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
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Appeals court debates S.D. land transfer
TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2003

A federal appeals court gave a cool reception on Monday to a South Dakota tribe seeking to halt the transfer of culturally significant land along the Missouri River.

The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe opposes the transfer on the grounds that it will harm burial grounds and other important sites. But a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals openly struggled with the complaint, noting that the parcels in dispute were already accepted by the state more than a year ago.

"We're having trouble understanding what the current harm is," said Judge David B. Sentelle.

Peter Capossela, an attorney for the tribe, argued that the land loses federal protections in the hands of the state. The tribe's repatriation and historic preservation rights are lessened under state control, he said.

"That state is out there on the ground," he told the court. "That's the difference."

The case stems from a federal law ushered through Congress in 1999 by Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and backed by then-governor Bill Janklow (R), now a Congressman. Contained in an appropriations act, it mandates the transfer of up to 150,000 acres of land to the state and to the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

At issue yesterday were 60 recreational sites whose deeds the state has accepted. A federal judge last year refused to enjoin the transfer, prompting the appeal to the D.C. Circuit.

Lisa Jones, a Department of Justice attorney representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said that action mooted the tribe's complaint. She told the court that no violations of the Native American Graves Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) or other historic preservation laws have been claimed.

"Unless there's been some allegation of a violation of those laws, the tribe has no standing," she argued.

Capossela pointed to a separate case where the state and the Corps have failed to protect burial grounds along the Missouri River. The Yankton Sioux Tribe scored a NAGPRA victory last year by preventing construction on a recreational site.

But the judges weren't convinced and said the deeds require the state to follow all applicable laws.

"How could Congress have been clearer?" asked Judge David S. Tatel.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota have intervened in the case. In addition to the burial site claims, the tribes allege the transfer violates their treaty rights.

The case is Crow Creek Tribe v. White., No. 02-5049. The defendant is Thomas White, the Secretary of the Army, which oversees the Army Corps.

Relevant Links:
Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District - http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil

Related Stories:
Appeals court hears Sioux land transfer case (3/17)
Judge: S.D. tribe not consulted (7/1)
S.D. tribe pushes return of disputed remains (06/12)
Tribe opposes Missouri River land transfer (8/13)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Lawmakers seek distribution of Cobell checks (7/31)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee passes seven bills at meeting (7/31)
David Wilkins: Finding some common ground on disenrollments (7/31)
Notah Begay to be inducted into Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame (7/31)
Opinion: Native Americans shackled in poverty by federal policy (7/31)
Column: Revisiting Johnny Cash's classic Indian rights recording (7/31)
Column: Sen. McCain breaks promise on Tohono O'odham casino (7/31)
Survey shows support for smoke-free tribal casinos in Wisconsin (7/31)
Prairie Island Tribe arrests woman for possessing meth at casino (7/31)
Chumash Tribe hosts public meeting on $160M casino expansion (7/31)
Crews stop spread of fires that came near Barona Band's casino (7/31)
Native Sun News: Website tracks missing and murdered women (7/30)
Native Sun News: AmeriCorps expands efforts in Indian Country (7/30)
House Natural Resources Committee markup on four tribal bills (7/30)
Mark Begich: A permanent fix for tribal contract support costs (7/30)
Paul Moorehead: Let's get back to promoting self-government (7/30)
Tanya Lee: Violence against Native women a national disgrace (7/30)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin named one of 50 Most Beautiful on Hill (7/30)
Tribes criticize veto provisions in BIA federal recognition rule (7/30)
Great Plains tribes hold conference to safeguard water rights (7/30)
Yurok Tribe wraps up marijuana raids with nearly 13K plants (7/30)
Law Article: Tribal lenders fight federal agency investigation (7/30)
Editorial: Muscogee Nation paves the way for college's future (7/30)
NPR: Relying on social media to keep Native languages alive (7/30)
Opinion: EPA exploits tribes by recognizing their sovereignty (7/30)
Mescalero Apache Nation man sentenced for meth trafficking (7/30)
BIA won't commit to timeline on Mashpee Wampanoag casino (7/30)
Employees at Graton Rancheria casino to negotiate labor deal (7/30)
Tohono O'odham Nation blasts bill to bar off-reservation casino (7/30)
Opposition group sues to block gaming referendum in Nebraska (7/30)
Native Sun News: Native nations unite on uranium mine cleanup (7/29)
Audio from House subcommittee hearing on five tribal measures (7/29)
House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs hearing (7/29)
Witness List: SCIA hearing on natural disasters in Indian Country (7/29)
Gyasi Ross: Tribes put principle over profit in banning Ted Nugent (7/29)
Steven Newcomb: UN perpetuates dominance of Native peoples (7/29)
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Music festival outlaws faux headdresses (7/29)
BIA holds final in-person meeting on federal recognition reform (7/29)
'Caucasians' t-shirt sees boost in popularity thanks to Native DJ (7/29)
WyoFile: Tribes depend on Medicaid funding for health services (7/29)
Another member of Miccosukee Tribe killed in fatal car accident (7/29)
Former employee sentenced for theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe (7/29)
Editorial: Washington team's 'racial slur' has no place in society (7/29)
Review: 'Unreal City' exploits coal from Hopi and Navajo tribes (7/29)
Senate bill introduced to kill Tohono O'odham Nation casino bid (7/29)
Mohegan Tribe reports declines in gaming revenues and profits (7/29)
Muscogee Nation adds steakhouse to $335M casino expansion (7/29)
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.