Mealey's Native American Law

  • March 21, 2022

    High Court Passes On Water Rights Dispute Between Washington Tribes, Ranchers

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 21 took the advice of the federal government and denied review of a challenge by ranchers to Native American control over water rights in which the government argued that federal law and court precedents recognize that tribes have sovereign power to control their own lands and waters.

  • March 21, 2022

    Issue Preclusion Ruling In Tribe’s Treaty Rights Row Stands After Denial Of Cert

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 21 denied a petition for certiorari filed by a Native American tribe in Washington seeking review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that issue preclusion based on previous litigation bars the tribe from pursuing a declaratory judgment on its off-reservation hunting and fishing rights.

  • March 21, 2022

    Arbitrability, Immunity Questions Before High Court In Payday Lending Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tribal parties and business owners in a tribal payday lending class action filed petitions for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 14 challenging a ruling that their loan arbitration provision is unenforceable.

  • March 17, 2022

    Students At Indian School Get Win In 9th Circuit In Educational Services Suit

    PHOENIX — A federal court wrongly awarded summary judgment to the federal government on claims by students at a Native American elementary school that the school failed to provide required educational services, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 16 in reversing and remanding.

  • March 16, 2022

    Judge Unhappy With Rule Protecting BIA, Tribe From Claims Over Culvert Washout

    BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota federal judge on March 15 reluctantly dismissed claims against the United States for the deaths of two people and severe injuries to two others after a road culvert on an Indian reservation was washed away in heavy rains and they unknowingly drove off the road and into the raging floodwaters below.

  • March 15, 2022

    Pipeline Protester’s Excessive Force Claims Revived By 8th Circuit Panel

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 14 reinstated claims by an Indian man that police used excessive force when they shot him with lead-filled bean bags while he was protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in 2017.

  • March 14, 2022

    Panel Upholds Judgment Against Utility For Cutting Power To Elderly Tribal Member

    SEATTLE — The Crow Tribe in Montana had jurisdiction over an electric cooperative after it disconnected power to an elderly tribal member who lives on tribal trust land in violation of the tribe’s law against terminating electric service during the winter, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 11 in affirming an award of summary judgment to tribal defendants.

  • March 11, 2022

    Youth Sex Abuse Victims’ ‘Bad-Men’ Claim Against Doctor Time-Barred, Judge Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge on March 9 dismissed as untimely a suit by five Native Americans seeking damages under the “bad men” provision of a treaty for their childhood sexual abuse by an Indian Health Service (IHS) doctor, but with leave to pursue claims against government officials who knew about the abuse and failed to report it.

  • March 09, 2022

    Judge Declines To Suppress Evidence Of Defendant’s Tribal Court Guilty Plea

    MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota federal judge on March 8 accepted a magistrate judge’s recommendation and denied a man’s request to suppress all evidence related to his tribal court guilty plea for the same sexual assault incident on an Indian reservation that he was indicted for in the federal court.

  • March 09, 2022

    Indian Woman Seeks 9th Circuit Reversal In Suit Over Banned Graduation Cap

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reinstate a Native American woman’s claims that her high school violated her constitutional rights by not allowing her to wear a graduation cap adorned with beads and an eagle feather because the trial court failed to interpret factual allegations in her favor, the woman argues in a Feb. 22 reply brief.

  • March 08, 2022

    Environmental Groups Appeal Green River Block Exchange Water Contract

    DENVER — Five environmental groups on Feb. 2 asked the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to find that a water contract negotiated between the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Utah violated the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because the agencies failed to take a “hard look” at the contract’s effect on future water supply.

  • March 08, 2022

    Federal Judge Says Minnesota Tribe’s Reservation Was Never Diminished By Congress

    MINNEAPOLIS — A Native American tribe’s reservation in Minnesota is the same size as it was when it was created 167 years ago through a treaty with the United States because Congress has never disestablished any part of it, a federal judge held March 4 in granting the tribe partial summary judgment.

  • March 07, 2022

    Maine Defends Finding That River Is Not Part Of Penobscot Nation Reservation

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Petitions for certiorari by the Penobscot Nation in Maine and the United States seeking a ruling that the Penobscot Reservation includes the islands in the tribe’s namesake river should be denied because Maine “has exercised pervasive and exclusive sovereign control” over the islands since it became a state in 1820, the state respondents tell the U.S. Supreme Court in a March 4 opposition brief.

  • March 07, 2022

    Interior Department Allocates $1.7B In Infrastructure Money For Tribal Water Pacts

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Feb. 22 that it will allocate $1.7 billion from the recently approved federal infrastructure bill for outstanding federal payments for Native American water settlements.

  • March 07, 2022

    U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up Petition About Tribal Water Rights Control On March 18

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court will consider a petition challenging Native American control over water rights at the court’s March 18 conference, according to a March 2 docket entry.

  • March 03, 2022

    Tribal Member Loses Bid To Hold Government Liable For Accident Injuries

    RAPID CITY, S.D. — A South Dakota federal judge on March 2 dismissed negligence claims against the United States by a Native American who was badly injured in an auto/lawnmower accident after agreeing with a magistrate judge that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claims.

  • March 02, 2022

    Oklahoma Says It Still Has ‘Concurrent’ Jurisdiction For Crimes By Non-Indians

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oklahoma’s authority to prosecute non-Indians for crimes against Indians in Indian country hasn’t changed, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s criminal jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which has caused an “ongoing criminal-justice crisis” in the state, Oklahoma says in its Feb. 28 opening brief on the merits in an appeal of another criminal case.

  • February 28, 2022

    United States Offers No Response To Tribal Recognition Claims In Trademark Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government on Feb. 22 told the U.S. Supreme Court that it will not respond to a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by a California man who says he is the rightful leader of a Native American tribe but who had his trademark infringement counterclaims against the tribe dismissed because he presented only a political question about tribal recognition.

  • February 28, 2022

    With High Court Denial, Michigan Tribe Loses Fight For Reservation

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals holding that a Michigan Indian tribe does not have a reservation under an 1855 treaty remains the law of the case after the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 28 denied the tribe’s petition for a writ of certiorari.

  • February 28, 2022

    Supreme Court To Decide If Indian Child Welfare Act Violates The Constitution

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 28 granted four petitions for certiorari and consolidated the cases to review a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), including whether the statute’s racial classification of Indian children violates due process rights.

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