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
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Third court decision favors land-into-trust process
Friday, November 11, 2005

For the third time this year, a federal court has upheld the legality of the land-into-trust process.

On Thursday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge from the state of Utah. Officials argued that the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the law that authorized the land-into-trust process, was a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The judges of the court disagreed. In the unanimous decision, they said the state failed to make its case that the IRA is an unconstitutional delegation of power to the Interior Department.

"We have previously acknowledged the statute itself places limits on the Secretary's discretion," Judge Mary Beck Briscoe wrote for the majority, citing a 10th Circuit case from 1999. The IRA's "legislative history identifies goals of 'rehabilitating the Indian's economic life' and 'developing the initiative destroyed by . . . oppression and paternalism' of the prior allotment policy," Briscoe added.

With the ruling, the 10th Circuit joins the 8th Circuit and the 1st Circuit this year in rejecting constitutional challenges to the land-into-trust process. Although the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't ruled directly on this issue, Bureau of Indian Affairs hope their legal battles are over.

At a recent conference in Las Vegas, George Skibine, the BIA official in charge of gaming, said "we hope these sort of challenges will be put to rest" now that numerous circuit courts have ruled in the government's favor.

Despite the victories, tribal leaders say land-into-trust decisions face lengthy delays at the BIA due to controversy over Indian gaming. "There seems to be a fear within [Skibine's] office that there may be a floodgate coming down," said Deron Marquez, the chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California, at the Las Vegas conference.

Bush administration officials have denied any attempts to purposely delay or derail the process. "There is no moratorium on land-into-trust," Jim Cason, the associate deputy secretary at Interior, flatly said at the National Congress of American Indians conference last week.

Cason said the BIA divides land-into-trust applications into five "buckets" depending on the location of the land and its proposed use. The first four buckets, he said, are for non-gaming acquisitions: tribal on-reservation, tribal off-reservation, individual on-resevation and individual off-reservation.

The fifth bucket, he said, is for all gaming-related applications. These decisions are made by the central office in Washington, D.C.

According to Skibine, the Bush administration has made 15 land-into-trust for gaming decisions since 2001. An additional nine decisions are pending at the BIA, he said in Las Vegas.

The application at issue in yesterday's ruling was from 1995 and did not involve gaming. The BIA agreed to acquire two parcels of off-reservation land totaling about 25 acres for the Shivwits Band of Paiute Indians of Utah. The two parcels are located along a major interstate.

The tribe developed the land by placing billboards on the parcels. State and local officials tried to halt development, saying the billboards violated state and federal law but this argument was rejected by the 10th Circuit.

One of the judges on the panel, however, wrote separately to say that the federal Highway Beautification Act, which mentions billboards placed by interstates, applies to Indian Country and that the BIA has to enforce it. The other judges didn't address whether the law applies to Indian lands because they said the state failed to raise the issue of BIA enforcement on appeal.

Get the Decision:
Shivwits Band of Paiute Indians v. Utah (November 10, 2005)

Related Stories:
Local role in gaming land decisions disputed (11/11)
BIA official revives off-reservation land regulations (09/21)
Gaming clouds already lengthy land-into-trust process (09/15)
Trust land challenge rejected by appeals court (9/14)
Oklahoma tribe plans state's largest gaming facility (08/02)
NIGC develops system to track Indian lands (07/28)
Bush officials worried about off-reservation gaming (05/20)
BIA official confirms tribes skipping IGRA process (05/19)
Perception and realities in land-into-trust debate (05/19)
Land-into-trust for gaming under more scrutiny (04/28)
Land into trust to be examined at Senate hearing (5/10)
Update: Senate hearing on Indian gaming (04/27)
BIA backs bill to delay off-reservation casino (04/06)
Off-reservation casinos a concern at gaming summit (03/30)
Bush stance on off-reservation gaming unknown (03/29)
Exceptions to IGRA more common than often cited (03/21)
Appeals court sides with tribe in trust land dispute (02/10)

Copyright 2000-2005 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:
First Lady Michelle Obama shares story of hope with Indian school (5/26)
Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Santa Fe Indian School (5/26)
Gary Davis of NCAIED joins Small Business Administration council (5/26)
Arne Vainio: A mother's gift carried me through many life journeys (5/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes score big in fights against energy projects (5/26)
Lakota Country Times: Education Secretary hears from Pine Ridge (5/26)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ending Whiteclay beer sales starts at home (5/26)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux youth lead efforts to bring relatives home (5/26)
Gyasi Ross: Drug epidemic sweeping through Native communities (5/26)
Jacqueline Keeler: Shameful and skewed poll on racist NFL name (5/26)
Interview with Melvin Monette about Cobell scholarship program (5/26)
Auction house in France won't stop sale of sacred tribal property (5/26)
United Keetoowah Band installs new leader after impeachment (5/26)
Kewa Pueblo builds new community around historic trading post (5/26)
Eastern Cherokee elder translates 'Charlotte's Web' into Tsalagi (5/26)
Puyallup Tribe works to keep language alive for new generations (5/26)
Iowa Tribe offers free play on poker website ahead of full launch (5/26)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe offers gaming options closer to home (5/26)
Kaw Nation receives national award for tribal gaming initiatives (5/26)
Indian Health Service reform efforts gaining steam on Capitol Hill (5/25)
Indian Health Service announces more hires at troubled hospital (5/25)
Keepseagle attorneys open application process for $38M in grants (5/25)
Three tribes enter cooperative agreements for buy-back program (5/25)
New leader selected for HUD's Office of Native American Programs (5/25)
Indian relay racers gear up for event hosted by Muckleshoot Tribe (5/25)
Cronkite News: Tribes seek return of property up for sale in France (5/25)
Native Sun News: Anti-suicide effort incorporates tribal traditions (5/25)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge youth showcase film projects (5/25)
Mark Trahant: Native vote victory for Tawna Sanchez in Oregon (5/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Lakota people come together in times of need (5/25)
Editorial: Tribes must come up with plan for return of Black Hills (5/25)
John McCoy: Disenrollment and blood quantum are not our way (5/25)
Adrian Jawort: Addressing race relations and healing in Montana (5/25)
Fort Peck Tribes oppose new directive on transgender students (5/25)
Leader of United Keetoowah Band ousted through impeachment (5/25)
Agua Caliente Band launches software development company (5/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair platform committee for GOP convention (5/25)
Cowlitz Tribe welcomes discussions with opponent over casino (5/25)
Little Traverse Bay Bands open doors to Class II gaming facility (5/25)
Tuolumne Band celebrates 15th birthday with casino expansion (5/25)
Former Winnebago Tribe casino employee denies theft charge (5/25)
Proposed rule brings LGBT equality to tribal housing programs (5/24)
Chairman of Quapaw Tribe endorses Democrat Hillary Clinton (5/24)
Appropriations bill blocks new federal recognition regulation (5/24)
Native American Children's Safety Act clears final Hill hurdle (5/24)
9th Circuit won't rehear Tohono O'odham Nation gaming case (5/24)
Lakota Country Times: Army promises return of tribal children (5/24)
Native Sun News: New business sprouts up at Wounded Knee (5/24)
Mark Trahant: Tulalip citizen lands role in Democratic platform (5/24)
Brandon Ecoffey: Pine Ridge unites for search of missing men (5/24)
Men who went missing found dead on Pine Ridge Reservation (5/24)
Billy Mills: Flawed poll can't justify use of team's racist mascot (5/24)
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.