Crow Tribe votes out incumbent Black Eagle as chairman, chooses Old Coyote

2012-11-04T09:00:00Z 2012-11-05T07:23:05Z Crow Tribe votes out incumbent Black Eagle as chairman, chooses Old CoyoteGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

In Saturday voting, members of the Crow Tribe ousted Chairman Cedric Black Eagle and elected Darrin Old Coyote as their new leader to serve a four-year term.

Old Coyote received 2,320 votes to 1,829 for Black Eagle, according to results released by the Crow Tribe Office of the Secretary.

Old Coyote served two terms as the tribe's vice secretary before unseating Black Eagle over the weekend. In 2009, Old Coyote unsuccessfully ran for vice chairman.

He has taught language and culture in Lodge Grass and, from 2000 until his election as vice secretary in 2004, served as the cultural director of the tribe.

Old Coyote will begin his four-year term as chairman on Dec. 3. He could not be reached for comment Sunday.

The Crow Tribe elected Black Eagle in 2009 after he served as interim chair when then-chairman Carl Venne died in office.

Before that, he served as Venne's vice chairman beginning in 2008.

During his run as chairman, Black Eagle helped oversee the final stages of the enactment of the Crow Water Rights Act of 2010, which provides $460 million to the Crow Reservation for planning, design and construction of an updated municipal, rural and industrial water system, including $131 million to rehabilitate its irrigation system.

He also focused early on on the stalled plans to build the $7 billion Many Stars coal-to-liquids plant and, in June, helped the tribe reach a tentative agreement with Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy to lease and mine about 1.4 billion tons of coal on the reservation.

Three other members of the executive branch were also elected to four-year terms that begin Dec. 3.

For vice chairman, incumbent Calvin C. Jefferson was defeated by Dana Wilson, 2,119 to 2,028.

In the secretary's race, incumbent Scott Russell lost to Alvin Not Afraid Jr., 2,431 to 1,718.

Replacing Old Coyote as vice secretary, Shawn Back Bone defeated Leon Old Elk, 2,272 to 1,873.

All of the terms last for four years and begin on Dec. 3.

Voting was held at Multi-Purpose Building in Crow Agency. Crow tribal members who are 18 and older were eligible to vote in the general election.

Votes were counted by the Election Commission, which has one member from each of the tribe's six districts. The Legislative Branch representatives chose four election judges and an alternate from each district. The judges from each district then chose from among themselves one individual to serve on the Election Commission.

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