Ho-Chunk Nation judge finds nation’s vice president in contempt

Ho Chunk Judiciary

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WKBT) — A Ho-Chunk Nation Trial Court judge found the nation’s vice president, Karena Thundercloud, in contempt of court for disobeying a temporary restraining order the court had issued.

Karena Thundercloud


Associate Trial Court Judge Mary Jo Hunter handed down the decision, including a $536 fine for Thundercloud, Monday. The restraining order had prohibited the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature from taking action on any budgetary matters that had been scheduled for discussion and possible action at an Aug. 31 meeting, according to a Ho-Chunk news release.
Thundercloud called an emergency special meeting on Aug. 29 and passed budgetary matters that had been scheduled for Aug. 31, the news release said.
“As a result, the Court finds that the defendants failed to adequately rebut the contempt and prima facie case as to Karena Thundercloud, given her role in calling the Emergency Special Meeting to adopt a continuing budget resolution despite there being a valid order that clearly enjoined the Legislature from addressing any budgetary matters until the Court could address the plaintiff’s complaint,” the court order states.
“The Ho-Chunk Nation elected to adopt a separation of powers form of government to allow for safe and neutral forum for settling disputes within the Ho-Chunk Nation
upon adopting the Ho-Chunk Nation Constitution. Disregard for the Judicial Branches’ orders undermines our form of government,” the court document stated.
The court arrived at the fine amount of $536 by adding hourly wages of several court staff, including the presiding judge, the news release said.