BIA Will Not Recognize Actions of Holdover Nooksack Tribal Council

Here is the letter from ASIA Larry Roberts to Robert Kelly:


An excerpt:

We will not recognize any actions until duly elected officials are seated in accordance with the Tribe’s Constitution and Bylaws.  This includes recent actions by you and two Council members to enjoin the authority of the Northwest Intertribal Court System (NICS).  Since the NICS was authorized by a quorum of the Council to adjudicate matters prior to March 24, 2016, we will continue to recognize judicial decisions issued by the NICS.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s Suit over BIE Reorganization May Proceed

Here are the materials in Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe v. Jewell (D.S.D.):





We posted the complaint herehere.

Fletcher & Singel on the Historical Basis for the Trust Relationship between the US and Indian Children

Fletcher & Singel have posted “Indian Children and the Federal Tribal Trust Relationship” on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

This article develops the history of the role of Indian children in the formation of the federal-tribal trust relationship and comes as constitutional challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) are now pending. We conclude the historical record demonstrates the core of the federal-tribal trust relationship is the welfare of Indian children and their relationship to Indian nations. The challenges to ICWA are based on legally and historically false assumptions about federal and state powers in relation to Indian children and the federal government’s trust relationship with Indian children.

Indian children have been a focus of federal Indian affairs at least since the Framing of the Constitution. The Founding Generation initially used Indian children as military and diplomatic pawns, and later undertook a duty of protection to Indian nations and, especially, Indian children. Dozens of Indian treaties memorialize and implement the federal government’s duty to Indian children. Sadly, the United States then catastrophically distorted that duty of protection by deviating from its constitution-based obligations well into the 20th century. It was during this Coercive Period that federal Indian law and policy largely became unmoored from the constitution.

The modern duty of protection, now characterized as a federal general trust relationship, is manifested in federal statutes such as ICWA and various self-determination acts that return self-governance to tribes and acknowledge the United States’ duty of protection to Indian children. The federal duty of protection of internal tribal sovereignty, which has been strongly linked to the welfare of Indian children since the Founding, is now as closely realized as it ever has been throughout American history. In the Self-Determination Era, modern federal laws, including ICWA, constitute a return of federal Indian law and policy to constitutional fidelity.

Federal Court Certifies Class in Osage Headrights Accounting Suit

Here are the new materials in Fletcher v. United States (N.D. Okla.):

1148 Motion to Certify Class

1154 US Response

1196 DCT Order Certifying Class

This case is on remand from the Tenth Circuit; post here.

Tenth Circuit Rules in Favoring of Trust Accounting Claims of Osage Headright Holders

Here are the materials in Fletcher v. United States:

CA10 Opinion

Fletcher Opening Brief

Interior Answer Brief

Fletcher Reply Brief

An excerpt:

After settlers displaced the Osage Nation from its native lands, the federal government shunted the tribe onto the open prairie in Indian Territory, part of what later became the State of Oklahoma. At the time, the government had no idea those grasslands were to prove a great deal more fertile than they appeared. Only years later did the Osages’ mammoth reserves of oil and gas make themselves known. When that happened, the federal government appropriated for itself the role of trustee, overseeing the collection of royalty income and its distribution to tribal members. That role continues to this day. In  this lawsuit, tribal members seek an accounting to determine whether the federal  government has fulfilled the fiduciary obligations it chose to assume. The district court
dismissed the tribal members’ claims. We reverse.

Lower court materials here and here.

Lynn & Whyte: “Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change and the Government-to-Government Relationship”

Kathy Lynn and Kyle Powys Whyte have posted “Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change and the Government-to-Government Relationship” on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Climate change impacts present indigenous peoples with distinct challenges, from the loss of species needed for subsistence practices like fishing and plant gathering, to coastal erosion that may force some communities to migrate away from areas they have inhabited or used for many years. Students, activists, environmental managers, scholars and corporate and political leaders of all heritages should be aware of how indigenous peoples must address climate change impacts from global to community-level scales, and the obstacles they may encounter due to intersecting oppressions, like cultural imperialism and disempowerment. To create such awareness, there is a need for more work that describes the specific sites of interaction relevant to indigenous peoples and climate change. Sites of interaction are the local and regional places where indigenous peoples are in relationships with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), networks and alliances. Better understanding the relationships that indigenous peoples have with these groups and institutions contributes to fostering unique and necessary indigenous approaches to address climate change that reflect their unique cultural connections to the earth. This paper focuses on one of the critical sites of interaction for indigenous peoples in the United States — the government-to-government relationship. While the government-to-government relation is not a new approach, this paper examines how it might operate in indigenous climate change adaptation contexts in the United States. We describe a set of examples of consultation and collaboration and offer seven recommendations that demonstrate the value of tribal responses to climate change.

Federal Court Dismisses Trust Breach Claim by Osage Headright Beneficiaries

Here are the materials in Fletcher v. United States (N.D. Okla.):

DCT Order Dismissing Third Amended Complaint

USA Motion to Dismiss

Fletcher Opposition

USA Reply

Our prior post on this case (from 2009) is here.