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Biden administration won’t appeal victory in treaty rights case
Monday, December 20, 2021

The Biden administration won’t be appealing a treaty rights victory secured by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, attorneys involved in the closely-watched case said.

The Department of Justice informed the tribe and its legal counsel that it won’t dispute the ruling on Monday afternoon, the attorneys announced on social media. The action came on the last day of a deadline imposed by a federal appeals court.

“Big victory for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and all Tribes that are signatories to the Fort Laramie Treaty.” attorney Tim Purdon said in a post on social media.

On August 25, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie requires the federal government to provide “competent physician-led healthcare” to the Sioux Nation and its people, many of whom often suffer from substandard services on their homelands. The historic decision is the law of the land for the tribal signatories now that the Biden administration has accepted it.

“This is a momentous victory for our Tribal relatives,” said attorney Brendan Johnson.

Purdon and Johnson head up the Indian law and policy practice at Robins Kaplan LLP. The firm is representing the tribe for free, on a pro bono basis, Johnson pointed out in his post.

Purdon and Johnson previously served as U.S. Attorneys during the Barack Obama administration. Purdon served in North Dakota while Johnson served in South Dakota.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is preparing an announcement about the case.

Thumbnail photo of welcome sign on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakot by Juliana Clifford /

8th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision
Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. United States (August 25, 2021)

Letters of Support in Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. United States
Members of Congress

Indian Country Organizations

Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association

President Scott Herman of Rosebud Sioux Tribe

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