California supports non-Indian man in reservation boundary case

A view of the reservation of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. Photo by Jessica Ledezma / Facebook

The state of California is backing a non-Indian man who is disputing the boundaries of the reservation of the Colorado River Indian Tribes.

Attorney General Kamala Harris submitted an amicus brief in federal court in October. The state claims that the reservation does not include any of the tribe's lands in California because the western boundary moved with the Colorado River.

"California urges this court to fully review the long history of the dispute ... and determine that the Colorado is the riparian western boundary of the reservation and that the disputed area is not a part of the reservation," the brief states.

Roger French, a non-Indian who uses land in the disputed area, filed the lawsuit against judges for the Colorado River Indian Tribes. Like California, he claims the western boundary moved with the river.

The Interior Department, however, has long contended that the western boundary lies at the high-water mark of the river as it existed in 1876. That would mean the disputed area lies within the reservation.

Government attorneys have filed a brief of their own in the case. They continue to support a 1969 secretarial order at DOI that said the western boundary remains fixed.

The lawsuit, French v. Starr, was filed in federal court in Arizona.

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California pushing Western Boundary issue with CRIT (The Parker Pioneer 12/16)

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