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: Homeless students find support in Rapid City (9/16)
NMAI hosts symposium on treaties to coincide with new exhibit (9/16)
Witnesses: Hearing on bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Tim Giago: Standing tall for Native American Day in South Dakota (9/15)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne man beaten by BIA officer (9/15)
Mark Trahant: Ten reasons why every Native person should vote (9/15)
Jay Daniels: Still waiting on that final Cobell settlement payment (9/15)
Vote set on bill to protect Gun Lake Tribe's casino from litigation (9/15)
HUD settles complaint for couple on Turtle Mountain Reservation (9/15)
Bryan Brewer: Approve HR3043 to stop IRS harassment of tribes (9/15)
Maryann McGovran: Vote for North Fork Rancheria's gaming deal (9/15)
Donna Ennis: Tribal banishments are a form of cultural genocide (9/15)
Steven Newcomb: Political meanings restrict indigenous peoples (9/15)
Bruce Anderson: Washington team name preserves stereotypes (9/15)
Column: DC-area Native people oppose NFL team's racist mascot (9/15)
House set to vote on bill to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/15)
Paskenta Band holds election aimed at resolving council dispute (9/15)
Tribes in Oklahoma raise their minimum wage above federal level (9/15)
Blog: Taos Pueblo exerts sovereignty over health care programs (9/15)
Travel: Remote parks on Navajo Nation are an 'extraordinary find' (9/15)
Petitions submitted to put Tohono O'odham Nation casino to vote (9/15)
Dry Creek Rancheria struggling to see gaming revenues recover (9/15)
Poarch Creeks still open to Class III gaming compact discussion (9/15)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation brings jobs with project next to casino (9/15)
Native Sun News: Olympic medalist visits Pine Ridge Reservation (9/12)
Bryan Brewer: Bill for Native language immersion a high priority (9/12)
Sen. Tester applauds approval of final Cobell settlement payout (9/12)
Kenneth Deer: UN meeting an opportunity for indigenous peoples (9/12)
Judge won't issue injunction in Pojoaque Pueblo compact dispute (9/12)
Ex-manager for Shingle Springs Band's casino told to pay $2.4M (9/12)
Briefs filed in lawsuit over United Keetoowah Band's gaming site (9/12)
Quapaw Tribe expands agricultural program at casino restaurant (9/12)
Judge approves motion to distribute Cobell settlement payment (9/11)
Native Sun News: Final Cobell payment might 'almost' be ready (9/11)
Mark Trahant: Affordable Care Act is worthy of debate in election (9/11)
Gyasi Ross: Support Quechan skate park and self-determination (9/11)
Disaster declared after Moapa Paiute Reservation hit by flooding (9/11)
Brian Pierson: Recent federal court decisions affecting Indian law (9/11)
Navajo Nation presidential candidate a target over fluency issue (9/11)
Northern Arapaho Tribe withdraws from joint Wind River council (9/11)
Editorial: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe trying to make budget work (9/11)
University of Utah creates scholarships for students of Ute Tribe (9/11)
Nez Perce Tribe seeks update to historic trail from 1877 journey (9/11)
Miccosukee Tribe seeks removal of judge in dispute with lawyers (9/11)
Jessica Carro: Native people treated like foreigners in Argentina (9/11)
Peru investigates murders of four prominent indigenous leaders (9/11)
SCIA sets hearing on bill to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/11)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe and state in compact arbitration (9/11)
Choctaw Nation reduces height of casino hotel amid FAA concern (9/11)
Seminole Tribe wins ruling over state taxation at gaming facilities (9/11)
Maine tribes hopeful for casino as lawmakers examine new study (9/11)
Editorial: Mohegan Tribe's gaming plan is right for Massachusetts (9/11)
Native Sun News: Tribes worried about Black Hills uranium mines (9/10)
Native Sun News: DOJ report highlights activity in Indian Country (9/10)
Mark Trahant: Native voters bring element of surprise in election (9/10)
Audio from Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on irrigation (9/10)
Audio: House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs (9/10)
9th Circuit to broadcast arguments in Big Lagoon casino dispute (9/10)
Ruben Balderas: Tohono O'odham Nation casino breaks promise (9/10)
Jay Daniels: Return per cap if you oppose resource development (9/10)
Opinion: Decision signals shift on state taxation in Indian Country (9/10)
Julianne Jennings: Fear of witches and Indians in Massachusetts (9/10)
Cobell buy-back program includes base offer of $75 for interests (9/10)
Chippewa Cree Tribe only receives 4.5 percent of loan revenues (9/10)
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.