Indian Claims and the Court of Federal Claims: A Legal Overview, Historical Accounting and Examination of the Court of Federal Claims’ and Federal Circuit’s Impact on Federal Indian Law
6 Journal of the Federal Circuit Historical Society 59 (2012)
Elizabeth Ann Kronk
Many would argue that the history of the federal government’s relationship with Indian tribes is replete with examples of atrocities and shameful actions on the part of the federal government (which is not to say that Indian tribes have been historical angels). Through the Court of Federal Claims, and its predecessor the Indian Claims Commission, Indian tribes have been able to pursue monetary claims against the federal government for these historic and modern injustices. The history of Indian claims in the United States Court of Federal Claims is an interesting and multifaceted one. Although many Indian tribes regularly bring claims to the Court of Federal Claims today, this was not always the case. This article seeks to trace the history of Indian claims in the Court of Federal Claims and also discusses how decisions of the Court of Federal Claims and United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit have significantly impacted the development of federal Indian law. To accomplish this goal, the article begins with a general examination of federal Indian law and of the history of Indian claims in the Court of Federal Claims. The article then examines some key decisions of the Court of Federal Claims and Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that have significantly impacted the development of federal Indian law.
One Statute for Two Spirits: Same-Sex Marriage in Indian Country
JURIST Forum, April 2013
Elizabeth Ann Kronk
On March 15, 2013, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB) became the third tribal nation to recognize same sex unions. The LTBB statute, Waganakising Odawak Statute 2013-003, defines marriage as “the legal and voluntary union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.” The Coquille Tribe, in 2009, and Suquamish Tribe, in 2011, both previously recognized same sex unions. Unlike the Coquille Tribe, located within Oregon, and the Suquamish Tribe, located within Washington, LTBB’s tribal territory is located within Michigan, a state that does not currently recognize same sex marriages. Accordingly, some may question the authority of LTBB and similarly situated tribal nations to enact provisions, such as the Waganakising Odawak Statute 2013-003, that conflict with state policy. This article addresses issues surrounding the authority of tribal nations to enact provisions allowing for same-sex marriage or unions.