Monday, July 02, 2018

This land is whose? Rancher pitted against rancher in grazing battle on Pine Ridge Reservation

The Porcupine, S.D., rancher, received word from the Bureau of Indian Affairs earlier this spring that his bids for Range Units had been denied. But he recently won a legal battle with the federal government. The United States charged him with destruction of federal property for continuing to graze range units that had been leased to another rancher. Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey Viken dismissed the charges, and the government said it would not re-indict Temple. The magistrate judge pointed out the federal court did not have jurisdiction over that situation, that the charges against Temple were not appropriate, and that no individual has ever been charged with "destruction of federal property" for trespassing on or grazing Indian trust land. "Indian lands are not included in the term 'public lands,' she said. She also points out that the Oglala Sioux Tribe has law to deal with such a situation: Any Indian who shall…willfully and knowingly allow livestock to occupy or graze on the cultivated or other lands, shall be deemed guilty of an offense and upon conviction thereof. Shall be punished by a fine not to exceed five dollars ($5.00), with costs; in addition to any award of damages for the benefit of the injured party. But that's the middle of the story, not the beginning...MOREI

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