Law | Trust

Two federal court rulings on Yankton Sioux Tribe land-into-trust

Two land-into-trust applications submitted by the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota in 2004 are being litigated in two separate lawsuits in federal court.

In the first case, Charles Mix County sued the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approving an application for 39 acres. The county raised constitutional challenges to the Indian Reorganization Act, accused BIA employees of bias and said the approval was arbitrary and capricious.

Judge Roberto A. Lange rejected all of the claims in a decision last Thursday. He noted that the constitutional challenges have already been decided in numerous courts, including the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case is Charles Mix County v. DOI.

In another case, the county, the city of Wagner and state of South Dakota are suing over a different 39-acre application. The plaintiffs raised the same constitutional and bias issues, which Lange rejected in a decision last Thursday.

However, Lange said the plaintiffs weren't given access to all of the documents that the BIA used in considering the application. Lange cited 23 documents that weren't provided to the plaintiffs, in violation of their right to due process.

The case is South Dakota v. DOI.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from both cases.

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