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Tribes respond to federal court ruling

FORT HALL, Idaho - The Shoshone-Bannock tribes have released a statement after being told in federal court they don't have jurisdiction over one man's land on the reservation.

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of David Evans, who was building his home on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Evans, not a tribal member, refused to pay a contractor's fee and buy a building permit from the tribes.

On Monday, the tribes released the following statement:

"The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are disappointed with the recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the Evans case and anticipate seeking en banc session (a session where the case is heard before all the judges of a court) by the rest of the 9th Circuit judges. The tribes are confident that when the entire panel of 9th Circuit judges review the case they will agree with Judge Winmill.

"As an Idaho judge, Judge Winmill is familiar with the area and the facts, and had a well-reasoned opinion that respected exhaustion of tribal court remedies. The conclusions from three judges miles away from Idaho -- one of which was a Nevada district judge – are out of touch with the facts. It is important to note that this case did not decide who has jurisdiction on the reservation; it just determined that Mr. Evans does not have to go to tribal courts first. The case has been remanded to Judge Winmill to address the merits of the case. The tribes look forward to presenting a full case to Judge Winmill to advance consistent zoning and protect the environment on the Fort Hall Reservation.

"In the meantime, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are pleased that many non-Indian landowners on the Fort Hall Reservation continue to respect the tribes' existence, and voluntarily choose to comply with simple tribal laws. The tribes will continue to defend their permanent homeland and sovereignty."

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