indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Judge denies tribal jurisdiction over Indian descendant
Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's holding that tribes have sovereignty over all Indians, a federal judge has denied a Washington tribe criminal jurisdiction over a man who is Indian by blood but not enrolled in a tribe.

This past April, the high court affirmed that an act of Congress recognizes "the inherent power of Indian tribes ... to exercise criminal jurisdiction over all Indians." The decision in U.S. v. Lara was seen as a victory for tribal sovereignty.

But "all Indians" doesn't include Duane Garvais, a former Bureau of Indian Affairs criminal investigator who has been locked in a legal battle with the Spokane Tribe of Washington. In a ruling issued last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush said Garvais, 38, doesn't fall under the Lara case even though he has Indian blood and has identified himself as an Indian throughout his adult life.

"[T]he fact that a person has Indian blood alone does not create federal court jurisdiction over such a person ... or tribal court jurisdiction," Quackenbush wrote in the 12-page decision.

The ruling frees Garvais from charges filed against him in Spokane tribal court. He was accused of mishandling undercover drug funds but claims the case is politically motivated because he uncovered police corruption on the reservation.

No charges were ever filed but Garvais became the target of criticism from the Spokane Tribe, which passed a resolution requesting that he be transferred. The BIA ended up moving him to a couple of new positions before putting him on paid administrative leave in late 2002.

While on leave, he was arrested on the Colville Reservation under the Spokane Tribe's warrant. He immediately challenged the tribe's jurisdiction, saying he wasn't an "Indian" for purposes of federal law.

The challenge prompted the BIA to investigate why Garvais was granted Indian preference in his position as a criminal investigator. In February of this year, the agency removed him because he wasn't Indian or a member a federally recognized tribe. The decision was upheld by the Merit Systems Protection Board in July.

That wasn't the first time Garvais held himself out as an Indian. In 1986, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 20 and was listed in documents as an Indian. After being discharged in 1990, he went to work for the Confederated Colville Tribes. He is 1/16th Colville but not eligible for enrollment because the tribe has a 1/4th blood quantum requirement.

Six years later, Garvais married, and eventually divorced, a Colville tribal member who said he participated in Indian activities, including pow-wows and sweat lodges. And as a documented Colville descendant, he received health care from the tribe even though he lacked membership.

But Quackenbush said all this information wasn't enough to show that Garvais is Indian for purposes of tribal court jurisdiction. "The evidence revealed that Garvais is not and never has been an enrolled member of any federally recognized tribe, nor has he ever been eligible for such enrollment," the decision said.

Although lack of tribal membership is not the only factor he considered, Quackenbush said it weighed heavily in the case. "Garvaisí connections to Indian life were for a limited duration," he wrote.

The case is one of several to challenge whether tribes have jurisdiction over all Indians as recognized by Congress through a piece of legislation commonly referred to as the "Duro fix." The act, passed in 1990, was a response to a Supreme Court decision that said tribes can only try and prosecute their own members.

The Lara decision affirmed that Congress has the power to define "metes and bounds of tribal sovereignty." But Indian legal experts say it only settled whether dual tribal and federal prosecution for the same crime violates the Double Jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution. Other cases, such as one involving American Indian Movement activist Russell Means, are based on Due Process and Equal Protection challenges.

As for Garvais, he has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Spokane Tribe, which is pending before Quackenbush. A trial is set for August 2005.

Get the Decision:
In Re: Duane Garvais (December 2, 2004)

U.S. v. Lara Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Breyer] | Concurrence [Stevens] | Concurrence [Kennedy | Concurrence [Thomas] | Dissent [Souter]

Relevant Links:
Spokane Tribe - http://www.spokanetribe.com

Related Stories:
Tribal authority over all Indians still unsettled question (06/23)
Federal judge to hold hearing on man's 'Indian' status (05/20)
Supreme Court affirms tribal powers over all Indians (04/20)
Supreme Court hears tribal powers case (01/22)
BIA agent put on leave alleges retaliation (01/19)
Supreme Court case on jurisdiction attracts attention (01/08)
Bill's tribal jurisdiction provisions contested (07/31)
Tribes air homeland security concerns (7/30)
DOJ's Supreme Court brief backs sovereignty (7/30)
Tribal jurisdiction faces test before Supreme Court (07/03)
Homeland security push leaves tribes behind (05/12)
Inouye ties sovereignty to homeland security (02/25)
Native youth victimization outpaces nation (07/17)
Natives top violent crime list again (4/8)
One in 10 hate crimes target American Indians (10/1)
DOJ: American Indians highest injured (6/25)
DOJ: Violent crime plagues Indian Country (3/19)
Violence in Indian Country (6/15)

Copyright © 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Sen. Barrasso introduces another version of land-into-trust fix (7/29)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe adopts banishment for drug dealers (7/29)
Native Sun News: Rapid City trial ends with no defense witnesses (7/29)
Lakota Country Times: Youth come to Pine Ridge for 'Exposures' (7/29)
Charles Trimble: Being mixed-race Indian and being proud of it (7/29)
Ivan Star: It's up to all of us to keep the Lakota language alive (7/29)
Congress fails to provide funds to help tribes comply with VAWA (7/29)
Suit alleges tribal leaders received kickbacks from lobbying firm (7/29)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe claims DOJ support for marijuana (7/29)
Community on Crow Reservation on lockdown due to shooting (7/29)
Former Chippewa Cree Tribe chair sentenced in corruption case (7/29)
Hillary Clinton refuses to answer questions about Keystone XL (7/29)
Judge upset with delay in drilling dispute affecting sacred land (7/29)
Tribal leaders scale back plans to regulate energy development (7/29)
Fort Belknap Indian Community awaits tests in deaths of bison (7/29)
Column: Northern Cheyenne Tribe took a final stand in Oklahoma (7/29)
Public school board in Indiana votes to eliminate 'Indian' mascot (7/29)
Opinion: Sioux tribes deserve a seat on university naming panel (7/29)
Study outlines impacts of tribal gaming on economy in Oklahoma (7/29)
Judge orders Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe to stop work on casino (7/29)
Fond du Lac Band prevails yet again in long-running casino feud (7/29)
Chukchansi Tribe hosts job fair amid hopes of reopening casino (7/29)
Cowlitz Tribe still working on design plans for contested casino (7/29)
Indian Health Service discusses LGBT issues in historic meeting (7/28)
Haskell students to study fracking on North Dakota reservation (7/28)
Erica Pinto makes history as first woman leader of Jamul Village (7/28)
Native Sun News: Young artist wins top award at Native market (7/28)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe hosts war pony races (7/28)
Steve Russell: The hypocrisy of race and Cherokee citizenship (7/28)
Terese Marie Mailhot: I was raised to be angry at White women (7/28)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Indian Country stuck with bad Republican (7/28)
Aaron Angerman: Alaska Natives not consulted about mine plan (7/28)
IHS hired physician who was sanctioned by Justice Department (7/28)
Cherokee Nation candidate emerges victorious in new election (7/28)
Ponca Tribe reclaims small part of ancestral lands in Nebraska (7/28)
Tuscarora Nation returns to ancestral home in North Carolina (7/28)
9th Circuit sides with Suquamish Tribe in fishing rights dispute (7/28)
10th Circuit affirms convictions of former Paiute Tribe employee (7/28)
Warm Springs Tribes welcome early start to huckleberry season (7/28)
Young man from Omaha Tribe sentenced for sexual abuse of child (7/28)
Makah Nation man charged for assault during attempted escape (7/28)
Miami Nation stays out of public school mascot debate in Indiana (7/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation wins round in casino battle with Arizona (7/28)
Wisconsin asks Supreme Court to rule on Ho-Chunk Nation poker (7/28)
Navajo Nation Council passes tax on alcohol at gaming facilities (7/28)
Seminole Tribe reiterates request for mediation in casino dispute (7/28)
Mohegan Tribe fired worker who helped casino regular break rules (7/28)
War of words escalates on mine at sacred Apache site in Arizona (7/27)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to take up land-into-trust fix (7/27)
Senate panel sets hearing on substance abuse in Indian Country (7/27)
Red Lake Nation schedules August 19 referendum on liquor sales (7/27)
Poarch Creeks win injunction blocking county from imposing tax (7/27)
Native Sun News: Indian elders suffer from higher dementia risk (7/27)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.