Army Corps Letter and Press Release, Standing Rock Press Release, Letter to the President from Former Appointees

Here are links to the various documents regarding the Oceti Sakowin camp and the Dakota Access Pipeline:
Letter from Army Corps

Statement from Army Corps

Press Release from Standing Rock Tribal Chairman

Letter to the President from Former Political Appointees

Kalispel Tribe Signs Agreement with Federal Agencies On Water and Environmental Management Issues


The Kalispel Tribe of Indians has signed a 10-year, $39.5 million agreement with federal agencies that focuses on actions to address impacts of Albeni Falls Dam on fish and wildlife in the area of Lake Pend Oreille and the tribe’s reservation along the Pend Oreille River about 55 miles north of Spokane.

The agreement recognizes the tribe’s resource management expertise and its interest in operations at Albeni Falls Dam and includes specific provisions for the tribe to participate in decisions that affect fish, wildlife and water quality.

“The Kalispel Tribe is excited to see this agreement come to fruition as a result of nearly two decades of positive working relationships and on-the-ground successes. We believe this is just the beginning of a strong partnership with the federal agencies and we are hopeful for the future of our important and treasured resources,” said Kalispel Tribal Chairman Glen Nenema.

The agreement makes available approximately $39.5 million over 10 years, including $2.5 million for land acquisitions for wildlife habitat.

The tribe has identified habitat projects to benefit Endangered Species Act listed bull trout as well as west slope cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish.

In addition, the new agreement provides for the tribe, Army Corps of Engineers and Bonneville Power Administration to work together on improving water management actions in late summer and early fall to improve downstream water temperature for bull trout and other aquatic species.


Yankton Sioux Decision in Light of Podhradsky

The 8th Circuit opinion in Yankton Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is here. The opinion in Podhrasky is here.

Because this appeal was briefed and argued with the cross appeals pending in Podhradsky, the parties have understandably reiterated their core positions in that case, namely, the Tribe’s contention that the Reservation was diminished only by the sales of surplus lands ceded by the 1894 Act (as the Supreme Court held in Yankton Sioux Tribe ), and the State’s contrary contention that the Reservation was altogether disestablished by the 1894 Act. We rejected those contentions in Podhradsky. That decision is final (subject only to further review by this court or the Supreme Court) and binding on our panel. Therefore, we will discuss in this opinion only those issues raised by the Tribe that were not presented to and decided by the court in Podhradsky.

Tales from the Cert Pool: Cherokee Nation v. US (Arkansas River Navigation System claim)

The Cherokee Nation brought suit against the United States over the Arkansas River Navigation System, arguing that the government’s actions violated the “fair and honorable dealings” language of the Indian Claims Commission Act, 25 U.S.C. 70a. The Court denied the petition.

The cert pool memo in the case includes some of the most exasperated language from a clerk in any of the Indian law related cert pool memos in the Blackmun Digital Archive:

In providing for ‘claims based upon fair and honorable dealings that are not recognized by any existing rule of law or equity,’ [25 U.S.C. § 70a] Congress invited litigation on a potentially limitless class of so-called ‘moral’ claims against the govt. … But how’s a ct to tell when the govt has done something that, while permissible under law and equity, is nonetheless ‘unfair,’ ‘dishonorable,’ or ‘immoral?’ Over the years, the cts have tried to give shape to the inquiry by requiring a tribe asserting a moral claim to demonstrate a relevant ‘special relationship’ with the fed govt. Yes, as this case shows, that inquiry can be as amorphous as the one it’s supposed to clarify. Arguably, in the words of one judge, having a ‘special relationship’ w/ the govt means simply ‘that though there is no contract or treaty obligation, or formal trusteeship, honor may oblige the United States to take steps to protect Indians…. What honor requires depends on circumstances and will vary from case to case according to the conscience of the court.’ [United States v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, 576 F.2d 870, 883 (Ct. Cl. 1978) (Nichols, J.).] Given the strangeness of the entire inquiry, one cannot easily evaluate either the merits or the certworthiness of petr’s claim.

Cert Pool Memo at 8-9, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma v. United States, 504 U.S 910 (1992) (No. 91-1354).

What’s even more interesting is the annotation added to the memo by Justice Blackmun’s clerk, who is identified as “NB”:

I would not want to see the Ct take this case. Because it is not one the Ct would handle well, it would likely declare the provision to be unenforceable. (Imagine the opn of Scalia, J.) I think in the long run your friends are best served by denying cert.

Id. at 11.

Grand Traverse Band Marina Proposal

From the Leelanau Enterprise:

Tribal officials have unveiled plans to build a 129 to 135-slip municipal marina in Peshawbestown that could be open for business as early as the 2008 boating season.

The Tribal Council of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians took actions last week that could pave the way for the dredging and construction project to begin before the end of this year.