Decision invalidates earlier ruling based on 19th-century trust, and Congress’ land deal.
WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court has ruled against a large group of Mdewakanton Dakota Indians claiming a share of the lands and gambling revenues from casinos in Prior Lake and Prairie Island.
The group, led by former Lower Sioux Community Chairman Sheldon Wolfchild, has been suing the U.S. government since 2003, claiming rights to casino riches as descendants of Mdewakanton Indians who helped white settlers during the 1862 Dakota rebellion in Minnesota.
The descendants, numbering more than 20,000 Indians in the United States and Canada, had been bolstered in recent years by decisions in the Federal Court of Claims finding that some of the lands forming part of the present-day Mystic Lake and Treasure Island casinos were intended for their use.
But the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday invalidated earlier rulings that found the government had breached a legal 19th-century trust to the "loyal Mdewakanton." The court also found that Congress did nothing wrong in 1980 when it handed control of the lands to the present-day Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Community, which owns the Mystic Lake and Little Six casinos, and the Prairie Island Indian Community, which owns Treasure Island.
Membership in the two communities is limited to several hundred tribal members who enjoy millions in annual gambling profits. Many of the plaintiffs live on economically depressed reservations in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Morton, Minn.
Erick Kaardal, a Minneapolis attorney who represents Wolfchild and some 7,500 other Mdewakanton Sioux, said Thursday that he plans to appeal, probably to the U.S. Supreme Court. But Brian O’Neill, an attorney for the Shakopee tribe, said an appeal would be pointless. "This should be the end of it," he said. "It ought to be closure for an awful lot of folks who put their faith on this less-than-substantial lawsuit."
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BS! My gt grandfather had Indian Land Certificate for Scott county which is now where Mystic Lake casino sits now, Mystic Lake is built on greediness of people who think they are lineal descendants of who the land should belong too…they all need to be shot
posted by Ida69 on Mar. 13, 09 at 11:36 AM
But Brian O’Neill, an attorney for the Shakopee tribe, said an appeal would be pointless. "This should be the end of it," he said. "It ought to be closure for an awful lot of folks who put their faith on this less-than-substantial lawsuit." How would this be pointless???? It wasn’t pointless when he appealed the original decision…At this point I’d say the decisions are a wash….Take it to the Supreme court Mr Kaardal, I do hope that you win this for those people who have been stabbed in the back by the gov time and time again! Thanks for your hard work and many years of dedication. It is really sad to see this tribe being so charitable to different tribes and to places such as The University of Minnesota and then turn around and deny those that are actual lineal descendants….I agree…greed thru and thru….posted by dillypot on Mar. 13, 09 at 2:04 PM
The sad part is the govt once again comes out smelling like a rose. I have family,Aunts,Uncles and cousins, at two of the three communities involved They,the members, deserve some of the credit also for keeping people out. My Dad left there in the late 60’s to FIND A JOB. Once the communities realized what they could do,with the federal governments blessing, they started to turn people away altogether or make it very difficult to become a member. Even for the people that meet their strict guide lines to become a member.I never did meet my dad, he passed away before we had the opportuniy. I have to say though, growing up on the outside so to speak,I almost feel sorry for some of those members. Money does not solve everything and trust me, the ones that are in control of it at theses communities have plenty of their own problems to deal with.Sad deal for sure.posted by terrylb on Mar. 13, 09 at 4:50 PM
Bogus 1980 Act
"The court also found that Congress did nothing wrong in 1980 when it handed control of the lands to the present-day Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Community…" The 1980 Act needs a Congressional investigation. It stinks to high hevean, and one has to wonder how many palms were greased for Congress to hand the 1886 lands over to a so called tribe created just eleven years earlier in 1969. A "tribe" made up of thirteen family members. Something stinks in Washington and the stench is coming from the BIA and it lingers over Prior Lake.posted by renosioux on Mar. 13, 09 at 7:55