10th Circuit hears Northern Arapaho man's jurisdiction case
Correction: The state courts have ruled that Riverton is not Indian Country. The first version of this post left out of the word "not."

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on May 6 in the case of Andrew Yellowbear Jr., a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

Yellowbear was convicted in Wyoming state court for first-degree murder. He is serving a life sentence for killing his 22-month-old daughter.

The incident took place in Riverton. Yellowbear contends that the town is still part of the Wind River Reservation.

The state courts have repeated ruled that Riverton is not Indian Country. But the 10th Circuit, in 2008, said Yellowbear should be allowed to make his argument in federal court.

At issue is an act of Congress in 1905 that opened parts of the reservation to non-Indians. The 10th Circuit, in a recent case involving the Osage Nation of Oklahoma, ruled that a similar law diminished the Osage Reservation.

Yellowbear's attorneys say his case is different because the majority of the land on the reservation remains in tribal hands. They also say Indians continue to make up a significant portion of the population.

The case is Yellowbear v. Attorney General of the State of Wyoming, No. 09-8069.

Get the Story:
Decision on a murder’s location affects jurisdiction (Indian Country Today 5/24)

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