WHY A LAWSUIT ?
To regain what was taken away illegally!
"NOTICE" This is not a class action or group lawsuit!
On November 4, 2002 a Civil Rights Lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Titled "Felter, et al, -vs- Norton, el al," Case #1:02CV2156. By Oranna B. Felter, Calvin Hackford, Alvin Richardson Denver, Jens Dale Christensen and over 250 other individually named persons.
This case is now in it's eighth year without any relief in sight. It has gone thru three title changes since 2002, "Felter V. Norton, Felter V. Kempthorne, and now Felter V. Salazar.
This complaint charges that the United States Government, acting through the Department of the Interior, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, willfully, incorrectly, and unlawfully implemented the "Ute Partition Act," a federal law enacted in 1954. This law purportedly "terminated" the federally recognized "Indian" status of each named plaintiff as members of the Uinta Band of Ute's.
The Ute Partition Act's original intention was that the Bands of the Ute Indians, "the Uinta's, Uncompagre's, and Whiteriver's" would have the federal recognition as Indians stripped from them. The Plaintiffs claim the through deft political maneuvering with members of Congress, officials of the Department of the Interior, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, that the Uncompagre and Whiteriver Bands were not terminated which has left them as the sole residents of the Uinta Band's Homelands.
One glaring aspect of the extinguishment of the Plaintiff's status as federally recognized members of the Uinta Band of Utes is that the United States Congress enacted a law along racial blood lines, classifying the Plaintiffs as "mixed blood" Utes possessing no more then 50% Ute Indian Blood, while classifying the members of the Uncompagre and Whiteriver Bands, which were originally from the state of Colorado, as "full blood" Utes. Only through this forced "branding" of the plaintiff's as "mixed blood" has the Government been able to successfully strip them of their tribal identity and turn over to others (non-Indians,) their homelands and billions of dollars of valuable assets consisting of timber and mineral rights once held in trust by the Government for the benefit of the Plaintiff's.
While Nations like South Africa have disentangled themselves from and renounced racially based Governmental policies such as "apartheid," the fact that the Ute Partition Act remains law within the United States of America must be told to all honorable American's and to all Nations of the world with Democratic Governments.
Imagine setting in your warm, cozy home on a beautiful Indian Reservation with snow capped mountains to the north, with Pine trees growing abundantly on the slopes and lush valley's full of Elk and Deer. To the south lies a vast stark high desert landscaped against a crystal clear blue sky as far as the eye can see. Then imagine that this reservation has been yours by Congressional decree since 1861. Your home sits on vast untapped reserve's of mineral wealth such as Oil and Natural Gas and you drink water from crystal clear cool rivers and streams that your ancestors revered and prayed to with the highest Spiritual regard.
Suddenly you see strangers on your land. These strangers, distant but related were moved on to your land from another land, known as the state of Colorado, by the United States Army. You are told they will only be there a little while, so you say ok and let them stay, just for a while until the Government gives them their own reservation in Colorado. The next thing you know their in your living room with the permission of the government, telling you that your no longer Indian anymore, to turn the land, water, trees, animals, minerals and the land over to these outsiders and to move off themland.Your Grandparents and Parents ask a simple question "WHY" and is never given an answer. They die wondering why their Indian identity was stripped from them, their lands stolen and why they got only misery and poverty in return.
Sounds like a bad dream that you can simply wake up from! Sadly this option is not available to the plaintiffs who filed this action against the U.S. Government. Their action will require some reflection by the people of America on years of systematic destruction of their Native culture, family's and the political and economic disenfranchisement that has isolated them from their ancestor's spiritual homeland and left them in the most impoverished condition right in the middle of one of the most wealthy democratic nations of the world - the United States of America....
JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED
Would you be willing to help us repeal P.L. 671 (The Ute Partition Act of 1954), if so click here to read the letter of support for repealing this discrimatory law.