Home > News > More Headlines > S.D. puts pressure on tribal sovereignty
Printer friendly version
S.D. puts pressure on tribal sovereignty

The state of South Dakota on Tuesday temporarily suspended voter fraud charges against an American Indian woman pending resolution of a dispute that tests the limits of tribal sovereignty.

Attorney general Larry Long plans to press a federal judge to force the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe to serve subpoenas on its members. In a statement, he invoked the Supreme Court's 2001 Nevada v. Hicks decision, which expanded state police powers over Indian Country.

"We're only asking the federal court to allow us to protect the integrity of state elections, by allowing us to serve these subpoenas," he said.

Long's strategy means Rebecca Red Earth-Villeda, a member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, is off the hook for now. She is accused, in state court, of forging a handful of absentee ballot applications in last year's federal election, during which Indian voters carried Sen. Tim Johnson (D) to a narrow victory over former congressman John Thune (R).

But it puts the pressure on the Crow Creek Tribe, whose court refused to allow state authorities to serve subpoenas on tribal land. The state sought to compel grand jury testimony of 10 tribal members who live on the reservation.

"Each is a victim of having absentee ballot applications forged in his or her name and passed by Red Earth," the state alleged in the federal court complaint, filed on January 31.

The Crow Creek Tribal Council voted 6-1 on January 28 to refuse the subpoenas. Chairman Duane Big Eagle Sr. did not agree with his colleagues and, according to Long, tried to cooperate with the state until he was "overruled" by the council. Big Eagle was unavailable for comment yesterday.

As a result, Big Eagle was not named a defendant in the federal lawsuit but the other six members of the council were. Also named is Tribal Court Judge Paul Mueller, who informed state agents on January 29 of the tribe's stance. The state submitted in court what it said was an audio recording of the conversation.

"We are denying you jurisdiction," Mueller said, according to a transcript. He added: "Unless we get an order from the federal court saying you have jurisdiction here."

A hearing is scheduled next Tuesday in Sioux Falls to address the dispute. Long believes the Hicks decision, which allows state law enforcement to carry out its activities involving individual tribal members, bolsters the state's position.

The tribe has not yet filed court papers to respond to Long's charges. But a case that will be reviewed by the Supreme Court in the upcoming year suggests that Hicks may not apply to tribal governments.

The 10 Crow Creek tribal members were to have testified last Friday in state court. They were offered $40 for meals, transportation from the reservation to a state courthouse in Sioux Falls, an overnight hotel stay and a check for $135.15 in "litigation costs."

Red Earth-Villeda faces 19 criminal charges for the alleged fraud. Without the grand jury testimony, the case against her is weakened, the state acknowledges. Long's office tried to delay a related proceeding against Red Earth-Villeda but the request was rejected.

Separately, Red Earth-Villeda has filed a federal lawsuit against former attorney general Mark Barnett, who continues to work on the fraud case against her.

Relevant Documents:
Long Letter to Crow Creek Judge (January 23, 2003) | Crow Creek Tribal Council Vote on Subpoenas (January 28, 2003) | A Subpoena to Tribal Member (January 28, 2003) | Transcript Involving Crow Creek Judge (January 28, 2003) Complaint Against Crow Creek Tribe (January 31, 2003) | Long Affidavit (January 31, 2003) | Long Press Release on Red Earth-Villeda (February 11, 2003)

Relevant Links:
S.D. Attorney General - http://www.state.sd.us/attorney

Related Stories:
S.D. tribe won't force members to testify (02/07)
S.D. Sioux tribe fights state subpoenas (2/4)
Supreme Court work at issue as judge debated (01/30)
State power over tribal government in dispute (12/03)
Indian votes helped Johnson (11/7)
Sioux tribal members file voting rights suit (08/06)

Copyright © Indianz.Com

Stay Connected

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud

More Headlines

Native Sun News: Tribal member speaks out against fracking (11/27)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud mothers address meth issues (11/27)
Tim Giago: Walk a mile in the moccasins of Native Americans (11/27)
Vince Two Eagles: Focus on being thankful this holiday season (11/27)
Native Sun News: Keystone fighters celebrate permit's defeat (11/27)
Steven Newcomb: Even media treats our nations as 'nothing' (11/27)
Ray Cook: Thanksgiving flies in the face of original Americans (11/27)
Terese Mailhot: Racism prevails in American popular culture (11/27)
Ilya Somin: Persistent 'myth' justified taking of Indian lands (11/27)
Ak-Chin Indian Community sued for same-sex marriage ban (11/27)
Opinion: Don't break promise to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (11/27)
Native Sun News: Family questions FBI on reservation death (11/25)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud students earn top scholarship (11/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Making a difference for people on Pine Ridge (11/25)
Yurok Tribe: Mourning the passing of 'visionary' Troy Fletcher (11/25)
Ned Blackhawk: Supreme Court case jeopardizes tribal rights (11/25)
Steve Russell: The real origins of the world's terrorism crisis (11/25)
Ramona Peters: Sharing a Wampanoag story of Thanksgiving (11/25)
Yatibaey Evans: Let's all teach the truth about Native history (11/25)
Martie Simmons: Every Native parent dreads this time of year (11/25)
Eric Metaxas: The 'miracle' of Squanto and first Thanksgiving (11/25)
Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to late Billy Frank Jr (11/25)
Oneida Nation opens first branch location of tribal-owned bank (11/25)
Virginia tribes continue to pay tribute required by 1677 treaty (11/25)
Chukchansi Tribe reaches new agreement for shuttered casino (11/25)
Poarch Band to welcome visitors to $65M expansion at casino (11/25)
Stillaguamish Tribe debuts eatery and microbrewery at casino (11/25)
Connecticut tribes consider proposals for third gaming facilty (11/25)
Mark Pilarski: Why are games different at some tribal casinos? (11/25)
Tribes seek support for Native language instruction programs (11/24)
Rep. Mullin confirms divisions in Indian Country on Carcieri fix (11/24)
President Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Billy Frank Jr. (11/24)
Sault Tribe pushes for passage of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (11/24)
Lakota Country Times: Charles Trimble recognized for writings (11/24)
Native Sun News Editorial: Some new names in Indian Country (11/24)
Jim Kent: South Dakota lands in the news again for corruption (11/24)
John Yellowbird Steele: Bill tries to hijack recognition process (11/24)
Albert Bender: 'The Green Inferno' hits new low in racist films (11/24)
Peter d'Errico: Anti-Indian wars continue in US Supreme Court (11/24)
Anne Keala Kelly: US government wants to steal Hawaii again (11/24)
Counties ask Supreme Court to hear Ute Tribe boundary case (11/24)
Shinnecock Nation considers entering medical marijuana field (11/24)
USDA policy eases return of traditional food to tribal facilities (11/24)
Sitka Tribe asks FBI to consider racial bias in student's arrest (11/24)
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.