United States Commission on Civil Rights

Confidential Draft Report
“Enforcement of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968”

May 1990


Indian Civil Rights, page 22
Minneapolis Star and Tribune brought a Freedom of Information action against the Department of the Interior seeking the Red Lake court records. [47]

August 1985: The court records were seized by the Red Lake Tribe.  Suit had been brought by the U.S. Government to recover those records on the grounds that the records are "Agency records" of the BIA.  The U.S. District Court for Minnesota and the Eight Circuit have ruled in favor of the
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     "(...continued)
Exhibit 4, Portland Hearing, supra note 25, at 137.  See also Testimony of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Exhibit 18, Washington D.C. Hearing, supra note 4, at 330 ("yet, that there are today no Red Lake members who are professional attorneys does mean that defendants must be represented by lay counsel.")  In 1977, an Interior Department memorandum noted a problem with lay counsel: "Since only one person is presently admitted to practice as lay counsel before the court, the court is faced with a dilemma when a defendant requests counsel and the person is either unavailable, unacceptable to the accused, or refuses to represent the accused."  Memorandum to the files, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior (May 20, 1977).  For a response of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, see Testimony of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Exhibit 18, Washington, D.C. Hearing, supra note 4, at 329-34.

     [47] Orberdorfer, Paper Gets OK to See Court Files, but Red Lake Officials Withhold Them, Minneapolis Star and Tribune, Jan. 7, 1986, at 9A (reprinted in Washington, D.C. Hearing, supra note 4, at 195-196); Minneapolis Star and Tribune Company v. United States Dep't of Interior, Civ. No. 4-84-1255 (D.Minn. Apr. 30, 1986).  The United States also had to rely on the courts to recover the records of the BIA court at Red Lake.  United States v. Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, 827 F.2d 380 (8th Cir. 1987), cert. den., 99 L.Ed. 2d 270 (1988).

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