Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Citizen Band of Potawatomi

Many battles for the rights of Native Americans originate from court cases won and lost by Potawatomi tribes.  One such battle was Oklahoma Tax Commission vs The Citizen Band of Potawatomi.

The law became known as 498 U.S. 505 (1991) in  was a case that the United States Supreme Court said that the tribe was not subject to sales taxes on sales made to tribal members, but that they were liable for taxes to non-tribal members.

The Potawatomi were originally from the Wabash River area of Indiana and was then known as the Mission Band of Potawatomi.  After 1833, they were relocated to Kansas, where they lost most of their land due to the corrupt allotment system.  In 1867, in a treaty with Kansas, the tribe then sold their land in that state in order to be able to purchase land in their new Indian territory (now Oklahoma) and took on United States citizenship.  They are now known as the Citizen Band of Potawatomi, one of the nine tribes of the Potawatomi.

The tribe sold cigarettes on their new tribal land without collecting Oklahomas cigarette tax.  Back in 1987, the Oklahoma Tax Commission demanded their cut of the money from 1982 to 1986.  Citizen Band then sued the U.S. District Court.  the court denied the tribes motion for summary judgement.  The case was fought all the way to the Supreme Court.  this is why and how Potawatomi tribes living on tribal rights have rights regarding taxes owed to the government.



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