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
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...

Latest Headlines:

Indian Country suffers from highest diabetes rate as program hangs in limbo
House approves bill to authorize life-saving road for Native village in Alaska
Gyasi Ross: Wealthy white man perpetuates poverty porn in Indian Country
André Cramblit: Summer is a time to keep the world in balance with dance
Review: Fictional book about 'Lakota' people deserves benefit of the doubt
Tohono O'odham Nation secures approval of updated Class III casino deal
Ho-Chunk Nation sees more support for Wisconsin off-reservation casino
Trump team considers 'new' hurdles for off-reservation land applications
Cronkite News: Sen. McCain vows to return after brain cancer diagnosis
Steven Newcomb: Christian domination serves as basis for 'Indian' law
Terese Mailhot: Go home with your racism and your rinky dink blankets
Former U.S. Attorney urges energy industry to consult tribes in advance
Samish Nation still waiting for decisions on land-into-trust applications
Interior employee blames reassignment on advocacy for Alaska Natives
Shoshone-Paiute Tribes lay claim to ancestral remains uncovered in Idaho
Poarch Band of Creek Indians ready to debut amusement park in Alabama
Pessamit Innu cross Canadian border to fight power line in New Hampshire
Wilton Rancheria takes another huge step forward for casino in California
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe urged to consider all options for stalled casino
Connecticut tribes sign new gaming agreements to account for new casino
Bishop Paiute Tribe wins ruling in another sovereignty dispute with county
Lawmakers debate another Indian bill though none have gone to Trump yet
Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Tribes make history with dental therapist
Oklahoma tribes won casino approvals on last day of Obama administration
Arne Vainio: Dignity and respect belong to all of us and cannot be hoarded
Doug George-Kanentiio: Religious doctrines remain at root of 'Indian' law
Mark Trahant: Republicans still unable to govern in the Donald Trump era
Cronkite News: McCain calls for compromise on health amid health crisis
Ho-Chunk Nation remains hopeful for off-reservation casino in Wisconsin
Kialegee Tribal Town confirms interest in gaming facility on allotment
Trump administration officially rescinds pro-treaty rights legal opinion
Key House committee moves forward with funding bill for tribal programs
Democrats host session on impacts of GOP health bill in Indian Country
Mark Trahant: Buckle up as Republicans try to repeal Affordable Care Act
Harold Monteau: It's time to bring 'tribalization' to the Indian Health Service
Sonny Skyhawk: America can't be proud of its treatment of Native peoples
Wilton Rancheria again wins backing for casino land-into-trust application
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules hearing on human trafficking
Mark Trahant: Republicans once again forced to delay vote on health bill
YES! Magazine: Decolonize your diet with indigenous and healthy foods
Mary Annette Pember: Oglala Sioux Tribe works on law enforcement pact
Tiffany Midge: Even more hilarious conversations with my Lakota mom
Kayla DeVault: Navajo Nation must take a stand to protect homelands
Rosebud Sioux man dies after being tased and struck by police officers
Cayuga Nation leadership finally recognized by Bureau of Indian Affairs
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation hits milestone on gaming revenues
Kialegee Tribal Town aims to approve gaming at allotment in Oklahoma
House approves land-into-trust bills for tribes amid concerns about process
President Trump doesn't seem to know where Dakota Access Pipeline goes
North Dakota still hoping to secure taxpayer funds for #NoDAPL response
Terese Mailhot: Decolonization is about removing control over our peoples
Authorities seek information on fatal hit-and-run of Otoe-Missouria man
Mohegan Tribe reports 7.6 percent increase in slot machine revenues
Indian Country outnumbered at hearing on Indian Reorganization Act
Peter d'Errico: The Sioux Chef cooks up a 'wake-up call' with first book
Bad River Band benefits from Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations
Former Indian Health Service executive indicted for accepting cash gift
Trump administration set to advance copper mine on sacred Apache site
Pascua Yaqui Tribe helps other nations with enhanced travel documents
Cow Creek Band gives tribal name to coffee roasting production company
>>> 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.