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Colorado River Indian Tribes don't plan to remove 'illegal aliens'

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

The Colorado River Indian Tribes don't plan on removing all non-Indians from a disputed portion of the reservation, Chairman Dennis Patch said.

Some non-Indian residents don't believe the land they are occupying is part of the reservation. Their stance prompted tribal member Michael Tsosie to petition for the eviction of people he calls "illegal aliens."

But Patch said Tsosie's views do not represent those of the tribe. And he said the petition includes provisions that violate tribal and federal law.

"While CRIT shares Mr. Tsosie’s frustration with trespassers – and will continue to focus on removing them from our lands -- we have no intention of taking action against the many tenants in good standing and our business partners on the California side of CRIT’s reservation,” Patch said in a statement to The Havasu News-Herald.

A tribal judge already upheld the eviction of Roger French, a non-Indian man who uses land on the reservation. He's filed a lawsuit in federal court to dispute the tribe's jurisdiction over him.

The Interior Department 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.

French, however, claims the boundary moves with the Colorado River. That would mean the land at issue falls in the state of California.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris submitted an amicus brief in support of French last October.

Get the Story:
California, feds disagree on CRIT’s western border (The Havasu News-Herald 1/10)

Related Stories:
Petition asks CRIT to remove non-Indians from disputed territory (1/7)
California supports non-Indian man in reservation boundary case (12/16)

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