Crow Creek Sioux Tribe v. Caldera and the State of South Dakota

Crow Creek Sioux Tribe v. Caldera and the State of South Dakota
 

When the Corps of Engineers built the Missouri River Reservoirs, it acquired too much land. The Water Resources Development Act provided that the land above the flood control zone on the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Reservations would be transferred to the respective tribes. Land above the flood control zone off those two reservations, and not on any other reservation, would be transferred to the State of South Dakota for wildlife and recreation purposes. According the legislation, the recreation lands were to be transferred in December 0f 2002 and the remaining lands were to be transferred after certain funding was complete.

Both the Standing Rock and Crow Creek Tribes were invited to participate in the legislation but each declined. The Crow Creek Tribe instead sued the United States in federal court in the District of Columbia to stop the transfer to the state. The state intervened in support of the legislation on the side of the United States.

The Tribe asked for a preliminary injunction against the transfer of the recreation lands to the State. The District Court for the District of Columbia in January of 2002 denied the preliminary injunction and the recreation lands were transferred in February of 2002.

The Crow Creek Tribe then appealed the denial of the preliminary injunction. Briefing should be complete by late October 2002. The D.C. Court of Appeals has tentatively put the case on its non-oral calendar, and this may indicate that the Court will act fairly quickly after receiving all the briefs.

Last Updated: September 16, 2002