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Northern Arapaho Tribe blasts proposal to diminish reservation

The Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming is criticizing a draft bill that would diminish the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation.

Tribal leaders approached Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, after hearing about the proposal. But they said their message fell on deaf ears.

“We asked them to reconsider, to open their minds and work with us in good faith, but they were not interested," council member Al Addison said in a press release.

The draft bill states that the reservation was "diminished" by an act Congress in 1905. The tribe has disputed the interpretation of that law.

“It's chilling to see this kind of attack on Indian Country in 2014,” Chairman Darrell O'Neal said in the press release.

The Wyoming courts have agreed that the reservation was diminished in a series of cases. But the issue doesn't appear to have been settled in the federal courts -- the state is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for approving a treatment as state application for the Northern Arapaho Tribe and Eastern Shoshone Tribe.

"EPA anticipates the resolution of the reservation boundaries in the courts and will continue to work with the tribes to move forward on Clean Air Act activities in areas that are not disputed by the state of Wyoming," the EPA said in a February 13 update about the tribes' application. Both tribes share the Wind River Reservation.

The state's challenge to the EPA will be heard by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Get the Story:
Wyoming senators write bill denying EPA ruling that Riverton is reservation land (The Casper Star-Tribune 4/2)

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