South Dakota loses Native cigarette case
A Native-owned company in Canada is not subject to South Dakota laws, the state Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Grand River Enterprises Six Nations makes cigarettes on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. The company's products end up in the hands of HCI Distribution Company, which is owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

HCI Distribution sold the cigarettes to the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, where officials objected. State attorney general Larry Long, who has clashed with tribes on a number of issues, wanted Grand River to pay into a multi-state tobacco settlement fund.

In a unanimous decision, the state Supreme Court disagreed. The court said Grand River lacked knowledge that its products would end up in South Dakota.

Despite the ruling, Long said he would not give up. "We may have lost a battle but I'm sure telling you we haven't lost the war yet," he told the Associated Press.

Get the Story:
South Dakota court has no jurisdiction in fight with Canadian cigarette makers (AP 10/23)

South Dakota Supreme Court Decision:
State v. Grand River Enterprises (October 23, 2008)