Law | Trust

Poarch Creeks dispute latest attack on legal status of trust lands





The Bureau of Indian Affairs has upheld the validity of land held in trust for the Poarch Creek Band of Indians in Alabama but one critic is still trying to take the tribe down.

In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The court said the BIA can't acquire land in trust for tribes that weren't "under federal jurisdiction" as of 1934.

The Poarch Band gained federal recognition in 1984, long after the 1934 cut-off. Local attorney Bryan Taylor claims the tribe's trust lands are no longer valid as a result of Carcieri.

The BIA has rejected that argument but Taylor says a new court decision from New York bolster his case. Last week, a federal judge ordered the BIA to reconsider the Oneida Nation land-into-trust application in light of Carcieri.

The big difference is that the Oneida Nation's lands have yet to be placed in trust. The Poarch Band's lands were placed in trust years ago.

“This may be another case of Bryan Taylor trying to tax PCI,” Robert McGhee, the tribe's governmental affairs adviser, told The Atmore Advance. “I don’t know what his interest is, he doesn’t work for anyone in the state. But this has nothing to do with us.”

Get the Story:
Attorney: New tribal case could impact PCI (The Atmore Advance 9/29)

Related Stories:
BIA ordered to reconsider Oneida Nation land-into-trust ruling (9/26)
Poarch Creeks discuss land-into-trust issues with local officials (08/01)