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
The Rise of Tribes and the Fall of Federal Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Appeals court won't let state tax tribal commerce
Friday, August 29, 2003

The state of Kansas on Thursday lost another round in its attempt to tax inter-tribal commerce.

In a unanimous decision, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction that prevents the state from collecting and imposing a gas tax on the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. The state claims the tribe owes $1.25 million for distributing gas to three Kansas tribes.

A federal judge last May halted the tax and state criminal proceedings against Winnebago chairman John Blackhawk and other tribal executives. The state appealed but a three-judge appeals court panel yesterday said the state failed to make its case.

"Characterizing the central question in the case as whether the state can tax the sale of fuel between the Winnebago Tribe and the Kansas tribes, the [lower] court determined that this issue was a matter of federal, not state, law," wrote Judge Stephanie K. Seymour for the majority.

The battle began in March 2002, when Kansas officials seized gas trucks and other property belonging to Ho-Chunk Inc. (HCI), the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe. The state then ordered Blackhawk and HCI chief executive Lance Morgan arrested on an inter-state warrant. Morgan's wife, Erin, who manages a tribal business, and another tribal employee were also charged.

Reacting to the latest victory, Morgan criticized the state for interfering in the affairs of sovereign tribal governments. "How many times does Kansas have to lose before they realize the tribes are governments that can't be pushed around at their whim?" Morgan told Indianz.Com. "This isn't 1888."

The Winnebago Tribe has been providing gas to the Kickapoo Tribe, the Sac and Fox Nation and the Iowa Tribe. The tribes say their agreement is free from state taxation. All four tribes are parties to the litigation.

In May 2002, U.S. District Judge Dale E. Saffels, who died last year, agreed with the tribes and barred the state from collecting the $1.25 million that is allegedly owed. Saffels also delayed criminal proceedings against Blackhawk, Morgan and the other executives pending resolution of the dispute.

The 10th Circuit upheld Saffels on all accounts, noting the irreparable harm that the tribes face. The state, Seymour wrote, "simply ignores the district court's consideration of evidence of loss of business, reputation, future viability, and access to credit, all of which interfered with the tribes' self-sufficiency and economic development."

The state has been going after tribes within its own borders on several fronts. In addition to seizing Winnebago property, the state arrested and jailed a non-Indian businessman who was supplying gas to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. The state has also been refusing to recognize license plates issued by the tribe.

The 10th Circuit earlier this month ruled against the state in the car tag case. But a federal judge has said the state can impose a gas tax on a business owned by the tribe.

Ho-Chunk Inc. owns Indianz.Com and its sister e-commerce site AllNative.Com.

Get the Decision:
Winnebago Tribe v. Kansas (August 28, 2003)

Relevant Links:
Winnebago Tribe - http://www.winnebagotribe.com
Ho-Chunk Inc. - http://www.hochunkinc.com

Related Stories:
Judge blocks state from interfering with tribe (08/08)
Kan. wins ruling in tribal gas tax dispute (01/29)
Appeals court to hear Winnebago tax case (1/27)
State appealing tribal gas ruling (09/02)
Winnebago Tribe welcomes gas tax decision (7/12)
State ordered to return tribal property (7/11)
Winnebago Tribe wants property back (5/21)
Court halts tax on tribe (5/18)
Winnebago leaders ordered arrested (4/12)
Fight expected over gas taxes (4/11)
Winnebago Tribe's gas trucks seized (4/10)
Kan. tribe wins round in car tag dispute (6/26)

Copyright 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Lakota Country Times: Governor lectures tribe about sacred lands (5/3)
Native Sun News: Navajo Nation chapter sues tribe over water deal (5/3)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux Reservation plagued by abuse and assault (5/3)
James Giago Davies: Propaganda machine protects racist mascot (5/3)
Cronkite News: Sports teams turn to tribes for naming rights deals (5/3)
Steven Newcomb: Tricking the original nations into reconciliation (5/3)
Rosebud man selected as leader of South Dakota State University (5/3)
Klamath Tribes report results of election for leadership positions (5/3)
Leaders of Louisiana tribes in conflict over $48M relocation grant (5/3)
Choctaw Nation ordered to pay $11M for casino bus crash deaths (5/3)
Arizona reports 5.1 percent decline in casino revenue from tribes (5/3)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe casino up for discussion at city meeting (5/3)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation hoping to keep gaming lawsuit going (5/3)
Blackfeet Nation welcomes Interior Secretary Jewell to homeland (5/2)
Native Sun News: Family confronts man linked to woman's death (5/2)
Lakota Country Times: State shows cards in fight over sacred site (5/2)
Clara Caufield: Living in a state of emergency on my reservation (5/2)
Mark Trahant: Native newspapers and presidential endorsements (5/2)
Mark Charles: Politicians haven't learned from our genocidal past (5/2)
Kevin Washburn: Land buy-back program benefits Indian Country (5/2)
Ruth Hopkins: Tell indigenous youth that their lives really matter (5/2)
Peter d'Errico: Suicides are outcome of intergenerational trauma (5/2)
Indian Health Service reaches agreements for troubled facilities (5/2)
Native girl survives night alone in forest with help of three dogs (5/2)
Gathering of Nations wraps up with crowning of Miss Indian World (5/2)
University leader doesn't see seal that excludes Natives as racist (5/2)
New bill takes aim at casinos opposed by rival tribes in California (5/2)
Cloverdale Rancheria wins approval of casino land-into-trust bid (5/2)
Mashpee Wampanaog Tribe overcomes hurdles with casino plan (5/2)
Cowlitz Tribe aims to hire locals as casino construction continues (5/2)
Gathering scheduled in June at site of former BIA insane asylum (4/29)
Native Sun News: Tribal college student overcomes challenges (4/29)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ancestors are gone but language lives on (4/29)
Mike Rounds: Eliminate 'hateful' and 'paternalistic' federal laws (4/29)
Harlan McKosato: White privilege fuels Donald Trump's fanbase (4/29)
Indian Health Service faulted for lengthy waits for patient care (4/29)
Mescalero Apache woman to compete for Miss United States (4/29)
Environmental Protection Agency pays little to tribes for spill (4/29)
Measure to declare bison as official mammal ready for Obama (4/29)
John Wayne's negative views about tribes resurface in debate (4/29)
Chumash Tribe picks Kenneth Kahn as first new leader in years (4/29)
Mille Lacs Band announces upgrades as casino marks 25 years (4/29)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees warmer reception to casino bid (4/29)
Florida racks up legal bills in gaming fight with Seminole Tribe (4/29)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe sues Indian Health Service over shutdown (4/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves eight bills at meeting (4/28)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe to debut justice center (4/28)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne official fired from tribal job (4/28)
Native Sun News: Comments sought on Black Hills mine cleanup (4/28)
Editorial: Native Sun News endorses Hillary Clinton for president (4/28)
Cronkite News: EPA slammed for response to Gold King Mine spill (4/28)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump advisor accuses tribes of terror plot (4/28)
Alex Jacobs: Hillary Clinton must answer to role in Honduras coup (4/28)
Northwest tribes inch closer to reburial of Kennewick Man remains (4/28)
Santee Sioux Tribe hosts task force to address substance abuse (4/28)
Huge crowds flock to New Mexico for annual Gathering of Nations (4/28)
Muckleshoot Tribe to host $50K 'Gold Cup' for Indian relay racing (4/28)
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.