them.

The demonstrators declare that they won’t let up until the recalls are carried out.

With its main office located in Great Falls, the Little Shell Tribe has over 5,000 enrolled members throughout the state.

The tribe’s origins can be traced to Chief Little Shell’s supporters, who were left without a territorial base or official recognition in 1892 due to disagreements over a federal treaty.

2019 saw the tribe granted official federal recognition.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *