Here is the press release titled “Former Effigy Mounds National Monument Superintendent Admits to Stealing Human Remains:
Here is the district court order granting the tribe’s motion to dismiss a challenge to the tribal court’s jurisdiction in this long-running intratribal dispute — DCT Order on Cross Motions
The pleadings are here.
API’s conduct imperiled the Tribe’s political integrity. In essence, API invaded the Tribe’s land to quell an intra-tribal governmental dispute. API argues this intra-tribal dispute was merely incidental to the raid. API contends that, if the court finds the raid imperiled the Tribe’s political integrity, any action taken by a non-member on tribal land during an intra-tribal governmental dispute would justify a court’s invocation of the second Montana exception. The court disagrees. API’s actions were made and intended to be a direct challenge to the Bear Council. API raided the Casino on behalf of the Walker Council, which was not the Tribe’s true governing authority. API conducted the raid pursuant to the Agreement, and the Agreement’s terms indicate the services API was expected to provide related directly to the Tribe’s governmental affairs. See Agreement at P I.2.A (stating API “shall perform services directly relating to the investigation of a takeover by dissidents at the [Casino] located on the Tribe’s reservation lands” and “[i]nvestigat[e] [. . .] individuals involved in the unlawful acts against the Tribal Government”). In other words, API was hired to assist in the resolution of an intra-tribal governmental dispute, which strikes at the heart of the secondMontana exception. The fact API believed it was operating with the consent of the Tribe’s governing authority, that is, the ousted Walker Council, has no effect on the application of this exception. In truth and in fact, API raided the Casino specifically to weaken one side of an intra-tribal governmental dispute, which happened to be the Bear Council, the Tribe’s true governing body. This is an act with potentially catastrophic consequences to the Tribe’s government. The court concludes this merits the application of the protective prong of the Montana exception and that the Tribal Court’s exercise of civil jurisdiction over API was proper.
The case is ATTORNEY’S PROCESS AND INVESTIGATION SERVICES, INC. v. SAC & FOX TRIBE OF THE MISSISSIPPI IN IOWA.
After having been reopened (see our post here), post-tribal remedies exhaustion, the tribe filed a motion to dismiss, and the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment. Both are pending after the court’s order to allow amendment of some of the pleadings.
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.