Associate Professor of Law, Matthew L.M. Fletcher on the Unkechaug ruling


Matthew Fletcher

Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University Matthew L.M. Fletcher, recently had this to say about U.S. District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto’s ruling in favor of the Unkechaug Indian tribe in a long running lawsuit filed by tycoon John A. Catsimatidis, owner of over 50 Gristedes.

“There is a smattering of cases like this. The court held that a federally recognized tribe is immune from suit. The court also said non-recognized tribes can be held immune by a court if it meets a common law test named after a 1901 Supreme Court case called Montoya v. United States. This common law test, used during a period before Interior began to keep track of all the tribes, was used by courts in the 1970s to determine whether an Indian tribe could bring land claims. Unkechaug met the Montoya test, and according to the district court, it is immune from suit.” (Read the entire article here)



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