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TRIBAL PARTICIPATION

The Tribes of Oklahoma are going to and already have written great pages about State and Tribal participation on water law policy. Politics is a part of our past. The future of Oklahoma politics, particularly the use of land and water, will be written by water users and those representing the State of Oklahoma and the Sovereign Native American nations of Oklahoma. We will report on the activities of the Tribes as regards land and water usage and ownership issues as they are developed or determined.

September 25, 2010

A federal appeals court has rejected a request by the Cherokee Nation to intervene in Oklahoma's pollution lawsuit against the poultry industry. The Denver based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned away the Tribes request this week, saying the Cherokees knew for nearly a year that their interests mght not be represented by the state

"The nation was on notice that its reliance on the state was questionable when Tyson filed its motion to dismiss in October 2008" according to the ruling issued Tuesday.

The ruling upholds a Tulsa federal judge's Septembr 2009 denial of the tribe's request to join  the state in suing Tyson Foods and other poultry integrators for allegedly polluting the Illlnois Rivr watershed. The trial ended in February. U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizell has not issued a decison.

"In light of the record before the district court regarding undue delay, prejudice to the parties, and prejudice to the nation, the court did not abuse its discretion in denying inervention," aaccording to the appellate court ruling

July 16, 2010

Judge Joe Heaton dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma against the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. the Tribe wanted to force OWRB to grant their appication for water that it, the Tribe, wanted to sell to Tarrant County, Texas. The matter now goes to the 10th circuit court of appeals in Denver.

 NEW LAWSUIT FILED BY THE APACHE TRIBE OF OKLAHOMA

Superceding it's earlier motion to intervene in the Tarrant County v OWRB, the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma went directly to the issue of ownership and sale of water. The new lawsuit asks the Court to judicially recognize and declare  the existence of the Tribe's federally reserved right to surface and groundwater located within the boundaries of its fomer federal reservation.

Stating that it's lands extend through the counties of Harmon, Jackson, Greer, Kiowa, Tillman, Commanche, Caddo, Cotton Grady, Stephens and Jefferson, and citing the Jerome Agreement of 1892, the Tribe requests that the Court declare that the treaty reserved  the trust lands and its resources  for the benefit of the Apache Tribe and its members and impliedly reserved to the Apache Tribe and its members the right to the surface water of the Red River and the waters within the Red River Basin and groundwater underlying  the Red River basin, sufficient to foster, promote and fulfill the purposes for which the lands were set aside for the Apaache Tribe and its members.

EARLIER INTRVENTION BY THE APACHE TRIBE AND MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING TO SELL WATER TO TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS

On October 26, 2009 the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma filed a Motion For Leave to Intrvene in the CCase of Tarrant Regional Water District, A Texas State Agency Plaintiff. vs All of the Members of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Oklahoma Water Conservation Storage Commission. In state Facts of the Complaint the Apache Tribe statee "The subject of this intrvention is the water above and underlyingthe Red River and its tributaries located in the Red River Basin. In the Relief requested  "Wherefore the Apache Tribe prays and demands an order from the Court that:

(1) declares that 1867 Treaty with Kioaw, Comanche Plains Apaache, 15 Stat. 581, reserved the trust lands and its resources for the benefit of the Apache Tribe and its members and impliedly reserved to the Apache Tribe and  its members the right to the surfaace water of the Red River and the waters within the Red River basin and groudwater underlying the Red River and the Red Rivr basin sufficient to foster, promote and fulfill the pruposes for which the lands were set aside for the Apache Tribe and its members and further declares that the priority date of the groundwater reserved is at the date of the Treaty with the Kiowa, Comanche and Plains Apache.

(2) enjoins the plaintiff from withdrawing surface water or groundwater underlying the Red River and the Red River basin in conflict with the rights of the Apache Tribe and its members as declared and decree by thi Court;

(3) enjoins the defendants from appropriatying surface water or groundwater underlying  the Red River and the Red River Basin in conflict with the rights  of the Apache Tribe and its members as declared and decreed by the Court;

(4) awards such other and further relief s may be deemed just and proper."