Metlakatla Indian Community v. Michael Dunleavy

FOR PUBLICATION UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT METLAKATLA INDIAN No. 21-35185 COMMUNITY, a Federally Recognized Indian Tribe, D.C. No. 5:20- cv-00008-JWS Plaintiff-Appellant, ORDER AND v. AMENDED OPINION MICHAEL J. DUNLEAVY, Governor of the State of Alaska; DOUG VINCENT-LANG, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game; AMANDA PRICE, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, Defendants-Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Alaska John W. Sedwick, District Judge, Presiding Argued and Submitted December 6, 2021 Pasadena, California 2 METLAKATLA INDIAN COMMUNITY V. DUNLEAVY Filed September 8, 2022 Amended January 31, 2023 Before: William A. Fletcher, Johnnie B. Rawlinson, and John B. Owens, Circuit Judges. Order; Opinion by Judge W. Fletcher SUMMARY * Indian Law The panel filed (1) an order amending its opinion, denying a petition for panel rehearing, and denying, on behalf of the court, a petition for rehearing en banc; and (2) an amended opinion reversing the district court’s dismissal, for failure to state a claim, of the Metlakatlan Indian Community’s suit against Alaskan officials, claiming that an 1891 statute granted the Community and its members the right to fish in the off-reservation waters where they had traditionally fished, and that they therefore were not subject to an Alaska statute’s limited entry program for commercial fishing in waters designated as Districts 1 and 2. The 1891 Act established the Annette Islands Reserve as the Community’s reservation. The panel held that the 1891 Act also granted to the Community and its members a * This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader. METLAKATLA INDIAN COMMUNITY V. DUNLEAVY 3 non-exclusive right to fish in the off-reservation waters where they had traditionally fished. The panel applied the Indian canon of construction, which required it to construe the 1891 Act liberally in favor of the Community and to infer rights that supported the purpose of the reservation. In Alaska Pac. Fisheries v. United States, 248 U.S. 78 (1918), the Supreme Court inferred a fishing right from the 1891 Act. At issue was the scope of that right. The panel concluded that a central purpose of the reservation, understood in light of the history of the Community, was that the Metlakatlans would continue to support themselves by fishing. The panel therefore held that the 1891 Act preserved for the Community and its members an implied right to non-exclusive off-reservation fishing for personal consumption and ceremonial purposes, as well as for commercial purposes. The panel reversed the decision of the district court and remanded to allow further proceedings to determine whether the Community’s traditional off-reservation fishing grounds included the waters within Alaska’s Districts 1 and 2. COUNSEL Julie A. Weis (argued), Christopher G. Lundberg, and Christopher T. Griffith, Haglund Kelley LLP, Portland, Oregon, for Plaintiff-Appellant. Laura E. Wolff (argued) and Christopher F. Orman, Assistant Attorneys General; Treg R. Taylor, Attorney General, Office of the Alaska Attorney General, …

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals