On April 20, 2012 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in the Rincon Mushroom Farm of America (RMFA) v. Mazzetti et.al. finding that the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians (Tribe) could not regulate the activities of RMFA, a non-Indian corporation who has fee lands within the Rincon Reservation. Because the Tribe was found to lack jurisdiction over RMFA, RMFA were not required to exhaust their tribal court or administrative remedies to determine the Tribe’s jurisdiction over it. For further details regarding the case see the attached letter from the Rincon Tribe to Tribal Leaders.

The Rincon Tribe is requesting a rehearing of the case before a full panel of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Pala Band of Mission Indians, and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians are preparing an amicus brief (“friend of the court”) supporting the Tribe’s request for a rehearing.

This decision will have substantial impact on every tribe in the 9th Circuit that have:
1. Non-Indian fees lands on their reservation; and/or
2. Tribes that operate a Tribal Court; and/or
3. Tribes that have non-Indians that reside or visit their reservation.

The Amicus Brief Must be Filed on May 21, 2012

CILS is asking all California tribes to join the amicus brief or to submit a brief of their own. If you want to join the amicus brief Pala and Santa Ynez are preparing you will need to:
1. Authorize your tribe’s attorney to sign the brief on behalf of your tribe; or
2. Authorize CILS to sign the brief on behalf of the tribe. You do not need to be an existing client of CILS to authorize us to sign the brief your behalf.

Attached: Rincon Request for Support – Letter from Chairman Bo Mazzetti re Why your Tribe should sign on to the Tribal Amici Brief in RMCA v Mazzetti and Amicus Brief Coordination Procedures.

Please contact Dorothy Alther ( dalther@calindian.org) or Mark Vezzola ( mvezzola@calindian.org) or at 760-746-8941 or your local CILS office.

Click here for a .pdf version of this Alert.