High court hears land into trust, fiduciary duty, ‘ceded land’ cases

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WASHINGTON – An anti-Indian sovereignty business group from Michigan has piggybacked on a controversial lawsuit by an anti-Indian sovereignty state government that hopes to reverse the Interior Department’s authority to take land into trust for American Indians.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Dec. 3 in the state suit, Carcieri v. Kempthorne, a crucial case that could limit the land-into-trust process to tribes that were recognized by the federal government in 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was passed.

The lawsuit was filed by the state of Rhode Island in the name of Gov. Donald Carcieri, and broadly challenges the authority of the interior secretary to take land into trust under Section 5 of the IRA, and specifically challenges the interior’s decision to take 31 acres of land into trust for the Narragansett Indian Tribe, which was federally acknowledged in 1983.



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