Briefs filed in challenge to Gun Lake land-into-trust decision
A non-Indian man is asking D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate his land-into-trust lawsuit.

David Patchak, a former official from Wayland, Michigan, sued the Interior Department over the acquisition of 147 acres in trust for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe. Among other issues, he claims the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar bars the acquisition.

The decision restricts the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed in 1934. The Gun Lake Tribe didn't gain recognition until 1999.

In a ruling last August, Judge Richard Leon didn't address that issue. Instead, he determined that Patchak, as a private citizen, lacked standing to challenge the land-into-trust application.

Patchak is appealing the dismissal of his lawsuit and has filed his initial brief with the D.C. Circuit. The Department of Justice and the tribe, as intervenor, have filed responses The National Congress of American Indians has filed a friend of the court brief in the tribe's favor.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Patchak v. Salazar.

Court Decision:
Patchak v. Salazar (August 20, 2009)

Related Stories:
Judge dismisses Gun Lake land-into-trust case (8/20)
BIA declares reservation for Michigan tribe (8/17)