Tribal Chair Calls ATF Investigation a “Direct Assault on Tribal Sovereignty”


Leaders of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska are calling a federal investigation, they say, is part of a 20-year state-tribal tobacco dispute, is a “direct assault on tribal sovereignty.”

On Tuesday, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives visited Ho-Chunk Incorporated headquarters, in Winnebago, Nebraska.

In a statement, tribal chair Frank White says federal agents seized records related to tobacco sales on Tuesday. White says the majority of seized information is subject to an ongoing federal court case in the D.C. Court of Appeals filed by the Tribe.

But, White believes the ATF was influenced by the State of Nebraska to investigate Ho-Chunk to help the state gain advantage in the ongoing tax dispute. White says, as a sovereign nation, the Winnebago Tribe implements and enforces its own tax codes, including taxes from tobacco sales.

White says he looks forward to settling this dispute, and will “continue to fight to protect its sovereign status.”