Banished Snoqualmie file civil-rights lawsuit

Seattle, Washington (AP) 6-08

A federal lawsuit has been filed by nine banished members of the Snoqualmie tribe in the latest round of an ongoing fight for control of the tribe.

The tribe is poised to open one of the state’s most lucrative gambling casinos this fall.

The banished members were tossed out in April. They include the tribal chairman, several council members and a minister of the Indian Shaker Church.

They filed their suit on May 29 in U.S. District Court in Seattle, claiming violation of their civil rights.

Named in the suit are the Snoqualmie council members who banished them, stripping them of their tribal identity; barring them from tribal lands, and cutting them off from any tribal benefits, including health-care services.

The Snoqualmie are a small tribe with fewer than 700 members. It was federally recognized in 1999 and obtained a reservation in 2006.

It intends to open what promises to be one of the most profitable casinos, located just off Interstate 90, an enterprise the banished were also accused of not supporting.