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Feb. 2007: San Manuel v U. S. Labor Board
The court ruled in favor of the U. S. Labor Board having oversight of labor issues at this tribal casino. Federal courts are making it increasing clear that Native American tribes are not going to be allowed to engage in businesses indistinguishable from those operated by non Indians free from regulatory laws which non Indian competitors are subject too.
Oct. 2006: Colorado River Indian Tribe v NIGC
“The District Court had held that IGRA does not authorize the NIGC to promulgate or enforce its Minimum Internal Control Standards (MICS) against Class III Indian gaming. The District Court reasoned that IGRA directs Tribes and States to negotiate the regulatory roles for Class III gaming through the compacting process, and limits the NIGC’s role over Class III gaming to audit review and ordinance oversight and approval.” View related items:Stand Up For California Alerts the Governor, CGCC, Senator Feinstein.
March 2005: Sherill vs. Onieda
This case resolved a taxation issue specific to the Oneida and the City of Sherill. However, the Supreme Court Justices provided significant legal guidance in the opinion steering the legal requirement for land to be taken into trust. The Secretary of the Interior must give grave consideration to the non tribal population and the regional area that have justifiable expectations that the land remains similar in character regarding zoning, jurisdiction and critical health and safety issues.
Sept. 2004: Relation Back Doctrine
While this GAO report concentrated on conflicts with utility Rights-of-way not being resolved through existing remedies with regards to Alaska native Allotments, the court decisions cited in the report have an impact elsewhere in Indian Country. "Once the preference right becomes vested, the preference relates back to the initiation of occupancy and takes preference over rights of way or other uses of the land filed subsequent to the commencement of use and occupancy by the Native. Thus where a Native allotment application was filed after a highway right of way was issued, the native allotment 'related back' and nullified the right of way that had already been granted."
May 2004: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, Defendant,state of Michigan
Indeed, the only evidence of intent strongly suggests that the thrust of the IGRA is to promote Indian gaming, not to limit it. See 25 U.S.C. § 2702(1) (providing that the purpose of the statute is to provide a statutory basis for gaming by Indian tribes "as a means of promoting tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments"). Although § 2719 creates a presumptive bar against casino-style gaming on Indian lands acquired after the enactment of the IGRA, that bar should be construed narrowly (and the exceptions to the bar broadly) in order to be consistent with the purpose of the IGRA, which is to encourage gaming. Cf. City of Roseville v. Norton, 348 F.3d 1020, 1030-32 (D.C.Cir.2003) (holding that the "restoration of lands" exception should be interpreted broadly because the IGRA's exceptions "embody policies counseling for a broader reading" due to the statute's general purpose of promoting tribal economic development and self-sufficiency; also applying the Indian canon of statutory construction to resolve any ambiguities in favor of a broad reading of the "restoration of lands" exception).
July 2003: State of Oregon vs. Confederated Tribes of Coos Bay
Both the Grand Traverse and this ruling go to the heart of the "restored lands" analysis. In sum, I find that the phrase "restoration of lands" was not intended by Congress to be narrowly construed and limited to the lands included in the congressional enactments which restore tribal status. Therefore, the Secretary's interpretation is a permissible and reasonable construction of the statute.
April 2004: United States v. Lara
April 2004: CETAC v. Norton.
United States District Court: Civil Action No. 02-1754 (TPJ) CETAC challenged the adequacy of the Tribe's EA analysis in several respects and disputes the conclusions of the Secretary of the Interior that the project will have no significant impact. The court rules in favor of CETAC. This is a significant win for environmental protections.
2003: INYO COUNTY v. PAIUTE-SHOSHONE INDIANS
2003: Artichoke Joe's v SOI Gale Norton
Proposition 1A is consistent with the intent of IGRA and does not impair petitioners equal protections under the law.
Jul 2001:Campo v USA and City of San Diego
A coalition of San Diego Tribes alleged a claim to the Navy Training Center as aboriginal lands. Suit originally filed in District Court in Washington DC Dec. 18, 1998.
2001: Nevada v. Hicks (2002) 121 S. Ct. 2304
The decision relied on two previous rulings, Montana v. U.S. and Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe. The Supreme Court held that the tribal court did not have jurisdiction to adjudicate state officials conduct in executing a search warrant to a tribal member for an off reservation crime. More importantly, the Supreme Court in regards to the jurisdictional reach of tribal courts over non members, stated: "...tribal courts, it should be clear, cannot be courts of general jurisdiction in this sense, for a tribe's inherent adjudicative jurisdiction over non members is at most only as broad as its legislative jurisdiction." Id. At. 2314." Absent a federal law providing tribal court jurisdiction over a particular cause of action, tribal courts lack jurisdiction to adjudicate actions over non-tribal
Feb. 25, 1998: Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Gov't
Failed to meet the federal set aside requirement of superintendance.
1998: Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma v Manufacturing Technologies
An Indian tribe is entitled to sovereign immunity from suit on a promissory note even if it is signed off of the reservation. An Indian tribe's immunity follows the tribe not the reservation lands. While the Supreme Court drew the bounds of tribal immunity it also noted that Congress can alter its limits through explicit legislation.
March 1997: Confederated Tribes of Siletz v. US
The Siletz Tribe sued the governor of Oregon for refusing to concur. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Governor. Tribes promoting gaming off-reservation under Section 20 do not have the legal authority to 'obligate' the Governor to concur with the Secretary of the Interior. The governor's concurrence is an exercise of "executive powers" on an infrequent and episodic basis. The law merely says that the Governor may concur ~if the Governor does not concur, the tribe does not get a tribal state compact.
March 1996: Seminole v. State of Florida
In this case, the Supreme Court held that the Indian tribes cannot sue states under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in federal courts without state permission. In other words the tribes cannot force states to negotiate gaming compacts. The decision was based on the 11th Amendment to the constitution which provides that a state can only be sued in its own courts or if it consents to the suit. Basically, states have a sovereign immunity from lawsuits filed in federal courts and Congress cannot abridge that immunity through passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
August 1995: RUMSEY INDIAN v WILSON
This case was of major significance and ruled on the issue of whether the tribe can have slot machines because the lottery operates similar games. This case was decided for the tribe, but appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth circuit held for the state and decided that Indian tribes cannot offer banked games such as slots.
1987: CALIFORNIA v. CABAZON BAND OF MISSION INDIANS, 480 U.S. 202
Landmark case that has transformed Indian Country and its peoples. Gaming is a civil regulatory activity and thus tribes exercise governance over this activity. Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 to regulate and permit gaming on Indian lands. IGRA made certain requirements on Tribes and States for class III gaming.
1981: Montana v United States, 450 U.S. 544
The case ruled over both the criminal and civil position of tribal government authority. Tribal governments do not have civil regulatory jurisdiction over non-Indian activities on fee lands or owned lands inside of tribal reservations. Tribes simply do not have full regulatory authority over non-Indians. Moreover, the Supreme Court is reading this case broadly stating that tribes do not have inherent jurisdiction over non-Indians civil matters at all although tribal governments may regulate hunting and fishing on trial lands. There are two exceptions in this ruling: 1. Citizens who enter into contracts with tribes are bound and under tribal jurisdiction. 2. Or the civil activity o non-Indian citizens threatens the political integrity of the tribal government or the health or security of the Indian government.
(1978) Oliphant v Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191
The case simply ruled that tribes have no inherent criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians.
June 27, 1978: Coast Indian Community Appeal
Coast Indian Community unpublished decision (not precedent) the court allowed the award of money to be distributed to the Coast Indian Community entity, but only because the individual Indians had so stipulated upon remand. Thus, where no tribe was identified, named, or designated on the original deeds for the Rancherias, it would still require a new deed to be created by the original/surviving beneficiaries to transfer the property to a subsequently recognized/organized tribe.
Feb. 23, 1977: Coast Indian Community
U. S. Court of Claims: Coast Indian Community v. United States 550 F.2d 639 (Ct. Cl. 1977), the individual Indians are the beneficial owners of the property, and the tribe has never been recognized to lawfully “exercise governmental power,” as defined by IGRA, over the property.
March 27, 1973: MESCALERO APACHE TRIBE v. JONES, COMMISSIONER, BUREAU OF REVENUE
May 11, 1942: Sioux vs. United States
Reservations created by executive order -

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