Poncans Question Legality Of Chilocco Lease Agreement

The Newkirk Herald Journal (?),
2 November 1989

The Ponca Tribe is concerned that the lease allowing the controversial Narconon drug treatment center to establish itself at Chilocco Indian school north of Newkirk could be illegal, a Ponca tribal leader said Saturday.

In a report published in Sunday's Oklahoman, Ponca Tribal Chairman Delbert Cole was quoted as saying that business committee members are concerned that past committee chair-woman Cynthia Stoner "overstepped her scope of authority" because the tribe cannot legally lease tribal land for more than 10 years.

The Narconon lease agreement with the Chilocco Development Authority is for 25 years. The Ponca Tribe is one of five tribes who own the Chilocco land. The other members are the Pawnees, Kaws, Tonkawas and Otoe-Missourias.

Ponca leaders have decided to get a legal opinion on the lease. "We think the lease is invalid since this has occurred," Cole said. Cole also said his committee is unsure if the Tonkawas had signed the Narconon lease. Narconon recently announced that the BIA has approved their master renovation plan and that they intended to proceed with the project.