Fort Peck Tribe Files Education Discrimination Complaint against Wolf Point District Schools

Here is the complaint.

An excerpt:

The Wolf Point School District discriminates against Native students and deprives them of basic rights to which they are entitled in school. The Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, whose reservation encompasses the Wolf Point school district, asks that the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education intervene. The unequal treatment of Native students is detrimental to their development and education and violates federal law.

White residents on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, which is majority-Native, control local politics, business, and schools. Gerrymandering and nepotism have perpetuated racial inequality created by federal policies, including preferential land grants for white homesteaders and compulsory boarding school programs for Native students. Schools on the Reservation bear the legacy of the Fort Peck Reservation Boarding School, which violently imposed Western culture, values, and education on Native families through the early 1900s.

Hostility towards Native students and culture persists. Native students in Wolf Point report the use of racial slurs and harmful stereotypes by white administrators, faculty, and staff. Native students are disproportionately disciplined and excluded from school, often without due process. At Wolf Point High School, non-white students, most of whom are Native, are more than twice as likely to receive in- and out-of-school suspensions than white students. These suspensions also violate federal and local standards for discipline. Native students are routinely denied academic and extracurricular opportunities available to white students. Students with academic and behavioral challenges, most of whom are Native, are warehoused in the Opportunity
Learning Center, which is understaffed and underfunded.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Education, Research | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Split Ninth Circuit Panel Finds Colorable Navajo Labor Commission Jurisdiction over Window Rock School District

Here is the opinion in Window Rock School District v. Nez.

An excerpt from the court’s syllabus:

The panel held that it was “colorable or plausible” that the tribal adjudicative forum, the Navajo Nation Labor Commission, had jurisdiction because the claims arose from conduct on tribal land over which the Navajo Nation had the right to exclude nonmembers, and the claims implicated no state criminal law enforcement interests. Well-established exhaustion principles therefore required that the tribal forum have the first opportunity to evaluate its own jurisdiction, including the nature of the state and tribal interests involved.

Briefs and lower court materials here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, Tribal Codes, tribal courts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tiger Swan Tactics

In a four-part series, The Intercept examines the blurred lines between private security and public law enforcement, and the impact of corporate money on the increasing opposition to oil pipelines.

Part 1:  Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Use at Standing Rock to “Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies”

Part 2:  Standing Rock Documents Expose Inner Workings of “Surveillance-Industrial Complex

Part 3: As Standing Rock Camps Cleared Out, TigerSwan Expanded Surveillance to Array of Progressive Causes

Part 4: Dakota Access-Style Policing Moves to Pennsylvania’s Mariner East 2 Pipeline


Posted in Environmental, Research | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dakota Access security firm operated in ND without license, board says

In a complaint dated June 12, attorneys for the North Dakota Private Investigative and Security Board said the agency denied an application to James Patrick Reese, the founder of North Carolina-based TigerSwan, to become a licensed private security provider earlier this year. But Reese “and/or” the firm have “illegally continued to conduct private investigative and/or private security services in North Dakota following the denial of their application of licensure.”


Posted in Environmental, Research | 1 Comment

Tenth Circuit Holds NIGC Indian Lands Opinion Letters Not Final Agency Action

Here is the opinion in State of Kansas v. Zinke.

An excerpt:

The question in this case is whether a legal opinion letter issued by the Acting General Counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission (“NIGC”) regarding the eligibility of Indian lands for gaming constitutes “final agency action” subject to judicial review. In response to a request from the Quapaw Tribe, the NIGC Acting General Counsel issued a legal opinion letter stating that the Tribe’s Kansas trust land was eligible for gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”). The State of Kansas and the Board of County Commissioners of the County of Cherokee, Kansas, filed suit, arguing that the letter was arbitrary, capricious, and erroneous as a matter of law. The district court concluded that the letter did not constitute reviewable final agency action under IGRA or the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”).

Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm. IGRA’s text, statutory scheme, legislative history, and attendant regulations demonstrate congressional intent to preclude judicial review of legal opinion letters. Further, the Acting General Counsel’s letter does not constitute final agency action under the APA because it has not determined any rights or obligations or produced legal consequences. In short, the letter merely expresses an advisory, non-binding opinion, without any legal effect on the status quo ante.

Briefs here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, IGRA, Indian gaming, Research | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Washington COA Dismisses Two Challenges to Swinomish Civil Forfeiture under Rule 19

Here is the unpublished opinion in Washington v. Director of the Dept. of Licensing.

An excerpt:

After losing her vehicle to the Swinomish Tribe in civil forfeiture, Washington filed this suit against the Department of Licensing and unnamed Swinomish police officers. The trial court dismissed the case under CR 19 for failure to join an indispensable party: the Tribe. We affirm.

Here are the briefs:

And here is the unpublished opinion in Scott v. Doe.


Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, sovereign immunity, Tribal Codes, tribal courts | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Split Ninth Circuit Panel Allows Equal Protection Claim against FBI Official Who Failed to Properly Investigate Murder of Crow Nation Members

Here is the unpublished opinion in Cole v. Oravec.


Appellant Brief

Answer Brief


Prior posts here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Reviews of Sherman Alexie’s New Book

Slate: “Mother-Stung

BuzzFeed News: ‘Sherman Alexie on Not Being “The Kind of Indian That’s Expected”‘

An excerpt:

Even though he was ensconced in liberal Seattle, Alexie knew how the election would go down. “My friends were mad at me, but I knew,” he said, shaking his head. “I wasn’t shocked and I’m still not shocked. It’s total exploitation, with everything up for grabs. Health care, gone. Destroy the environment in search of more profit. State-sponsored violence. Targeted incarceration. You know what’s happening, though: The whole country is becoming a reservation.”

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Book Review | Tagged | Leave a comment

Federal Court Affirms Some 638 Contract Denials re: Northern Arapaho Tribe, Remands Others

Here are the materials in Northern Arapaho Tribe v. Lacounte (D. Mont.):

131 NAT Motion for Summary Judgment

140 US Cross Motion

146 NAT Reply

149 US Reply

175 DCT Order

An excerpt:

The Court affirms the BIA’s declinations of NAT’s second and third judicial services proposals, wildlife resources management proposal, and water resources management proposal. The Court reverses the BIA’s declination of NAT’s youth court proposal, to the extent that the declination improperly relied upon post-hoc justifications, and NAT’s first judicial services proposal. We remand these proposals to the BIA for reconsideration.

Prior posts here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, tribal courts, trust relationship | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Arizona COA Vacates Gila River Member’s Conviction for Crime Committed Entirely On-Rez, Affirms Conviction for Fleeing Police

Here is the unpublished opinion in State v. Carpio (Ariz. Ct. App.):

State v Carpio

An excerpt:

Manuel Carpio appeals his convictions and sentences for one count of disorderly conduct and one count of unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle. Carpio, a member of the Gila River Indian Community (the Community), argues the superior court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the disorderly conduct offense because he committed it entirely within the Gila River Indian Reservation (the Reservation). He also argues the superior court did not have personal jurisdiction because he was removed from the Reservation in violation of tribal extradition procedures after he was pursued onto the Reservation following a “hot pursuit” that began in the City of Chandler (the City). For the following reasons, we vacate Carpio’s conviction and sentence for disorderly conduct and affirm his conviction and sentence for unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Criminal, Research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment