indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Judge blocks construction at sacred Comanche site
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Filed Under: Environment | Law

A federal judge today sided with the Comanche Nation and ordered the U.S. Army to stop construction near a sacred site in Oklahoma.

In a 34-page decision, Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti said the tribe demonstrated that it will be harmed by a $7.3 million warehouse at the foot of Medicine Bluffs in Fort Sill. He said the U.S. Army failed to consider alternatives that would not obstruct ceremonies at the site, a place of immense healing and spiritual medicine for the Comanche people.

"The construction of a permanent structure on a site considered sacred by the Comanche people, and the substantial burden the presence of the structure would impose on their traditional religious practices as detailed ... would constitute irreparable harm," DeGiusti wrote.

The preliminary injunction, which can be appealed, will stay in place until the case is resolved. The tribe alleges violations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

DeGiusti said the tribe demonstrated a "substantial likelihood of success" on the merits of the case, so the injunction represents a big victory. Tribal leaders say they weren't properly consulted by the U.S. Army about the construction.

"As a Comanche man, Medicine Bluffs is the spiritual center of my religious beliefs and the heart of the current Comanche Nation," Jimmy Arterberry, a tribal member, said in a court declaration. "The Medicine Bluffs site is an extremely important sacred place to me as a Comanche man."

Arterberry told the court that the warehouse, if constructed, would prevent him from viewing Medicine Bluffs as he prays and conducts ceremonies. DeGiusti noted that the construction site is the last remaining place with an "unobstructed view" of Medicine Bluffs.

The U.S. Army calls the warehouse "essential" to the future at Fort Sill, which will be seeing an influx of activity in the coming years. Due to base closures across the nation, Fort Sill will be training more and more soldiers for military operations around the world.

"The United States is now at war," the Department of Justice said in court papers. "Training is the top priority of the Army. It is the cornerstone of combat readiness. Training is what Fort Sill does."

But DeGiusti said the record, so far, is "utterly devoid" of evidence that the U.S. Army considered a different location for the warehouse that would be less intrusive on the tribe. He noted that the timing of decisions affecting construction indicated the tribe's objections were never considered.

The 94,000-acre Fort Sill was built during the Indian wars of the late 1800s. It is a National Historic Landmark and Medicine Bluffs was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974

Relevant Documents:
Preliminary Injunction | Temporary Restraining Order

Related Stories:
'War' cited in need for work at Fort Sill sacred site (09/19)
Comanche Nation due in court over Fort Sill work (9/9)
Comanche Nation battles Army over sacred site (8/20)
Appeals court reverses course on sacred site (8/12)



Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Indian lawmakers achieve goals in Montana (8/3)
Lakota Country Times: Skate competition grows at Pine Ridge (8/3)
Mark Trahant: Appoint tribal delegates to serve in US Congress (8/3)
Delphine Red Shirt: Restore Black Hills peak to its rightful name (8/3)
Dana Lone Elk: Lakota grandmothers hold our society together (8/3)
Steve Russell: The Great White Lion Hunter kills only for thrills (8/3)
Steven Newcomb: High court still relying on Christian doctrine (8/3)
Muscogee Nation activist dangled from bridge to stop oil ship (7/31)
Native Sun News: Rapid City mayor denies claim of retaliation (7/31)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: Rapid City mayor's year of retaliation (7/31)
Brandon Ecoffey: Rapid City continues with tradition of racism (7/31)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe leaves people in dark (7/31)
Lakota Country Times: Group seeks to boost Pine Ridge tourism (7/31)
Federal murder charges laid for shooting on Crow Reservation (7/31)
Alex White Plume asks court for permission to plant hemp crop (7/31)
Isleta Pueblo welcomes Secretary Sally Jewell for school event (7/31)
Tribes caught off-guard with mandate from Affordable Care Act (7/31)
Commerce Blog: Secretary Pritzker meets with tribes and youth (7/31)
Tribes in Pacific Northwest 'very worried' about future of salmon (7/31)
Alaska to recognize tribal domestic violence protection orders (7/31)
Moapa Band enters $4.3M settlement for power plant pollution (7/31)
Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Indian Affairs holds first meeting (7/31)
Donald Trump not shy with invoking race when it comes to tribes (7/31)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe sees big future with Class II casino (7/31)
Catawba Nation still waiting for answer on casino land-into-trust (7/31)
Last defendant sentenced in theft case at Yakama Nation casino (7/31)
Senate committee examines costs of substance abuse on tribes (7/30)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee delays vote on land-into-trust (7/30)
BIA allows two more New Mexico gaming deals to go into effect (7/30)
Former workers at Choctaw Nation casino plead guilty to theft (7/30)
Inmate charged with murdering Mississippi Choctaw man in jail (7/30)
Native Sun News: Keystone XL Pipeline protest draws big crowd (7/30)
James Giago Davies: Don't judge anyone's depth of Lakotaness (7/30)
Tara Houska: DC rally puts focus on threats to sacred Oak Flat (7/30)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: Native mother left to die in a jail cell (7/30)
Julian Brave NoiseCat: Native issues you aren't hearing about (7/30)
Peter d'Errico: Seeking action after apology from Pope Francis (7/30)
Suspect in custody over deadly shooting on Crow Reservation (7/30)
Shooting highlights racial tensions on Wind River Reservation (7/30)
Pueblo man goes on trial for brutal murder of Navajo woman (7/30)
Another sentence in Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption scandal (7/30)
Oglala Sioux Tribe on track to complete $16.5M nursing home (7/30)
Quapaw Tribe hosts relatives for annual language conference (7/30)
Former police chief for Swinomish Tribe pleads guilty to theft (7/30)
Winnebago Tribe seeks more time to remove old bank building (7/30)
Opinion: Eastern Cherokee leaders kick reporter out of meeting (7/30)
Indian family in Washington still pursuing casino on trust land (7/30)
Red Lake Nation leader supports sales of liquor at two casinos (7/30)
Mohegan Tribe reports increase in profit from casino enterprise (7/30)
Sen. Barrasso introduces another version of land-into-trust fix (7/29)
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.