Somebody Forgot to Bring the Peace Pipe

After Arthur "Archie" LaRose won reelection as the secretary-treasurer of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe last month, he vowed do his best to get along with his colleagues on the Tribal Council. LaRose knew some fence mending was in order. After all, just last summer his fellow council members kicked him out of office.

Even by the rough-and-tumble standards of reservation politics, LaRose's campaign was extremely contentious. His critics accused the former boxer of everything from squandering tribal monies to participating in the armed heist of a Cass Lake casino a dozen years ago.

None of the charges stuck, either in the courts or with the voters. But considering the lingering ill feelings, LaRose decided to tape-record his first meeting with the old council. If nothing else, the transcript of the 18-minute conversation, printed in its entirety in the March 4 issue of the Native American Press/Ojibwe News, demonstrates that the problems of effective bipartisanship are not limited to the Minnesota Legislature.

While the tape contains all manner of vituperation and recrimination, the opening salvo pretty much says it all:

Archie LaRose: Good morning there, fellows. Nice to be back.

Council member Luke Wilson: Fuck you.

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