indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
U.S. Supreme Court refuses to clarify tribal claims
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tribal claims across the nation face an uncertain future after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a critical case.

Without comment, the justices declined a petition filed by the Cayuga Nation of New York and the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma. Backed by the federal government, the tribes sought to revive their claim to 64,000 acres in New York.

A federal judge had ordered the state to pay $248 million for taking the land without the approval of the United States. But the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in a split decision that now stands, barred the tribes from seeking money damages for the stolen land.

Tribes elsewhere in the nation face similar fates. Land, water, hunting and other types of claims could be dismissed if unfavorable precedents set by the 2nd Circuit are adopted by more courts.

"The Supreme Court, in refusing to accept the Cayuga appeal, has established itself as the most anti-Indian court in the history of the United States," said Jim Ransom, a chief of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, whose land claim is pending.

Simliar alarms were raised by the National Congress of American Indians. In a brief that urged the high court to accept the case, NCAI said the 2nd Circuit's "unprecedented ruling" threatens a slew of land, water, natural resource and other claims.

"This legally unsupportable result would be disastrous to Indian tribes across the country," the brief stated.

In New York alone, the Mohawks, the Oneida Nation, the Onondaga Nation, the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians from Wisconsin and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin are purusing claims to millions of acres of stolen land. All have engaged in settlement talks with the state.

But if the cases remain in court, they will have to survive two tests set by the 2nd Circuit: whether the tribes waited too long to file suit and whether the claim is too "disruptive" to non-Indians.

Similar standards could be applied in other circuits. In Ohio, which is part of the 6th Circuit, the state is fighting land and hunting claims filed by the Ottawa Tribe and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe, both of Oklahoma. Rulings on motions to dismiss are pending.

The 3rd Circuit recently dealt with a land claim filed by the Delaware Nation of Oklahoma. Unlike the 2nd Circuit however, the court bypassed the time issue when it dismissed the tribe's claim to land in Pennsylvania earlier this month.

Elsewhere, tribes have filed or are contemplating lawsuits over water, hunting, gathering and other treaty or aboriginal rights. The Department of Justice, in its briefs to the Supreme Court, had warned that the 2nd Circuit's precedents "may have deleterious impacts in future litigation."

The 2nd Circuit's ruling was based on a Supreme Court decision involving the Oneida Nation. The tribe has bought more than 17,000 acres in its land claim area and asserted jurisdiction over the properties.

In March 2005, the justices ruled 8-1 that the tribe had to go through the land-into-trust proces before claiming sovereignty. But language in the ruling that spoke of the passage of time between the loss of the land and the tribe's purchases, as well as the potential "disprutive" effects to the non-Indian community was used by the 2nd Circuit to dismiss the Cayuga claim.

"The Supreme Court's recent decision," the 2nd Circuit wrote by a 2-1 vote, "has dramatically altered the legal landscape" of tribal claims.

The Oneida Nation and the Cayuga Nation have since filed land-into-trust applications for their land purchases. The state of New York and local communities are opposing the applications, citing the recent court rulings. Decisions by the Bureau of Indian Affairs could be years away.

Supreme Court Briefs:
Cayuga Indian Nation of New York v. Pataki

Cayuga Land Claim Decision:
Cayuga Nation v. New York (June 28, 2005)

Sherrill v. Oneida Nation Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Ginsburg] | Concurrence [Souter] | Dissent [Stevens]

Relevant Links:
NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project - http://doc.narf.org/sc/index.html
Indian Nation Fee-to-Trust Land Acquisition Applications in New York State - http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/ogc/lands.html

Related Stories:
Supreme Court won't hear Cayuga land claim (5/15)
U.S. Supreme Court weighs Cayuga land claim (5/9)
Delaware Nation loses out-of-state land claim (05/05)
Cayuga Nation files response brief on land claim (04/20)
BIA holds meeting on Cayuga Nation land-into-trust (03/02)
Cayuga land claim at issue before high court (2/21)
BIA proposes to take land into trust for Cayuga Nation (2/13)
Cayuga Nation pays property taxes in two counties (2/10)
Supreme Court asked to revive Cayuga land claim (2/8)
DOJ asks Supreme Court to hear Cayuga land claim (01/18)
Tribe sues to reclaim New Jersey reservation (01/09)
Ohio fights Eastern Shawnee Tribe's land claim (10/19)
Judge extends Sherrill decision to Cayuga Nation (10/06)
Cason: Cayuga Nation subject to Sherrill decision (9/29)
State seeks dismissal of Ottawa Tribe's lawsuit (08/25)
Cayuga tribes to challenge land claim decision (7/5)
Oklahoma tribe's lawsuit claims large portion of Ohio (07/12)
Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma files Ohio treaty claim (07/01)
Appeals court kills Cayuga land claim after 25 years (6/29)
Oklahoma tribe sues in hopes of landing casino deal (06/28)
State hired professors to review tribe's land claim (06/03)
Another Oklahoma tribe's out-of-state bid rejected (06/02)
Cayuga Nation land case back before federal judge (05/05)
Pombo continues hearings on off-reservation gaming (05/02)
Supreme Court ruling impacts New York land claims (4/19)
Cayuga tribes confident on land claim appeal (4/12)
Supreme Court decision derails Pataki settlements (4/11)
Oklahoma tribe files claim to island in Ohio (04/07)
Supreme Court called less sympathetic to Indians (4/7)
Fallout from Supreme Court ruling on Oneida Nation (4/6)
BIA official calls high court ruling 'quite depressing' (03/31)
Major defeat for Oneida Nation in Supreme Court case (3/30)
Oklahoma tribe loses bid for out-of-state land (12/03)
Cayuga Nation land rights upheld by federal judge (4/26)
Cayuga Nation's plans for land worry some in village (04/07)
Report: Seneca-Cayuga Tribe has bigger plans in store (04/06)
Tribes ask court for $1.7B and title to lost land (04/01)
Federal appeals court to hear Cayuga land claim (3/31)
NIGC accused of 'ducking' casino land issue in N.Y. (03/23)
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe seeks deal to end land claim (03/19)
Judge in N.Y. hears Seneca-Cayuga land dispute (03/12)
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe could fund arts center in N.Y. (2/26)
Arguments set for appeal of Cayuga land claim (2/25)
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe makes offer to Pataki (11/19)
Court orders Cayuga Nation to stop renovations (10/23)
Cayuga Nation proposes land claim, tax settlement (10/21)
Cayuga Nation buys another gas station (10/06)
Bill would terminate out-of-state sovereign rights (09/26)
Appeals expected in Seneca-Cayuga Tribe's land case (09/10)
Judge to decide fate of Seneca-Cayuga Tribe's land (9/9)
Cayuga tribes slowly reclaiming ancestral territory (09/02)
Okla. tribe says court decision bolsters case (07/24)
Cayuga Nation welcomes Indian Country decision (07/23)
Oneida Nation wins treaty lands case (7/22)

Copyright 2000-2006 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: A ride-along with a South Dakota county sheriff (4/17)
Lakota Country Times: Sen. Tester pushes for tribal college funds (4/17)
Native Sun News: Walk hits uranium mining sites on reservations (4/17)
Brandon Ecoffey: Vincent Brewer was a family man and a cowboy (4/17)
Delphine Red Shirt: Restoring our sacred peak to its original name (4/17)
Clara Caufield: A faithful servant to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe (4/17)
Steve Russell: Shocking students with the truth about US history (4/17)
Sunnie Clahchischiligi: Get on board with Ho-Chunk Nation player (4/17)
Navajo Nation candidates enter final stretch of bumpy campaign (4/17)
Man from Tulalip Tribes enters not guilty plea to firearms charge (4/17)
Colorado lawmaker continues tradition of bolo ties on Capitol Hill (4/17)
Editorial: End discrimination against Native Americans in Michigan (4/17)
Editorial: Virginia's tribes need federal recognition from Congress (4/17)
Indiana lawmakers not so welcoming to Pokagon Band casino bid (4/17)
Arizona agency threatens to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (4/17)
Kansas seeks injunction to stop Quapaw Tribe gaming expansion (4/17)
Mohegan Tribe's casino enterprise named one of best employers (4/17)
Native Sun News: Senate field hearing focuses on tribes and coal (4/16)
Lakota Country Times: Program brings healthy food to Pine Ridge (4/16)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Death rituals among the Mohawk people (4/16)
James Giago Davies: Just another crazy breed Lakota in the IHS (4/16)
Karin Eagle: UNITY media summit draws people to reservation (4/16)
Walt Lamar: Addicts in Indian Country turning to spiked heroin (4/16)
Congress passes renewal of Indian Country diabetes program (4/16)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee takes up tribal labor measure (4/16)
Sen. Barrasso highlights 100 days of work on Indian legislation (4/16)
Alaska to make changes to Indian Child Welfare Act procedures (4/16)
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe council meeting ends in shouting match (4/16)
Manitoba agrees to pay funeral bill for murdered Native woman (4/16)
New York City approves marker where Indian slaves were sold (4/16)
President of Rosebud Sioux Tribe removed after ethics hearing (4/16)
Colorado House approves bill to restrict use of Indian mascots (4/16)
Lumbee Tribe remains in long quest to gain federal recognition (4/16)
Senate votes to confirm Jonodev Chaudhuri as leader of NIGC (4/16)
Letter raises legal issues for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (4/16)
Mohegan Tribe went to South Korea to discuss potential casino (4/16)
Quapaw Tribe faces opposition over possible casino in Arkansas (4/16)
Colville Tribes plan ceremonial debut of $68M casino next month (4/16)
Rincon Band contributes $9.5M to highway projects near casino (4/16)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux district endorses marijuana (4/15)
Native Sun News: Candidates to debate on tribal college campus (4/15)
Native Sun News: Former police chief runs for Rapid City mayor (4/15)
Mark Trahant: Millions of Native Americans wait on health care (4/15)
Dana Lone Elk: Francis Pumpkin Seed always had a bright smile (4/15)
Stephen Pevar: Tribes and families fight back with ICWA lawsuit (4/15)
Paul Moorehead: Tribes need greater control of their own lands (4/15)
Obama to visit city near Sisseton Wahpeton Reservation in May (4/15)
Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes host honoring for Suzan Shown Harjo (4/15)
DOI issues $10.5M in offers on Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (4/15)
Navajo Nation signs buy-back cooperative agreement with DOI (4/15)
Indian arts organization seeks replacement for top executive (4/15)
National Park Service releases eight grants for NAGPRA efforts (4/15)
Bill introduced in Senate to support placing woman on $20 bill (4/15)
Judge Judy chooses reservation school for graduation speech (4/15)
Museum named after famed Pueblo woman artist closes doors (4/15)
Quick justice for assault of woman on Chitimacha Reservation (4/15)
WBUR: Reporter discusses youth suicide in Oglala Sioux Tribe (4/15)
Editorial: Agua Caliente Band can help ease tensions over land (4/15)
BIA hears from public on Pokagon Band gaming plan in Indiana (4/15)
Fond du Lac Band spars with city over services for urban casino (4/15)
Seminole Tribe faces complaints over business deals at casino (4/15)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.