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
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Ore. tribes await outcome of trust fund case
THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2003

The Bush administration is challenging a trust fund ruling that holds the federal government accountable for poor record-keeping, a tribal attorney said.

The Confederated Warm Springs Tribes of Oregon were awarded $13.8 million last June by the U.S. Court of Claims. In the unpublished June 20 decision, U.S. District Judge Robert H. Hodges said the Bureau of Indian Affairs mishandled "practically every phase" of a timber sale more than 10 years ago.

Howie Arnett, an attorney for the tribe, called the case an "extremely important" one for Indian Country. Speaking at the Federal Bar Association's annual Indian law conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he said it places the burden of proof on the government in breach of trust claims.

"The fact that the BIA has incomplete records can't be held against the tribe," he told the attendees last Friday.

The judgment came after the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimous May 2001 decision, agreed there was a viable claim. "Under trust law generally, a beneficiary is entitled to recover damages for the improper management of the trust's investment assets," Judge William Curtis Bryson wrote for the majority.

In 1990, the Warm Springs Tribes agreed to a "salvage" timber sale because a winter storm damaged some trees. But the tribes said the BIA went overboard by cutting down perfectly healthy trees that could have been sold on the export market for a higher price at a later date. And of the trees that were sold, the tribes said they didn't receive all the money.

When the discrepancies were questioned, Arnett said the government couldn't account for the missing assets. "The United States has to come back with good proof, with complete records to counter the tribe's claim," he said. "If the United States can't do that, then the tribe wins on its theory of damages."

The Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal to the award in August 2002. But government lawyers were able to delay the case while they watched the outcome of the Navajo Nation's $600 million claim and the White Mountain Apache Tribe's $14 million claim.

The Supreme Court last month threw out the Navajo Nation's case and affirmed the Apache claim. Now, Arnett said, the Warm Springs Tribes are waiting for the Bush administration to figure out its next move.

The tribes are arguing that the Navajo Nation decision "hasn't changed anything," Arnett said, and have asked the Federal Circuit to dismiss the appeal. DOJ has yet to file its opening brief.

Relevant Decisions:
THE CONFED. TRIBES OF THE WARM SPRINGS RESERV. OF OREGON v. US, No 00-5002 (Fed Cir. May 10, 2001)

Related Stories:
Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation - http://www.warmsprings.com

Related Stories:
Bush strategy assumes no trust mismanagement (11/05)
Review disputes 'costly' Indian trust litigation (10/21)
Breach of trust case brings $13.8M (7/3)
Tribe wins trust case appeal (5/14)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: IHS hospital at Pine Ridge undergoes review (7/25)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Group disturbs tranquility at Bear Butte (7/25)
Indian Health Service discloses privacy breach of patient data (7/25)
BIA extends comment period on federal recognition regulation (7/25)
Navajo Nation president calling for FBI probe of brutal murders (7/25)
Jennie Stockle: Justice for victims of Cedarville mass shooting (7/25)
John Christian Hopkins: Waiting for Belgian waffles at Denny's (7/25)
Steven Pevar: Indian chldren are being taken from their homes (7/25)
IHS pays $53M to settle another contract support cost dispute (7/25)
Shinnecock Nation asserts control over tobacco amid pressure (7/25)
Four sentenced for stealing HHS funds from Oglala Sioux Tribe (7/25)
Unsettled: BIA questions Passamaquoddy forest management (7/25)
ASU News: First graduates of Indian studies master's program (7/25)
Blog: Tanka Fund aims to grow Indian Country's bison economy (7/25)
Opinion: A troubling relationship with Native peoples in Canada (7/25)
Opinion: Auction of tribal property in France sets bad precedent (7/25)
Puyallup Tribe cancels upcoming Ted Nugent concerts at casino (7/25)
Mayor gives conflicting view on Tohono O'odham Nation casino (7/25)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe plans to start work at gaming site (7/25)
Pojoaque Pueblo defends provisions in proposed gaming deal (7/25)
Iipay Nation puts Internet gaming servers on Mohawk reserve (7/25)
Native Sun News: Cobell beneficiaries still waiting on payment (7/24)
Navajo Nation president to discuss brutal murders with mayor (7/24)
NCAI President Cladoosby offers cedar hat to BIA's Washburn (7/24)
Woman waiting in line at SCIA hearing reportedly had bedbugs (7/24)
S.E. Ruckman: Tribal members share frustrations on IHS care (7/24)
Mark Rogers: System exploits misery of our nation's veterans (7/24)
Fort Belknap Tribes depend on revenue from Internet lending (7/24)
Oglala Sioux Tribe still working on plan for legal alcohol sales (7/24)
Two Native girls charged with assault for hockey game brawl (7/24)
Chickasaw Nation welcomes public to new community center (7/24)
Oregon tribe plans major development at historic village site (7/24)
Unsettled Ch. 26: Passamaquoddy dealings cloaked in secrecy (7/24)
KCAW: BLM supports Alaska Native corporation in land dispute (7/24)
Mixed martial arts fighter from Lumbee Tribe proud of heritage (7/24)
Granddaughter of former team owner condemns racist mascot (7/24)
Opinion: Chief Black Hawk was notorious leader of Ute people (7/24)
Remote tribes facing threats from drug trafficking and logging (7/24)
BIA indicates Tohono O'odham Nation can use land for gaming (7/24)
Pojoaque Pueblo wants to take state out of casino operations (7/24)
Iipay Nation started planning Internet poker games last year (7/24)
Fighter seriously injured at Trinidad Rancheria's casino event (7/24)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe concerned about potential gaming site (7/24)
Native Sun News: Great Plains tribes call for full contract funds (7/23)
Native Sun News: Candidate wants Obama to meet with tribes (7/23)
Audio: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on gaming (7/23)
President Obama nominates Jonodev Chaudhuri to lead NIGC (7/23)
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.