Appeals court dismisses Schaghticoke Tribal Nation's land claim

Richard Velky. Photo from Schaghticoke Tribal Nation

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a land claim lawsuit filed by the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation.

The tribe claimed that parts of its reservation were sold without federal approval in violation of the 1790 Non-Intercourse Act. But the court, in an unpublished order, said the Schaghticokes failed to show they were an Indian tribe covered by the law.

The order noted that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has denied federal recognition to the tribe. The Schaghticokes "presented insufficient direct evidence of a distinct tribal community from 1920 to 1967 and after 1996, and of political authority over tribal members from 1801 to 1875 and after 1996," the court said.

The tribe's remaining lands are recognized by the state of Connecticut as a reservation.Chief Richard Velky said he was going to meet with lawyers to decide the next step in the case.

“Make no mistake about it, it is a major disappointment to the tribe,” Velky told the Associated Press. “The standards for a federally recognized tribe through the BIA should not be a criteria for a tribe to have their lands taken away from them.”

Turtle Talk has posted briefs from the case, Schaghticoke Tribal Nation v. Kent School Corp.

Get the Story:
Tribal leader undecided after land ruling (AP 12/22)

2nd Circuit Decision:
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation v. Kent School Corp (December 15, 2014)

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Judge dismisses Schaghticoke Tribal Nation land claim lawsuit (10/11)

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