Tribe Sues Feds Over Withholding of $14 Million
SEATTLE (AP) — An American Indian tribe in Washington state is suing the federal government, saying it and Washington state are wrongfully withholding nearly $14 million in a flap over the tribe's efforts to kick out almost 300 of its members.
Late last year the Nooksack Tribe's chairman announced that the 289 booted from the tribe were "non-Indians who had erroneously been enrolled in the Tribe." But the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs decided it wouldn't recognize any actions by the tribal council because the terms of four members had expired and no election was held to replace them.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday, the 2,000-member tribe argued that the government's decision interferes with its right to govern itself. It says that due to the bureau's decision, it has been denied grants for medical services, housing and salmon habitat restoration.