From Mike Hitchen Online Let's Hear You! presents selected news and information from non profit organizations and individuals promoting community or rights oriented issues.
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Omaha Tribe's effort to defend reservation boundary lawsuit gets support of national tribal organization
The National Congress of American Indians
recently met and passed a resolution urging its member tribes to support
the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska with amicus briefs and monetary assistance to meet critical legal defense funding needs. A lawsuit by the Village of Pender and local liquor establishment owners seeks to have the Omaha Reservation diminished so that Pender is excluded. The case started when the Omaha Tribe sought to enforce its federally approved liquor ordinance against Pender liquor establishments.
The Omaha Indian Reservation was established in 1854 by a treaty between the Omaha Tribe and the United States
of America. Its original boundaries included all of present-day
Thurston County. A later treaty in 1865 ceded the northern portion of
the Reservation for the use of the Winnebago Tribe. The plaintiffs
claim an 1882 federal law changed the boundaries by authorizing
allotments of land for individual tribal members and opening a portion
of the Reservation for sale.
lawsuit has been pending since 2007, when the federal case was put on
hold awaiting a tribal court decision. The tribal court issued its
ruling in February, finding that the Reservation was not diminished.
The federal case is now being briefed to Judge Richard Kopf with the U.S. District Court. Regardless of which way Judge Kopf rules, an appeal from that decision is anticipated.
The Omaha Tribe has incurred over $500,000 in legal fees and expenses to date, with more anticipated with the federal court case. The Village of Pender enacted a sales tax to fund its legal fees and has reportedly collected more than $600,000. The Omaha Tribe has sought assistance from the federal government. An account has been established at Charter West Bank in Walthill, Nebraska, to receive donations.
The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska is a federally recognized treaty tribe with a government-to-government relationship with the United States
of America. The Tribe, consisting of nearly 6,000 Native American
tribal members, is organized under a written constitution and bylaws
adopted in 1936.