Law | Federal Recognition

Supreme Court puts end to Samish Nation federal funding case





Without setting a hearing or requesting briefs on the merits, the U.S. Supreme Court today put an end to a long-running federal funding lawsuit filed by the Samish Nation of Washington.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs left the tribe off the list of federally recognized entities in 1969. The tribe didn't regain its status until 1996 following years of litigation.

The tribe filed a damages case in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for the federal funds it would have received between 1969 and 1996. In September 2011, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the tribe could proceed under the Federal Revenue Sharing Act.

The Supreme Court, however, vacated that decision in an order today. The justices told the Federal Circuit to "dismiss" the tribe's claim under Revenue Sharing Act, effectively killing the lawsuit.

The case is US v. Samish Nation, No. 11-1448.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the Federal Circuit case, Samish Nation v. US.

Federal Circuit Decision:
Samish Indian Nation v. US (September 20, 2011)

Prior Federal Circuit Decision:
Samish Indian Nation v. United States (August 19, 2005)

Related Stories:
Federal Circuit revives part of Samish Nation federal funds suit (9/21)