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

Republicans push controversial Indian energy bill through House (10/9)
Native Sun News: South Dakota community honors Code Talkers (10/9)
Lakota Country Times: Native Americans arrested at high rates (10/9)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Lakota immersion remains our only hope (10/9)
Steve Russell: Indian people stuck with the laws of colonizers (10/9)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Native people play key role in politics (10/9)
Studio denies theft of tribal artifacts from ranch in New Mexico (10/9)
Students from Salish Kootenai College send satellite into space (10/9)
Pamunkey Tribe faces challenge to federal recognition decision (10/9)
Kris Lane: Columbus was clearly not a friend to Native peoples (10/9)
Excavation at Indian city uncovers numerous signs of conflict (10/9)
Thomas St. Dennis: Don't let rival tribe stop Little River casino (10/9)
White Earth Nation plans hotel and RV park at third casino site (10/9)
Eastern Shoshone Tribe to debut expansion of casino in 2016 (10/9)
White House blasts Native American Energy Act ahead of vote (10/8)
House Natural Resources Committee approves two Indian bills (10/8)
First Nations Development Institute awards $250K for ranching (10/8)
Four Native chefs participate in unique food event in New Mexico (10/8)
Native Sun News: Lone Indian voice opposes mountain lion hunt (10/8)
Lakota Country Times: Wind power comes to Rosebud community (10/8)
Delphine Red Shirt: Scandal shuts down program for Indian youth (10/8)
Vince Two Eagles: Native medicine goes back thousands of years (10/8)
Jay Daniels: Indian lands still face threat from state governments (10/8)
Steven Newcomb: Religious doctrine guides Indian law and policy (10/8)
Brian Pierson: Recent federal court decisions affecting Indian law (10/8)
Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation celebrate trust settlement (10/8)
Actor joked about taking tribal artifacts from ranch in New Mexico (10/8)
Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians gives $100K for cancer center (10/8)
Radio station brings news and more to Yankton Sioux Reservation (10/8)
Indian gaming industry grew 116 percent between 2001 and 2013 (10/8)
Arizona tribes on road to recovery with $1.81B in casino revenues (10/8)
Pojoaque Pueblo secures injunction in New Mexico casino dispute (10/8)
Little River Band sees off-reservation casino as boost for revenue (10/8)
Pioneering tribes share experiences with prosecuting non-Indians (10/7)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approves two bills at meeting (10/7)
Congress approves land-into-trust bill for Pueblos in New Mexico (10/7)
House Natural Resources Committee holds markup on Indian bills (10/7)
Native Sun News: Rival teams meet on football field at Pine Ridge (10/7)
Lakota Country Times: Tribes receive $940M in Ramah settlement (10/7)
James Giago Davies: Embrace distance running in Indian Country (10/7)
Brandon Ecoffey: Powerful forces aim to keep out the Native vote (10/7)
Thomas Perez: Youth on Wind River Reservation share high hopes (10/7)
Stephen Corry: Native people displaced for sake of 'conservation' (10/7)
States oppose tribal jurisdiction in upcoming Supreme Court case (10/7)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe challenges Indian education reforms (10/7)
Two indicted for death of Seminole Nation man who went missing (10/7)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe donates bottled water for city residents (10/7)
Mohegan Tribe swears in four council members following election (10/7)
Tribes in Amazon rainforest defend homeland from illegal loggers (10/7)
Chukchansi Tribe accused of illegal vote and casino preparations (10/7)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe suspends gaming official after arrest (10/7)
Tribes to share in Keno revenues under new deal with Connecticut (10/7)
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.