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WOLFCHILD V. UNITED STATES UPDATE: REQUEST RESPONSE BY 2/12/10

WOLFCHILD V. UNITED STATES (NO. 09-579); ZEPHIER V. U.S. (NO. 09-580) – On November 6, 2009,

two groups of individuals who claim to be descendants of the “loyal” Mdewakanton Sioux filed petitions

seeking review of a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit which reversed the trial

court’s finding of breach of trust by the United States. Based on its determination that the finding of

breach of trust is a critical prerequisite to identifying which plaintiffs are entitled to relief and calculating

the measure of damages due, the trial court certified two questions for immediate appellate review. In

response, the Federal Circuit held that (1) the 1888, 1889 and 1890 Appropriation Acts enacted for the

benefit of the loyal Mdewakanton Sioux and their lineal descendants which included lands, improvements

to lands and monies as the corpus did not create a trust; and (2) if the referenced Appropriations Acts did

create a trust (which they did not), the 1980 Act terminated that trust by giving the three Mdewakanton

Indian communities beneficial ownership of the lands. The U.S. filed a waiver of its right to respond on

December 7, 2009, and the petitions were scheduled for conference on January 15, 2010. However, on

January 13, 2010, the Court issued a request for the United States file a response by February 12, 2010.

 

Download the entire TRIBAL-SUPREME-COURT-PROJECT-MEMORANDUM-FEBRUARY-1-2010-UPDATE-OF-RECENT-CASES

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