Minnesota
Mdewakanton
Dakota
Oyate


Established May 20, 1886


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Mdewakanton Sioux Indians of Minnesota
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Mdewakanton and Wahpakoota Lineal Descendants


First Saturday -|- Rocque Roundtable -|- Other Perspectives


FIRST SATURDAY MEETINGS

RECENT RECAPS
This webpage is updated monthly.
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REFRESH / RELOAD EACH TIME YOU ARRIVE.




Saturday, June 3, 2017

No meeting was held.





Saturday, May 6, 2017

No meeting was held.





Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hi All,

Greetings Everybody!

I was not able to attend the First Saturday gathering last month, so I will try to give a quick recap of the March and April sessions together.

The March meeting focused on the DOI's response to our initial claim. Of course, they entered a motion to dismiss our claim. They submitted five basic arguments for dismissal:

1. Statute of Limitations - they write that claims must be filed within 6 years of the claimed injury.

2. Administrative Procedures Act - they write that the APA is not a source of law and does not grant the court the necessary subject matter jurisdiction.

3. No Private Right of Action - they write that the 1863 Act and the 1888-1889 Appropriations Acts do not contain provisions granting private remedies to individuals.

4. Res Judicata - this is the legal term for the argument that bars the re-litigation of claims that have already been litigated and ruled on in the past.

5. Failure to Join a Necessary Party - The DOI argues that the PIIC must be added to the suit because their land is at question. Since the PIIC has sovereign immunity from suit, they can't be added. This would therefore be cause for dismissal.

- - - -

I was able to attend the First Saturday breakfast for April and the turnout was a good diverse group.

On March 17, 2017, Erick submitted his reply to the DOI's motions to dismiss. The general feeling among the group was that the DOI did not address any of the facts that Erick made in the complaint. They did not make any mention of the fact that the MSIM were acknowledged as a tribe under the 1934 IRA Act. Nor did they challenge the contention that the tribe has never been terminated.

At this point, Erick has requested an oral hearing and the court needs to decide on the DOI's motion to dismiss.

The journey continues.

Be well,

Tom





Saturday, February 4, 2017

Hi All,

The First Saturday discussion group continues to gather and enjoy interesting conversation about our history and our ancestry. News relating to the active litigation has been sparse. We continue to wait for the DOJ to reply to Erick's petition. With Washington in turmoil over the transition of administrations, we may have to wait longer than expected.

In the meantime, it's interesting to hear new stories about the past generations of Lineal Descendants. It's unfortunate that more families can't join in the sharing of information about our past. I would be happy to record and pass on any family stories of interest. As the number of Lineal Descendants grows, we become more scattered and dispersed. Maybe through this small monthly e-mail communication, we can maintain a tradition of storytelling that is so important to the history of the Loyal Mdewakanton. I would be interested in hearing from the readership. I've always tried to keep this recap brief and concise because I know that attention spans have limits. In that regard, short stories and anecdotes would be welcomed.

Until next month, be well,

Tom





Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Dang, it's cold here!
At breakfast time, it was 1 degree above zero with a -17 wind chill. Ouch!

A hearty bunch still ventured out to gather and discuss our future. We were also pleased to welcome a couple of new Lineal Descendant attendees to the table. We continue to extend an open invitation to all LD's to join us in the conversation. We are 8000+ strong and I'm sure we can find a place at the breakfast table for everyone.

The status of the MSIM v US lawsuit is ongoing. No news is expected on the case until the DOJ submits its response to Erick's opening claim. We may see this brief in late January but more likely February or March. It's hard to predict how things will develop, but the hope is that the case will have a hearing scheduled for oral argument to be presented. This hearing would be held in Washington D.C. Maybe we should start checking to see if there's a hearing chamber capable of seating 8000? Keep your calendars open!

Til next month, stay warm!

Tom




Saturday, December 3, 2016

Greetings Everyone!

The holiday season is here and there's some light snow coming down in St. Paul.

The First Saturday group continues to gather. There is a renewed purpose now that Erick has filed a new complaint in the Federal District Court of Washington D.C. The listed plaintiffs are the Mdewakanton Sioux Indians of Minnesota (MSIM), and individuals Margo Bellanger, Tina Jefferson, and Michael Childs Jr. To clarify, the group spent a little time talking about tribal names. We all know that during and after the 1862 conflict, there were Mdewakanton Indians who did not participate and remained loyal to the government. These Indians, our ancestors, were acknowledged as a tribe. Over the years we have been called:

        * Loyal Mdewakanton
        * Minnesota Mdewakanton Sioux Indians
        * Mdewakanton Sioux Indians of Minnesota (MSIM)
        * Minnesota Mdewakanton Dakota Oyate (MMDO)

There may be other variations that have been used, but the bottom line is that we are the TRIBE! Our ancestors and their lineal descendants, are the TRIBE!

The new lawsuit argues that we have always been the tribe and the DOI has "acknowledged" us as the tribe. In 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was passed, the decision was made to organize and "recognize" the Indians living on the three parcels of 1886 land as "communities", NOT tribes. Erick argues that the DOI approved three community constitutions that reflect the MSIM as the larger group upon which the communities draw their legal identity.

Erick goes on to argue that the MSIM has never been terminated as a tribe. There is specific legislation that has to be passed by Congress in order to terminate a tribe and the MSIM has never been the object of such legislation. The DOI has pursued policies and practices that ignore MSIM as a tribe. These actions have violated the rights of the MSIM. Historically, examples of these activities trace all the way back to the original 12 square miles that were supposed to be provided to our ancestors.

Erick is suing the U.S. and requesting the Court to find the DOI in violation of the statutory rights of the MSIM. Further, Erick is requesting the Court to force the DOI to consult with MSIM on land assignments and provide possession of the 12 square miles or a legal equivalent.

As we've all discovered, the legal process moves very slowly. The First Saturday group will continue to gather and discuss the case and our future. I will continue to pass on comments and observations from the discussions. Please see the attached two page synopsis of the complaint for a brief recap of the important points of the complaint.

For a complete copy of the filed Complaint, go to the Main Page of this website by clicking on the [Main Page] link on the navigation bar above.

The most recent status of the Complaint which is pending in the U.S. District Court, District of Columbia can also be found on the Main Page.

Hope everybody has a wonderful holiday season!

Tom

Attachment: MSIM v. United States synopsis





Saturday, November 5, 2016

Recap of the meeting:

Hi Everybody,

Well, I guess you've all heard the news. Erick's office received a notice from the Supreme Court denying our request for a writ of certiorari. They won't hear our case. When we started meeting in February 2014, our goal was to informally discuss life after the lawsuit. Well, we're close. There are still some details to finish up, but for the most part, our litigation is done. There don't appear to be any other legal actions that can be taken to correct the injustice. Given that, the question becomes, are there other ways to advance our message and restore our identity as Loyal Mdewakanton. The group was unanimous in it's feeling to continue the effort. There were a number of ideas discussed.

  Conduct an ongoing letter writing campaign to elected officials.

  Focus efforts on the controversy surrounding the SMSC recognition process in 1971.

  Compose a one-page summary of our story covering the injustices from 1862 to present.

  Continue to gather on First Saturday and distribute a recap of discussions.

  Continue efforts to develop and advance MMDO.

  Maintain and grow Lineal Descendant contact information.

  Maintain MMDO website.

We decided to begin work on preparing a one-page summary. We will also continue to gather on First Saturday. Hopefully, the distribution of the recap will continue to expand and reach out to more and more Lineal Descendants. Please emphasize to friends and family the importance of expanding this network. This distribution is an extremely effective way to communicate to everybody and mobilize our efforts.

Hope everyone is doing well,

Tom





Saturday, October 1, 2016

Recap of the meeting:

The First Saturday group gathered again to discuss the latest on the Wolfchild lawsuit and to contemplate our future. Since the filing of our petition to the Supreme Court, the only development has been the issuance of a deadline for the appellees to respond to the filing. The deadline is October 3rd. If they respond, the filing will be posted on the MMDO website, www.mmdo1886.org. Obviously, our immediate hope is for the Supreme Court to accept our petition and hear our case.

Regardless of the outcome, life will go on for all of us and the question remains, what role will our Loyal Mdewakanton ancestry play in our lives going forward. Two important points were raised:

1. The injustices of the past will never go away and they'll always be recognized.

2. The Lineal Descendants of the Loyal Mdewakanton must continue to recognize our heritage and remain together as an extended family.

Our story is long and complicated. It is filled with war, pain, death, deceit, broken promises, government bureaucracy, corruption, greed, misunderstanding, and rejection. The Courts have heard our story. Erick has done an incredible job of championing our cause. The Supreme Court is the last option available within a legal system that is intended to administer justice fairly and resolve injustices. Beyond the official legal system, the only remaining court is the court of public opinion. Can our story be conveyed in the court of public opinion? Maybe. It's definitely worth discussing over breakfast at the next First Saturday.





Saturday, September 3, 2016

Recap of the meeting:

The big topic of discussion was the submission of our petition to the Supreme Court. The deadline for submission was August 31st. The Lead Plaintiffs met on the 30th to review the petition and they also decided to organize an impromptu press announcement on the 31st. The announcement was attended by a small but hearty band and it received some light coverage locally.

Erick did an excellent job in writing the petition and presenting our question challenging the dismissal ruling by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Our question is significant not only for our cause but for American Indian land claims nationally. To quote from the petition:

"The Eighth Circuit dismissed the claims because the American Indian group represented by the Petitioners had no federal common law causes of action under Oneida City., N.Y. v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York State, 470 U.S. 226 (1985) because the lands set apart were not aboriginal title and the Petitioners were not a tribe. The question presented is: Whether federal common law claims of trespass and ejectment are available to American Indians when Congressional acts specifically identify the American Indian group to which land is awarded and when the public lands are actually set apart for their permanent occupancy."

Erick argues that federal common law claims of trespass and ejectment should be available to identified groups of American Indians, not just tribes as stated in the Oneida case. He also argues that those same Indians, when awarded by congressional act (Act of 1863) should be granted federal common law rights as a remedy for land claims. These rights should not be limited to claims stemming from aboriginal lands as also stated in the Oneida Case.

These are big questions. It is our feeling that the Supreme Court should accept our case and address these significant issues.





Saturday, August 6, 2016

Recap of the meeting:

After many years of legal wrangling and patient waiting, the injustice has still not been corrected. We're right. We know we're right. Yet, the Lineal Descendants of the Loyal Mdewakanton are still left out in the cold. As rightful beneficiaries to the "inheritance" established in the 1863 Act, we remain resolute. It is for our ancestors that we need to exhaust every avenue to bring about justice.

Our story has been told in many courts of law. Has the discussion changed? Does our story need to be presented in the court of public opinion? Is it possible for enough pressure to be generated within the public, that change could be induced? The First Saturday conversations will continue.

Efforts to organize an informational meeting with Erick are still in the works. A notice will be posted on the Home Page of this MMDO website as to time and place.





Saturday, July 2, 2016

Due to this being a holiday weekend, no meeting was held.





Saturday, June 4, 2016

Recap of the meeting:

As many of you already know, we finally received a ruling from the 8th Circuit. They upheld the District Court decision to dismiss on the issue of the lack of a private right of action or remedy. Their interpretation of the 1863 Act was that the act authorized the DOI to set aside lands for "individuals". Given that interpretation, they ruled that the 1863 Act does not have a mechanism for remedy written into it for individual Indians. Their interpretation is that if an individual has a land claim regarding lands from the 1863 Act, they can't sue using federal common law of trespass and ejectment as a remedy.

The 8th Circuit also ruled that the Supreme Court finding in the precedent Oneida case did not apply. The Oneida case found that an Indian tribe can have possessory rights under federal common law to "aboriginal" land. Our claim is not based on aboriginal land rights, but is instead based on statutory rights arising from the 1863 Act. The 8th Circuit ruled that Oneida did not apply to claims arising from statutory rights.

OK, now that I've tried to recap the two reasons that we lost, let me try to simplify and focus the issues.

    1. 1863 Act - Was it intended to apply to "individuals" or to the Loyal Mdewakanton as a tribe?

    2. Oneida - Are statutory rights included under the Oneida finding or is it limited to aboriginal rights?

The good news from the decision was that the 8th Circuit felt that Judge Davis "abused" his authority by granting the sizable monetary sanctions. Judge Davis ruled our claim to be "frivolous" and the 8th Circuit directly disagreed noting that "Federal Indian law is complex" and that "Appellants and their counsel have made good faith, unfrivolous arguments." For this reason, the 8th Circuit vacated the sanctions order.

An encouraging aspect is that the First Saturday discussions have seemed to boil down to the two issues cited above. There were additional questions that came up as part of the discussion. For this reason, there will probably be efforts to organize an informational meeting where Erick can better explain the findings and discuss our options. Details on this will be forthcoming.

I hope everybody had a pleasant Memorial weekend.

Until next month,

Tom





Saturday, May 7, 2016

Notes from the meeting:

Hi Everybody,

Sorry for the delay in getting this recap out. Time has been flying by quickly for me.

The only development recently has been Judge Davis' ruling to deny the request to hold off on the briefing process for Erick's motion asking for relief on the sanctions. The request asked that briefings be delayed until the ruling is received from the 8th Circuit. Since Judge Davis said no, there will be an exchange of briefs, but he will defer his decision until after the 8th Circuit rules. The briefing schedule takes us into June before completion. Not sure, but I'm guessing that the 8th Circuit will not rule until this briefing period is complete.

We were fortunate to have some new visitors to the group last Saturday. Carl Leith and Perry Altendorfer joined us for breakfast. Perry is the historian for the Mendota Mdewaknaton. Perry is very knowledgeable and provided us with some interesting history of the Mendota Mdewakanton group and families. The Mendota Mdewakanton families were originally located along the lower bluff area below the sacred burial mounds at Indian Mounds Park in St. Paul. They eventually relocated to the Kaposia area across the Mississippi River from the bluffs. They ultimately ended up further upstream in Mendota near Pike Island and Ft. Snelling.

Both Carl and Perry continue to study the events and geneology of the Mdewakanton Dakota people. Their help in shedding light on some very confusing and convoluted aspects of our history is appreciated.

Til next month,

Tom





Saturday, April 2, 2016

Notes from the meeting:

We were hoping to gather and celebrate this month, but I guess we have to remain patient. It's been over 90 days since our hearing and we were expecting a decision by now. Nevertheless, we have continued to prepare for that important day.

We have continued to expand and update the MMDO website. Everyone is encouraged to visit the site www.mmdo1886.org and view the updated info.

We have also coordinated with Erick's office to prepare for the increased number of phone calls and emails that we expect to receive when we are successful in the Eighth Circuit. We are very committed to responding to all Lineal Descendants that call with questions. It is also critical that we respond and communicate with callers in order to capture their contact information and expand our LD directory. We recently sent out a test email to all of the LD's that are currently listed on our email directory. There were approximately 50 "bounces" out of a total of 314 addresses in the directory. When the Eighth Circuit decision is issued, The ruling will be eMailed immediately to all of the current addresses. All LD's are encouraged to contact us at admin@mmdo1886.org and add their email address to our directory.

Earl McDonagh provided us with some information on the activities of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community. A Bdote Dakota Water Summit is planned for Sunday April 17, 2016 at Fort Snelling. A copy of their flyer is attached for those interested in attending.

Well, that's all for now. Let's hope our next recap will bring the good news that we've all been anticipating.

Tom Smith, Lead Plaintiff

Attachment: Bdote





Saturday, March 5, 2016

Notes from the meeting:

The first Saturday in March brings us closer to an anticipated March ruling from the Eighth Circuit. In the meantime there have been a few filings since the hearing on Dec 17th.

In response to a request from Judge Bright, Appellee attorney Duncan submitted a letter providing additional information on the cases that he cited to argue his claim that no private right of action was provided by the 1863 Act. Bill Mohrman responded with a letter arguing that all three cases cited were "non-Indian land cases". He goes on to cite Oneida II as a Supreme Court decision that rejects the "no private right of action" claim and supports the Oneida's (and our) common law ejectment remedy.

On February 29th, Appellee attorney Schwie filed a letter citing a recent case that allegedly supports their "collateral estoppel" claim that our case was already litigated in Wolfchild I. Bill Mohrman responded in a letter dated March 4th, by making the basic argument that the land issues in Wolfchild II were never adjudicated in Wolfchild I. Different cases, different claims, no collateral estoppel.

On March 4th, Erick filed a motion in the District Court requesting the court to issue an order relieving the Plaintiffs of the monetary sanctions that were previously awarded to LSIC. Erick argued that the LSIC intentionally misrepresented themselves as the Lower Sioux government entity when they should have presented themselves as the Lower Sioux corporate entity. We'll see how Judge Davis reacts to this move.

Other topics.
The group was also given an update on the status of the MMDO website, www.mmdo1886.org. Dale Ebersold will be adding some new viewing options. A selection will be added that will contain all of the First Saturday recaps. Dale will also be re-posting all of the Special Election petition information. Hopefully, there will be an increase in visitors to our website when we are successful in the Eighth Circuit.

The question of leadership has been a regular topic of discussion for the First Saturday group. How did our ancestors choose their leaders? Where did the great chiefs come from? How were they recognized? Exploring these questions and learning more about our historical tribal leaders will be included in future First Saturday discussions.

Tom Smith, Lead Plaintiff





Saturday, February 6, 2016

Notes from the meeting:

Once again, we're playing the waiting game. Not a lot of hard information coming out, but after all these years, we've all become accustomed to waiting.

In the meantime, the question was raised as to proactive steps that can be taken to prepare for our win in the 8th Circuit. It has always been felt that when the 8th Circuit reverses our dismissal ruling, we will experience a renewed surge in interest and communication from Lineal Descendants. Therefore, the group talked about ways to take advantage of an increase in LD participation.

Everybody recognized that we have a number of communication vehicles in place already. The MMDO website (www.mmdo1886.org) is a valuable source of information for LD's. Efforts to refer LD's to the website should be ongoing. The website will also assist MKE in providing Erick's office with a place to refer many anticipated incoming phone calls and e-mails.

The MMDO e-mail address is also an active and available communication vehicle. The address is admin@mmdo1886.org. Efforts should be made to share this address with as many LD's as possible.

For us old-timers, we also have a snail mail address. Our postal address is:

Minnesota Mdewakanton Dakota Oyate
P.O. Box 17115
St. Paul, MN 55117

We should also try to add all of this information to the MKE website.

The Election Committee has also maintained its systems for capturing and updating LD contact information. Current contact lists are critical in communicating developments. When the 8th Circuit ruling is handed down, the committee will be able to spread the news electronically and immediately inform all LD's that have provided us with their e-mail address. Efforts should be increased to collect contact information and e-mail addresses from LD's around the country. The present e-mail directory has 314 listings. That's a good network to start with but we estimate there are approximately 4000 voting age LD's in MMDO. We definitely have room for improvement.

Hope everybody had a great weekend. Maybe, if we're lucky, we'll have a ruling by the next First Saturday and we can celebrate!

Tom Smith, Lead Plaintiff





Saturday, January 2, 2016

Notes from the meeting:

2016 is upon us and the first First Saturday of 2016 was a pretty focused discussion. As such, my recap is a little "wordier" than most. Bear with me while I try to translate some of the "legalese".

The main topic of discussion was the 8th Circuit hearing on Dec 17th. Most of us attended the hearing and the unanimous opinion was that Bill Mohrman made a FANTASTIC presentation. Thanks to Dale Ebersold, an audio recording of the hearing is available on www.mmdo1886.org. After listening to the tape several times, I was more encouraged with our case than ever.

The other encouraging aspect of the hearing was that the judges only wanted to hear argument relating to the three issues cited by Judge Davis in his dismissal ruling. They did not want to listen to arguments on sanctions, appeal cost bond, or any of the additional issues that were thrown into the mix in the Appellee's briefs. This allowed Bill to concentrate his testimony on the three main issues:

1. Laches
2. Private Right of Action
3. Sovereign Immunity

Bill strongly argued against the Appellee's application of the Sherrill Doctrine of Laches (time barring statute of limitations). His focus was on the differences between "equitable remedies," "equitable defenses," and "legal remedies." These concepts were instrumental in the Sherrill case. Bill cited the Supreme Court ruling in the Sherrill case that the Oneida Indians could not seek their "equitable" remedy of sovereign control because the "equitable" defense of Laches could be applied. Bill went on to explain that our case was not seeking an "equitable" remedy. Instead, it is seeking a "legal" remedy of ejectment. At this point, Judge Bright interjected and said that the Supreme Court will not extend an "equitable" defense of Laches to be applied to a "legal" remedy of ejectment. Bill immediately agreed. Again countering the application of Laches, Bill also cited the case of the Saginaw Chippewa v. Granholm. The Saginaw Chippewa were seeking a "legal" remedy based on an Act of Congress. They argued that the application of Laches in their case would effectively result in the repeal of the relevant Act of Congress. The Court agreed and did not allow Laches to be applied. Our case is the same. Application of Laches to our case would effectively repeal the 1863 Act. The 8th Circuit should reverse Judge Davis' application of Laches.

Bill's testimony did not address the lack of private right of action issue as much as the Laches issue. The arguments presented in our Principal Brief will remain the basis of our appeal on this issue. Essentially, Judge Davis ruled that the 1863 Act did not provide us with a "private right of action" to claim possession of the 12 square miles. Our brief states that we never made a claim based on a private right of action under the 1863 Act. Instead, we claimed in our brief, that the "Secretary of the Interior set apart" the lands at issue as the 1863 Act directs, Congress devised that Appellants became owners of the land "forever" with the FEDERAL COMMON LAW POSSESSORY RIGHT to eject any possessors from the land. Our claim is based on federal common law.

The last few minutes of Bill's time were used to efficiently argue that the sovereign immunity claim does not apply to the LSIC Corporation. He strongly stated that we sued the Lower Sioux Indian Community Corporation. The LSIC corporate charter has a "sue and be sued" clause and sovereign immunity does not extend to the corporation in this case.

A ruling from the 8th Circuit is expected sometime before mid-March. Hopes are high that 2016 will be a landmark year for the Lineal Descendants.

Tom Smith, Lead Plaintiff






Send comments, questions or suggestions to:

admin @ MMDO1866.org
or
Minnesota Mdewakanton Dakota Oyate
P. O. Box 17115, St. Paul, MN 55117

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