SCOTUSBlog: Narragansett land-into-trust case
"The contentious relationship between the State of Rhode Island and the Narragansett Indian Tribe dates back to at least 1880, when – after protracted resistance to Rhode Island’s efforts to assimilate it – the Tribe surrendered its tribal authority and sold all but two acres of its lands to the State for five thousand dollars. In 1975, the Tribe sought to invalidate the sale, arguing that Rhode Island had violated the Indian Nonintercourse Act, which requires federal consent prior to the purchase of Indian land or termination of aboriginal title. After three years of litigation, Rhode Island and the Tribe entered into a Joint Memorandum of Understanding, which granted the Tribe 1800 acres of land (known as the “settlement lands”) in exchange for the Tribe’s agreement to abandon its claims of aboriginal title and its claims to other lands in the state. Congress eventually approved and codified the agreement in the Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act.

The litigation now before the Court arises from the 1991 purchase by the Tribe’s housing authority of a thirty-one-acre parcel of land in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Although the parcel was part of the aboriginal lands at issue in the Tribe’s 1975 lawsuit, it is not part of the settlement lands. Arguing that it was not subject to state or local law, the Tribe began construction of a housing project on the parcel without obtaining building or sewage disposal system permits, but the town subsequently obtained an injunction that prohibited the Tribe from continuing to build without the required permits."

Get the Story:
SCOTUSwiki Preview: Carcieri v. Kempthorne (SCOTUSBlog 9/16)

Supreme Court Documents:
Docket Sheet | Questions Presented | Order List

1st Circuit Decisions:
En Banc (July 20, 2007) | Panel (February 9, 2005)

Briefs and Other Documents:
Carcieri v. Kempthorne (NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project

Relevant Laws:
Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act (US Code)

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