Sunday, August 19, 2007

Indian Tribe Seeks To Preserve Sacred Items Far From Reservation

The Day (New London, CT) today reprints a New York Times News Service story on the legal battle being waged by Arizona's Quechan Indians. They are attempting to force Arizona Clean Fuels, developers of a planned $4 billion refinery located 40 miles away from the Quechan reservation, to conduct an archaeological and cultural inventory to look for sacred Quechan remains. At issue is how far beyond the borders of their reservations Indian tribes can extend their demands for cultural preservation. The Quechans have already stopped a planned gold mine and a planned nuclear waste dump in California beyond the borders of their reservation. However in June a federal district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction to stop the land transfers involved in the refinery project. Quechan Indian Tribe v. United States DOI, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47974 (D AZ, June 29, 2007), and the case is on appeal to the 9th Circuit. Meanwhile, last month the district court completely dismissed a portion of the complaint in the case, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50776 (D AZ, July 12, 2007).