Wednesday, December 1, 2004
Representatives of the Mdewakanton Dakota tribe are celebrating after a federal court held that Congress breached an 1886 agreement with the tribe.
The claimants are descendants of the "Loyalist" Dakotas who pledged loyalty to the United States in 1862. In 1886 Congress conveyed land to the Loyalists, but an 1980 act of Congress conveyed it to three other Dakota groups. Judge Charles Lettow of the Federal Court of Claims held that the subsequent act breached the contract.
The dispute has significant economic overtones because the disputed land is the site of several very profitable Indian casinos.