A 16-year-old tribal member died after he saved his young nephew from a house fire caused by a space heater. Albert Broncheau had lifted his nephew, Benjamin Snipe Jr., 3, through a small basement window, but could not get through the opening himself on Monday. "The windows were just too small. We tried everything to get him out, but he couldn't get out,'' said father Frank Broncheau. "We're just trying to get ourselves together now.'' Albert Broncheau was a junior at Lapwai High School. His family said he enjoyed attending pow wows, watching wrestling and spending time with his siblings.
Putting tribal relations at risk, Attorney General Al Lance contends a decision that the Nez Perce Indian Reservation was not diminished by an agreement with the federal government a century ago conflicts with previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings and poses a threat to state sovereignty. He raised the argument Feb. 15, urging the high court to hear the appeal of Christopher Lee Webb, a Lapwai man convicted of sexually abusing two young girls on the north-central Idaho reservation. Lance filed a "friend of the court'' brief with the Supreme Court. He also said Nez Perce County officials were ready to prosecute Webb under state law should the Supreme Court overturn the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "The state's attempt to directly attack the existence of the Nez Perce Reservation will only make it more difficult for us to work together on issues of common concern,'' Tribal Chairman Samuel Penney said in a statement. The 9th Circuit court decided in October not to rehear the case of Webb, who admitted touching two of his daughter's friends while they slept at his house but argued that the federal government lacked jurisdiction to prosecute him.