First Native American Appointed to MN Court of Appeals

Gov. Walz appoints Sarah Wheelock to fill vacancy on the Minnesota Court of Appeals

Bench & Bar of Minnesota | Minnesota State Bar Association
By Claire Lancaster

Read the article here!


Minnesota Governor Appoints Meskwaki Tribal Citizen Sarah Wheelock to Serve on State’s Court of Appeals

Native News Online
By Native News Online Staff

Read the article here!

Update on Iowa Magistrate that Lambasted Tribal Immunity

In short, he’s been suspended, at least partially. Here is the news clip.

And an excerpt:

It is unknown if the action is linked to either of two rulings made recently by Vander Mey which garnered headlines.

On April 20, Vander Mey handed down a ruling in a small claims case which found the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa was not sovereign and could be ordered in Iowa Magistrate Court to pay the small claim for money owed to a pit boss who had been fired by the Tribal-owned Meskwaki Bingo • Casino.

On May 5, Vander Mey ordered a drunken driving suspect released because she was not brought before the court within 24 hours of her arrest by Meskwaki Nation Tribal Police. He ruled this violated the defendant’s right to a court appearence according to the Iowa Code.

That ruling has been appealed by Assistant Tama County Attorney Niki A.S. Whitacre.

And a link to the ruling that started this.

Tama Co. v. Midwest Regional Director, BIA

The very short IBIA opinion affirming the Regional Director’s decision on the Meskwaki land decision.  Sac and Fox Tribe should now be able to put about 257 acres into trust.  It appears that though the County appealed the Regional Director’s decision, it failed to file an opening brief.


Press coverage here.

Attorney’s Process and Investigation Services v. Sac and Fox Tribe — Case Reopened

This case arises out of alleged tortious nonmember conduct during the leadership dispute at Meskawki a few years back. In 2005, the Northern District of Iowa applied the tribal court exhaustion doctrine as justification for staying the case (nov-2005-dct-order). The tribal court’s processes have run (motion-to-reopen-case [includes tribal court decision]), and now the case has been reopened (dct-order-reopening-case).

This will be a very interesting application of the Montana test, if the court reaches the merits.