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 Fight For Justice

On the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Reservation


 

Page 1
of FFJ Case 2:96-CV-294
Support of
Federal Defendant's Motion to Dismiss


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
NORTHERN DIVISION

 

DEBRA WILLIAMSON-EDWARDS,
GARY LOONSFOOT, SR.,
DOREEN BARON and LINDA KRAMER,
Plaintiffs,

Case No. 2:96-CV-294
Hon. David W. McKeague

V.

BRUCE BABBITT, Secretary of the Interior;
ADA DEER, Assistant Secretary of the Interior - Indian Affairs;
INTERIOR BOARD OF INDIAN APPEALS;.
LARRY MORRIN, Acting Director, Minneapolis Area, Bureau of Indian Affairs; and
ANNE E. BOLTON, Superintendent, Michigan ency, Bureau of Indian Affairs;
Defendants.


MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF FEDERAL DEFENDANTS MOTION TO DISMISS

     The defendants, through undersigned counsel, submit the following memorandum in support of the Federal Defendants' Motion to Dismiss:

FACTS

    Plaintiffs are members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC). KBIC is a federally recognized Indian tribe organized pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (ERA), 25 U.S.C. §476. KBIC has a Constitution and By-Laws-which were adopted by a referendum vote of the tribe on November 7, 1936 and approved by the Secretary of the Interior on December 17, 1936.(Exhibit 5). According to its constitution, KBIC's membership consists of "[T]he bona fide members of L'Anse, Lac Vieux Desert and Ontonagon Bands of Chippewa Indians as shown on any allotmentrolls of the L'Anse, Lac Vieux Desert and Ontonagon Reservations, and their descendants who were residing within the limits of the L'Anse Reservation of June 1, 1934" and "[E]very child of one quarter or more Indian blood, born hereafter to any member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, provided such member is a resident of the Reservation at the time of birth of said child, and every child both of whose parents are members of the Community." KBIC Constitution, Article II, Sections 1(a) and (b). In addition, other Indians who are not members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Reservation "who desire to affiliate with the Community may upon written application be admitted by a majority vote of the membership, and shall thereupon have a right to vote on matters pertaining to the Community, but shall be excluded from participating in any rights or claim arising out of treaties; and from the right to hold office in the Community." KBIC Constitution, Article II, Section 2.

       KBIC is governed by its Tribal Council. The powers of the Tribal Council are enumerated in Article VI of the tribe's constitution: The Tribal Council has the power, pursuant to Article VI, Section I (k), to enact ordinances subject to review by the Secretary of the Interior governing the adoption of members into the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.*1 On January 6, 1940, KBIC adopted an ordinance entitled "Ordinance To Govern Adoptions Into the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community." (Exhibit 1). The ordinance was approved by the Superintendent of the Great Lakes Indian Agency on January 12 1940. The Tribal Council also has the power, pursuant to Article VI, Section l(a), "...to protect the health, security, and the general welfare of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community."


*1Article VI, Section I (K) provides that the Tribal Council has the power "to enact resolustions or ordinances not inconsistent with Article II of this Constitution governing actions and abandonment of membership, subject to review by the Secretary of the Interior.

 

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To read a brief summary of FFJ and it's begining read Tina Lam's Detorit Free Press article

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