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BELCOURT, NORTH DAKOTA - The State District Court in Colorado gave sovereign immunity a big win today in their ruling of Cash Advance v State of Colorado. Following the ruling, Merle St. Claire, the tribal chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, North Dakota, and chairman of the Native American Lending Alliance board issued the following statement:
"Despite aggressive legal actions by the Colorado Attorney General, the Court ruled today to affirm the sovereignty of Native American Tribes. This is a crushing blow for all those who are attempting to regulate or interfere with our right to engage in ecommerce activities such as personal loans offered over the Internet."
"We formed the Native American Lending Alliance (NALA) to create new pathways for tribes to responsibly engage in ecommerce initiatives while providing desperately needed new jobs and revenues in Indian country. NALA is doing this with products that make a difference in the lives of those who are not served by traditional banking institutions."
"We are pleased that the Court saw fit today to issue an opinion that affirms the 'principles of tribal immunity'. Specifically that, 'tribal immunity knows no territorial bounds.'
"With immunity comes a responsibility to self-regulate. That is why the Native American Lending Alliance created best practices that ensure consumers' needs continue to be met with value, fairness and transparency. All NALA members are dedicated to following these principles in order to protect consumers and our business model."
"The economic downturn has hit Indian country much harder than other parts of the nation. And without the ability to generate revenue and provide jobs for tribal members, we will perpetuate a cycle of poverty. Despite these attacks on our tribes and way of life we will continue to defend ourselves every step of the way."
"The decision included particularly strong language supporting absolute sovereign immunity for tribes to engage in commerce using the Internet. Tribal immunity applies to a tribe's governmental and commercial activities alike to only has every federal court of appeals addressing this issue so concluded, but the United States itself has also conceded that a tribe does not lose its immunity simply by engaging in a business through a corporate entity."
The Native American Lending Alliance formed in 2011 to protect Native American sovereign rights and enable responsible financial alternatives designed to meet the consumer needs with transparency, value and convenience. NALA protects consumers' rights with best practices that ensure these guiding principles are respected. Offering online financial services presents a tremendous opportunity for Native Americans to improve the welfare of their tribes. Through the Native American Lending Alliance unity is brought to a movement guaranteed to generate opportunities, jobs, and development on tribal lands as well as provide valuable and needed financial services.
posted February 16, 2012 6:00 am est
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