OHSWEKEN — The chairperson of the Grand River ‘Champion of Champions’ Pow Wow posted a letter online on Tuesday, apologizing for issuing a letter of support to convicted child sex offender Matt Myke, without the consent of the rest of the pow wow committee.
Myke was arrested in 2016 and convicted in 2020 of repeatedly raping a child. The victim — an indigenous girl from the Oneida community near Green Bay, Wisconsin — was 13 at the time the attacks began. Myke was 28.
Pow Wow committee chairperson Charlene Bomberry wrote a letter to the courts in support of the now convicted Hayehe:s Matthew Joseph Myke ahead of his sentencing hearing. He was taken into custody in January 2020 following a jury trial that found him guilty of repeatedly raping a child. On September 4, Myke was sentenced to 20 years: 10 in state prison and 10 in extended custody in the state of Wisconsin.
Bomberry’s letter to the courts cited Myke as a volunteer with the pow wow for the last 7 years.
In another letter posted to the Grand River Pow Wow Facebook page, Bomberry writes: “This is in regard to the Character Reference letter for Matt Myke. That letter was originally written on September 12, 2019 for his application into a program that he was registering for.
“However, an err in judgement, on my part and my part alone, is that I did not get the letter reviewed and approved by the Grand River Pow Wow Committee.
“I personally also gave permission for that same character reference to be used again by Matt Myke.
“I, Charlene Bomberry, have personally apologized to the Grand River Pow Wow Committee for allowing that letter to go out without their knowledge and consent.
“This in no way is a refection on the Grand River Pow Wow nor the Grand River Pow Wow Committee as a whole”
Some community members responded to the letter with calls for Bomberry to resign as chair and for a boycott to the Grand River Pow Wow because her initial September 12 letter of recommendation was written after Myke was facing child rape charges and the subsequent re-use of the same letter for the sentencing hearing was submitted after he was found guilty.
TRT reached out to the Grand River Pow Wow Committee for comment but did not receive a response by press time.