Rhode Island Tribal faction begins 4th day of occupying building

Law enforcement officials, left, and right, stand near opponents of Narragansett Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas outside an entrance to the tribe's administration building, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, in Charlestown, R.I. A faction of the tribe opposed to Thomas has been occupying the administration building since Tuesday. Two competing factions, each calling themselves the Narragansett Tribal Council, claim to be the leaders of Rhode Island's only federally recognized tribe. (AP Photo/Jennifer McDermott)
Law enforcement officials, left, and right, stand near opponents of Narragansett Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas outside an entrance to the tribe's administration building, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, in Charlestown, R.I. A faction of the tribe opposed to Thomas has been occupying the administration building since Tuesday. Two competing factions, each calling themselves the Narragansett Tribal Council, claim to be the leaders of Rhode Island's only federally recognized tribe. (AP Photo/Jennifer McDermott)

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (AP) – Members of a Rhode Island Indian tribe are in their fourth day of occupying their tribal government headquarters because the chief they are trying to oust won’t step down.

Narragansett Tribal Councilwoman Chastity Machado said Friday morning that she and others spent the night inside the building in Charlestown.

Charlestown Police Chief Jeffrey Allen said the group was visited Thursday night by U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha and an inspector from the U.S. Interior Department.

Members of the recently elected tribal council say they took over the tribal administration building Tuesday because Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas refused to relinquish power after they impeached him in October.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said Thursday night she spoke with Thomas to urge a peaceful resolution to the tribe’s disputed election.

 

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