Tenth Circuit Rules in Favor of Jemez Pueblo’s Aboriginal Rights Suit re: Valles Caldera

Here is the opinion in Pueblo of Jemez v. United States.

An excerpt:

In our circuit, both before and after Jemez I, the Jemez Pueblo could lose its established aboriginal title to Banco Bonito only if its title had been extinguished or abandoned. And the district court concluded that neither of those conditions had occurred. So in accordance with longstanding Supreme Court precedent, and by the district court’s findings, the Jemez Pueblo still has aboriginal title to Banco Bonito.

Links to briefs and lower court materials here.

Tenth Circuit Briefs in Pueblo of Jemez v. United States [Valles Caldera]


Jemez Pueblo brief sealed

Indian Advocacy Groups Amicus Brief

Indian Law Profs Amicus Brief

Pueblo Nations Amicus Brief

US Response Brief

Gas Company Brief

Lower court materials here.

Opinion in Pueblo of Jemez v. United States

Here is the opinion:

404 DCT Opinion

An excerpt:

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the bench trial held on October 29-November 20, 2018; November 29-November 30, 2018; December 3, 2018; December 5, 2018; and December 13, 2018. The primary issue is whether Plaintiff Pueblo of Jemez has the exclusive right to use, occupy, and possess the lands of the Valles Caldera National Preserve (“Valles Caldera”) pursuant to its allegedly unextinguished and continuing aboriginal title to those lands. The Court concludes that Jemez Pueblo has not established aboriginal title to the Valles Caldera. Although the evidence proves that Jemez Pueblo has actually and continuously used and occupied the Valles Caldera for a long time, the evidence also shows that many Pueblos and Tribes also used the Valles Caldera in ways that defeat Jemez Pueblo’s aboriginal title claim.

Earlier posts here.

Jemez Pueblo Loses Claim to Valles Caldera National Preserve

Here are (some of) the materials in Pueblo of Jemez v. United States (D. N.M.):

387 Jemez Trial Brief

399 DCT Judgment

An excerpt:

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Court’s Sealed Memorandum Opinion, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order, filed August 31, 2019 (Doc. 398). In the Sealed Memorandum Opinion, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order, the Court: (i) concludes that Plaintiff Pueblo of Jemez does not have the exclusive right to use, occupy, and possess the lands that encompass the Valles Caldera National Preserve; (ii) quiets title to the Valles Caldera National Preserve in Defendant United States of America; (iii) dismisses the case with prejudice; and (iv) directs the parties to D.N.M.LR-Civ. 54, should they seek to recover any attorney’s fees and costs. See Sealed Memorandum Opinion, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order at 498. Having disposed of all claims and parties before the Court in this case, the Court now enters Final Judgment. [emphasis added]

Our extensive prior posts are here.