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
The Rise of Tribes and the Fall of Federal Indian 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:
Lakota Country Times: Governor lectures tribe about sacred lands (5/3)
Native Sun News: Navajo Nation chapter sues tribe over water deal (5/3)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux Reservation plagued by abuse and assault (5/3)
James Giago Davies: Propaganda machine protects racist mascot (5/3)
Cronkite News: Sports teams turn to tribes for naming rights deals (5/3)
Steven Newcomb: Tricking the original nations into reconciliation (5/3)
Rosebud man selected as leader of South Dakota State University (5/3)
Klamath Tribes report results of election for leadership positions (5/3)
Leaders of Louisiana tribes in conflict over $48M relocation grant (5/3)
Choctaw Nation ordered to pay $11M for casino bus crash deaths (5/3)
Arizona reports 5.1 percent decline in casino revenue from tribes (5/3)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe casino up for discussion at city meeting (5/3)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation hoping to keep gaming lawsuit going (5/3)
Blackfeet Nation welcomes Interior Secretary Jewell to homeland (5/2)
Native Sun News: Family confronts man linked to woman's death (5/2)
Lakota Country Times: State shows cards in fight over sacred site (5/2)
Clara Caufield: Living in a state of emergency on my reservation (5/2)
Mark Trahant: Native newspapers and presidential endorsements (5/2)
Mark Charles: Politicians haven't learned from our genocidal past (5/2)
Kevin Washburn: Land buy-back program benefits Indian Country (5/2)
Ruth Hopkins: Tell indigenous youth that their lives really matter (5/2)
Peter d'Errico: Suicides are outcome of intergenerational trauma (5/2)
Indian Health Service reaches agreements for troubled facilities (5/2)
Native girl survives night alone in forest with help of three dogs (5/2)
Gathering of Nations wraps up with crowning of Miss Indian World (5/2)
University leader doesn't see seal that excludes Natives as racist (5/2)
New bill takes aim at casinos opposed by rival tribes in California (5/2)
Cloverdale Rancheria wins approval of casino land-into-trust bid (5/2)
Mashpee Wampanaog Tribe overcomes hurdles with casino plan (5/2)
Cowlitz Tribe aims to hire locals as casino construction continues (5/2)
Gathering scheduled in June at site of former BIA insane asylum (4/29)
Native Sun News: Tribal college student overcomes challenges (4/29)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ancestors are gone but language lives on (4/29)
Mike Rounds: Eliminate 'hateful' and 'paternalistic' federal laws (4/29)
Harlan McKosato: White privilege fuels Donald Trump's fanbase (4/29)
Indian Health Service faulted for lengthy waits for patient care (4/29)
Mescalero Apache woman to compete for Miss United States (4/29)
Environmental Protection Agency pays little to tribes for spill (4/29)
Measure to declare bison as official mammal ready for Obama (4/29)
John Wayne's negative views about tribes resurface in debate (4/29)
Chumash Tribe picks Kenneth Kahn as first new leader in years (4/29)
Mille Lacs Band announces upgrades as casino marks 25 years (4/29)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees warmer reception to casino bid (4/29)
Florida racks up legal bills in gaming fight with Seminole Tribe (4/29)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe sues Indian Health Service over shutdown (4/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves eight bills at meeting (4/28)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe to debut justice center (4/28)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne official fired from tribal job (4/28)
Native Sun News: Comments sought on Black Hills mine cleanup (4/28)
Editorial: Native Sun News endorses Hillary Clinton for president (4/28)
Cronkite News: EPA slammed for response to Gold King Mine spill (4/28)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump advisor accuses tribes of terror plot (4/28)
Alex Jacobs: Hillary Clinton must answer to role in Honduras coup (4/28)
Northwest tribes inch closer to reburial of Kennewick Man remains (4/28)
Santee Sioux Tribe hosts task force to address substance abuse (4/28)
Huge crowds flock to New Mexico for annual Gathering of Nations (4/28)
Muckleshoot Tribe to host $50K 'Gold Cup' for Indian relay racing (4/28)
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.