Home > News > More Headlines > Court says U.S. can protect tribe's interests
Printer friendly version
Court says U.S. can protect tribe's interests
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2003

A federal appeals court on Monday rejected a South Dakota tribe's bid to become a party to a 10-year dispute that threatens its land base.

In a unanimous ruling, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe's motion to intervene in a lawsuit over a 91-acre property. A three-judge panel said the tribe failed to show that the federal government isn't able to protect its interests.

"Aside from the purely conjectural conflicts that potentially might arise from conflicting legal duties, the tribe has not identified any specific tribal interest implicated in this litigation that the United States cannot or will not adequately protect," wrote Judge David R. Hansen for the majority.

The government is defending the Bureau of Indian Affairs' decision to take 91 acres of land into trust for the tribe. The state of South Dakota sued more than 10 years ago to prevent the transfer from becoming final.

The tribe argued that it has a right to be a part of the long-running case. "Having the tribe sit on the sidelines while the United States speaks for it is paternalistic and outmoded," Native American Rights Fund (NARF) attorney Tracy Labin said at an October 2002 hearing. "The tribe belongs at the table."

But the appeals court rejected that notion by referring back to the Department of Justice's involvement. "The government placed the land in trust and has doggedly defended that agency determination against South Dakota's attack through several rounds of litigation, including one bout at the Supreme Court," Hansen wrote.

Over the years, the dispute has become a symbol of tribal efforts to restore more than 90 million acres of land that was lost due to the assimilationist policy of allotment. Congress in 1934 authorized the government to take lands into trust but the policy has succeeded only nominally, with 9 million acres restored.

The land in question in the Lower Brule case used to be part of the tribe's reservation. It fell out of Indian ownership but the tribe purchased it in 1990 for $80,000, hoping to turn it into a tourist attraction.

Former governer Bill Janklow (R), now a Congressman, at first opposed the proposal. After meeting with chairman Mike Jandreau, he dropped his objections and the two governments came to an agreement.

South Dakota attorney general Mark Barnett, also a Republican, continued to fight the transfer, though. The dispute made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where Barnett hoped to challenge the very basis of the land-into-trust policy.

But in an 11th hour switch, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt avoided the showdown by changing the land regulations to require more input from state and local governments, essentially non-Indians. To the chagrin of tribes, those rules have stuck despite a later effort by the Clinton administration to overhaul them.

Upon taking control of the White House, the Bush administration delayed implementation of the changes. Former assistant secretary Neal McCaleb eventually dropped them altogether. Bush officials have made overtures to tribes about restarting a consultation effort to devise new rules but no concrete advances have been made.

Get the Decision:
STATE OF S. DAKOTA v. US DEP'T OF INTERIOR, No. 01-3611 (8th Cir. February 03, 2003)

Recent Court Pleadings:
Opening Brief: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (2/19) | Brief: State of South Dakota (4/8) | Brief: Department of Justice (4/9) Reply: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (5/8)

Related Stories:
Land still in limbo after decade-long fight (10/16)
The day the Supreme Court said no (10/16)
Janklow sues over tribal jurisdiction (10/10)
Focus on trust reform leaves estate on sideline (03/12)
Land regulations targeted for withdrawal (8/13)
Supreme Court turns down Pequot land case (5/1)
Norton delays land-into-trust regulations (4/16)

Copyright © Indianz.Com

Stay Connected

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud

More Headlines

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)
Member of Puyallup Tribe develops 'Teepee' tribal directory app (4/28)
Man in long fight with Shingle Springs Band faces longer sentence (4/28)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe enters gaming agreement with Mohegan Tribe (4/28)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees casino as a path to self-sufficiency (4/28)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe announces another hire at casino (4/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe welcomes rejection of rival casino bid (4/28)
Senate passes measure to include Indian Country in tourism plans (4/27)
Amanda Blackhorse to deliver commencement speech at Haskell (4/27)
Native Sun News: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe aims to stop pipeline (4/27)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge artist gains national recognition (4/27)
Brandon Ecoffey: 'Bull Dawg' represents the Oglala Lakota Nation (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Tribes endorse Native candidates for US Congress (4/27)
John Thune: Tribal citizens suffer with Indian Health Service care (4/27)
Cronkite News: Tribes support more protections at Grand Canyon (4/27)
Gabe Galanda: A moral responsibility to stop tribal disenrollment (4/27)
Vernice Moncooyea Willis: Bernie Sanders deserves our support (4/27)
Jennifer Denetdale: University must stop celebrating genocide (4/27)
Eastern Cherokee group hails Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act (4/27)
Leader of Fort Peck Tribes blames baby's death on drug abuse (4/27)
Chippewa Cree Tribe and FBI investigate theft of drugs at clinic (4/27)
Former comptroller of Crow Tribe accused of embezzling $28K (4/27)
Congress set to pass bill to declare bison as national mammal (4/27)
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton moving closer to nominations (4/27)
Fond du Lac Band won't confirm plan for site adjacent to casino (4/27)
Graton Rancheria on track to complete $175M casino expansion (4/27)
Pokagon Band to debut casino expansion project by end of year (4/27)
Connecticut tribes delay decision on potential casino until 2017 (4/27)
Oregon Lottery official fired as Lewis and Clark ads come down (4/27)
more headlines...

Advertisement

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.