Saginaw Chippewa Disenrollees Win Small Victory against Interior

Here are the materials in Cavazos v. Haaland (D.D.C.):

18-2 Saginaw Chippewa Motion to Intervene

21 Cavazos Motion for Summary Judgment

26 Saginaw Chippewa Cross Motion for Summary

29 Federal Cross Motion for Summary

34 Cavazos Reply

38 Saginaw Chippewa Reply

39 Federal Reply

40-1 Cavazos Proposed Surreply

48 DCT Order

An excerpt:

This administrative law case centers on a U.S. Department of the Interior’s (“Interior”) decision (“AS-IA Decision”), after an informal adjudication, to decline to intervene in tribal disenrollment proceedings by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan (“Tribe”). Plaintiffs are former members of the Tribe who have since been disenrolled by Tribal leadership. Plaintiffs charge that a federal statute particular to the Tribe, the Judgment Funds Act, PL 99-346, 100 Stat. 674 (1986) (“JFA”), required Interior to intervene in and put a stop to Tribal disenrollment proceedings. In their only claim before the Court, Plaintiffs argue that Interior’s inaction was arbitrary and/or capricious within the meaning of the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 500 et seq. (“APA”). As a remedy, Plaintiffs seek not just a remand back to the agency, but an order from this Court mandating Interior’s intervention to reverse the Tribe’s disenrollment proceedings.
In support thereof, Plaintiffs focus primarily on statutory provisions in the JFA governing (1) antidiscrimination against tribal members enrolled after the JFA’s enactment and (2) Interior’s supervision of the JFA. Ultimately, the Court agrees with Interior that the plain meaning of the JFA: (1) does not  classify disenrollment as discrimination and (2) grants Interior broad discretion to intervene in Tribal disputes related to the JFA. However, the Court holds that Interior incorrectly read the JFA to bar  discrimination only against enrolled members of the Tribe. Because the JFA also bars the Tribe from discriminating against disenrolled members in access to benefits and services funded by the JFA, the Court shall remand the matter to Interior to reconsider whether it should exercise its discretionary authority to intervene in the alleged inequitable provision of such benefits and services. 

Prior post here.

Saginaw Chippewa Disenrollees Bring New Suit against Interior

Here is the complaint in Cavazos v. Bernhardt (D.D.C.):

1 Complaint

An earlier suit was dismissed for failure to exhaust.

IBIA Affirms Trust Land Acquisition for St. Regis Mohawk over Carcieri Challenges

Here is the opinion in State of New York v. Acting Eastern Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs:


H/T Pechanga.


Quinault Wins TRO against Dept. of Interior in Land Sale Case

Here is the order (dct-order-on-tro-re-quinault) from the Western District of Washington granting a TRO favoring the Quinault Indian Nation in its disupte with the Dept. of Interior:

This action centers around the attempted sale of 26 parcels of Indian-owned trust land within the Quinault Indian Reservation. This action is intricately related to a companion case, Anderson & Middleton v. Salazar et al., Cause No. CV09-5033RBL. Plaintiff bid for the land, submitted a deposit, and subsequently failed to pay the remaining balance due. Plaintiff argues that it is justified in not yet tendering full payment for the 26 parcels and asks the Court to enjoin both the forfeiture of its deposit and the pending sale of the parcels to the next highest bidder. Defendants argue that a temporary restraining order is improper and that the United States Department of the Interior of Board of Indian Appeals’ (IBIA) decision should continue to bind the Quinault Nation (Quinault) in this matter.

And here is the IBIA decision from which Quinault is appealing (quinault-v-nw-regional-director-ibia-decision).