Samish Nation loses case over lost federal benefits
The Samish Nation of Washington will have to ask Congress to recover millions of dollars in denied federal benefits, a federal judge said.

The tribe was taken off the list of federally recognized entities in 1969. The tribe didn't regain its federal status until 1996.

The tribe sued to recover the benefits it would have received between 1969 and 1996. But Judge Margaret Sweeney said the U.S. Court of Federal Claims lacked jurisdiction to award damages.

"It is readily apparent that the federal government's failure to treat plaintiff as a recognized Indian tribe between 1969 and 1996 deprived plaintiff of many of the federal benefits enjoyed by other federally recognized Indian tribes during that time period," Sweeney wrote. "However, the relief plaintiff seeks is not available in the Court of Federal Claims. Indeed, if plaintiff is lagging behind some of its sister tribes as a result of the deprivation of federal benefits, its avenue for relief is with Congress."

Get the Story:
Court Nixes Samish Tribe's Suit Against U.S. (Courthouse News Service 12/9)

Court Decision:
Samish Nation v. US (November 30, 2009)

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Samish Nation wins round in federal funding fight (8/22)