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
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Court won't rehear challenge to tribal land base
Friday, May 21, 2004

A federal appeals court has dealt another blow to a Minnesota county seeking to wipe most of the Mille Lacs Ojibwe Reservation off the map.

Officials from Mille Lacs County, who have spent more than $1 million in taxpayer funds on the case, asked the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the dispute. But on Wednesday, the court denied the request.

The move sets up a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not heard a reservation diminishment case since the late 1990s. The county has up to 90 days to file its challenge.

In the meantime, an earlier ruling in favor of the tribe will stand. A three-judge panel of the appeals court said the county and a local bank lacked standing to bring the suit.

"The county board wasted nearly $1.3 million of taxpayers' money on this lawsuit at a time when its budget was under pressure from a sluggish economy," said Mille Lacs chief executive Melanie Benjamin in the tribal newspaper. The tribe, which owns two casinos, held a series of celebrations after the March 9 ruling.

The county claims the reservation is, at most, 4,000 acres in size. On the other hand, the tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs recognize a total of 61,000 acres.

The disagreement, according to the county, places a cloud over law enforcement, taxation and other issues. The bank says it shouldn't be subject to regulation by the tribe.

The appeals court rejected the claims as mere speculation. "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.

The suit, however, was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled in the future.

Minnesota attorney general Mike Hatch, a Democrat, sided with the county as did South Dakota attorney general Larry Long, a Republican. Both officials cited a 1998 Supreme Court ruling that reduced the size of the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

Since then, the Supreme Court has refused to hear several tribal land cases. In recent years, officials from Connecticut and Idaho sought to reduce or limit the size of reservations in their state but were rebuffed by the high court.

Several states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho and Connecticut, are currently backing the state of Rhode Island in a dispute involving the Narragansett Tribe. The states claim the tribe is forever limited to an 1,800-acre reservation.

A federal judge said tribe could increase its land base but the decision is being appealed to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. The National Congress of American Indians and Native American Rights Fund have submitted an amicus brief in the tribe's favor.

Court Documents:
Decision in Mille Lacs v. Benjamin (March 9, 2004) | Denial of Rehearing (May 19, 2004) | Audio of Oral Arguments (October 24, 2003)

Relevant Links:
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe - http://www.millelacsojibwe.org
NCAI/NARF Supreme Court Project - http://doc.narf.org/sc/carcieri/index.html

Related Stories:
Minn. tribe wins another round in reservation dispute (03/10)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Oglala Sioux people aren't afraid to say no to easy cash (9/1)
Native Sun News: Release of secret uranium mining data ordered (9/1)
Mark Trahant: It's past time for tribal leaders to govern the nation (9/1)
Jennie Stockle: A safe space for opponents of offensive mascotry (9/1)
John Christian Hopkins: A big thank you to the friend I never met (9/1)
National Museum of the American Indian celebrates 10th birthday (9/1)
Mother arrested in connection with child's death on Navajo Nation (9/1)
Opinion: Energy development can help secure tribal independence (9/1)
Cherokee Nation announces $170M casino and retail development (9/1)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe won't be sharing gaming revenues this quarter (9/1)
Seminole Tribe on track to see gaming revenues increase to $2.1B (9/1)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to reopen gaming facility in February 2015 (9/1)
Editorial: Tohono O'odham Nation didn't play by 'rules' with casino (9/1)
Opinion: Gaming good for Eastern Cherokees but not for fellow tribe (9/1)
Opinion: Federal recognition only means more casinos in California (9/1)
Native Sun News: Tribes walk out of contract support cost meeting (8/29)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe spends $2.4M on property (8/29)
Mike Johanns: Retracing steps of great Ponca Chief Standing Bear (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: Racist mascot a sign of deeper problems in US (8/29)
Lauren Jones: Affordable Care Act benefits Native Americans too (8/29)
Gila River Indian Community to see $77.6M from Cobell buy-back (8/29)
Energy boom linked to rise in human trafficking in Indian Country (8/29)
Navajo man heads up Native American Homelessness Task Force (8/29)
9th Circuit hears case over Yakama Nation tobacco manufacturer (8/29)
WAER: ICWA matters handled in 'kangaroo courts' in South Dakota (8/29)
MPR: Red Lake Nation opposes liquor license near dry reservation (8/29)
Tule River Tribe helps remove marijuana operation on reservation (8/29)
Omaha Tribe signs agreement with EPA to improve utility services (8/29)
Las Vegas Paiute Tribe rejected 'gift' from NFL team's foundation (8/29)
KPLU: Spokane Tribe maintains close ties with baseball franchise (8/29)
Opinion: HUD loan program a small step to boost Indian housing (8/29)
DNA study finds distinct population of Native people in Arctic area (8/29)
Tribes closely watching Big Lagoon Rancheria casino land dispute (8/29)
Tohono O'odham Nation to build off-reservation casino in phases (8/29)
State questions Forest County Powatatomi Tribe's slot machines (8/29)
Quapaw Tribe eyes local support for commercial casino in Kansas (8/29)
Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (8/28)
Rudolph Ryser: Indigenous nations need leverage to bring change (8/28)
DOI extends $100M in Cobell buy-back offers on two reservations (8/28)
Cobell buy-backs could return over 38K acres to tribe in Montana (8/28)
Five-year-old Navajo boy sent home from school for his long hair (8/28)
Three charged with murder for death of Mississippi Choctaw man (8/28)
Lummi Nation seeks cooperation after ruling in treaty rights case (8/28)
Artist Gregg Deal takes on Indian mascots for performance piece (8/28)
Sports announcer won't use Washington NFL team's name on air (8/28)
Recruiter from Spokane Tribe's college selected for Peirone Prize (8/28)
California tribes support release of water to benefit salmon runs (8/28)
Southern Ute Tribe invests $2B in big energy production system (8/28)
County hires lobbying firm to oppose federal recognition reforms (8/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation breaks ground for off-reservation casino (8/28)
Cherokee Nation starts construction on casino at Indian allotment (8/28)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe responds to opponents in casino suit (8/28)
Jamul Band continues work on $360M casino after victory in court (8/28)
Editorial: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe ups ante in casino feud (8/28)
Ho-Chunk Nation launches outreach effort amid casino expansion (8/28)
Nebraska Supreme Court hears arguments over gaming initiative (8/28)
Tim Giago: Greedy lawyers and government ruin Cobell settlement (8/27)
Native Sun News: Facility in Montana set to house Indian inmates (8/27)
Gerald Gipp: National strategy needed to reform Indian education (8/27)
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.