indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
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 In the unpublished June 20 decision, U.S. District Judge Robert H. Hodges said the Bureau of Indian Affairs mishandled "practically every phase" of a timber sale more than 10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...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribe threw away late veteran's memorabilia (10/31)
Mark Trahant: The Native vote could decide the 2014 election (10/31)
Richard Peterson: Sen. Begich supports Alaska Native issues (10/31)
NCAI investigates conduct of treasurer at annual convention (10/31)
Red Lake News: Tribe welcomes Sen. Tester and Sen. Franken (10/31)
Former chairman of Chippewa Cree Tribe faces more charges (10/31)
Texas couple accused of selling fake tribal membership cards (10/31)
Moapa Band loses bid for $438M solar facility on reservation (10/31)
Passamaquoddy Tribe won't talk with tidal power developers (10/31)
Oregon tribe anticipates May 2015 opening for Class II casino (10/31)
Trial opens in case connected to Choctaw Nation casino work (10/31)
Editorial: Off-reservation gaming project unfair to other tribes (10/31)
Opinion: Menominee Nation exploits loophole to pursue casino (10/31)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux officer rejoins Rapid City police (10/30)
Mark Trahant: Native voters must be prepared on election day (10/30)
Kevin Gover: Mascot fight exposes myths about Native people (10/30)
Northern Arapaho Tribe: Newspaper got it wrong on joint council (10/30)
Peter d'Errico: Kevin Washburn honored by Indian law students (10/30)
Chris Deschene still urging Navajo Nation voters to choose him (10/30)
Tribes in North Carolina back Democrat Sen. Hagan in tight race (10/30)
NWPR: Tribes take steps to control growing herds of wild horses (10/30)
Opinion: Helping the Tongva people revive their own language (10/30)
Judge grants injunction to keep Chukchansi Tribe casino closed (10/30)
Tribes in South Dakota would benefit from gaming referendum (10/30)
Employee at Puyallup Tribe's casino gets wedding ring returned (10/30)
Editorial: Keep tribal casinos in California on existing Indian land (10/30)
Column: Menominee Nation off-reservation casino goes ignored (10/30)
Quapaw Tribe faces competition for Kansas commercial casino (10/30)
Native Sun News: Montana tribe sees cut in heating assistance (10/29)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Senate race is a real test of Native policy (10/29)
Winona LaDuke: Taking treaty advice from indigenous nations (10/29)
Vena A-Dae Romero: FDA failing to consult tribal governments (10/29)
Zachary Pullin: Native Americans overcame barriers to voting (10/29)
Navajo Nation president vetoes bill to address language issue (10/29)
Prairie Island Indian Community sues over nuclear waste rule (10/29)
County's letter on CSKT water compact talks stirs controversy (10/29)
Vice: Hip-hop artist Drezus on new journey after jail sentence (10/29)
Opinion: Overcoming stereotypes of Native American culture (10/29)
Charges sought in dispute at Chukchansi Tribe's closed casino (10/29)
Pechanga Band chair featured in ads against North Fork casino (10/29)
Grand Ronde Tribes continue fight against Cowlitz Tribe casino (10/29)
Puyallup Tribe offers reward for return of casino worker's ring (10/29)
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.