Eastern Pequot group loses ruling in federal recognition lawsuit

A federal judge has dismissed a federal recognition lawsuit filed by members of the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the "Historic Eastern Pequots" lack standing to sue the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He said the group failed to show how it was connected to the two petitioners that were denied federal recognition by the Bush administration.

"Is the plaintiff, 'Historic Eastern Pequots,' the same entity as the 'Historical Eastern Pequot Tribe' mentioned in the FD?" Sullivan wrote, referring to the final determination issued by the BIA. "The record is very unclear. Plaintiff has further complicated the issue by referring to itself (or possibly other distinct tribes) in the complaint by various names."

"Ultimately, however, plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that it has standing to invoke the court’s subject matter jurisdiction, and plaintiff has failed to do so here," Sullivan concluded.

Sullivan also said that the lawsuit was filed too late. The BIA issued the final determination on October 14, 2005, so the statue of limitations expired six years later, on October 14, 2011.

The Eastern Pequot group waited until January 2012 to go to court.

Get the Story:
Eastern Pequots’ latest bid for federal recognition fails (The New London Day 4/1)

District Court Decision:
Historic Eastern Pequots v. Salazar (March 31, 2013)

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Eastern Pequots to continue lawsuit over federal recognition (3/1)

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