News coverage of the event here.
LA Times article about Lummi Nation’s opposition here.
The Crow Tribe signed an agreement August 7, 2015, to become a 5% shareholder of Gateway Pacific Terminal, which is a partnership to open shipping ports in Washington. The deal coincides with Cloud Peak Energy’s arrangement to pay Gateway Pacific Terminal $32 million to construct a port on Puget Sound that can ship 60 million tons of exports a year including coal mined on the Crow Reservation to Asian markets. The Tribe leased coal to Cloud Peak Energy from its sole mine in 2013, but a new mine on the reservation could bring 20 million tons annually through the new port.
Although the Tribe does not owe any money up front it could be responsible for 5% of an estimated $700 million construction budget. Final approval is still required from the Crow Tribe and the federal government. Environmental surveys and plans are being conducted currently and there is opposition from both environmental and native groups including the Lummi Nation, who exercise fishing rights near the proposed port site.
Two families from the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana can proceed with a lawsuit against an F.B.I. agent that accuses him of failing to properly investigate crimes against American Indians on and around the reservation, the United States Supreme Court has ruled.
Ninth Circuit materials here.
Here is the very interesting opinion in In the Matter of Not Afraid: Montana SCT Decision in In re Not Afraid.
An excerpt from yesterday’s NYTs article (full article here):
Nearly 30 years ago, a group called the Custer Battlefield Preservation Committee began buying up land around the monument — some 3,300 acres in all — in an effort to stave off development. The group has since tried to donate the land, which it bought for $14 million that was raised through donations, to the Park Service.
But the service has said that unless Congress or the president changes the battlefield’s boundaries, it does not have the legal authority to accept the land.
Moreover, any land deal would need approval from the Crow tribe, which has considerable political influence in Montana and has resisted such a large land transfer.
The tribe cites a 1920 federal law, known as the Crow Act, which it says limits nontribal members to ownership of about 2,000 acres on the reservation, which is almost 2.3 million acres.
“We are trying to explain the advantages of adding on to the historical site right in the middle of their country, which would bring tourists — who need to eat, sleep and buy souvenirs — and produce jobs for Crow people,” said Harold G. Stanton, president of the Custer committee.
Here is the unpublished opinion in Harris v. Parisien.
And an excerpt from a local news article (Billings Gazette):
A federal appeals court has rejected a Billings woman’s claim that her rights were violated when the Crow Tribe of Indians adopted a new constitution in 2001.
Frances Harris is an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe. She sued in U.S. District Court, seeking to invalidate the 2001 tribal constitution because it eliminated a voting district for tribal members who do not live on the Crow Indian Reservation.
The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, July 22, to address tax policy in Indian Country.
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), the chairman of the committee, said the hearing will address three specific issues: the Indian Employment Tax Credit, the tax-exempt bonds for tribal governments and accelerated depreciation for tribes. Witnesses at the hearing include Dante Desiderio, an economic development specialist for the National Congress of American Indians; Del Laverdure, the chief counsel for the Crow Tribe of Montana; and Wayne A. Shammel, the general counsel of Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians in Oregon. The hearing takes place at 10am in Room 215 of the : Senate Dirksen Office Building.
Indian Governments and the Tax Code: Maximizing Tax Incentives for Economic Development (July 22, 2008 )
From the Billings Gazette:
The Crow Tribe recently signed an innovative agreement with Montana and the federal government that will make it easier for banks to offer secured loans on the reservation. Essentially, it provides for seizure of personal property used as collateral when a loan is in default. (It does not apply to land held in trust for the tribe or its members.)
In 2004, the Crow Tribe adopted The Crow Finance Protection and Procedures Act, which makes it possible for banks to foreclose on trust property within the reservation. The catch is that at the foreclosure sale, the land can be sold only to the Crow Tribe or to a member of the tribe. If no eligible bidder can meet the price, the lender gets the beneficial title to the property but must continue to try to sell it to a qualified Crow buyer.
Differences in state and tribal law do come with some complications, but they aren’t barriers, said Mike Eakin, who works in the Billings office of Montana Legal Services.