National Indian Law Library Bulletin (8/5/2020)


We have scoured the web. Here are some of the latest materials related to Indian Law. Find all of the latest updates at

U.S. Supreme Court Bulletin
A petition for certiorari was filed in one case on 7/27/20:
Nobles v. North Carolina (Indian Status; Criminal Jurisdiction)
A petition for habeas corpus was filed in one case on 6/17/20:
In Re Scott Louis YoungBear (Civil Rights Violations)

Federal Courts Bulletin

  • Oneida Nation v. Village of Hobart (Reservation Boundaries)
  • Stephen C. v. Bureau of Indian Education (Indian Education)
  • Landreth v. United States (Sovereign Immunity)

State Courts Bulletin
In the Matter of the Adoption of B.B. (Indian Child Welfare Act)

Law Review & Bar Journal Bulletin (contact us if you need help finding a copy of an article)

  • Section 5, Indian trust land acquisitions, and secretarial authority.
  • Navigating tribal opposition to permits for Great Lakes mining projects.
  • Upholding tribal treaties with the Clean Water Act.

News Bulletin
This week, in brief:

  • House committees approve Gallego bills to end copays and improve care for Native veterans
  • Trump’s pick to manage public lands has four-decade history of “overt racism” toward Native people
  • More than 1 thousand acres of Esselen ancestral land returned to tribe
  • Yurok Tribal Court, Sovereign Bodies Institute release progress report on pivotal project
  • Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cherokee Nation celebrates first class of medical school students during white coat ceremony
  • Unraveling the mystery of a stolen ceremonial shield
  • Feds open South Dakota office for MMIW cases
  • Turtle Mountain could be first North Dakota tribe to recognize same-sex marriage
  • Nunavummiut have to stay home, but their art continues to travel
  • $20 million gift to ABQ nonprofit will benefit thousands of Native American students
  • In 1920, Native women sought the vote. Here’s what’s next.

Public Land & Resources Law Review Call for Papers


The Public Land & Resources Law Review is currently accepting submissions to be published in its 2021 spring publication. In particular, we invite authors of color and members of indigenous and other minority communities to submit their work for consideration.

Since 1980, the Public Land & Resources Law Review has encouraged discourse on issues surrounding public lands, natural resources, environmental, and federal Indian law. Specifically, this year, in honor of Margery Hunter-Brown, the founder of the Journal and pioneer of the Federal Indian Law program at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law, the Journal is focusing on issues related to tribal and federal Indian law and environmental justice.

Submissions may be sent through our website or emailed to Please submit your article as soon as possible and not later than January 15, 2021. We will accept articles on a rolling basis.


2020–21 Editorial Staff

Public Land & Resources Law Review

News Media Writers: Please Stop Saying “Half” of Oklahoma is “Indian Lands” or “Indian Territory” — It’s Not (Yet)

In a bit, I will publish a post recommending Turtle Talk readers check out the Mother Jones article “How Native Tribes Started Winning at the Supreme Court.” It’s an excellent read on how the Tribal Supreme Court Project started after tribal interests lost 4 out of 5 cases in 2001 and first met (on 9/11 in D.C. while the Pentagon was burning) to figure out how to stop losing so much.

But the subtitle . . . “In July, the court ruled that half of Oklahoma is an Indian reservation. The decision was two decades in the making.” No good. IT IS NOT TRUE THAT HALF OF OKLAHOMA IS OWNED BY INDIAN TRIBES. Stop it.

The McGirt case involved the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation, which is maybe 10 percent of Oklahoma (I don’t know the exact amount). Yeah, four other tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole), and maybe others have similar histories and can expect to benefit from the McGirt case. If you count all the Five Tribes you might get to 40 percent.

Here’s the NYTs map that shows the land areas of all of the five tribes likely affected by McGirt:


Half? Sure, whatever.

Here’s the same one with the Creek rez circled (the purple dot in what is probably Roger Mills or Beckham county is an error, I was trying to stab Custer in Custer County but I missed):


That’s the area covered by McGirt. That’s all (for now anyway). There will be lawsuits that address the other reservations in time, see, e.g., here). But for now, this is it.

News writers, don’t be the State of Oklahoma, trying and failing to win this case by mischaracterizing McGirt’s claims by invoking the “half of Oklahoma” thing (here, page 1 of the argument, page 16 of the pdf).

Stop it!!!!

Bad actors (bad!) include:

SCOTUSblog (“entire eastern half of Oklahoma” — really?! — but from these guys I expect it — an angel dies every time someone clicks on SCOTUSblog)

NPR (“Supreme Court Rules That About Half Of Oklahoma Is Native American Land”)

S&P Global (“a large swath of land (approximately 19 million acres that is home to roughly 48% of the state’s population) in eastern Oklahoma (AA/Negative) as tribal reservation land for purposes of federal criminal law”; loving the reference to Oklahoma’s bond rating though)

Julian Brave NoiseCat in the Atlantic (“Or, put more plainly, 19 million acres composing 47 percent of the state of Oklahoma—an area that’s home to 1.8 million people—is still Native land.”)

Heritage Fundation guy. (“This is especially important now that the Supreme Court has determined that almost half of Oklahoma is, in fact, tribal land.”)

National Law Review (“half the State of Oklahoma – 113 years after it was admitted as the 46th State in the Union – being declared ‘Indian Lands’ and given back to the Creek Nation Native Americans”)

A few others, most of whom have since changed their headlines because apparently there is no memory on the internet.

How about this one? SCOTUS Holds Creek Reservation is Indian Country

That’s enough. These are good people, good places (mostly, looking at you SCOTUSblog). We love you and we’ll keep posting your great work.

Everyone. Just. This. One. Thing.





Oklahoma Criminal Appellate Court Asked to Address Impact of McGirt on Crime Committed on Chickasaw Reservation with Chickasaw Victims

Here are materials in Bosse v. State (Okla. Ct. Crim. App.):

Bosse Petition

Order Allowing McGirt Briefing

Bosse Brief

State Brief

Marshall Project Profile of Post-McGirt Criminal Jurisdiction in Oklahoma


And, yes, we know the Marshall Project headline is inaccurate, but High Country News (publishing in tandem with M.P.) did it better: “How the Supreme Court upended a century of federal Indian law.


D.C. Circuit Briefs in Alaska Corps Eligibility for CARES Act Funding

Here are the materials in Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation v. Mnuchin:

Chehalis et al Brief

Navajo et al Brief

Case tag here.

United Parcel Service Inc. v. New York Cert Petition


UPS Cert Petition


New York Brief in Opposition

Questions presented:

1. The Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act prohibits the knowing transportation of “a quantity” of more than 10,000 untaxed cigarettes in the “possession” of unauthorized persons. 18 U.S.C. § 2341(2). The first question presented is whether multiple shipments from different shippers may be aggregated to satisfy the 10,000-cigarette threshold.
2. The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 exempts UPS by name if its tobacco-delivery agreement with New York is “honored” nationwide. 15 U.S.C. § 376a(e)(3)(B)(ii)(I). The second question presented is whether substantial compliance is a prerequisite to this statutory exemption.

Second Circuit materials here:

CA2 Opinion

UPS Brief

New York Opening Brief

UPS Reply

New York Reply

DCT materials here.

Nobles v. North Carolina Cert Petition



Cert Petition

Questions presented:

The Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1153, grants the federal courts exclusive jurisdiction over listed offenses committed by an “Indian.”

The Questions Presented are:
I. How does one determine whether a defendant is an Indian?

II. Is Indian status a jury question?

Lower court materials here.