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Longie v. Spirit Lake Tribe

Citation: 35 ELR 20053
No. No. 04-1578, (8th Cir., 03/07/2005)

The Eighth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a tribal member's claim against his tribe in a dispute over an Indian land transfer. The member requested a land transfer in 1976 and, believing the transfer was final, soon began making improvements. But in 2001, he learned from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that the transfer was not final because the tribal council failed to sign the deed authorizing the transfer. The tribe then began to construct a waste transfer station on the land. The member then filed suit, seeking quiet title, an injunction against the waste transfer station, and other equitable relief. But because the case is an intra-tribal contract controversy centered around tribal law, it does not arise under the laws of the United States. Thus, the lower court properly dismissed the case because it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to resolve the dispute.