Law | Trust

Supreme Court asked to hear Dakota trust mismanagement case





A group of Dakota descendants whose ancestors were promised land but never received it is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case.

The Wolfchild saga began more than a decade ago. The plaintiffs accused the federal government of failing to place land into trust in Minnesota in the late 1800s.

Judge Charles Lettow of the Court of Federal Claims repeatedly sided with the descendants. He ruled that the plaintiffs are owed money for any activity that occurred on the land, up until 1980, when he said Congress severed the trust.

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, however, reversed. A majority held that Congress did not create a "money-mandating" duty to the Dakota descendants

The plaintiffs are hoping the Supreme Court will provide a more favorable outcome. Petitions in Wolfchild v. US and Zephier v. US were filed on December 26, 2013.

The Obama administration declined to file a response, which typically signals that government attorneys do not believe the petitions will be granted. The Supreme Court, however, could order the Department of Justice to reply.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the Supreme Court docket in Wolfchild v. US.

Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Wolfchild v. US (September 27, 2013)

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Dakota descendants win another round in trust management suit (1/11)