Federal EPA Ruling: Riverton is part of Indian Country, 1905 law did not diminish reservation!

The EPA just ruled that Riverton, a town of about 10,000 population, surrounded by the Wind River Reservation (Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone land) but on nominally non-tribal land*, is a part of the reservation. The state government is PISSED and the comments sections of various online write ups are already going full racist. It's a complicated and really unexpected decision, even from the tribes' perspective (a lot of tribal leaders really didn't know it was going to go their way, say some friends who are covering the story). This is all going down in the context of the reservation finally getting the right to be considered a state under the Clean Air Act and regulate their own air quality. 

The homestead act in 1905 opened lands north of the Wind River and South of owl creek to homesteading.  The land that was not homesteaded was then put into tribal trust by congress with joint federal tribal authority.  This has been an ongoing point of contention  between the Northern Arapahoe, Eastern Shoshone tribes, Fremont County, the city of Riverton and the State of Wyoming for years.

The most immediate concern is judicial jurisdiction, as non Indians cannot be tried in tribal court, and cannot be arrested by tribal police for any crime that is not a federal crime.  This also brings up property rights matters, as well as taxation issues, as there is no authority for the state of Wyoming to tax on the reservation.  There have already been numerous calls to both the City of Riverton, and Fremont County demanding return of sales tax money paid by tribal members.

This is going to get real interesting here on the home front for the next few years as this is litigated, to determine who has jurisdiction to do what.

Tags: American, EPA, Federal, Native, Regulations, Reservation

Views: 166

Reply to This

Replies to This Article/Seed

This is going to get real interesting as Riverton has always claimed that it was not part of the reservation and will now be subject to tribal authority.   The racial tensions that have been boiling under the surface for many years are starting to bubble over now.  The racism from both sides is really starting to be seen on many of the social media, and forum sites. 

It is my hope that this will force negotiations from all governing bodies involved and we will all be better for it.

This is very interesting and I will be following it closely hereon. Thank you for posting this and bringing it to our attention.

It indeed will take some serious and open minded negotiations from both sides to bring about a system of law enforcement and municipal governing. As far as the highway and other such maintenance is concerned, I really don't see a problem if both sides cooperate. Perhaps there are those who are ready and willing to make a mountain out of what could be a mole hill in  regards to the incident. And no, I am not minimizing the impact of the decision, merely stating that there is a way to handle the situation in an intelligent and positive manner if all sides are willing to work together. 

The main thing IMHO, is the effect of the racism on both sides. Both sides needs the other, and there is bound to be some level playing ground that both sides can participate from. So I think that once the shock of the change wears off and litigation is out of the way, the two sides can work together to find a solution that is favorable for both sides.

I don't think anyone wants another "Indian War" that only leads to more hate and needless loss of life. But, as we well know, there are always such demented elements that are merely waiting for the opportunity to react.

This is just my opinion.

What would be really interesting is to compare the final treaty with the Enabling Act for Wyoming.  Betcha Wyoming didn't get all they thought they did.

1stwarrior, this has been litigated over and over in the state supreme court, with the determination that the reservation has been diminished.  I guess that in my opinion I question whether or not the EPA has the legal authority to determine land boundaries.

On water/air/compliance issues - yes they do - environmental regulations know no boundaries, they are multi-jurisdictional.  In the Clean Air Act, tribes have two different types of jurisdiction - lands within the boundaries of the reservation, the tribe is delegated Federal Authority.  All sources within reservation boundaries are under tribal jurisdiction.  Other areas within the tribes jurisdiction appears to mean "Indian Country" if the tribe can show they have inherent authority (aboriginal sovereignty).  They work from the aspect that "Indian Country" has control - the Wind River tribes are Indian Country and, if I'm not mistaken, share regulatory authority with EPA on this issue.  SCOTUS has stated in two other cases that, in the event the EPA allows the tribes to share the regulatory authorities, the tribes are considered equal to the Feds in their sovereignty over "Indian Country".  I'll have to do more research.

What youll most likely see is a revisitation to the original; treaty boundries and a current survey completed as to where those boundries actually are  to compensate for subsiquent annexation over the yrs , thus affecting municipal services and what and where certain taxes can be applied . nothing like dividing a town .

 one of the reasons I suspect the states pissed is that Riverton is a major confluence of a couple of state highways that skirt the Reservation borders if those lands are found to be within the rez it becomes the rezs responsibility for maint and upkeep, not the states, now take into account the recent highway upgrade heading west over Togetee Pass to Yellowstone and Jackson hole that's a chunk of state funding right there they would loose  . be careful what you wish for is a good axiom , you just might get it , and not like what you get in the end.

You are right Mark, but there are other reasons that the state is pissed, mainly the loss of sales tax revenue, and property tax revenue. 

It is going to be a shame if Riverton is held to be reservation, as those of us who live here know what the corruption in tribal government is like.  Can you just imagine them trying to operate a town with a population of 10,000.

The other problems are law enforcement jurisdictional issues, as if Riverton is determined to be part of the reservation, we will effectively be lawless.  No zoning or city ordinances will any longer apply.  Tribal police are only able to arrest non Indians for certain offenses on the reservation, mainly violent crime.  And state law does not apply on the reservation so there is basically no law other than you cannot kill someone.

I can see this becoming violent, quite easily, with all the racial tensions that exist in our community. 

The Homestead act of 1905 is coming back to bite some in the ass.

Yep, and it is going to get real interesting around here, like I have stated I really hope this does not turn violent before, it is settled.  I think this one will be headed to the Superme  Court.

I'm sure that it will be headed to SCOTUS. I don't know if the EPA has the power to make this decision.

I don't understand . Since when does the EPA have any jurisdiction over the decision for tribal boundaries ?

that is the question that many of us have!  Did the EPA over step it's authority.  The tribes, have claimed for the last 100 years that Riverton was not withdrawn from the reservation, and that they should have administrative controls over the town, and that the reservation was not diminished by the 1905 land act.  The state supreme court has ruled otherwise, and the EPA has gone against years of judicial interpretation of the law.  I will try to post a link to the ruling, but if this is upheld this has many consequence far outreaching just the ability to monitor air quality.

 

RSS

Blog Posts

Guns, One Hand Washes The Other

Posted by JohnRussell on December 21, 2014 at 8:00am 5 Comments

Ten days ago or so, there was a shooting incident inside a Chicago neighborhood bar. I won't give the name but if one were to google something like 'chicago bar shooting' the bare facts won't be difficult to find.

What happened was that there was an argument between two guys in one pub, and one of the two left and walked across the street to a different establishment to continue drinking. Shortly thereafter the second fellow followed the first in to the bar across the street and they…

Continue

Crack Whore. Crack Whore? Crack Whore!

Posted by Wheel on December 16, 2014 at 8:52am 7 Comments

Crack Whore. Crack Whore. Crack Whore.

My granddaughter is almost 3. She's learning to talk at a really amazing rate. She is learning new words, repeating phrases, even entire sentences that she hears us say, and saying things that we never taught her. I've been fussing at her grandmother and her mom, both of them potty mouths, about their language around the kid. They ARE getting better, but....

Laural and I were playing the other day and Dan-Dan, her dog, ran behind her and…

Continue

Why the NewTown families’ lawsuit against Bushmaster will fail

Posted by Bruce "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ" Tarleton on December 15, 2014 at 7:45pm 2 Comments

It’s called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.  Signed into law in 2005, the Act provides immunity to Gun Manufacturers and dealers from negligence when their product has been used in crimes.  Prior to its passing, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, and many other gun manufacturers spent billions of dollars in settlements for lawsuits arising from criminal use of their products.

The law is somewhat narrow in its immunity.  All regulations must be followed with the sale of the…

Continue

Two Years

Posted by jwc2blue on December 13, 2014 at 6:48pm 4 Comments

TWO YEARS

 

Not such a lengthy span. Or a lifetime. Seven hundred and thirty days. Seventeen thousand five hundred and twenty hours, or one million five hundred one thousand two hundred minutes.

 It depends on your perspective, doesn’t it?

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” they say. And so it does.

Of course, they also say; “Time flies like an arrow. Fruitflies like a peach.”

Both, of course are true, though I think that I envy the fruitflies that…

Continue

Character - Different Meanings to Different People

Posted by Robert in Ohio on December 13, 2014 at 4:49pm 5 Comments

Character, integrity and loyalty are three qualities that my grandfather told me were the basis of what kind of person we turn out to be and what kind of example we are to others/

I saw this on line and it captured a lot of what he meant

83DA5B4E-35A8-45C0-8D61-1E5C304E203C.jpg

Character - what does it mean to…

Continue

Surprise! More Blacks say Gun Ownership Protects People from Crime

Posted by Bruce "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ" Tarleton on December 11, 2014 at 1:00am 9 Comments

Recent Pew Research polling shows a growing support for Gun Rights.  For the first time in more than two decades, support for Gun Rights exceeds support for Gun Control, 52% to 46%

Further polling indicates that more people believe Gun Ownership does more to protect people from crime (57%) than believe it endangers personal safety (38%).

But the big change over the last two years of polling is the attitude of blacks to gun ownership. …

Continue

My tribute to William Dunn, the first American Ace of WWII

Posted by Bruce "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ" Tarleton on December 10, 2014 at 11:51am 11 Comments

History is usually marked in time with firsts. First to fly. First jet aircraft. First man on the moon. Usually there is a general agreement on what we are taught about who was first doing what. But there are some cases that require strict definition to define the first.



Take for instance the first man to break the sound barrier. When asked, most people will quickly say it was Chuck Yeager in the Bell X-1 aircraft in 1947. But the fact is, the sound barrier was broken years…

Continue

Hillary Is "Finished" , Or So Say Her Enemies

Posted by JohnRussell on December 8, 2014 at 8:46am 6 Comments

by John Russell

If you can think of a right wing or conservative news source, there is a good chance that in the last 4 days they promoted a story to the effect of "Hillary Is Finished" , or "Hillary Is History", a reference that is much more pertinent to an appearance by Oliver North on an anti-Hillary television network than it is to Clinton's presidential chances. One might say the reference is ENTIRELY connected to Oliver North.

I cannot find a single non…

Continue

Follow NT's Forum

© 2014   Created by Perrie Halpern.

Badges  |  Report an Issue.  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service