Law
Court upholds Narragansett land-into-trust
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the right of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island to follow the land-into-trust process.

By a 4-2 vote, an en banc panel of the court said nothing in federal law bars the Bureau of Indian Affairs from acquiring new lands in trust for the tribe. The state had argued that the tribe was forever limited to the reservation that was defined by its land claims settlement act.

"While the state apparently failed to anticipate this particular problem at the time of the settlement, the Settlement Act did specifically contemplate the event of federal recognition of the Tribe and did not restrict the [Interior] Secretary's power, should the Tribe be recognized, to take into trust land outside of the settlement lands," Judge Sandra L. Lynch wrote for the majority. "We are not free to reform the Act. If aggrieved, the State must turn to Congress."

The decision marks the second time the 1st Circuit has ruled for the tribe. The state asked for a rehearing and can now take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The tribe intends to use the land at issue in the case for housing. But the new land won't fall under state civil or criminal jurisdiction -- unlike the tribe's reservation.

Get the Decision:
Carcieri v. Kempthorne (July 20, 2007)

Earlier 1st Circuit Decision:
Carcieri v. Norton (February 9, 2005)

Relevant Documents:
Carcieri v. Norton Briefs, Opinions (NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project

Relevant Laws:
Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act (US Code)

Relevant Links:
Narragansett Tribe - http://www.narragansett-tribe.org
Tribal Supreme Court Project - http://www.narf.org/sct/index.html

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