WESTERN SHOSHONE NATIONAL COUNCIL,
by its Chief, Raymond D. Yowell, and
CHIEF RAYMOND D. YOWELL as Representative of
the Class of Shoshone Persons,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;
Department of the Interior, Secretary BRUCE BABBITT,
JULIE FAULKNER, ROBERT LAIDLAW;
Bureau of Land Management, ANN J. MORGAN, HELEN HANKINS; and
ORO NEVADA RESOURCES, INC.;
its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries,
successors, assigns, etc.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1. The Court has jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331(case arising under the laws of the United States and under the Treaty of Ruby Valley, 1863, between the United States and the Western Shoshone), 1350 (alien action for tort), 1367 (supplemental jurisdiction), and 2201 (declaratory judgment). Venue is in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391.
2. The judicial system of the United States does not provide for an independent nation within its geographic limits a place to bring its complaints and to seek redress for its grievances. Rightfully, this issue should be in a third party venue, a party that has no interest in this issue. The Western Shoshone invoke the jurisdiction of this Court only for purposes of resolution of matters touching obligations arising from their treaty relationship with the United States. They do not acknowledge any general United States jurisdiction over themselves as a nation. They reserve the right to seek international remedies for violations of their treaty relationship and territorial integrity.
3. The Western Shoshone must act in order to protect their vested rights within their territory. This is the basis for the Western Shoshone intervention in the law suit, United States v. Nye County, Docket No. CV-6-96-00232-LDO (RJJ), on July 26, 1995, in this court. That law suit, for the first time, raised the issue of title to Western Shoshone territory to be tried before a United States court. The Western Shoshone could not let this action pass without intervention. This court did not consider the points raised in the Western Shoshone intervention and denied it. The Western Shoshone immediately appealed the decision to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Case No. 96-16599, February 22, 1996, where it is presently awaiting action.
NATURE OF THE ACTION
4. Because the appeal of this court's denial of intervention in the above-referenced matter has not been addressed at this point, this action is brought by the Western Shoshone Government (the Western Shoshone National Council) and the class of Western Shoshone people following their original government, in a request for injunctive and declaratory relief as follows:
a) Against Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Bruce Babbitt, and his designees. to prohibit the Department of the Interior from continuing negotiations with Western Shoshone Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) entities in an attempt to settle Western Shoshone territorial rights;
b) Against the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to prohibit it from enforcing its grazing regulations on Western Shoshone livestock operators;
c) Against the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to prohibit it from issuing mining permits in Western Shoshone territory.
d) Against Oro Nevada Resources, Inc., and its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, assigns, etc., for mining and, in concert with the United States Bureau of Land Management, for taking Western Shoshone resources without Western Shoshone Government permission.
5. The Western Shoshone are an independent nation within the geographic limits of the United States, being in existence for countless generations continuously and unbroken from time immemorial to the present and asserting a continuing inherent and exclusive right to decide how they live on their lands in keeping with the Law of their own language, culture, and traditions, including rights to hunting, fishing, and other land use activities without interference or encroachment. The Western Shoshone were recognized as such by the United States in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of Ruby Valley entered into by the two nations on October 1, 1863. Plaintiff Western Shoshone National Council embodies the original and traditional government of the Western Shoshone people. The Council acts in an executive capacity, including the filing of this action, through its Chief Raymond D. Yowell.
6. Plaintiff Raymond D. Yowell is Chief of the Western Shoshone National Council, authorized by the Council to appear in its behalf in all matters affecting the Council's representation of the Western Shoshone people. Raymond D. Yowell also appears herein in his own right as a Western Shoshone person and as a representative of the class of Western Shoshone persons who honor and abide by the original. government of the Western Shoshone people and live upon and have rights in the territory described in the Treaty of Ruby Valley, 1863. This class, affected by common questions of law and fact of which the representative's claims are typical, is so numerous that joinder of all members as individuals is impracticable. The representative will fairly and adequately protect the class. This class includes Western Shoshone cattle ranchers whose ranching activities are encompassed within and protected as individual aboriginal rights.
7. Defendant United States of America is the federal government constituted by the Constitution of the United States and party signatory to the Treaty of Ruby Valley, 1863, with the Western Shoshone.
8. Defendants United States Department of the Interior, Secretary Bruce Babbitt, Robert Laidlaw, Julie Faulkner, and Bureau of Land Management, Ann J. Morgan, Helen Hankins, are agents for the United States of America.
9. Defendant Oro Nevada Resources, Inc. and its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, assigns, etc., is a mining company operating under purported permit from the Bureau of Land Management to conduct exploration and mining activities in Western Shoshone Territory. The full ownership and affiliations of these corporations are not known to the Western Shoshone Government; therefore, the Western Shoshone Government reserves the right to request leave to amend this complaint as these matters become known.
STATEMENT OF PACTS
10. The Treaty Of Ruby Valley, 1863 (hereinafter, "Treaty"), between the Western Shoshone Nation and the United States is the foundation of peaceful nation-to-nation relations between the Western Shoshone and the United States. The Treaty remains in full force and effect. The Western Shoshone National Council is ready and has offered to engage in dialogue with the United States on land issues on a nation-to-nation basis, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty.
11. The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is engaged in a series of purported negotiations with Western Shoshone Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) entities with jurisdiction limited to the interior boundaries of their reservations in an attempt to settle Western Shoshone territorial rights, while at the same time purporting to be a trustee for those IRA entities. On one hand, DOI is thus involved in a conflict of interest, being simultaneously the opponent of and the trustee for those entities. On the other hand, in negotiating with entities created under United States law (IRA), the United States is ignoring and attempting to bypass the original government of the Western Shoshone as embodied in the Western Shoshone National Council, the only body that can lawfully negotiate Western Shoshone territorial issues. DOI persists in this course of action in violation of the Treaty, despite notice by the Western Shoshone National Council, to the great detriment of the Western Shoshone people,
12. The United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM), through its local and regional offices, is attempting to enforce its grazing regulations on Western Shoshone livestock operators operating under the terms of the Treaty within Western Shoshone territory. BLM has not made the slightest attempt to substantiate the rightfulness of its actions despite repeated expressions of concern by the Western Shoshone livestock operators, whose livelihood and way of life, as guaranteed by the Treaty and as individual aboriginal rights, are threatened by the BLM.
13. BLM has issued permits to mining companies, including defendant Oro Nevada, for mining within Western Shoshone territory. BLM has persisted in this action despite repeated protest by the Western Shoshone government.
a). Article Four of the Treaty grants a right to prospect for and mine ore deposits on Western Shoshone Territory. At the time of the signing, the nature of mining was understood by the signatories to involve the development of visible deposits on a human scale.
b). The current mining company projects, including those of defendant Oro Nevada, involve large-scale excavations, deep-well extractions of ground water, and cyanide leaching, among other extremely invasive and destructive industrial processes which are neither envisioned nor permitted by the Treaty.
c) The rights granted by the Treaty to the United States were specific to the United States government and non-transferable to any third party.
14. The actions of DOI, BLM, and Oro Nevada subject the Western Shoshone people to alien subjugation, domination, and exploitation and constitute a denial of Western Shoshone fundamental human rights, contrary to the Charter of the United Nations. See Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, G.A. res. 1514(XV), 15 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 66 U.N. Doc. A/4684 (1961).
15. The actions of DOI, BLM, and Oro Nevada violate Western Shoshone rights over their natural wealth and resources, contrary to the spirit and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. See Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources. G.A. res. 1803 (XVlI), 17 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 17) at 15, U.N. Doc. A/5217 (1962). See also Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO No. 169), 72 ILO Official Bull, 59, entered into force Sept. 6, 1991.
16. As a result of the conduct of DOI, BLM, and the mining companies under color of United States law, the Western Shoshone people have suffered and continue to suffer irreparable harm to their persons and property and to their way of life.
CAUSES OF ACTION
17. The actions of the United States and its agencies violate Western Shoshone rights to territorial integrity and individual Western Shoshone rights recognized in the Treaty of Ruby Valley, 1863 and protected by United States law (see U.S. v. Dann, 470 US 39, 50 (1985) and U.S. v. Dann, 873 F.2d 1189, 1195-98 (9th Cir. 1989)) as well as international law and human rights conventions. These violations may be addressed by declaratory relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201, by injunction, and by compensation for trespass, conversion, and nuisance.
18. The purported permit from the United States to defendant mining company to invade and destroy Western Shoshone territory and way of life is contrary to obligations of the United States under the Treaty of Ruby Valley, 1863, and violates Plaintiffs' individual aboriginal rights as well as international law and human rights conventions. These obligations and violations may be addressed by declaratory relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and by injunction.PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, plaintiffs request the following relief
1. Injunction against defendant United States
a) ordering the Department of the Interior to desist from attempting to negotiate Western Shoshone territory issues with Indian Reorganization Act entities;
b) ordering the Bureau of Land Management to desist from attempting to enforce its grazing regulations on Western Shoshone livestock operators; and
c) ordering the Bureau of Land Management to desist from issuing permits to mining companies to engage in industrial mining in Western Shoshone territory.
2. Injunction against defendant mining company ordering it to desist from extracting resources from Western Shoshone Territory without permission from the Western Shoshone Government.
3 Injunction prohibiting any entry into or activity within Western Shoshone Territory except by express agreement and free consent of the Western Shoshone Government.
4 Award to the Western Shoshone Government all costs and fees for prosecuting this action.
Dated: October 17, 1997
Raymond D. Yowell, Chief
Allen Moss, Sub-Chief
Virginia Sanchez, Secretary of State & Treasurer
Western Shoshone National Council
Indian Springs, NV 89018-210