Crow Tribe's jurisdiction blocked in land dispute

The Crow Tribe of Montana doesn't have jurisdiction over a land dispute on the reservation, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull said the tribe lacks jurisdiction because the parties in the dispute aren't tribal members and the land at issue is not tribal land. He issued a temporary injunction that blocks the Crow tribal court from taking action in the matter.

The dispute involves Janice Smith, a member of a Washington tribe, and the Custer Battlefield Preservation Committee, a non-profit group that is buying land around the Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, which lies within Crow reservation boundaries.

Smith wants to use her land for a museum and interpretive center but says the group is trying to block her plans. She subsequently filed a lawsuit in tribal court but the committee challenged the tribe's authority to hear the case.

Smith's recourse would be to file a lawsuit in state court, Cebull suggested.

Get the Story:
Judge locks Crow Tribal Court out of land dispute (The Billings Gazette 10/22)

Relevant Links:
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument -

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