YAKAMA NATION STRIKES HISTORIC AGREEMENT WITH DOJ, FBI TO SETTLE LITIGATION OVER 2011 RESERVATION RAID (FBI RECITALS AGREEMENT PRESS RELEASE PDF)
FBI AGREES TO COMMUNICATE WITH YAKAMA POLICE BEFORE ENTERING YAKAMA INDIAN COUNTRY
Toppenish, WA– The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation have reached an unprecedented, out-of-court settlement with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), principally the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The settlement fully and finally resolves Yakama’s lawsuit against the FBI and several of its sister law enforcement agencies, as well as various county and municipal police agencies from Washington State, Mississippi and Virginia. That suit arose from a federal task force raid of Yakama Reservation trust lands that commenced at dawn on February 16, 2011. Upon reported word of the settlement on August 15, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Rosanna Peterson closed the case.
“Today is historic. The United States has agreed to honor the law enforcement protocols set forth in the Yakama Treaty of 1855. That is unprecedented.” said Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chairman and former police chief Harry Smiskin. “From today forward the FBI will communicate with Tribal Police before they enter Yakama Indian Country. I am confident that the resulting cooperation between federal and tribal cops will greatly improve public safety throughout our territories.”
Through Article II of the Yakama Treaty of 1855, the Yakama Reservation was set apart for the exclusive use and benefit of the Yakama Nation. To that end, the Yakama Treaty makes clear that no “white man” shall be permitted to reside upon Yakama Indian Country without permission from the Yakama Nation. Federal Treaty negotiators explained to the Yakama that Article II meant that no one – not even United States agents, with the lone exception of today’s Bureau of Indian Affairs agents – would be permitted to step onto Yakama Reservation lands without the Yakamas’ consent.
Also, in Article VIII of the Yakama Treaty, the United States and Yakama Nation set forth a process for delivering Yakama criminals or suspects who are in Yakama Indian Country to federal authorities. Federal Treaty negotiators also explained to the Yakama that Article VIII meant there would be a consultation process between the Head Chief or all of the Yakama Chiefs, and the United States, relative to any Yakama alleged to have committed a wrong, before they might be delivered up to federal authorities.
The settlement agreement between Yakama and DOJ is called, “Recitals of Joint Law Enforcement Goals.” It recites that: