API v. Sac and Fox — Court Finds Tribal Court Jurisdiction over Nonmembers

Here is the district court order granting the tribe’s motion to dismiss a challenge to the tribal court’s jurisdiction in this long-running intratribal dispute — DCT Order on Cross Motions

The pleadings are here.

An excerpt:

API’s conduct imperiled the Tribe’s political integrity. In essence, API invaded the Tribe’s land to quell an intra-tribal governmental dispute. API argues this intra-tribal dispute was merely incidental to the raid. API contends that, if the court finds the raid imperiled the Tribe’s political integrity, any action taken by a non-member on tribal land during an intra-tribal governmental dispute would justify a court’s invocation of the second Montana exception. The court disagrees. API’s actions were made and intended to be a direct challenge to the Bear Council. API raided the Casino on behalf of the Walker Council, which was not the Tribe’s true governing authority. API conducted the raid pursuant to the Agreement, and the Agreement’s terms indicate the services API was expected to provide related directly to the Tribe’s governmental affairs. See Agreement at P I.2.A (stating API “shall perform services directly relating to the investigation of a takeover by dissidents at the [Casino] located on the Tribe’s reservation lands” and “[i]nvestigat[e] [. . .] individuals involved in the unlawful acts against the Tribal Government”). In other words, API was  hired to assist in the resolution of an intra-tribal governmental dispute, which strikes at the heart of the secondMontana exception. The fact API believed it was operating with the consent of the Tribe’s governing authority, that is, the ousted Walker Council, has no effect on the application of this exception. In truth and in fact, API raided the Casino specifically to weaken one side of an intra-tribal governmental dispute, which happened to be the Bear Council, the Tribe’s true governing body. This is an act with potentially catastrophic consequences to the Tribe’s government. The court concludes this merits the application of the protective prong of the Montana exception and that the Tribal Court’s exercise of civil jurisdiction over API was proper.

This entry was posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, gaming, Research, tribal courts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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