Yakama smokeshop owner hails court decision

The owner of a smokeshop who was indicted for allegedly smuggling cigarettes hailed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for upholding the Yakama Nation treaty.

Harry Smiskin said the unanimous decision backs the tribe's sovereignty. "What it does is reaffirms what I've said all along, that the Yakamas have the right to freely travel and trade," he told The Yakima Herald-Republic. "That was affirmed back in 1855, and we are reaffirming that right now and the court concurs with that."

Smiskin and his son, Kato, were charged with violating the federal Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act. Government prosecutors said they failed to notify the state of Washington that they were transporting large quantities of cigarettes without state tax stamps.

The 9th Circuit disagreed and said the 1855 Yakama Treaty guarantees the right of tribal members to enjoy use public highways to bring goods to market.

Get the Story:
Ruling reaffirms tribal sovereignty in cigarette case (The Yakima Herald-Republic 5/22)

Get the Decision:
US v. Smiskin (May 18, 2007)

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