Judge Matsumoto: Unkechaug meets tribal sovereignty, immunity criteria

The following article was posted to the Indian Country Today website.  It details the Unkechaug tribe’s continuing struggle to maintain its sovereignty against the state and the City of New York.  The article is in reference to United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto’s conclusion on October 8, 2009 in GRISTEDE’S FOODS vs. UNKECHAUGE NATION:

Conclusion

Based on the foregoing, the defendants’ motion to
dismiss is granted in part and denied in part as follows: 1) the
Unkechauge Nation’s and, as sued in his official tribal
capacity, Chief Harry Wallace’s motion to dismiss pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is
granted. 2) As sued in his individual capacity and in his
capacity as owner of the Poospatuck Smoke Shop, Chief Wallace’s
and the Poospatuck Smoke Shop’s motion to dismiss pursuant to
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) is denied.

An article discussing the decision can be found here: http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/archive/65786187.html

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

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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)

 

New York’s Tobacco Tax Wars

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(Photo: Martha Camarillo)

A recent article at the Business Insider covers several of the issues that are making headlines in regards to Mayor Bloomberg’s push to raise cigarette taxes to the highest in the nation and the lawsuit filed against the small Unkechaug Indian tribe smoke shops by the City of New York.

http://www.businessinsider.com/new-yorks-cigarette-tax-wars-2009-10

A recent article at the Business Insider covers several of the issues that are making headlines in regards to Mayor Bloomberg’s push to raise cigarette taxes to the highest in the nation and the law suit filed against the small Unkechaug Indian tribe smoke shops by the City of New York.

http://www.businessinsider.com/new-yorks-cigarette-tax-wars-2009-10

Indian Chief speaks out against Cigarette Tax

Harry Wallace, Chief of the Unkechaug Indian Nation, is keeping a close watch on the developments of the suit filed by the City of New York against several tobacco shops on the Poospatuck Indian reservation.  The article in its entirety can be found here.

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(Photo by Gordon M. Grant, New York Times)

 

Smoke Signals

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(Photo: Martha Camarillo)

New York Magazine recently published this article chronicling the disputes that have arisen between the Unkechaug Indian tribe and Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York.  It sheds light on the history of the tribe and their land, its entrepreneurial and legal battles, and insight into chief Harry Wallace’s stance on the City of New York’s encroaching lawsuit regarding tax law on the Poospatuck reservation.

http://nymag.com/news/features/59665/