Feds Can't Shake Tribes Suing for an Accounting
WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. government cannot dismiss claims over their handling of tribal trust accounts, a federal judge ruled, advancing a lawsuit by the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation and nine other federally recognized American Indian tribes.
"The federal government has held funds and assets in trust for American Indian tribe beneficiaries for well over a century," U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan wrote. "Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to discharge its fiduciary duties in its role as trustee for the tribes, and those trust accounts have been mismanaged for almost as long as they have been in existence."
The 10-page decision notes that the plaintiff tribes that the government still has not fulfilled the responsibility it owes in providing them "a complete and accurate accounting" of their trust accounts.
Though the secretaries of the U.S. Departments of the Interior and the Treasury contended that the court lacks jurisdiction, Judge Hogan disagreed Thursday and refused to dismiss the case.