Previous disputes over tribal boundaries 4-19-07

By The Associated Press

The growing legal battle about the Omaha Tribe's authority to regulate liquor sales in northeast Nebraska is not the first involving tribal boundaries. Here are some others:


- Owners of two Pender gas stations and other residents filed a federal lawsuit in March 2006 challenging the constitutionality of an agreement between Nebraska and the Omaha Indian Tribe. The agreement allowed the tribe to impose a tax on motor vehicle fuel sales occurring on the Omaha Reservation. The lawsuit, which was later thrown out, said the state cannot force nonIndians to pay taxes to the Omaha tribe for fuel sales that don't occur on the reservation.

- In July 2003, the Nebraska Department of Roads put up road signs outside Pender declaring the Omaha Tribe's boundaries but later took them down at the request of the state attorney general. The tribe disputed that, arguing that reservation boundaries were outlined in an 1865 treaty and cannot be changed except by an act of Congress.

- Nebraska Attorney General Don Stenberg said in July 2001 that the state Department of Environmental Quality did not have the authority to regulate wastewater discharges on Indian Reservations. The department had planned to issue wastewater discharge permits to treatment plants in Pender and Walthill - situated on the Omaha Indian Reservation - but the EPA ruled that Nebraska had no such authority.

- Nine protesters were arrested during a July 3, 1999, march from South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to Whiteclay, an unincorporated village just inside the Nebraska border. Marchers were protesting that 4 million cans of beer are sold annually by Whiteclay's nonIndian merchants, mainly to nearby reservation residents, where the sale of alcohol is illegal. Discussion continues on what needs to be done limit alcohol on the reservation.


- The Cheyenne River Sioux asked South Dakota state lawmakers in February to ban bars in the area near Bear Butte because the resulting commotion disturbs those who pray on the western South Dakota mountain considered sacred by many Indian tribes. The request followed a rise in the number of bars and campgrounds with liquor licenses around Bear Butte to handle the thousands of people who gather each August for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Lawmakers rejected the buffer zone.

- An agreement was reached in May 2000 in a longstanding dispute over water rights for allotted and fee lands within the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The agreement between the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, the federal government and the state of Wyoming said 1868 water rights on the allotted and fee lands are attached to the land where the water was being used. If there is a change in ownership of a parcel where an 1868 right exists, the right stays with the land.

- The South Dakota Supreme Court and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled in September 1999 that the state can enforce its laws on land once given to members of the Yankton Sioux Tribe but later sold to nonIndians. The decision upheld the 1992 burglary conviction of a man who broke into a home in Pickstown, a town within the original boundaries of the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation. James Bruguier had argued that he should be released from prison because the state had no legal jurisdiction over the area where the burglary occurred.