Law | Trust

Timbisha Shoshone Tribe vows to continue battle for trust fund

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe of Nevada will continue to fight a law that requires the distribution of a $185 million trust fund, a leader said.

Chairman Joe Kennedy and his council filed the lawsuit. But the Bureau of Indian Affairs refused to recognize him as the rightful leader of the tribe.

Another election was held, resulting in the seating of a different group of leaders. As a result, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said the lawsuit must be dismissed.

"This fight is not over," Kennedy said in a press release. "We will continue to seek justice for the Timbisha as well as for all Western Shoshone peoples, and indigenous peoples across the country.”

Robert T. Coulter, the executive director of the Indian Law Resource Center, said the decision gives the federal government the power to "get rid of a tribal government and prevent it from suing." Coulter is representing Kennedy's council.

“For more than a century, Congress has done practically whatever it wished with Indian property and Indian monies held by the federal government, but in this suit the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe argued that such practices are unconstitutional," Coulter said.

The tribe could ask the DC Circuit to reconsider or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

Get the Story:
DC court: Tribal faction can't block land payments (AP 5/17)

DC Circuit Decision:
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe v. Salazar (May 15, 2012)

Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act:
Bill Report | H.R.884 | S.618

Related Stories:
DC Circuit dismisses challenge to Western Shoshone trust bill (5/16)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sues to stop trust fund distribution (6/14)

Join the Conversation