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Tribal Sovereign Immunity
WASHINGTON A Superior Court of California, for the County of Los Angeles, recently ruled in favor of Ameriloan over the California Department of Corporations in their unlawful attempt to assert jurisdiction over tribally operated businesses.
This decision is consistent with the recent Colorado court decision which also upheld absolute tribal sovereignty.
Ameriloan is a tribal lending entity wholly owned by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, a sovereign nation recognized by the United States federal government.
The Native American Lending Alliance and the Native American Fair Commerce Coalition applaud the decision in favor of protection of American Indian sovereign rights.
“Clearly the tide of judicial opinion in the United States is in favor of respecting the sovereign rights of Native Americans, which is based upon 250 years of federal Indian law jurisprudence,”
said Bruce Sunchild, Chairman of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, and a board member of the Native American Lending Alliance.
“E-commerce has opened opportunities for tribes across the nation to generate revenue to support our people and generations to come.”
An entity wholly owned by the
Miami Tribe of Oklahoma
Indian Country has been disproportionately impacted by the recent economic downturn. It is estimated that many tribes have unemployment rates soaring to 50 and even 70 percent on some Indian reservations.
Many tribes are unable to generate revenue through gaming or tourism, due to being in a remote location. However, ecommerce initiatives have the power to break down geographical barriers and provide some of the most economically challenged tribes with the opportunity to generate revenue.
“The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition and the Native American Lending Alliance were founded to protect both the tribes' sovereignty as well as provide the best product to our consumers. For this reason, both Native American Lending Alliance and the Native American Fair Commerce Coalition have created a self-regulatory model demanding that our member tribes adhere to best practices that protect both the lender and the consumer,”
said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of the Native American Fair Commerce Coalition.
“This decision further codifies that sovereign immunity extends to off-reservation, for-profit commercial activities, so long as the entity engaged in the off-reservation activity is an arm of the tribe - created by the tribal council with supporting tribal laws, as is required by Native American Lending Alliance best practices.”
The text of the decision states that:
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posted May 23, 2012 6:00 am edt
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