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Oglala Sioux Tribal Council votes to impeach Vice President Darla Black

Darla Black was impeached from the office of Vice-President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe after a tribunal was held at the tribe’s Prairie Wind Casino Nov. 25.

PINE RIDGE – Darla Black who was elected in 2016 and again in 2018 to lead the Oglala Sioux Tribe as their Vice- Chairwoman was ousted during a tribunal held at the Prairie Winds Casino on Nov. 25.
Black was accused by four former employees of abusing her position as Vice-President and creating a hostile work environment. The writing was on the wall since Oct. 29, when a majority of council members voted to suspend Black with pay after receiving the women’s complaints.
A hearing was scheduled for Nov. 25 at Prairie Winds Casino which was broadcast live via Facebook. Thousands tuned in to watch the public spectacle in which the tribe’s second highest public official’s position would be abruptly terminated.
Three of the women, Santana Young Man, Duwana Twobulls and Louise Desersa testified at the tribunal, before the tribal counsel and special judge Paula Langworthy, a member of the Cherokee Nation from Oklahoma. Langworthy formerly served as Chief Judge of the Oglala Lakota Tribal Courts in 2011 and 2012.
The women presented evidence that alleged Black called and texted them late at night, verbally abused them, made them do non-work related errands and inappropriately talked about relationship issues.
Black vehemently denied the accusations and questioned the evidence and asked for an opportunity to review the documents which she said she had not seen.
However Black would not get that opportunity as a motion was made by Lydia Bear Killer to accept the complaint and impeach Darla Black and remove her from office for malfeasance. The motion was seconded by Valerie Janis.
Tribal council voted as follows: Jim Meeks – Abstain, Duane Yellow Hawk – Yes, Garfield Apple – Yes, Glenn Gibbons – No, Lydia Bear Killer – Yes, James Cross – Yes, Sonya Little Hawk Weston – Yes, Jackie Sears – Abstain, Vincent Two Lance – Yes, Craig Dillon – Yes, Cora White Horse – Yes, Valerie Janis – Yes, Valentina Merdanian – Abstain, Brian Jumping Eagle –Yes, Beau Little Whiteman – Yes, Chancey Wilson – Yes, Phillip Big Crow – Yes, Randy Lays Bad – Yes, Richard Greenwald – Yes, Nakina Mills – No, Robin Tapio – Yes.
Langworthy read the ordinance in from Oglala Sioux Tribe constitution, that when a public official is removed from office, the second highest vote getter is eligible to fill the position. In the case of Vice-presidency, Tom Poor Bear who served numerous terms as Vice President was the next highest vote getter.
Twenty councilmembers then voted to install Poor Bear. The council also voted 14-6 with one abstention to have the tribal attorney general investigate concerns about Black’s financial management that were raised during the meeting.

(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at

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