Eighth Circuit Affirms Conviction of Embezzlement from Spirit Lake Housing

Here are the materials in United States v. Yankton:

CA8 Unpublished Opinion

Yankton Opening Brief

US Brief

Yankton Reply Brief

From the court’s syllabus:

Evidence was sufficient to support defendant’s conviction for embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization.

North Dakota SCt to Hear Aboriginal Rights Case Tomorrow

Here is the website linking to the materials in State v. Delorme.

Here are the materials:

And a description of the issues from each party:

Appellant’s Statement of the Issues:
The district court erred when they denied the Appellant’s Motion to Dismiss due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction of the Court based on Appellant’s aboriginal usufructuary rights as guaranteed and preserved in the 1863 Treaty of Old Crossing.
The district court erred when they granted the State’s Motion in Limine concerning reference to any land in Eddy County where these offenses are alleged to have occurred as being part of an Indian reservation or Indian Country, that the Appellant was licensed by the tribe as a guide and outfitter.

Appellee’s Statement of the Issues:
Issue 1 Whether an outfitting license issued by the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe to one of its members, which is then transferred to a non-member, precludes state jurisdiction over the non-member’s off-reservation outfitting activities?
Issue 2 Whether an aboriginal right to hunt can be a defense to a non-hunting charge?
Issue 3 Whether North Dakota will be the only jurisdiction to expand aboriginal hunting rights to include “ancillary,” non-hunting activities?
Issue 4 Whether the land on which the violations occurred constitutes either aboriginal land or Indian country?
Issue 5 Whether an 1863 treaty, which conveyed “all” Indian interests, preserved a right to hunt?
Issue 6 Whether any right to hunt established by the 1863 treaty terminated as a result of Indian Claims Commission proceedings and, if not, is the right enforceable through an Indian group that has not maintained a political identity and is the right subject to state regulation?

Lonny Winrich on the UND Name Change

From the Grand Forks Herald:

GRAND FORKS — If there’s one thing that’s clear in all the fog surrounding the Fighting Sioux name controversy, it’s that the Board of Higher Education has the authority to decide what will be done.

That’s what the North Dakota State Constitution says, as interpreted by the North Dakota Supreme Court. The court’s ruling also serves as a reminder that a modern democratic government is constrained by a constitution that delimits its powers.

Democracy is not to be found in a spontaneous plebiscite whenever there is an unpopular decision. Democracy means governing by the requirements of a constitution.

This brings up another point: The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe also is governed by a constitution. That constitution has no provision for — and gives no official standing to — the proposed referendum.

If the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is allowed to vote, any interpretation of the results will owe more to a hyperactive media than to any lawful authority. The duly elected tribal council speaks for the tribe, and I think the board has been wise to base its decisions on the actions of the tribal council.

The board has dealt with a very difficult and contentious issue. I doubt there is anyone, including board members, who is happy with all the twists and turns this problem has taken.

But the board has made its decision — which only it can do — based on a thoughtful consideration of all aspects of the issue. As North Dakotans, we cannot expect more from our public officials.

I, for one, want to express my thanks to the board members for their service in this tough situation.

Lonny Winrich

Winrich, a Democrat, represents District 18 in the North Dakota House.

North Dakota Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to UND Board on Fighting Sioux; Nickname “Killed”

Here is the opinion in Davidson v. State. Briefs and oral argument materials are here. And the UND Board “killed” the nickname.

An excerpt:

Eight members of the Committee for Understanding and Respect (“plaintiffs”) appeal from a district court judgment dismissing their action against the State Board of Higher Education to enforce a settlement agreement in a prior lawsuit by the University of North Dakota (“UND”) and the Board against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) and to enjoin the Board from shortening the time period for the Spirit Lake Tribe and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to consider approving or rejecting UND’s use of the “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo. Because we conclude the district court did not err in interpreting the language of the settlement agreement, we affirm.


The plaintiffs, enrolled members of the Spirit Lake Tribe, thereafter sued the Board, alleging its proposed termination of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo before November 30, 2010, violated the settlement agreement and seeking to enjoin the Board from terminating the nickname and logo before November 30, 2010. The plaintiffs claimed the settlement agreement precluded termination of the nickname and logo before November 30, 2010, and the Board was contractually bound to make a good-faith effort to obtain namesake approval from both tribes during that time.


Although the language of the settlement agreement recognizes the North Dakota Sioux Tribes have important contributions in determining whether the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo should be used by UND and the agreement requires UND to continue to solicit the views of the two tribes on the use of the nickname and logo, we do not construe that language to require UND to continue using the nickname and logo through November 30, 2010.

NYTs: Univ. of North Dakota to Change Nickname

From the NYTs:

North Dakota’s Board of Higher Education has approved a schedule for discarding the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo if two Sioux tribes hold firm in their desire to have them dumped. The timeline directs William Goetz, the university system’s chancellor, to form a committee to discuss the issue with the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux tribes. The panel should meet at least twice with Sioux leaders in 2009. If there is no agreement, the timeline says, the university should begin planning in January 2010 to retire the nickname and logo.