United States Intervenes in South Dakota Voting Rights Case

Here are the materials in Poor Bear v. Jackson County (D. S.D.):

23 Motion to Dismiss

27 Opposition

28 Reply

29 Statement of the Interest of the US

Complaint here. Other materials here.

News coverage here.

UPDATE: I should point out this doesn’t look like a formal motion to intervene, more like an amicus brief.

Motion for Preliminary Injunction Filed in Poor Bear v. County of Jackson (S.D. Native Voting Rights Act Case)

Here is the pleading in Poor Bear v. County of Jackson (D. S.D.):

13 Motion for PI

The complaint is here.

Voting Rights Act Complaint Filed by Natives in South Dakota

Here is the complaint in Poor Bear v. County of Jackson (D. S.D.):

1 Complaint

An excerpt:

This case arises from Defendants’ refusal to establish a satellite office for voter registration and in-person absentee voting in the Town of Wanblee on the Pine Ridge Reservation, thereby making voting less available to Native Americans in Jackson County in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Specifically, because in-person voter registration and in-person absentee voting are limited to the county seat of Kadok, Native American residents of Jackson County are required to travel, on average, approximately twice as far (and such travel takes approximately twice as much time) to take advantage of in-person registration and in-person absentee voting in comparison to white residents of Jackson County. Establishing a satellite office in Wanblee, on the other hand, would substantially reduce the distance and travel time for both groups, would essentially equalize the average travel time and distance for the two groups, and would thereby provide Native Americans an equivalent level of access to in-person registration and in-person absentee voting.

Attorney Job Postings — Colville, Fort Thompson, Pine Ridge


Fort Thompson (Dakota Plains Legal Services): FTO Staff-Mg Atty Advertisement 01-29-14

Pine Ridge (Dakota Plains Legal Services): PRO Mg Atty Advertisement 01-29-14

Colville: Staff Attorney 2 positions

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Deadline for Purchase Offers Fast Approaching for Landowners with Interests at Pine Ridge, Makah Reservations

 IMPORTANT REMINDER: Deadline for Purchase Offers Fast Approaching for Landowners with Interests at Pine Ridge, Makah Reservations

The Department of the Interior announced in December 2013 that owners of fractionated land interests at the Pine Ridge and Makah Reservations were the first to receive purchase offers under the Department’s Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program). The Pine Ridge Reservation is among the most highly-fractionated locations in the United States; landowners with purchasable interests have been located in 46 states across the country.

Owners Must Respond Soon. The due date for the first round of purchase offers is quickly approaching, with responses due between January 29 and February 10, 2014. Purchase offers are valid for 45 calendar days from the date of the Cover Letter that is included in the Offer Package provided to owners.

Staff Ready to Answer Owner Questions. Landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at (888) 678-6836 with questions about their purchase offers, visit their local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) office, contact their tribe’s staff working with the Buy-Back Program, or find more information atwww.doi.gov/buybackprogram.

Sellers Receive Fair Market Value. The Buy-Back Program was created to implement the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided a $1.9 billion fund to purchase fractionated interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers, at fair market value, within a 10-year period. Interested sellers will receive payments directly into their IIM accounts. Consolidated interests will be transferred to tribal governments for uses benefiting the tribes and their members.

Sellers receive fair market value for their land, based on objective appraisals. In addition, sellers also receive a base payment of $75 per offer, regardless of the value of the land. Some owners have already received more than $100,000 for their interests (offer amounts will vary based on the particular interests held).  Interests purchased from individuals through the program will be restored to Indian tribes.

Outreach Events Are in Progress. For more than a year, tribes and Interior have conducted outreach events throughout Indian Country, such as pow-wows, community meetings, and large Indian organizational gatherings to get the word out about the program and give landowners the opportunity to gather information in order to make informed decisions about their land. Additional events are scheduled to occur in the next two weeks in Neah Bay and Auburn, Washington, regarding Makah fractional interests, and in Rapid City, South Dakota, and communities on the Pine Ridge Reservation. For information about this week’s event for Makah, contact Dale Denney at 360-645-3106. For details about the Pine Ridge events, contact Georgine Looks Twice at 605-867-2610.

Participation Is Voluntary. Participation in the Buy-Back Program is voluntary and selling land does not jeopardize a landowner’s ability to receive individual settlement payments from the Cobell Settlement. Cobell Settlement payments are being handled separately by the Garden City Group, (800) 961-6109.