Law

Jemez Pueblo plans to appeal dismissal of land claim lawsuit





Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico will appeal a federal judge's decision to dismiss the tribe's land claim lawsuit.

The tribe claimed ownership of the land that is now a part of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Judge Robert C. Brack acknowledged the tribe's aboriginal connection but said the lawsuit was filed too late.

"It is well-established that the ICCA provided the exclusive remedy for pre-1946 Indian tribal land claims against the United States," Brack wrote, referring to the Indian Claims Commission Act.

The tribe should have filed a case with the Indian Claims Commission by 1951, Brack said, even though Congress didn't create the preserve until 2000.

"The fact that the defendant acquired the subject property in 2000 does not alter the result," Brack wrote. "Courts have uniformly held that a tribe cannot obtain review of a historical land claim otherwise barred by the ICCA by challenging present-day actions involving the land."

The tribe's appeal will go to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Jemez Pueblo v. US.

Get the Story:
Jemez Pueblo to appeal court decision (The Albuquerque Journal 10/6)