indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Appeals court backs tribe in land-into-trust dispute
Monday, July 23, 2007
Filed Under: Law | Trust

A federal appeals court on Friday handed another victory to the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island in its long-running battle against the state.

In a case watched across Indian Country, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals said nothing in federal law bars the tribe from following the land-into-trust process. The 4-2 decision by an en banc panel of the court marks the second time the tribe has prevailed on the issue.

But the war appears far from over. Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch plans to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, a spokesperson said.

The justices have so far resisted taking on land-into-trust. In the past few years, they have declined to hear three cases that have raised challenges to the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.

Tribal interests hope the high court will do the same if presented with the latest case. The Native American Rights Fund, the National Congress of American Indians, the largest inter-tribal organization, and more than two dozen tribes filed briefs at the 1st Circuit to defend the Narragansetts.

The effort paid off for the tribe and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, the defendant in the case. The state argued that the tribe's land claim settlement act, passed in 1983, barred the acquisition of new lands.

Writing for the majority, Judge Sandra L. Lynch disagreed. She said nothing in the Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act prevents the Narragansetts from being treated just like every other tribe in the nation when it comes to land-into-trust.

"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 Secretary's power, should the tribe be recognized, to take into trust land outside of the settlement lands," Lynch wrote.

"We are not free to reform the act," she added, in a nod to judicial restraint. If aggrieved, the state must turn to Congress."

The majority also rejected the state's attempt to limit the IRA to those tribes that were federally recognized as of 1934. The court said "it is not seriously disputed that the Secretary has never rejected an application to take land into trust for a federally recognized tribe on the ground that the tribe was not recognized and under federal jurisdiction in 1934."

Finally, the court rejected the state's claim that the land-into-trust process violates the U.S. Constitution. The 1st Circuit now joins the 8th Circuit and the 10th Circuit in reaching the same conclusion, which so far has survived Supreme Court review.

Despite the similar backgrounds, the Narragansett case differs from the 8th Circuit and 10th Circuit cases in one significant way. The tribes involved on those land-into-trust disputes were not subject to a land claims settlement act.

The 2nd Circuit, however, has considered a similar set of facts in a case involving the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut. The state claimed the tribe's land claim settlement act barred the acquisition of new lands but the court rejected the argument. The Supreme Court refused to review the case.

The 1st Circuit decision has implications beyond land-into-trust. If the Narragansett Tribe acquires lands outside of its 1,800-acre reservation, those lands will not be subject to state civil or criminal jurisdiction.

The 31-acre parcel at issue in the case was to be used for housing. But the tribe could presumably acquire new lands to support projects that would otherwise be illegal on its reservation, such as a smokeshop. The 1st Circuit previously said the tribe could not sell cigarettes without state tax stamps.

The tribe would not be able to acquire land for a casino, though. An appropriations rider passed in 1997 bars the tribe from falling under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The tribe has been lobbying Congress to lift the restriction but has been met with opposition.

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

Related Stories:
Court upholds Narragansett land-into-trust (7/20)
Appeals court hears land-into-trust dispute (1/10)
Appeals court to hear land-into-trust case (1/8)
Appeals court to rehear land-into-trust dispute (12/07)
High court rejects state raid, land claim (11/28)
Supreme Court won't hear land-into-trust cases (10/3)
Court subjects Narragansett Tribe to all state laws (05/25)
Appeals court hears tribal-state sovereignty dispute (12/07)
Narragansett Tribe back in court over sovereignty (12/6)
Rhode Island set to appeal trust land decision (09/16)
Trust land challenge rejected by appeals court (9/14)
Appeals court agrees to rehear sovereignty case (07/11)
Tribal sovereignty must be respected, court rules (05/13)
Appeals court sides with tribe in trust land dispute (02/10)
Court won't rehear challenge to tribal land base (05/21)
Massachusetts court deals blow to tribe's sovereignty (12/10)
R.I. tribe takes smokeshop case to higher court (01/27)
R.I. to appeal Narragansett land-into-trust case (10/1)
Judge affirms Narragansett Tribe land-into-trust (9/30)
State's raid on tribal land sparks strong reactions (07/16)
Court says U.S. can protect tribe's interests (02/04)
Land still in limbo after decade-long fight (10/16)
The day the Supreme Court said no (10/16)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation breaks ground on off-reservation casino (8/28)
Tim Giago: Greedy lawyers and government ruin Cobell settlement (8/27)
Native Sun News: Facility in Montana set to house Indian inmates (8/27)
Gerald Gipp: National strategy needed to reform Indian education (8/27)
9th Circuit won't stop repatriation of Kumeyaay Nation ancestors (8/27)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation puts youth to work for summer (8/27)
Gabe Galanda: Academia won't tackle tribal disenrollment issue (8/27)
Misty Lynn Ellingburg: 'Four Winds' is a literary magazine for us (8/27)
Declination rates for Indian Country crime steady for third year (8/27)
DOJ awards grants to address violence in Bakken energy region (8/27)
Another pipeline spills saltwater on reservation in North Dakota (8/27)
Navajo voters oust incumbent president Ben Shelly in primary (8/27)
Once rival factions of Chukchansi Tribe agree to 2015 election (8/27)
Three brothers on the ballot for Passamaquoddy Tribe election (8/27)
Daily Beast: Border Patrol runs free on Tohono O'odham Nation (8/27)
KTOO: Cook Inlet Tribe turns to video game to represent culture (8/27)
Former IHS information security officer convicted for child porn (8/27)
Crow Reservation murder defendant to make court appearance (8/27)
Texas authorities seek information about skull at Goodwill store (8/27)
Cherokee Nation police find man who disappeared 37 years ago (8/27)
9th Circuit sets oral arguments in Big Lagoon Rancheria dispute (8/27)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe cuts gaming payment to state (8/27)
State raises concerns about Chumash Tribe's casino expansion (8/27)
Cowlitz Tribe sees setback in infrastructure plan for casino site (8/27)
Native Sun News: Tribes take on Air Force over expansion plan (8/26)
Charles Trimble: Pine Ridge -- the Hollywood of Indian Country (8/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Iroquois on both sides for War of 1812 (8/26)
Heather Kendall-Miller: GOP candidate a threat to Native rights (8/26)
Fired Oglala Sioux Tribe police officer indicted for taser incident (8/26)
Sen. Jon Tester to hold session on trafficking in Indian Country (8/26)
Hoopa Valley Tribe takes action due to large number of arsons (8/26)
Non-recognized tribe in Texas hails ruling in eagle feather case (8/26)
Jodi Lee Spotted Bear: Supporting Native language immersion (8/26)
Proposal filed for Wampanoag language public charter school (8/26)
Gila River Indian Community mourns loss of first female leader (8/26)
Jose Barreiro: Indigenous leaders hold historic meeting in Cuba (8/26)
Tribes use reservations to restore rare and endangered species (8/26)
Rival factions unite in takeover attempt within Chukchansi Tribe (8/26)
Darlene Miller seeks to be first female Seneca Nation president (8/26)
7th Circuit bars tribal jurisdiction in Indian payday loan dispute (8/26)
Law school in Colorado sets conference on sovereign immunity (8/26)
Mississippi Choctaw family believes same person behind deaths (8/26)
Cherokee Nation to break ground on casino on Indian allotment (8/26)
Stillaguamish Tribe finally secures reservation status for casino (8/26)
Mashantucket Tribe to open retail concourse at casino on Friday (8/26)
Opinion: Predatory gaming companies exploit tribes and patrons (8/26)
Caesars Entertainment debuts $442M urban casino in Baltimore (8/26)
Tim Giago: Farewell to my childhood friend Eugene Long Soldier (8/25)
Mark Trahant: Tapping the power of social media for Native vote (8/25)
Native Sun News: Laguna Pueblo still affected by uranium mine (8/25)
Oliver Semans: Seeing the light on Native voting rights struggle (8/25)
John Hopkins: Navajo Nation Council delegate makes bad choice (8/25)
James Mills: Non-Indian firm helps tribes create stronger nations (8/25)
Navajo voters to narrow field of 17 candidates for president's job (8/25)
Judge Humetewa hands down sentence in Indian child abuse case (8/25)
Scientists publish lengthy book based on study of Kennewick Man (8/25)
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.