indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Minn. tribe wins another round in reservation dispute
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected a Minnesota county's attempt to wipe most of the Mille Lacs Ojibwe Reservation off the map.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the contentious lawsuit, which has cost taxpayers in Mille Lacs County more than $1 million in legal fees. The court determined that the county, along with a private bank, had no standing to challenge the boundaries of the reservation.

The suit, the court concluded, amounted to mere speculation and rumor about the tribe's plans for 61,000 disputed acres. "Neither the county nor the bank has shown that it is in immediate danger of sustaining threatened injury traceable to an action of the band," wrote Judge Lavenski R. Smith for the majority.

But the decision left open the possibility that the case, which has strained tensions among Indian and non-Indian residents, could be submitted in the the future. The judges dismissed the suit without prejudice, meaning the county and the bank could claim they are being harmed by the tribe's use of its own land.

Melanie Benjamin, the tribe's chief executive, praised the court's ruling. "I hope we can put this lawsuit behind us and find a way to move forward in a new spirit of respect and cooperation in Mille Lacs County," she said in a statement.

County officials, however, are considering a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. In recent years, the justices have rejected similar suits that seek to diminish the boundaries of reservations.

Minnesota attorney general Mike Hatch, a Democrat, sided with the county and the bank in the dispute, which originated in fears that the tribe would assert greater authority over non-Indians within reservation boundaries. The state previously challenged, and lost, a major Ojibwe fishing rights decision before the Supreme Court in 2000.

South Dakota attorney general Larry Long, a Republican, also supported the county. Long's predecessor won a 1998 Supreme Court ruling that reduced the boundaries of the Yankton Sioux Reservation, and in a related dispute, Long continues to battle the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe's attempt to restore land that was once part of its reservation. That case has been in the courts for more than 10 years.

The dispute over the Mille Lacs Ojibwe Reservation centers over 61,000 acres that the county claims does not belong to the tribe. The county says it has been led to believe that the reservation is only 4,000 acres.

The larger reservation threatens the county's tax base and legal authority, the county argues. Local officials say the tribe will seek to impose stringent environmental standards for air and water. They also believe the tribe will assert jurisdiction over non-Indians.

The tribe has applied for a "treatment as state" designation from the Environmental Protection Agency. But the federal courts have already ruled that this designation is well within tribal authority.

Get the Decision:
COUNTY OF MILLE LACS v. BENJAMIN (March 9, 2003)

Case Documents:
COUNTY OF MILLE LACS v. BENJAMIN (8th Circuit)

Relevant Links:
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe - http://www.millelacsojibwe.org

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Lakota and Pueblo Indians on Pine Ridge Reservation (7/28)
Native Sun News: President of Oglala Sioux Tribe dodges bullets (7/28)
Puyallup fashion designer competes for prize in Project Runway (7/28)
Troy Eid: Marijuana experiment in Colorado hurts Indian youth (7/28)
Judge hears dispute over United Keetoowah Band gaming site (7/28)
Chumash Tribe plans hotel tower with $160M casino expansion (7/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe changes architects for casino plan (7/28)
Editorial: State must negotiate compact with Pojoaque Pueblo (7/28)
Native Sun News: IHS hospital at Pine Ridge undergoes review (7/25)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Group disturbs tranquility at Bear Butte (7/25)
Indian Health Service discloses privacy breach of patient data (7/25)
BIA extends comment period on federal recognition regulation (7/25)
Navajo Nation president calling for FBI probe of brutal murders (7/25)
Jennie Stockle: Justice for victims of Cedarville mass shooting (7/25)
John Christian Hopkins: Waiting for Belgian waffles at Denny's (7/25)
Steven Pevar: Indian chldren are being taken from their homes (7/25)
IHS pays $53M to settle another contract support cost dispute (7/25)
Shinnecock Nation asserts control over tobacco amid pressure (7/25)
Four sentenced for stealing HHS funds from Oglala Sioux Tribe (7/25)
Unsettled: BIA questions Passamaquoddy forest management (7/25)
ASU News: First graduates of Indian studies master's program (7/25)
Blog: Tanka Fund aims to grow Indian Country's bison economy (7/25)
Opinion: A troubling relationship with Native peoples in Canada (7/25)
Opinion: Auction of tribal property in France sets bad precedent (7/25)
Puyallup Tribe cancels upcoming Ted Nugent concerts at casino (7/25)
Mayor gives conflicting view on Tohono O'odham Nation casino (7/25)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe plans to start work at gaming site (7/25)
Pojoaque Pueblo defends provisions in proposed gaming deal (7/25)
Iipay Nation puts Internet gaming servers on Mohawk reserve (7/25)
Native Sun News: Cobell beneficiaries still waiting on payment (7/24)
Navajo Nation president to discuss brutal murders with mayor (7/24)
NCAI President Cladoosby offers cedar hat to BIA's Washburn (7/24)
Woman waiting in line at SCIA hearing reportedly had bedbugs (7/24)
S.E. Ruckman: Tribal members share frustrations on IHS care (7/24)
Mark Rogers: System exploits misery of our nation's veterans (7/24)
Fort Belknap Tribes depend on revenue from Internet lending (7/24)
Oglala Sioux Tribe still working on plan for legal alcohol sales (7/24)
Two Native girls charged with assault for hockey game brawl (7/24)
Chickasaw Nation welcomes public to new community center (7/24)
Oregon tribe plans major development at historic village site (7/24)
Unsettled Ch. 26: Passamaquoddy dealings cloaked in secrecy (7/24)
KCAW: BLM supports Alaska Native corporation in land dispute (7/24)
Mixed martial arts fighter from Lumbee Tribe proud of heritage (7/24)
Granddaughter of former team owner condemns racist mascot (7/24)
Opinion: Chief Black Hawk was notorious leader of Ute people (7/24)
Remote tribes facing threats from drug trafficking and logging (7/24)
BIA indicates Tohono O'odham Nation can use land for gaming (7/24)
Pojoaque Pueblo wants to take state out of casino operations (7/24)
Iipay Nation started planning Internet poker games last year (7/24)
Fighter seriously injured at Trinidad Rancheria's casino event (7/24)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe concerned about potential gaming site (7/24)
Native Sun News: Great Plains tribes call for full contract funds (7/23)
Native Sun News: Candidate wants Obama to meet with tribes (7/23)
Audio: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on gaming (7/23)
President Obama nominates Jonodev Chaudhuri to lead NIGC (7/23)
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.