Eighth Circuit Briefs in Wolfchild v. Redwood County/Kaardal Sanctions Appeal


Counties Brief

Kaardal Sanctions Brief

Landowners Brief

Landowners Sanctions Brief

Lower Sioux Indian Community Brief

Pro Se Amicus Brief

Wolfchild Opening Brief

Wolfchild Sanctions Brief

Lower court materials here, here, and here.

Federal Court Imposes $200K Appeal Bond on Wolfchild Appeal

Here are the relevant materials in Wolfchild v. Redwood County (D. Minn.):

208 Lower Sioux Community Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions

291 DCT Order

Materials on the court’s dismissal of the claim are here.

Federal Court Applies Sherrill Defenses, Tribal Immunity to Dismiss Wolfchild Statutory Land Claims

Here is the order in Wolfchild v. Redwood County (D. Minn.):

196 DCT Order Granting Motion to Dismiss

An excerpt:

The Court finds no basis upon which to distinguish this case from those asserted in Sherrill or Stockbridge. It is clear that Plaintiffs’ claims flow from the 1863 Act. It is also clear that the land at issue here was sold to third parties no later than 1895. See Wolfchild IX, 731 F.3d at 1293. Plaintiffs’ claims are thus like those described in Stockbridge: “Indian land claims asserted generations after an alleged dispossession that are inherently disruptive of state and local governance and the settled expectations of current landowners and are subject to dismissal on the basis of laches, acquiescence, and impossibility.” Id. 756 F.3d at 165.

There is no language in Sherrill or Stockbridge that would limit the holdings of those decisions to claims based on aboriginal title.

Based on the particular characteristics and history of the claims at issue here, the Court finds that Plaintiffs’ claims are equitably barred. Application of the equitable bar set forth inSherrill does not require a balancing of equities between the parties. Instead, the equitable bar focuses on Plaintiffs’ delay in seeking relief, and the disruption that would result to settled and justified expectations regarding land ownership. Sherrill, 544 U.S. at 216‐17, 221(finding that “the Oneidasʹ long delay in seeking equitable relief against New York or its local units, and developments in the city of Sherrill spanning several generations, evoke the doctrines of laches, acquiescence, and impossibility, and render inequitable the piecemeal shift in governance this suit seeks unilaterally to initiate”).

Briefs are here.

Tribal Justice Frank Pommersheim Goes Digital: 25 Years as a Tribal Judge

Here (PDF):

Opening page for lib guide w pic

National Park Service Releases Effigy Mounds Desecration Report



News coverage here.

Two Amicus Briefs Supporting Wolfchild Cert Petition


Gregory Sisk Amicus

Historic Shingle Springs Miwok Amicus

Cert petitions here.

Zephier v. United States & Wolfchild v. United States Cert Petitions


Wolfchild v US Cert Petition

Zephier v US Cert Petition

Wolfchild questions presented:

1. Whether the court of appeals interpretations of statutes specific to the Mdewakanton Band — 1863 Acts, 1888-1890 Acts and 1980 Act: (a) contradict Tohono O’Odham Nation because the court of appeals failed to appreciate that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) is to provide a judicial forum for most non-tort requests for significant monetary relief against the United States; (b) contradict Nevada v. Hicks, because the court of appeals opinions, including the Eighth Circuit opinion in Smith v. Babbitt, essentially refer the Mdewakanton Band’s federal claims to tribal courts which lack jurisdiction; (c) contradict Mitchell I, Mitchell II, White Mountain Apache, and Navajo Nation because the court of appeals misinterpreted statutory trust and other legal obligations and failed to properly apply the money-mandating duty requirement; (d) conflict with the First Circuit opinion in Passamaquoddy Tribe because the court of appeals failed to apply the “plain and unambiguous” requirement to the 1980 Act for the purported termination of the Mdewakanton Band and its statutory property rights; and (e) contradict Carcieri because the court of appeals treated the three non-tribal communities as sovereign historical tribes when they are not.

2. Whether the court of appeals’ interpretation of statutes general to American Indians: (a) contradict Oneida I and Oneida II and their progeny because the court of appeals failed to properly interpret the Indian Nonintercourse Act to require Congressional authorization prior to the purported termination of the Mdewakanton Band’s tribal statutory property rights; (b) contradict Carcieri and the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) because the court of appeals deemed the purchased IRA lands to be held exclusively in trust for the three post-1934 non-tribal communities; and (c) misinterpreted the six-year statute of limitations and the Indian Trust Accounting Statute (ITAS) to bar the Mdewakanton Band’s monetary claims.

3. Whether summary judgment should have been granted to petitioners on the pre-1980 and post-1980 statutory fund claims and the statutory land claim.

Zephier questions presented:

I. Whether the Federal Circuit’s 2013 holding that a February 16, 1863 Act of Congress, providing that “the Secretary of Interior is hereby authorized to set apart of the public lands . . . eighty acres in severalty” to loyal Mdewakanton Indian individuals, is “too discretionary to support a viable claim,” thereby conflicts with this Court’s and other precedents holding that power given to public officers in permissive form statutory language, but involving individual property rights calling for its exercise, the language used is “in fact peremptory” and money-mandating?

II. Whether the Panel failed to recognize the trust nature of the February 1863 Act in rejecting Petitioners’ “two basic claims” and thus issued a determination that conflicts with a previous authoritative decision in Wolfchild v. United States, 559 F.3d 1228 (Fed. Cir. 2009), which found that the language of the Act of February 16, 1863, Section 9, ch. 37, 12 Stat. 652, “created an inheritable beneficial interest in the recipients of any land conveyed under the statute . . . [and] explicitly created a trust relationship” with the Federal Government?

III. Whether the Secretary of Interior’s 1865 actions “invoking the land-allocating authority of the two 1863 Acts” created an equitable estoppel against the Government, conflicting with the 2013 Panel’s conclusion that “those 1865 actions . . . cannot support a timely claim for relief?”

IV. Whether the Panel erred in failing to find an actionable violation of the 1851 and 1858 treaties between the Government and the loyal Mdewakanton by the Government’s failure to fully implement Section 9 of the Act of February 16, 1863?

Lower court materials here.

Federal Circuit Decides Wolfchild v. United States Appeal

Here are the materials:

33 United States Appellant Brief

82 Wolfchild Answer Brief

90 Coursolle Descendants Answer Brief

92 US Answer Brief

99 Coursolle Reply

105 Wolfchild Reply

122 Lower Sioux Community, Prairie Island, and Shakopee Amicus Brief

CAFed Opinion

An excerpt:

The United States currently holds certain tracts of land in Minnesota in trust for three Indian communities. It originally acquired some of that land in the late 1800s, using funds appropriated by Congress to help support a statutorily identified group of Indians, and held it for the benefit of those Indians and their descendants for decades. As time passed, that beneficiary group and the three present-day communities that grew on these lands overlapped but diverged: many of the beneficiary group were part of the communities, but many were not; and the communities included many outside the beneficiary group. In 1980, Congress addressed the resulting land use problems by putting the lands into trust  for the three communities that had long occupied them. Ever since, proceeds earned from the lands—including profits from gaming—have gone to the same three communities.

The discrepancy between the makeup of the three communities and the collection of descendants of the Indians designated in the original appropriations acts underlies the present dispute, which was before this court once before. Claimants allege that they belong to the latter group and that they, rather than the communities, hold rights to the land at issue and any money generated from it. Four years ago, based on an extensive analysis of the relevant laws and history, we rejected what was then the only live claim, which got to the heart of their assertion: that the appropriations acts created a trust for the benefit of the statutorily designated Indians and their descendants. Wolfchild v. United States, 559  F.3d 1228 (Fed. Cir. 2009). On remand, claimants advanced several new claims, some of which seek proceeds generated from the lands, others of which seek more. Again unable to
find that claimants have stated a claim that meets the standards of governing law, we now reject these new claims, including the one that the Court of Federal Claims held valid in the judgment we review.

Lower court materials here.

Federal Court Dismisses Section 1983 Claim against Lower Sioux Tribal Police in Arrest of Tribal Member

Here are the materials in Hester v. Redwood County (D. Minn.):

Order Dismissing Action 8 6 2012

Redwood County Motion to Dismiss

Hester Opposition to Redwood County Motion

Redwood County Reply

Lower Sioux Motion for Summary J

Hester Opposition to Lower Sioux Motion

Lower Sioux Reply