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:

'Stand up, Fight back!' -- Annual march to honor lost Native children continues
Harold Frazier: Another treaty violation against the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
YES! Magazine: Why decision on route isn't a win for the Keystone XL Pipeline
Native Sun News Today: Lakota Sewing Circle fosters a sense of community
David Ganje: Water a major issue as company eyes uranium mine in Black Hills
Final push is on to find Indian beneficiares owed money from Cobell settlement
Secretary Zinke under renewed scrutiny for travel practices and role of spouse
Navajo Nation gains access to national criminal data with Obama-era program
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe marijuana consultant 'free' after state sentence
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation clashes with state over 'bingo' machines
Redding Rancheria faces opposition to move of casino amid changes in D.C.
Pokagon Band debuts police station to service site of new casino in Indiana
Wiconi Un Tipi Camp rises to fight back against another controversial pipeline
Indian Country vows battle after final Keystone XL Pipeline route is approved
FBI offers reward in case of man from Crow Tribe who went missing years ago
Harold Frazier: Don't believe them when they tell you their pipelines won't spill
Mark Trahant: Indian Country isn't valued as lawmakers move on tax reform bill
Rep. Tom Cole: Tribes are improving the lives of their people and their neighbors
Albert Bender: Indigenous community in Nashville honors warrior Dennis Banks
Native Sun News Today: Touting food sovereignty with Pine Ridge bison harvest
James Giago Davies: We are all writing to be brilliant for that one perfect person
Cronkite News: Domestic violence remains a deadly probably for Native people
DVIDS: Native community shares culture with Air Force base in South Dakota
Newspaper apologizes to Mississippi Choctaws for story on casino referendum
Ponca Tribe returns to Indian gaming industry with Chickasaw Nation as partner
Bad River Band demands federal investigation into fatal shooting of 14-year-old
Tribes see opening under Trump to reshape agency that targets lending industry
Native Sun News Today: Lakota mother fights to keep her daughter's dream alive
Victor Swallow: Historic store was a vibrant part of the Oglala Sioux community
Gyasi Ross: Native child gunned down by police officer on his own homelands
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate concerned about spill of oil from Keystone Pipeline
Mississippi Choctaws hail vote against new casino as they await official tally
Tribes still in the dark as Trump administration moves to roll back Bears Ears
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs adds tribal water rights hearing to schedule
Albert Bender: The original genocide continues with the Dakota Access Pipeline
Native Sun News Today: Tribal activists renew fight against Keystone XL Pipeline
Ivan Star Comes Out: We should be asking ourselves 'What's next?' at Whiteclay
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe distances film from Hollywood producer accused of assault
Morongo Band distributes 10,000 turkeys in annual tradition for Thanksgiving
Chemehuevi Tribe expects to complete work on second gaming facility in 2019
Tribes report mixed slot machine returns as they press Trump team on casino
Ponca Tribe secures victory in long-running battle over restoration of homelands
Winnebago Tribe asserts self-determination in hopes of fixing troubled hospital
Comanche Nation sees setback in effort to stop new Chickasaw Nation casino
Alaska Native corporation welcomes action on bill to open lands to development
Doug George-Kanentiio: Thanksgiving represents an indigenous gift to the world
Mark Trahant: Republicans target health care and education to pay for tax cuts
Native Sun News Today: Military service inspires Lakota veteran to bring change
ProPublica: Trump appointee resigns after report on troubled Indian loan program
Bill to end discrimination against indigenous women closer to passage in Canada
Quapaw Tribe calls for resignation of vice chairman following criminal indictment
Senior Trump administration official resigns after scrutiny of Indian loan program
Bureau of Indian Affairs makes changes to loan guarantee program amid scrutiny
Arne Vainio: For over 50 years, I blamed myself for my father's death by suicide
Secretary Zinke among those excited to take part in #RockYourMocs this year
Native Sun News Today: Homeless veterans in South Dakota share their stories
Dakota Access opponents aim to hold law enforcement accountable for tactics
Mississippi Choctaws headed to polls to vote on plans for new gaming facility
President Trump taps Bush-era official as Health and Human Services Secretary
Lawmakers easily approve tribal land bill as Supreme Court weighs major case
>>> 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.