Yakama Nation protests prosecution for selling tobacco

Members and leaders of the Yakama Nation of Washington held a protest outside a federal court where three tribal members are on trial for selling untaxed cigarettes.

Harry and Jeanne Smiskin and their son, Kato, are accused of violating the Cigarette Contraband Trafficking Act. Authorities say they were selling tobacco without state tax stamps.

Tribal leaders believe the Yakama Treaty of 1855 protects their right to bring goods to the market. But in another case, a federal judge said the treaty only applies to the transportation of cigarettes and not to the sale of cigarettes.

'"We're just here to support our treaty rights," council member Terry Goudy-Rambler said at the protest, The Yakima Herald-Republic reported. "We know the federal government is supposed to protect our treaty rights; we just want to remind them not to forget."

Get the Story:
Tribe stands up for treaty rights (The Yakima Herald-Republic 1/15)

Court Decision:
Yakama Nation v. Gregoire (January 4, 2010)

9th Circuit Decision:
US v. Smiskin (May 18, 2007)

Related Stories:
Judge rules in Yakama Nation tobacco taxation case (1/7)
Tax increase sends smokers to Yakama Nation (4/2)
Yakama Nation sues over tobacco compact (9/5)
Washington cancels Yakama Nation tobacco compact (7/8)
Yakama Nation judge blocks tobacco compact (2/5)
Yakama Nation sued over tobacco tax compact (01/17)
Editorial: Yakama cigarette deal good for all (12/19)
Yakama treaty protects smokeshop owners from prosecution (5/21)
State to terminate Yakama cigarette compact (2/9)
Judge hears case against tribal tobacco retailers (11/15)
Court to hear Yakama tobacco smuggling case (10/17)
Court: Tribal members must pay federal tax (9/12)