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Saginaw Chippewa Tribe to lodge lawsuit against state over rez boundaries

Observer Staff

10/28/2005 12:00:00 AM

The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council approved on Oct. 19 the filing of litigation against the state of Michigan in federal court to resolve an ongoing dispute between the Tribe and the State over the Tribe's reservation boundaries.

The Tribe's complaint will ask the federal court to issue a declaratory judgment that would require the state to recognize the Tribe's Reservation boundaries as established by the Treaties of 1855 and 1864 between the Tribe and the federal government.

This lawsuit is needed to end the state's continuing and unrelenting violation of the Tribe's sovereignty.

For many years Michigan has refused to recognize the Tribe's reservation boundaries and has attempted to unlawfully exert state jurisdiction over the Tribe and its citizens.

The state has attempted-for example-to regulate Tribal waste water treatment facilities; to remove Indian children from their homes; to improperly tax Tribal members and to criminally prosecute Tribal members within the boundaries of the Tribe's Reservation.

Federal law prohibits states from exercising this type of regulatory and criminal jurisdictional within the boundaries of the Reservation established by treaties with the federal government.

The state has refused to stop this significant intrusion on the Tribe's sovereign jurisdiction despite repeated demands by the Tribe.

The Tribal Council is determined to fight for the sovereign rights of its government and people and believes that it has a very strong case to present to the federal court.

The complaint will be filed in the Eastern District of the United States Federal Court in early November.