NHBP Tribal Member Dyami Harris at the Quilt Walk for Justice in December 2015.
Tribe hails decison as reaffirmation of tribal sovereignty
Published June 25, 2016
PINE CREEK INDIAN RESERVATION – The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi would like to express our extreme pleasure with Thursday’s announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, which affirms the right of all Tribal Courts to exercise their inherent jurisdiction to hear a civil case involving an action taking place on Indian land and enforcing a contract with a non-Indian corporation located on that Indian land.
NHBP Tribal Elder and Veteran Dale Anderson, Gun Lake Tribal Member Frank Sprague and NHBP Tribal Member Drew Phillips sing an Honor Song at the Quilt Walk for Justice in Washington D.C.
NHBP wishes to express its deepest appreciation to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians for bearing the cost and sacrifice of seeing this case through to the end. Their resilience in this long fight will benefit every one of the 566 federally-recognized tribes in the United States.
“By calling into question the authority of the Mississippi Choctaw Tribal Court, this case essentially threatened the sovereignty of all Tribal Nations and our right to enforce Tribal law, to protect our Tribal lands, our citizens and non-Natives who are present on Tribal land,” said NHBP Tribal Chair Jamie Stuck.
“This decision affirms that Tribes are sovereign nations with the right to create laws, develop court systems, and to apply those laws fairly to both Tribal Citizens and Non-Natives within our borders.”
NHBP Tribal Elder Gwynn Nugent protests at the Quilt Walk for Justice.
Part of Dollar General’s claim, in this 13-year-long case, was that Tribal Courts would be biased against non-Natives and that Tribal Court Judges are not competent or qualified to hear a complex case.
“We take deep offense to this assertion,” Stuck said. “Tribal Courts, Judges and personnel are highly competent and uniquely qualified to hear complex jurisdictional cases like this one. Furthermore, Tribal Courts have demonstrated an unbiased approach to solving such complex issues with limited resources and restricted powers. We are very pleased that this decision recognizes that competency and professionalism and are very gratified about this very positive step in recognizing the sovereignty of all Tribes.”