Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska News


'We The People' Suit Against KIC
Dismissed By U.S. District Court Judge


May 09, 2003
Friday - 12:10 am

Ketchikan - Earlier this year a local Ketchikan group known as "We the People" and as "Ketchikan Indian Movement" filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Ketchikan Indian Community (KIC). According to information provided by KIC the lawsuit claimed that KIC officials acted improperly in several instances and claimed only vague remedies for these alleged actions.

Ketchikan Indian Community announced on Thursday that on May 5, 2003, U.S. District Court Judge James K. Singleton Jr. issued an Order and Judgment in this matter and dismissed the suit without prejudice. Judge Singleton wrote that the Federal Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction in the case. In a news release KIC wrote, "Simply put, the Judge decided that there were no federal questions put forth by We The People, and that the issues presented were entirely within the realm of tribal jurisdiction."

We The People, a group of KIC members, formed in 2002 to protest the firing of two KIC employees. The group alleged that some Ketchikan Indian Community administrators and some Tribal Council members acted irresponsibly. The group attempted unsuccessfully to recall three KIC Tribal Council members and the previous Tribal Council President. The recall petitions were deemed invalid by the Tribal Council.

We The People invited a Native tribunal made-up of tribal judges from other communities in Southeast. KIC declined to participate in the tribunal and declined to adhere to the tribunal's ruling which went against KIC and would have removed four Tribal Council members from office and prohibited them from running for a tribal office for at least five years. We The People then filed suit in federal district court to force KIC to adhere to the tribunal judgment.

According to information provided in a news release, KIC will now consider how the Tribe will continue to address the issues that We The People raised. Further it was stated that "most importantly, KIC will now be able to limit the amount of time, effort and expenditures with this matter so that the entire Tribal membership can receive the benefits of the Tribe."



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