CASPER, Wyo. — A lawsuit over the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming is attracting some high-profile attorneys, including former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Salazar, who served under President Barack Obama, is among several high-profile attorneys brought in by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes in their lawsuit against the state of Wyoming. The two tribes share the reservation.
Salazar is representing the Shoshone along with former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, who served under President Bill Clinton, and the Arapaho also have hired Paul Clement, who was a solicitor general under President George W. Bush, the Casper Star-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/2tEp7yi) Tuesday.
In February, a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against the tribes and the federal government, agreeing with the state that Riverton and other areas were removed from the reservation in 1905. A request for the entire 12-judge circuit court to hear the case is the next step in the legal process.
The dispute centers on whether a 1905 agreement between the tribes and federal government to allow sale of reservation land to non-Indians actually changed the reservation boundaries. The case originated in 2008, when the Environmental Protection Agency asked Interior to provide the reservation’s official boundaries.
The U.S. Department of Interior determined that the 1905 agreement did not diminish the reservation and that Riverton and other land north of the Wind River remained under tribal sovereignty. The state of Wyoming sued the federal government, arguing that the land in question belonged to the state, not the tribes.
The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation joined the state in the lawsuit, represented by the Mountain States Legal Foundation.
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com